Author: Jeorge Bird

Report – Benn hits brace, 14 year olds Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly score and eight debutants as Arsenal U18s thrash Reading 6-1

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 6 (Gower 29, Richards 44 (pen.), Benn 66, 77, Nwaneri 88, Quesada-Thorn 90) Reading 1 (Ehibhatiomhan 62)

Aaron Benn scored twice and got an assist on his U18s debut

An Arsenal U18 side comprised entirely of schoolboys thrashed Reading 6-1 tonight in a game that was played at Hale End.

With Arsenal in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule, the Gunners agreed to field a very young side against Reading, with their opponents largely doing the same.

Seven players were given their debuts at this level from the start – with Alex Kovacevic, Cameron Brayne, Tino Quamina, Jimmy Gower, Mathaeus Roberts, Aaron Benn and 14-year-old Ethan Nwaneri all starting.

Right-back Reuell Walters captianed the side, with Amani Richards, Josh Robinson and Bradley Ibrahim also called upon.

Another 14-year-old, Myles Lewis-Skelly, was named on the bench and came on to make his debut.

Kovacevic

Walters-Robinson-Brayne-Quamina

Ibrahim-Roberts

Benn-Gower-Richards

Nwaneri

Subs: Cozier-Duberry (for Richards, 56), Leiws-Skelly (for Gower, 68), Green (for Roberts, 78). Not used: Telfer, Quesada-Thorn.

Gower, a midfielder who is set to be part of next season’s scholarship intake, put Arsenal ahead in the 29th minute.

Just before half-time Richards, fresh from making his debuts in the U23s and the FA Youth Cup recently, made it 2-0 with a penalty.

Reading got a goal back in the 62nd minute as Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan scored. Just prior to that Arsenal had made a change, with Amario Cozier-Duberry coming on for Richards.

Cozier-Duberry is developing a habit of providing assists shortly after coming on, and that is what he did on this occasion as he set up a goal for Benn.

Kaleel Green entered the fray, and Benn proceeded to get his second goal of the game having been teed up by Roberts.

Then came a memorable moment for U14 attacker Nwaneri, who became one of Arsenal’s youngest ever goalscorers at U18 level having been found by Benn, who was having an excellent game.

There was still time for Arsenal to get a sixth goal as Ibrahim played in U14 prospect Lewis-Skelly, who got his first goal at this level.

Arsenal move up to sixth in the table and this was a hugely positive night, with many prospects getting their first taste of U18 action.

Benn in particular caught the eye, while Nwaneri also seems like a very exciting prospect.

Arsenal squad tonight

Alex Kovacevic – U16 goalkeeper who has previously been on the bench for the U18s on several occasions.

Reuell Walters – U16 right-back who was previously at Manchester United and Tottenham.

Josh Robinson – U16 centre-back. Is also capable of playing in midfield

Cameron Brayne – U16 centre-back. Impressive reader of the game.

Tino Quamina – U16 left-back who was on the bench for reverse fixture v Reading.

Bradley Ibrahim – U16 midfielder. Impressive passer who is becoming increasingly involved for U18s.

Mathaeus Roberts – U16 midfielder – Welsh youth international. Excellent distribution.

Aaron Benn – U16 winger capable of playing on either flank. Skilful and direct.

Jimi Gower – U16 midfielder who can play as a number ten or deeper in midfield.

Amani Richards – U16 attacker who was at Chelsea. Can play anywhere across attacking line. Has already played for U23s and in FA Youth Cup.

Ethan Nwaneri – U14 attacker who has often featured for U16s this season. Extremely highly regarded at Hale End.

Subs:

Jamie Telfer – U16 goalkeeper. Was previously set to be released but could now end up staying.

Amario Cozier-Duberry – U16 midfielder. Very skilful player who is an exciting prospect.

Kaleel Green – U16 attacker who was at Southampton. Can play out wide or up front.

Kristopher Elian Quesada-Thorn – U16 player from Costa Rica. Capable of playing at left-back or further forward.

