The Arsenal first-team’s injury problems are gradually starting to clear up and the same sentiment can be applied to the U21 side, with young full-backs Tafari Moore and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill closing in on their respective returns to action.
Moore and Ormonde-Ottewill haven’t featured since October because of injury problems, but they are both on track to make a full recovery early in 2015. Fellow defender Julio Pleguezuelo, who has suffered several injury setbacks this season, is also due to return at some point next month, which would leave goalkeeper Deyan Iliev and scholars Elliot Wright and Marc Bola as the only remaining absentees.
The average age of the U21 squad could become even younger than usual in the New Year if some of the more experienced members of the side, such as centre-back Semi Ajayi and striker Chuba Akpom, are sent out on loan. Alternatively, there is a chance that Akpom could remain with the club to provide cover if Yaya Sanogo departs on a temporary basis.
Several first-year scholars, such as Chiori Johnson, George Dobson, Tyrell Robinson, Chris Willock, Kaylen Hinds and Stephy Mavididi, have already featured for the U21s, whilst others, including Ben Sheaf, Harry Donovan, Savvas Mourgos and Ilias Chatzitheodoridis, could follow suit in the second half of the campaign.
The club will also be hoping that centre-back Kristopher Da Graca will be able to establish himself as a regular at U18 level following an injury-disrupted first half of the season.
It is tight at the top of Division 2 in the U21 Premier League, with Arsenal currently in second place behind Newcastle United. The top two teams in the division will be promoted to the top tier for next season, which would enable Arsenal to test themselves against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool again.
Arsenal U21s have 12 games remaining this season and resume their campaign away to Wolverhampton Wanderers next Monday.