How will Arsenal’s U23 team look after recent departures?

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Image: Getty

It was a busy transfer window for Arsenal at U23 level, with Marcus McGuane departing permanently, while several players left on loan and Konstantinos Mavropanos, although technically a first-team signing, also joined the club.

With the squad having changed considerably, it will be intriguing to see what lineups coach Steve Gatting fields in the remainder of the campaign, with Arsenal battling to win the Premier League 2 title, while they are also in contention for glory in the Premier League International Cup.

Here’s a look at how Arsenal could now line up at U23 level.

Goalkeeper

Rather surprisingly, none of Arsenal’s young goalkeepers went out on loan during the transfer window, meaning Gatting still has several options to choose from in that regard.

Matt Macey is certainly first choice but will be required to train with the first-team at times, while Deyan Iliev and Hugo Keto will also hope for frequent game time.

Ryan Huddart has struggled with injury but Joao Virginia, despite still being eligible to play for the U18s, will be eager to become increasingly involved for the older age group.

Defence

Arsenal have fielded a three-man defence at U23 level for much of the season but switched to a back four for the victory over Sunderland last weekend and could persist with the latter setup.

Jordi Osei-Tutu is the regular right-sided defender, especially given that Chiori Johnson hasn’t played all season due to injury.

At the heart of the defence, Mavropanos should be a mainstay and it is likely that Zech Medley will now be his regular partner, with Joseph Olowu to compete for that position once back from injury.

Tolaji Bola could finally get a chance establish himself as a regular at left-back, where cover will be provided by Tobi Omole.

Midfield

In midfield Arsenal are still able to call upon the regular pairing of Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva, both of whom have been involved with the first-team this campaign.

With McGuane gone, Charlie Gilmour will hope to now feature more regularly, although Emile Smith Rowe is capable of playing as a central midfielder as well as out wide.

Gedion Zelalem, one of the older players in the squad, should return from his lengthy injury absence soon and will aim to play regularly to build up his fitness.

Second year scholars Josh Benson and Robbie Burton, meanwhile, are useful backup options.

Vlad Dragomir has been one of the standout performers for the U23s this season and has featured in several different positions, but he could be used on the right flank, with Reiss Nelson as an attacking midfielder and Smith Rowe on the left wing.

Xavier Amaechi and Trae Coyle will look for further game time, especially with Aaron Eyoma surplus to requirements and Yassin Fortune also struggling to get much of a look in.

Attack

Eddie Nketiah will continue to lead the line when he is not involved with the first-team, but alternatively Arsenal can call upon some very exciting prospects in Tyreece John-Jules and Folarin Balogun.

Possible strongest Arsenal U23 team

Macey

Osei Tutu-Mavropanos-Medley-T. Bola

Willock-Dasilva

Dragomir-Nelson-Smith Rowe

Nketiah

Subs: Iliev, Olowu, Zelalem, Gilmour, John-Jules.

Other players: Huddart, Crean, Virginia, Eyoma, Johnson, Fortune, Keto, Amaechi, Coyle, Tormey, Benson, Burton, Omole, Balogun, Clarke, Olayinka, Swanson, McGuinness.

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Seeing as Holding didn’t go on loan, I would like to see him and chambers play a few more games together. Perhaps in a three alongside Mavropanos or with chambers getting some game time at RB seeing as he is the likely cover for bellerin, if we play with 4 at the back.

  2. Also agree with you Atid. I hope we can solve some of our defensive problems with chambers/ holding. I don’t think it’s been the easiest season for them so far, but I think they emerge with credit. They both have quality and character, a run of games may see them well. I’ve seen Wenger suggest most centerbacks become players at about 24 years of age, I still have real hope for those guys.

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