Myles Lewis-Skelly – U14 midfielder. Very highly rated youngster who has often played above his age group.

Myles Lewis-Skelly and Ethan Nwaneri making excellent progress at Hale End

It takes a considerable amount of effort and talent just to get a scholarship deal at Arsenal but two of the club’s young prospects are making significant strides forward in their development.

Although Myles Lewis-Skelly and Ethan Nwaneri will not be eligible to sign scholarship terms until the summer of 2023, it is anticipated that they will both make plenty of appearances for the U18s before then.

The two midfielders have been with Arsenal since U9 level and are now technically coming to the end of their time with the U14s.

However, such is the quality that they possess, Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri have both often played above their age group.

This season, for example, the two prospects have featured heavily for the U15s and they have also been involved with the U16s, often being the standout players for the older age group, with the current U16 squad not being particularly strong.

Both players are excellent technically and good dribblers while also possessing an impressive tactical understanding of the game.

Manchester United and Chelsea have both frequently expressed interest in Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri, with Arsenal facing a fight to keep both players in the long term.

Arsenal have lots of youngsters in their position but it is possible that Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri could break into the U18 squad next season in some capacity.

With the current U16s poised to step up to London Colney this summer, Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri will be amongst the standout players at Hale End.

There have been examples in the past of prospects who have been outstanding at schoolboy level but haven’t quite managed to make the same impact as a full-time player, but there is hope that matters could be different for this pair.

Loan report – John-Jules assists; Ballard helps Blackpool keep clean sheet; Olayinka’s Southend relegated

Tyreece John-Jules played 66 minutes and set up a goal as Doncaster Rovers won 2-1 against Rochdale.

William Saliba played the whole game as Nice lost 2-0 to Lille.

Daniel Ballard played the full game as Blackpool won 3-0 versus Northampton Town.

Mark McGuinness played the entirety of Ipswich Town’s 2-1 win against Swindon Town.

Harry Clarke played 90 minutes and was booked as Oldham Athletic lost 4-1 to Mansfield Town.

Joseph Olowu played the whole game as Wealdstone lost 2-0 to Yeovil Town.

Zech Medley was an unused substitute as Kilmarnock lost 2-0 to Motherwell.

James Olayinka was an unused substitute as Southend United were relegated to the National League despite a 2-1 win against Barrow.

Joe Willock wasn’t eligible to feature for Newcastle United against Arsenal.

Jordi Osei-Tutu wasn’t involved as Cardiff City won 4-0 against Birmingham City.

Matt Smith wasn’t involved as Charlton Athletic drew 1-1 with Accrington Stanley.

Ben Sheaf missed out through injury as Coventry City drew 1-1 with Huddersfield Town.

Lucas Torreira was an unused substitute as Atletico Madrid won 1-0 against Elche.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles‘ West Bromwich Albion take on Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow, while Matteo Guendouzi‘s Hertha Berlin face Mainz.

Sead Kolasinac‘s Schalke and Konstantinos Mavropanos‘ Stuttgart weren’t in action this weekend.

Report – Arsenal U23s made to wait for safety as they lose to West Ham; Gaspar and Richards make debuts

Premier League 2

Arsenal 1 (Moller 34 (pen.)) West Ham United 2 (Coventry 31 (pen.), Odubeko 86 (pen.))

Arsenal U23s will have to wait to see if they will stay up after they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to West Ham United today in a game where all three of the goals were penalties.

Conor Coventry put West Ham ahead from the spot in the 31st minute, with Nikolaj Moller levelling with a penalty of his own just three minutes later.

It was West Ham, who are also battling to stay up, who prevailed in this encounter, with Ademipo Odubeko scoring a penalty with four minutes remaining.

If Leicester City fail to beat Liverpool on Tuesday, Arsenal’s top flight status will be secured. The young Gunners conclude their season with the return fixture against West Ham on Friday.

Coach Steve Bould was without a whole host of players due to yesterday’s FA Youth Cup clash, while Trae Coyle was also unvailable.

