Author: Jeorge Bird

Five Arsenal youngsters that could thrive in a 3-4-2-1 formation

In recent years Arsenal have become synonymous with the 4-2-3-1 formation, with the club deploying that system both in the first-team and at various youth levels.

For the past two games, however, the senior side have lined up with a 3-4-2-1 formation, and, although it remains to be seen how long that system will be persisted with, there are certainly some talented youngsters within the club’s ranks who would benefit from playing in such a set-up.

Cohen Bramall (left wing-back)

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Bramall has impressed since joining Arsenal from non-league side Hednesford Town in January. However, the suspicion remains that the 21-year-old is better going forwards than he is defensively. Playing as a wing-back would allow Bramall to attack with regularity, while he would have cover behind him should he get caught pushing too far forwards.

Krystian Bielik (right centre-back)

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Having joined Arsenal as a defensive-midfielder, Bielik has subsequently undergone a successful transition into a ball-playing centre-back. The Polish youth international already possesses experience of playing as part of a three-man defence having thrived there during his current loan spell with Championship side Birmingham City.

Jordi Osei-Tutu (right wing-back)

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Although he has yet to make the step up to the U23s, Osei-Tutu has been a mainstay for Arsenal at U18 level this season. The right-back was previously a winger and, like Bramall, his best contributions are often in the attacking third of the field. Osei-Tutu could thrive as a wing-back, providing a mix of power and pace.

Julio Pleguezuelo (left centre-back)

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Another centre-back who appears well equipped to playing as part of a back three, Plegueuzelo is extremely comfortable in possession and relishes the opportunity to bring the ball out from defence. Although his game time on loan at Mallorca this season has been limited, Pleguezuelo could be a possible back-up option to Rob Holding in the left centre-back position.

Kaylen Hinds (right forward)

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Hinds has produced some encouraging performances since joining Stevenage on loan and loves to play just behind the striker, where he can influence play to excellent effect. Playing as one of two players just off the main forward would certainly suit him.


Arsenal defender Kristopher Da Graca on trial at Crystal Palace


Arsenal defender Kristopher Da Graca is on trial at Crystal Palace.

The centre-back, who will be released by the Gunners at the end of the season, featured for Palace’s U23 side against Colchester United yesterday.

Da Graca has already had trial spells with Italian side Genoa and Swedish team BK Hacken as he attempts to earn a permanent move elsewhere.

Loan report – Chambers returns; Nwakali and Crowley feature

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Image: Gazette Live

Calum Chambers made his return to action after over two months out as he played the entirety of Middlesbrough’s 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth. Jack Wilshere didn’t feature for the hosts because of injury.

Chuba Akpom was brought on in the 83rd minute as Brighton & Hove Albion lost 2-0 to Norwich City.

Joel Campbell came on in the 88th minute as Sporting Lisbon drew 1-1 with Benfica.

Ismael Bennacer played 63 minutes as Tours drew 1-1 with Auxerre.

Julio Pleguezuelo played the whole game as Mallorca drew 1-1 with Cordoba.

Kelechi Nwakali played the entirety of Maastricht’s 2-2 draw with PSV II.

Dan Crowley played the whole of Go Ahead Eagles’ 3-2 loss against Groningen.

Tafari Moore played the full game as Utrecht II lost 3-1 to Telstar.

Kaylen Hinds played 66 minutes as Stevenage lost 1-0 to Mansfield Town.

Jon Toral was an unused substitute as Rangers lost 2-0 to Celtic.

Krystian Bielik was an unused substitute as Birmingham City lost 1-0 to Aston Villa.

Gedion Zelalem was an unused substitute as VVV-Venlo drew 0-0 with FC Eindhoven.

Marc Bola wasn’t involved as Notts County lost 2-1 to Luton Town.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam drew 2-2 with OSS.

Wojciech Szczesny is set to start when Roma face Pescara away tomorrow.

Takuma Asano is likely to be involved in Stuttgart’s game at home to Union Berlin tomorrow.


Report – Malen scores and Joe Willock debuts as Arsenal U23s lose to Sunderland

Premier League 2 

Sunderland 2 Arsenal 1 (Malen)


Arsenal U23s suffered late frustration today as they were beaten 2-1 away to Sunderland in their penultimate game of the campaign.

The young Gunners took the lead through Donyell Malen but Sunderland worked their way back into the game, with Lynden Gooch equalising before Luke Molyneux hit an 87th minute winner.

Arsenal have named some very strong lineups at this level recently, but there weren’t any first-team players involved on this occasion, while injuries to Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah depleted resources further.

