Much concern as Arsenal U18s and U16s are annihilated by West Ham

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 0 West Ham 5

Arsenal U18s’ league form continues to be a source of much concern, with Frans De Kat’s side suffering the latest setback of an increasingly disappointing season as they were trounced 5-0 at home to West Ham United today.

West Ham had a slightly more experienced side, with Arsenal calling upon just one second-year, but De Kat’s team are without a league win since September and this mauling will do little to help the confidence of these young players.

West Ham took an early lead courtesy of Jahmal Hector-Ingram and soon added to it, with Manny Onariase, Vashon Neufville and former Gunner Jordan Brown all getting on the scoresheet and Hector-Ingram finding the net again for good measure.

Arsenal rested the majority of the players who are expected to feature in Monday’s crucial FA Youth Cup encounter against Crewe Alexandra, but that can’t be used as an excuse for the Gunners’ meek resistance to the West Ham onslaught.

Centre-back Kristopher Da Graca was drafted in for his first U18 start, but he endured a day to forget, with the remainder of the side the same as the one that started against Southampton last week.


Centeno-Wright-Da Graca-Chatzitheodoridis



Da Silva

subs: Huddart, Parker, Tella, Willock.

This was a deeply disappointing surrender from Arsenal, who have now lost their last four league games at this level, scoring just one goal during that sorry sequence of results.

The results suffered at this level last season were disappointing, but there seemed to be reasons for optimism at the start of the campaign, with new coach Frans De Kat inspiring commendable victories over Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea.

In recent months, though, with the likes of Chiori Johnson, Tyrell Robinson, Stephy Mavididi, Kaylen Hinds and Chris Willock having been used less frequently in the league due to their commitments at higher levels, results and performances have suffered greatly.

The defence appears to be the biggest area of concern. Left-back Ilias Chatzitheodoridis has struggled with his positioning, whilst Elliot Wright is still not certain to be awarded a professional deal.

Further forwards there is a lack of real steel in midfield, with Ben Sheaf, Savvas Mourgos and Harry Donovan all good technically, but lacking the capabilities required to stop opponents in their tracks.

Aaron Eyoma and schoolboy Marcus Tabi offer pace on the flanks but aren’t a regular source of goals or assists, whilst striker Josh Da Silva is promising but still adapting to this level.

For many years it has been Arsenal’s policy to play youngsters above their age group but in recent years results at U18 level have been hugely concerning.

The purpose of the academy is to provide players for the first-team, with youth team results not of particularly high importance. However, losing every week surely cannot be beneficial for their long-term development.

Arsenal could yet win silverware in the U18 age group this season by prevailing in the Youth Cup, but, if they are to even reach the Semi-Final stage, they must first dispatch of Crewe and then Manchester City. Even when able to call upon the likes of Dan Crowley, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gedion Zelalem and Krystian Bielik, that will be a tall order.

There wasn’t much better news regarding the U16s today, as they were thrashed 5-1, also by West Ham.



  1. Frans De Kat needs to sort out his tactics in a hurry cause this is embarrassing. I am still happy that Brady left, as its clear our players aren’t good enough, lets hope Jonker can change that. Sadly we may have to wait 6-7 years to find out and it’s no guarantee. West Ham had two players playing who were called up to the most recent England youth teams, Hector-Ingram at the u17 level and Neufville to the u16s. I am not sure if Reece Oxford played in this game, apparently he was on the bench for the first-team, but he was called up to the 16’s as well. No Arsenal players were selected for either the 16’s or 17’s squads that were announced over the last couple of days. Things are looking down at the moment.

    1. Arsenal are taking part in a tournament in Qatar IIRC which has affected the participation of some the players in the national teams.

    2. That has been the case for many years now. For being such an high standard club we should not be happy until we got at least 2 english players in every english national team at youth level. I would like to see a lot more work with our passing game. Its seems very slow at times and the technical ability is not even close to spannish teams. Looking at the english national youth teams I can understand why Arsenal players aren’t there. The national team players seems a lot more gifted and got a lot more technical abilities. I know there are some good Arsenal youths like Willock and maitland-niles. But as a team we are really bad I think.

      Playing younger players in the U18 obviously isn’t working and I would consider playing more 17 year olds regularly. New young recruits who most likely never experience this high standard of play before along with young academy players are not working out.

      If we are going to lose of draw a tons of play and only come with the same excuses like “they are young and needs to learn” then keep the players from U16 and develop them instead of getting new players from other countries.

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