Brooke Norton-Cuffy back in Arsenal U23 squad to face Leeds after recovering from injury

Arsenal defender Brooke Norton-Cuffy is back in the U23 squad for tonight’s Premier League 2 game away to Leeds United at Elland Road.

The highly-rated youngster hasn’t played since the win against Crystal Palace on August 20th because of a knee injury.

Norton-Cuffy, 17, is still eligible to represent the U18s this season but he is instead involved with the U23s and will compete with Ryan Alebiosu for a place in the side.

In total the right-back has made eight appearances for Arsenal U23s, having first broken into the squad last season.

Midfielder Tim Akinola is amongst the other players to have travelled for tonight’s game.


  1. Jeorge, do you think that Betsy is using a back three with wing backs because the players he has available are not defensively resilient enough to play a back four and if Arteta plans to use a back four going forward then Mikel is going to be looking for a certain profile of defender who can fit that system and I wonder if our current crop have the tools to fulfill that aim?

    With that in mind, who do you think among our young defenders has the abilities that Arteta might be looking for, Norton-Cuffy and Awe perhaps?

    1. Yes, I think that could be true about Betsy. Monlouis is one player Arteta could consider in the future if he makes less mistakes.

      On Fri, 29 Oct 2021 at 13:41, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


    2. I think most centre backs and full backs can adapt to a flat back 4. Playing a back 3 with wing backs at youth level is a good idea, because when a young wing back gets chosen for the first team they are fully expected to get forward. Whilst the centre backs are also used to covering the full back position More often than not there is only 1 striker.

  2. It is possible, Kev, that Betsy brought a concept to the club that he used with success in the past. But I can also imagine that he tailored the tactics to the “ingredients” he has. And While Ogungbo is a left back who can work as LCB (or vice versa), Lopez is more of a left wing-back, who struggled in the past when played on the flank in a back 4. The same applies to the right, but Swanson is the equivalent of Ogungbo as the hardcore fullback, while Alebiosu and BNC might prefer the wing-back role.
    I wonder if Balogun is (hopefully) loaned in the winter would Betsy keep the back 5 in a 5-2-3, or would he change to the first team’s favorite 4-2-3-1 and support Biereth with Cottrell (AM), Hutchinson (RW) and KTH/Ideho at LW. Or maybe he promotes Edwards to the U23 to keep the 2-stiker formation and Richards get the U18 goal-scoring opportunities…

    1. Good point Pete, its similar to how Arteta initially utilised the defenders he had when he first arrived as Coach, switching to a back three with Bellerin and Niles as wing-backs and trying to reduce the incidences of say a Mustafi clanger or Kolasinac giving the ball away or a Luiz lunge.

      Interesting that the U18’s also play with a back three and wingbacks…

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