Joe Willock was brought in for his debut at this level and played alongside his brother Chris, while Chiori Johnson and Joseph Olowu returned to the starting line-up.



Maitland Niles-McGuane

Dasilva-J. Willock-C. Willock


Subs: Dragomir (for J. Willock, 81), Fortune (for Malen, 81). Not used: Virginia, Medley.

Sunderland started well, with Olowu pressed into action early on, and goalkeeper Hugo Keto then had to be alert to thwart both Joel Asoro and Ethan Robson.

Arsenal didn’t create as many opportunities in the first half as they usually do, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles still managed to come close with a fierce strike that was saved.

It was goalless at the break, but only after Keto made a fine stop to keep out Gooch’s effort.

Rather out of sync with the pattern of the game Malen put Arsenal in the lead after the break with a neat finish following good work from Maitland-Niles.

Soon, however, Sunderland managed to make their dominance count as firstly Gooch, who featured in the Premier League earlier in the campaign, equalised before substitute Molyneux scored what proved to be the winner shortly after his introduction.

Arsenal conclude their campaign with a home game against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium next month.

Report – Gilmour scores hat-trick of penalties as Arsenal U18s beat Liverpool

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 4 (Gilmour 3 pens, John-Jules) Liverpool 1

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Captain Charlie Gilmour achieved the unique feat of scoring a hat-trick of penalties as Arsenal U18s went top of their section with a 4-1 victory at home to Liverpool today.

Gilmour previously hadn’t scored all season but the midfielder found the net from the spot on three occasions, while he also set up schoolboy Tyreece John-Jules for his first goal at this level.

With several regular members of the side with the U23s, coach Kwame Ampadu drafted several schoolboys into his squad for this fixture, with John-Jules and Xavier Amaechi given starting berths, whilst Folarin Balogun, who impressed at the Future Cup recently, was on the bench.

Tobi Omole started at centre-back in place of Kostas Pileas, with the latter likely to be released when his scholarship deal expires at the conclusion of the campaign.


Osei Tutu-Ballard-Omole-T. Bola


Smith Rowe-Burton-Amaechi

John Jules

Subs: Balogun (for Smith-Rowe, 46), Thompson (for Amaechi, 82), Beckford (for John-Jules, 90). Not used: Okonkwo, Pileas.

Arsenal, who beat Manchester City in their previous fixture, started brightly on this occasion and were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute, which Gilmour dispatched.

Liverpool equalised through a spot-kick of their own just three minutes later when Adam Lewis found the net but Arsenal were back in front after the break courtesy of another Gilmour penalty.

Balogun replaced Smith-Rowe at the start of the second-half for his U18 debut and it was another schoolboy, John-Jules, who made it 3-1 after he was teed up by Gilmour.

It was certainly Gilmour’s day and the Hale End product completed his hat-trick with yet another penalty four minutes from time.

Loan report – Toral and Bennacer score; Nwakali assists

Jon Toral scored and played 84 minutes as Rangers beat Partick Thistle 2-0.

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Ismael Bennacer scored the first goal of his senior career with a fine free-kick as Tours beat Sochaux 3-1. The midfielder played 89 minutes.

Kelechi Nwakali set up a goal as Maastricht drew 2-2 with Emmen. The Nigerian youngster played the whole game and was booked.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma drew 1-1 with Atalanta.

Jack Wilshere played 56 minutes as Bournemouth lost 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.

Krystian Bielik played the full game and was booked as Birmingham City drew 1-1 with Rotherham United.

Julio Pleguezuelo played 90 minutes as Mallorca lost 1-0 to Real Zaragoza.

Dan Crowley played the whole game as Go Ahead Eagles lost 2-0 to Willem II.

Gedion Zelalem came on in the 68th minute as VVV-Venlo beat RKC Waalwijk to seal promotion to the Eredivisie.

Kaylen Hinds was introduced in the 81st minute as Stevenage lost 1-0 to Morecambe.

Tafari Moore played the entirety of Utrecht II’s 2-1 defeat to Almere City.

Chuba Akpom was an un-used substitute as Brighton & Hove Albion beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0.

Marc Bola was an un-used substitute as Notts County drew 2-2 with Crewe Alexandra.

Calum Chambers isn’t eligible for Middlesbrough’s game against Arsenal.

Joel Campbell wasn’t involved as Sporting Lisbon beat Vitoria Setubal 3-0.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam drew 2-2 with De Graafschap.

Takuma Asano is expected to feature when Stuttgart face Arminia Bielefeld away tomorrow.