As expected it was a somewhat cobbled together team, with Zach Awe and Taylor Foran given rare starts. Ryan Alebiosu returned from injury and Joel Ideho was also involved from the outset.

On the bench three players received their first callups at this level – Luigi Gaspar, Charles Sagoe Jr and schoolboy Amani Richards.

T. Smith

Oyegoke-Foran-Dinzeyi

Alebiosu-Akinola-Awe-Bola

Lewis-Moller-Ideho

Subs: Gaspar (for Alebiosu, 67), Richards (for Lewis, 78). Not used: Hillson, Sagoe Jr, Jeffcott.

Alebiosu shot over in the early stages, and West Ham soon responded with an opportunity of their own as Kamarai Simon-Swyer forced a save from Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith.

Smith then had to be alert to keep out an effort from Odubeko, who was causing numerous problems for the Arsenal defence.

Kai Corbett was the next to try his luck for West Ham, with Smith making another good stop.

Eventually West Ham were rewarded for their perseverance, with Coventry slotting the ball home.

West Ham’s lead was short-lived, though, with Corbett bringing down Ideho. Moller stepped up to take it and equalised.

Although West Ham continued to threaten in the closing stages of the first half, Arsenal held on, with the sides going into the break level.

Corbett had a goal disallowed for West Ham in the early exchanges of the second period, and then Arsenal missed an inviting opportunity to go in front, with George Lewis swinging in a cross and Ideho heading into the side-netting.

Arsenal eventually made a change, with Gaspar, who has barely featured for the U18s, coming on for his U23s debut as he replaced Alebiosu.

Richards later entered the fray in place of the injured Lewis. The former Chelsea forward became the first schoolboy to feature at this level for Arsenal this season.

Ideho missed another good chance and then West Ham got their second penalty of the game, with Arsenal goalkeeper Smith booked following a challenge.

Odubeko dispatched the penalty, with West Ham taking all three points and Arsenal’s place in the top division next season not yet guaranteed.

Report- Azeez scores and Richards features as Arsenal are knocked out of FA Youth Cup by Liverpool

FA Youth Cup quarter-final

Liverpool 3 (Woltman 22, Norris 35 (pen.), Musialowski 46) Arsenal 1 (Azeez 60 (pen.))

Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup dream is over for another year after Ken Gillard’s side suffered a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield tonight.

The young Gunners didn’t perform particularly badly but they lacked conviction in front of goal and were vulnerable defensively at times.

Deprived of the services of Omari Hutchinson, Arsenal tried their utmost but, despite Miguel Azeez’s penalty, the wait to win this prestigious trophy for the first time since 2009 goes on.

The absence of Hutchinson, who was sensational against West Ham United in the previous round, was a huge blow for Arsenal, although Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, who replaced him, acquitted himself well.

However, Hutchinson’s flair and trickery would undoubtedly have caused problems for Liverpool and would have given Arsenal a greater chance of progressing.

Exciting forward Amani Richards, who recently signed from Chelsea, became the first schoolboy to feature for Arsenal in the Youth Cup this season as he entered the fray as a substitute.

Arsenal were still without the likes of Charlie Patino and Catalin Cirjan due to injury, but Brooke Norton-Cuffy recovered in time to start at right-back.

Ejeheri

Norton Cuffy-Kirk-Monlouis-Ogungbo

Henry Francis-Azeez

Butler Oyedeji-Flores-Taylor Hart

Edwards

Subs: Ideho (for Butler-Oyedeji), Richards (for Edwards). Not used: Graczyk, Awe, Foran, Jeffcott, Gaspar.

As has been well documented, Liverpool have been hugely impressive this season both in the Youth Cup and in the league, and it was clear from the outset that Arsenal would face a considerably tougher challenge than they did against West Ham.

Arsenal created the first notable chance of the game in the eighth minute, with Kido Taylor-Hart getting into space, but the winger shot over.

Liverpool looked to respond, with Mazeed Ogungbo almost getting caught out, but the defender managed to recover in time.

Butler-Oyedeji then sent in a dangerous cross which found Azeez, but the midfielder couldn’t quite make a meaningful connection with his header.

