Defensive frailties are usually taken as a given when it comes to Arsenal U18s, but at least this season those long-standing problems have been counteracted somewhat by some excellent attacking play.
The young Gunners notched up their third victory in succession on Saturday as they prevailed past their Brighton & Hove Albion counterparts with a 3-1 win at London Colney.
The goals came courtesy of a brace from Tyrell Robinson and a strike from Yassin Fortune, but the real hero was Joshua DaSilva, who impressed operating in a deep-lying midfield position.
It wasn’t the first time that the Hale End product has been used there and, given that he is naturally an attack-minded player, it isn’t exactly ideal, but against Brighton he relished the opportunity to initiate attacks from the middle of the pitch.
That was none more so in evidence that for the opening goal, with DaSilva playing a stunning long-range pass directly into the path of Robinson, who finished superbly.
DaSilva made several bursts from deep throughout the game and impressed with his passing. Perhaps such a tactic wouldn’t be quite so effective against better organised sides, but on this occasion it worked perfectly.
Previously a prolific goalscorer for Arsenal at U16 level, DaSilva scored just twice for the U18s last season and has found the net just once this time around, and that was a heavily deflected effort.
DaSilva has admitted that he needs to find the net with greater regularity, but his all-round performance against Brighton demonstrated that other aspects of the 17-year-old’s game are rather impressive.
Arsenal: Huddart; Eyoma, Da Graca, Pileas, Chatzitheodoridis; Mourgos, DaSilva; Robinson (J. Willock, 75), Nelson (Dragomir, 46), Fortune; Malen (Nketiah, 57). Not used: Perrin, T. Bola.