Video + report- Zelalem assists + scores as Arsenal U19s beat Celtic

An Arsenal U19 side beat Celtic 4-2 today in their first group stage fixture of the Durban Under 19 International Football Tournament in South Africa, with Gedion Zelalem playing a major part in proceedings.

The midfielder set up Arsenal’s opening goal for Tyrell Robinson with a neat pass and also scored the winner from the penalty spot. In the interim, Ben Sheaf had made it 2-0 to Arsenal only for Celtic to restore parity. However, Zelalem’s late spot-kick ensured that Arsenal took all three points, with a strike from Kaylen Hinds adding further gloss to the scoreline.

Arsenal, who were without Dan Crowley and Krystian Bielik, took the lead early on when a superb through-ball from Gedion Zelalem found Tyrell Robinson, who finished confidently.

It was soon 2-0 courtesy of a superb strike from Ben Sheaf, but Celtic reduced the deficit following a mistake from Arsenal goalkeeper Hugo Keto.

Arsenal were playing some entertaining football at times, but Celtic were becoming increasingly dominant and the Scottish side equalised in the 57th minute with a goal from Regan Hendry.

The Gunners then introduced summer signing Kostas Pileas in place of Stefan O’Connor. Arsenal desperately sought to regain the lead, with Sheaf having a shot tipped over.

Josh Da Silva then replaced Aaron Eyoma as Arsenal sought to up the ante and they were eventually rewarded when Zelalem made it 3-2 from the penalty spot.

Arsenal’s victory was confirmed when Hinds made it 4-2 late on following an error by the Celtic goalkeeper.

Two of the main positives from the game from an Arsenal perspective were the performances of Zelalem and Sheaf. Zelalem was left out of Arsenal’s squad for the Emirates Cup last weekend and his task in terms of breaking through into the first-team is complicated by the presence of several established central-midfielders. However, the United States U20 international remains very talented and will be hoping to impress further in this tournament.

Sheaf, meanwhile, will hope to break into Arsenal’s U21 side on a regular basis this campaign.

On the contrary some of Arsenal’s defending was questionable today and is something which the young Gunners will inevitably want to improve upon as the tournament progresses.

Arsenal’s next assignment is against a KSN Academy XI on Friday, before they take on PSV Eindhoven on Sunday in what is sure to be an entertaining fixture.


Osei Tutu-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Eyoma-C. Willock-Robinson


Subs: Huddart, Pileas, Da Silva, T. Bola, Chatzitheodoridis, Mourgos, Donovan.



    1. There might be other players out there who weren’t involved today. I wrote about Bennacer earlier, but the deal’s not done yet.

      On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 4:30 PM, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


  1. Hi Jeorge, I stumbled on your blog last night and I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you are doing. As an Arsenal fan from Canada I find it hard to follow the academy and your blog will surely help me stay updated. That said, I was wondering if it is possible to watch the academy games online and if so where?

  2. i noticed we are quite strong offensively in the youth level(same as d 1st team especially at the middle of the field but i still see a problem with d defensive aspects, most of our recruitments ar midfielder/attackers while very little in terms of Defense, i hope n wish we start getting quality, promising n strong defenders for d youth teams

    1. I’m not sure where you watch your youth football. But i am a coach and scout based in the eastern side of the country, covering east London and Essex. I can tell you the level of defensive players is nowhere near as good as people think. Mainly because not many kids want to be full backs or centre backs, not even defensive midfielders. Usually what is happening is the better footballers all want to play in the attacking third and eventually some end up dropping further back and then only learning to defend in order to remain in the game. It’s a sad thing to say but the days of producing the next Adams keown Terry and campbell seem to be getting further and further away not closer.

  3. I can agree with you, Atid. Hopefully, history will repeat itself at the Arsenal Academy. If not mistaken, I remember that both Gibbs, and later Bellerin, joined the Academy as left and right wingers respectively. Maybe some of the current ones could be converted similarly. But centre-backs require specific criteria. We seem to be ok with Goalkeepers though, with Huddart a promising prospect.

  4. Just watched the videos. Did Zelalem do a “panenka” for the third goal?

    Sad to see that Dobson has chosen to develop his career at West Ham. Could well be his DNA I suppose! Then again, looking at who’s ahead of him, we can’t blame him. Hayden and Chambers will be at Arsenal for a long time, God willing. So, Jonker has a few more years to find the next Adams and Keown.

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