Mateusz Musialowski shot over for Liverpool and then the hosts took the lead, with Max Woltman applying the finishing touch to a well-worked move. Arsenal centre-backs Alex Kirk and Zane Monlouis didn’t cover themselves in glory in the buildup to the goal.

Arsenal, to their credit, responded well to going behind, with Taylor-Hart having a shot blocked, while at the other end Kirk made a well-timed interception.

Ovier Ejeheri made a good save after Monlouis was again beaten too easily, and then matters went from bad to worse for Arsenal as Azeez conceded a penalty.

Perhaps the award of the spot-kick was contentious, but Liverpool didn’t mind as James Norris stepped up and got the better of Ejeheri.

There was further action before the end of the first half, with Ejeheri making a save after Henry-Francis lost the ball before Azeez had a shot saved from distance.

Liverpool went into the break with a 2-0 lead, and the absence of Hutchinson, Patino and Cirjan was particularly keenly felt by Arsenal.

Ogungbo started the second period well as he made some impressive forays down the left flank, but Liverpool eventually went 3-0 up, with Musialowski the scorer on this occasion.

At this point it felt like game over for Arsenal, and Henry-Francis was particularly culpable in the build-up to the goal as he squandered possession.

Arsenal kept trying, with Marcelo Flores, who had a rather quiet game by his high standards, doing well to create space for himself before having a shot saved.

Taylor-Hart had a good effort saved and then Arsenal managed to pull a goal back, with Khayon Edwards being fouled in the area by Billy Koumetio and Azeez emphatically dispatching the spot-kick.

Soon afterwards Arsenal were demanding another penalty for a challenge on Edwards but play was waved on on this occasion.

Arsenal made their first change as Joel Ideho came on for Butler-Oyedeji, and Richards later came on for Edwards.

Gillard’s side kept pushing forwards, with Azeez having a shot blocked, but Liverpool managed to see the game out and Arsenal were knocked out.

Arsenal weren’t outclassed at Anfield but they will certainly feel that they could have performed slightly better, especially in an attacking sense.

There was always an element of concern about the defence, while Henry-Francis, despite being an excellent passer, was caught out defensively on several occasions.

One major positive for Arsenal was the performance of Taylor-Hart, who was direct and skilful, while Butler-Oyedeji also had some encouraging moments, as did Ogungbo going forwards.

For some Arsenal prospects the Youth Cup dream is over forever – with Azeez, Taylor-Hart, Ejeheri, Kirk, Ogungbo and Butler-Oyedeji falling into that category from those that started tonight.

However, Arsenal will be hopeful of enjoying a lengthy run in next season’s competition, when the likes of Hutchinson, Edwards, Flores, Henry-Francis, Norton-Cuffy and Monlouis will have more experience, while others such as Richards will be striving to make the breakthrough.

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 1 – FA Youth Cup LIVE BLOG – Hutchinson not in squad

Thank you for following these updates. A March report will follow.

Azeez is amongst those who won’t be able to play in the Youth Cup again.

It wasn’t a particularly bad performance from Arsenal but Liverpool were more ruthless.

The game is over and Arsenal are out of the FA Youth Cup.

Azeez has a shot blocked.

Six added minutes.

Norton-Cuffy sends a cross into the box but it’s gathered.

Richards heads over from Azeez’s free-kick but the flag is up.

Mabaya on for Corness for Liverpool.

Taylor-Hart shoots wide. Azeez wanted the ball passes to him.

Henry-Francis goes for goal from distance but his shot is saved.

8 minutes left.

Schoolboy Amani Richards on for Edwards.

Norton-Cuffy also gets a yellow card.

A late challenge from Flores, who is booked.

Liverpool make a chance as Musialowski is replaced by Frauendorf.

Taylor-Hart has a shot blocked by Quansah.

Arsenal bring on Joel Ideho for Butler-Oyedeji, who had a couple of good moments.

Ejeheri makes a save from a free kick.

