Arsenal U18s’ woeful form continues with defeat to Tottenham


U18 Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur 4 Arsenal 1 (Mourgos)

Arsenal U18s continued their wretched season with a 4-1 defeat away to arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur this morning.

Coach Frans De Kat was without the entire starting line-up from Monday’s FA Youth Cup loss to Crewe Alexandra, whilst Tafari Moore, Julio Pleguezuelo, Kaylen Hinds, Chiori Johnson and Jonatas Centeno were all missing through injury.

Nonetheless, it was another hugely disappointing outcome for Arsenal, who slipped to their tenth defeat in 20 league games so far this season. The youngsters have won just five league games this campaign, with this latest aberration seeing their goal difference fall to -9.

De Kat named a similar side to the one that lost out to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, with the only change seeing Marc Bola, who impressed as a substitute against Crewe, come into the side in place of Owen Moore.

Huddart

Wright-Da Graca-M. Bola-Chatzitheodoridis

Sheaf-Donovan

Tella-Mourgos-Nketiah

Da Silva

subs: Huddart, O. Moore, Gilmour, Nelson.

Shayon Harrison was the hat-trick hero for the hosts as he got the better of Hugo Keto on three occasions before the fifty minute mark.

The opening goal came when the dangerous Ismail Azzaoui was fouled in the area by Keto, with Harrison confidently converting the subsequent spot-kick.

Harrison doubled his tally, and that of his club, just eleven minutes later when he latched onto Joe Muscatt’s throw and finished adroitly.

The damage could have been far greater before the break had Zenon Stylianides not shot over and Keto not redeemed himself somewhat with a good save from Luke Amos.

It was 3-0 shortly after the interval, however, after Harrison completed his hat-trick with a fine finish following yet more good work from Azzaoui.

Arsenal were provided with a glimmer of hope of mounting a comeback when Savvas Mourgos scored his second goal in as many games after he weaved his way past several defenders before finding the net.

Tottenham would make it 4-1, though, after Harry Donovan was adjudged to have fouled Ryan Loft in the area. Loft took the penalty himself and dispatched it past Keto to confirm the victory.

Arsenal’s remaining two fixtures in this section are at home to Norwich City and away to Leicester. De Kat may well be able to call upon a slightly stronger line-up for those games but, as long as the bad results continue, questions will continue to be asked regarding the capabilities of the club’s youth set-up.

9 comments

  1. I have said it so many times. The club continue to have the Academy at Hale End which has a poor clubhouse and changing rooms and average pitches. Tottenham’s Academy is purpose built and in a different league and, most importantly, is on the same site as the first team’s amazing facilities. Tottenham are getting most of the best boys in the catchment area as they simply show the parents and boys the facilities and point out where the first team are training. ‘Oh look, there’s Harry Kane, he came through this Academy’. Until Arsenal do something similar the decline will continue. With FFP, this is so important and Tottenham have set out their vision and are making it happen. Arsenal need to wake up (although Liam Brady did point this out about 4 years ago).

    1. Hale End is currently being redeveloped extensively, with the old pavillion building to be demolished once construction of the new main building is completed (which should be this Summer). And having our 6-15 year olds based at a different site to our first team hasn’t been an issue before in attracting quality boys to the academy. Even now, Spuds supporting parents who have their boys enrolled at Hale End is commonplace – and has been for years – not to mention the prevalence of Hammers fans there, too. That’s not coincidence.

      I’m not trying to sugar coat it, because are our academy was (and still is to a large extent) in the shits – for reasons which are probably best not broadcast on a public forum – but at least there’s finally been an acknowledgement by the Club that standards had slipped and action is being taken: significant investment in facilities and infratucture (most likely in excess of £10m in the past 2 years – and that’s discounting the annual academy budget), the messianic return of Shaun O’Connor, better protocols and more professional staff. There’s a long way to go, but there are some very encouraging signs. And we still have quality boys in the system, especially at U-14 and under. Arsenal will always have quality boys!

      Chelsea have blown every other London club out of the water in the past decade with their investment and foresight and it’s been a game of catch-up ever since. Hopefully the new regime can eventually bridge that gap.

      Up The Arsenal!

      1. And Tottenham’s Academy has many Arsenal supporting parents so not sure what point you are making there. Arsenal will always have quality boys, of course, but right now they are miles behind their two biggest rivals whose senior Academy teams meet in the semi final of the Youth Club where Arsenal will look enviously on. It is going to take much more than tarting up Hale End and bringing Shaun back, I’m afraid. The key for me is having the Academy’s facilities with the first team. This is so vital and so obvious and, until Arsenal realise this it will be hard to attract the boys that Tottenham attract. And don’t think the name counts for much or a parent’s allegiances. When a parent walks into Tottenham’s training ground they simply don’t want to leave. Whoever they support they want their son to go there – I see it every week!

  2. Is it just me or do we not tend to encourage defensive minded box to box/defensive midfielders anymore? Sheaf and Donovan are both central midfielders as far as I’m aware while niles and zelalem seem to be our midfield partnership of,choice for the u21’s. Might be our policy and may be focusing on play makers/passers but I feel kind of envious with chelsea churning out the likes of chalobah, RLC, boga to mention bentaleb for Spurs.

    Early days though. It’ll take time for the new network and coaches to catch on. I would actually give it around three. Changes on this scale would be pretty time consuming.

  3. I read that you were going to update the schoolboys profiles soon but could you write and article on the promising ones from the scholar intake please . not including nelson as he isn’t the age

  4. Is it just me or does anyone else think Terry Burton should have been made to stay. And no Sadeeq, we have enough players of Nigerian origin; Akpom, Iwobi, Tolaji Bola, Eyoma, Ajayi…

  5. I’m not sure if de Kat is the right guy. van Loon has shown that the team is very good potentially during AlKaas cup in qatar. Boys have qualities I believe ,but we need some successful big name in our academy. Also I think we still should look for talents globally. The defeats shouldn’t become normal to the boys.

    P.S. I would love to see Bergkamp.

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