It was a memorable campaign for Arsenal’s youngsters as the U23s won the Premier League 2 title, while a host of prospects received first-team game time, especially in the cup competitions.
Here’s an assessment of some of the club’s best performing youngsters this campaign.
BIGGEST FIRST-TEAM IMPACT – Eddie Nketiah
Ainsley Maitland-Niles isn’t in contention for this award as he is already a first-team player, so the three main candidates are Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock, who all found themselves on the periphery of the squad throughout the campaign.
Nelson made the most appearances out of the trio, but it was Nketiah who perhaps made the biggest impact overall as he scored twice against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup and showed some encouraging signs in difficult circumstances during some of his other cameo outings.
BEST U23 PLAYER – Jordi Osei-Tutu
With Nelson, Nketiah and Willock flitting between the first-team and the U23s it allowed other prospects to step up and be noticed for the second-string.
Jordi Osei-Tutu hadn’t played a competitive game for the U23s prior to this season but the right-back was a hugely important figure for Steve Gatting’s side in their title success as he defended diligently and also provided a frequent threat going forwards.
BEST U18 PLAYER – Xavier Amaechi
The U18s fared rather well overall, reaching the final of the FA Youth Cup (where they lost to Chelsea) and also finishing second in the league.
Xavier Amaechi stepped up to the U23s midway through the campaign but the talented winger still made a major impact for the U18s in the Youth Cup and earlier in the campaign scored four goals in five league appearances.
BEST SCHOOLBOY – Bukayo Saka
Saka evoked memories of Maitland-Niles at youth level with his excellent performances for the U18s.
Full of energy and enthusiasm, the England U17 international tormented opponents with regularity and should step up to represent Arsenal at U23 level next campaign.
BEST YOUTH LOANEE – Kelechi Nwakali
The Nigerian midfielder endured a difficult first half of the season on loan at VVV-Venlo, where he struggled for regular playing time.
However, Nwakali excelled upon returning to MVV Maastricht in January as he scored four goals and provided an assist in 16 league appearances.