Ipswich are through to the semi-finals and at the moment it looks like they will be facing Liverpool.

Woltman brings a save from Ejeheri, who had come off his line.

Arsenal want another penalty for a challenge from Quansah on Edwards but play is waved on.

Goal. Azeez scores the penalty emphatically. Liverpool 3 Arsenal 1.

Penalty to Arsenal. Edwards is fouled by Koumetio after good work from Butler-Oyedeji.

Ogungbo finds Azeez, who shoots just wide. Better from Arsenal.

Taylor-Hart with Arsenal’s best effort so far but it’s saved. 60 minutes gone.

Flores does well to create space for himself but his effort is off target.

Liverpool’s Stephenson is booked for a challenge on Henry-Francis.

Disappointing from Henry-Francis in the build up to the goal.

Musialowski makes it 3-0 to Liverpool. Surely it’s game over now.

Another good run from Ogungbo, who wins a corner.

Ogungbo gets forward well but his cross just eludes Edwards.

The second half is underway.

Hutchinson is undoubtedly a huge miss for Arsenal but they’re also without the likes of Catalin Cirjan and Charlie Patino, who are capable of creating chances with regularity.

Arsenal haven’t played particularly badly but they have lacked conviction going forwards and Liverpool have been more ruthless.

Half time. Liverpool 2 Arsenal 0.

There will be two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.

Ejeheri tips a shot onto the post. Henry-Francis gave the ball away. Azeez then has a shot saved from distance.

Taylor-Hart gets into a good position but his shot is weak.

Jurgen Klopp is amongst those watching the game.

Goal. Liverpool 2 Arsenal 0. Norris scores from the spot. A lot of work for Arsenal to do now.

Azeez concedes a penalty for a challenge in Morton.

Ejeheri makes a good save. Monlouis was beaten too easily.

Kirk makes a good block to cut out the danger with Balagizi threatening.

Taylor-Hart has a shot blocked and then Norton-Cuffy does well to win a corner. 30 minutes gone.

Azeez goes for goal and his effort is pushed away.

Arsenal are finding it difficult to break Liverpool down now.

Maybe Kirk and Monlouis could have done better there.

Goal. Liverpool 1 Arsenal 0. It’s a very well worked goal for Liverpool, finished off by Woltman.

Musialowski shoots over for Liverpool. 20 minutes gone.

Henry-Francis is doing very well. There are a lot of similarities between him and Paul Scholes in terms of playing style.

Butler-Oyedeji sends in a good cross. Azeez tries to head it but is closed down.

The ball almost falls for Edwards in the area but he can’t quite connect with it.

Butler-Oyedeji has seen quite a lot of the ball and is looking to make a major impact having recently returned from injury.

Liverpool win a corner after good run from Bradley. Ogungbo almost caught out there.

Taylor-Hart with the first real chance of the game. He shoots over. 8 minutes gone.

Liverpool dominating possession now.

Arsenal have started well and are putting Liverpool under pressure.

A great crunching challenge from Henry-Francis.

This game already feels much more intense than the West Ham game.

The teams are coming out onto the pitch ahead of what should be a hugely entertaining game.

Arsenal team: Ejeheri; Norton-Cuffy, Kirk, Monlouis, Ogungbo; Azeez, Henry-Francis; Butler-Oyedeji, Flores, Taylor-Hart; Edwards.

Subs: Graczyk, Awe, Richards, Jeffcott, Foran, Gaspar, Ideho.

Liverpool team: Davies, Bradley, Norris, Quansah, Koumetio, Stephenson, Corness, Morton, Woltman, Balagizi, Musialowski.

Subs: Mrozek, Jonas, Wilson, Chambers, Frauendorf, Mabaya, Bajcetic.

Brooke Norton-Cuffy is back from injury and starts at right-back, while Nathan Butler-Oyedeji also starts. Richards is on the bench.

Omari Hutchinson is not in the squad tonight. That’s a big blow for Arsenal given how impressive he was in the last round.

