Report – Miguel Azeez scores in final U18 game as Arsenal beat Chelsea

U18 Premier League

Chelsea 1 (Haigh 68) Arsenal 2 (Azeez 16, Henry-Francis 43)

Miguel Azeez was on the scoresheet as Arsenal U18s beat Chelsea 2-1 away today in his final appearance at U18 level.

The midfielder, who now mainly plays for the U23s, was one of a host of players playing his last game for the U18s, with Daniel Oyegoke, Mazeed Ogungbo, Alex Kirk, Joel Ideho, Kido Taylor-Hart and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji also falling in that category.

Arsenal were still without Omari Hutchinson and Khayon Edwards because of injury, with Luigi Gaspar and goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk joining them on the sidelines.

Taylor Foran was also absent in addition to longer term absentees Catalin Cirjan Mauro Bandeira, James Sweet, Billy Vigar and Jason Sraha.

Remy Mitchell, who is set to be the first-choice shot stopper at this level next season, was given an opportunity in goal.

Mitchell

Oyegoke-Kirk-Monlouis-Ogungbo

Azeez-Henry Francis

Ideho-Flores-Taylor Hart

Butler Oyedeji

Subs: Richards (for Ideho, 71), Awe (for Butler-Oyedeji, 87). Not used: Kovacevic, Jeffcott, Sagoe Jr.

There has been clamour for Azeez to become more involved in the first-team, and he showed his credentials again on this occasion as he opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

It was the midfielder’s 32nd appearance for the U18s, with his first having come against Leicester City in October 2017 when he was 15 years old.

Ideho, who has made a significant impact of late in terms of goals and assists, set up Azeez’s goal.

Arsenal managed to make it 2-0 before half-time, with Jack Henry-Francis scoring his first goal for the U18s having been teed up by Marcelo Flores.

Henry-Francis has made a significant amount of progress this season, so this was a fitting way for him to end the campaign.

Victory wasn’t quite secure, however, as Chelsea got a goal back in the second half through Joe Haigh.

Arsenal made two changes towards the end of the game, with schoolboy Amani Richards coming on against his former club, while Zach Awe added extra defensive solidity late on.

The young Gunners managed to hold on to take all three points and have moved up to fourth place, although Tottenham Hotspur still have a game left to play and could overtake them.

Overall, this was a positive manner in which to finish the season and the side that takes to the field for the first game of the new campaign will look considerably different, with many of the players involved today pushing on to feature more prominently for the U23s and in Azeez’s case perhaps an even higher level.

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One comment

  1. Love the fact that we play players who eligible for their correct age group, when we can.

    It’s the way it should be and helps the better players below their age group. All kids develop at a different rate, right up to the age of 23. Hence we have Under 23s. Personally though, I think after u18s there should only be one more jump and that is under 21s. After that age level, premier League teams should field a reserve team somewhere in the pyramid or the loan system should be expanded to give young players more chances in the English league.

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