U18 Premier League
Arsenal 1 (Ibrahim 57 (pen.) Leicester City 2 (Richards 74, 88)
Arsenal U18s were beaten by Leicester City today in their last game before their FA Youth Cup semi-final, with their former striker Amani Richards returning to haunt them at London Colney.
Bradley Ibrahim put Arsenal ahead from the penalty spot, but Richards, who left the Gunners last year due to a lack of opportunities, equalised for Leicester.
In a remarkable conclusion to the game both sides had players sent off late on, with Coby Small dismissed for Arsenal and Leicester’s Kevon Gray also given his marching orders.
Richards missed a penalty but atoned for his error by scoring what proved to be the decisive goal with just two minutes remaining as Leicester won 2-1.
The result means Jack Wilshere’s team have lost their last three games going into next week’s Youth Cup clash with Manchester City.
Arsenal were without the likes of Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly due to international duty.
With Seb Ferdinand still out there was a first competitive start at this level for winger Ismeal Kabia, while Small and Ismail Oulad M’Hand also started.
There was some positive news on the fitness front, with Henry Timi Davies receiving his first inclusion in a matchday squad this season after recovering from injury. Schoolboys Camron Ismail and Daniel Oyetunde were also on the bench. However, Tino Quamina, Mathaeus Roberts and Kaleel Green weren’t in the squad.
Ismail Oulad M’Hand-Ibrahim
Subs: Forde (for Kabia, 61), Camron Ismail (for Brown, 68). Not used: Rojas, Davies, Oyetunde.
Following a goalless first half, Arsenal took the lead in the 57th minute as Ibrahim scored from the spot.
Arsenal then introduced Romari Forde in place of Kabia before Camron Ismail entered the fray, with Luis Brown being substituted.
It was Leicester who would get the next goal, however, with Richards scoring in the 74th minute.
Small was sent off for Arsenal, with Leicester’s Gray also dismissed.
Richards missed a penalty but then scored shortly afterwards as he relished inflicting misery on his former club.
Arsenal, who have won just five out of 18 league games this season, are down to eighth place out of 12 teams.
Meticulously neglecting and subsequently losing Richards is one of the top 3 poorest business Arsenal ‘completed’ with academy players. Although Flores’ loan, Hutchinson’s free transfer, Azeez’s mismanagement, and Möller’s destination in the Dutch 2nd tier are strong contenders to the list.