Schoolboy Amani Richards, who has impressed in the league for the U18s recently, has travelled with the squad for tonight’s game against Liverpool. We should find out the team news shortly.

Sheffield United have equalised. It’s now 1-1.

The winners of tonight’s tie will face Ipswich Town or Sheffield United away in the semi-finals. Ipswich are currently leading 1-0 with 59 minutes played.

Hello and welcome to our live updates from Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final away to Liverpool.

Schoolboy Amani Richards travels with Arsenal U18 squad to face Liverpool in FA Youth Cup

Schoolboy Amani Richards has travelled with the Arsenal U18 squad to Anfield for tonight’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie away to Liverpool.

The forward, who was previously at Chelsea, has impressed in his two league outings for the U18s so far and found the net against Leicester City.

If he is included in the matchday squad he will be the first Arsenal schoolboy to be involved in the FA Youth Cup this season.

Goalkeeper Alex Kovacevic set to be scholar at Arsenal next season

Goalkeeper Alex Kovacevic is set to be part of Arsenal’s scholarship intake next season.

Kovacevic, who turns 16 next month, was first called up to the Arsenal U18 squad last season when he was an U15 player.

The youngster has now been an unused substitute for the U18s on six occasions and is likely to provide backup to Remy Mitchell at that level next season.

The majority of Arsenal’s scholars for next campaign are now known, although it isn’t currently clear whether Cameron Brayne, Jimi Gower, Michal Rosiak, Jamie Telfer and Omari Benjamin will be part of that group.

Arsenal 2021/22 new scholars

Amario Cozier-Duberry – Midfielder

Henri Timi Davies – Midfielder

Kaleel Green – Forward

Bradley Ibrahim – Midfielder

Alex Kovacevic – Goalkeeper

Tino Quamina – Defender

Kristopher Elian Quesada-Thorn – Defender

Amani Richards – Forward

Mathaeus Roberts – Midfielder

Josh Robinson – Defender

Ismail Oulad M’Hand – Midfielder

Reuell Walters – Defender

Okonkwo and Balogun train with Arsenal first-team ahead of Villarreal clash

Goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo and forward Folarin Balogun both trained with the Arsenal first-team today.

Okonkwo, who is just back from injury, is likely to be amongst the substitutes for tomorrow night’s Europa League semi-final, first leg clash away to Villarreal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney are all back in training.

Bradley Ibrahim can be one of Arsenal’s standout new scholars next season

Over the past couple of years Sydie Peck and Kieran Petrie were widely seen as the standout prospects in the current Arsenal U16 side.

However, it appears that neither Peck or Petrie will be part of Arsenal’s scholarship intake this summer as they close in on moves to Brighton & Hove Albion and Swansea City respectively.

Bradley Ibrahim, therefore, could take centre stage as one of the most talented players in the group.

The energetic midfielder, who was previously at QPR, has produced some encouraging displays for the U16s, catching the eye with his ability to win the ball with regularity in addition to his passing range.

As this season has progressed Ibrahim, 16, has found himself on the fringes of the U18 squad and he has now made two appearances at that level.

The first of those came against Reading last month when Ibrahim gave a good account of himself in a 4-3 victory.

That was followed up by another start against Leicester City last weekend with Ibrahim catching the eye again as he provided an assist for fellow schoolboy Amani Richards as Arsenal drew 1-1.

Demonstrating his tactical understanding of the game, Ibrahim drifted out wide and provided an excellent cross from which Richards scored.

Ibrahim will hope to make further appearances for the U18s before the conclusion of the campaign ahead of making the switch to London Colney in the summer.

Arsenal have an abundance of midfield prospects, such as Miguel Azeez, Ben Cottrell, Catalin Cirjan and Charlie Patino, so it won’t be easy for Ibrahim to progress through the ranks quickly despite the quality that he has.

Ibrahim will have to compete with the likes of Jack Henry-Francis, Mauro Bandeira, James Sweet and Luigi Gaspar for a place in the U18 side next season but he is ready to rise to the challenge and the initial signs have been very encouraging with regards to the impact he is capable of making at that level.