Arsenal 4 (Edwards 21, Sagoe Jr 32, Ibrahim 75, Cozier-Duberry 80) Chelsea 0
Arsenal U18s secured an impressive 4-0 victory at home to Chelsea today, with Amario Cozier-Duberry among the scorers.
The young Gunners were without Henry Jeffcott, Taylor Foran and Amani Richards, but Lino Sousa, who recently joined from West Bromwich Albion, received his first call-up as he was named on the bench. Elian Quesada-Thorn, meanwhile, made his first start of the season. Bradley Ibrahim filled in at centre-back.
Cozier Duberry-Sagoe Jr-Quesada Thorn
Subs: Sousa (for Quesada-Thorn, 61), Gaspar (for Robinson, 74), Roberts (for Vigar, 81). Not used: Kovacevic, Gower.
Ronnie Stutter, who was at Arsenal as a schoolboy, was on the bench for Chelsea.
Arsenal took the lead in the 21st minute, with the prolific Edwards finding the net.
Charles Sagoe Jr made it 2-0 before half-time after being set up by James Sweet, who has now made eight assists this season.
Just after the hour mark Sousa entered the fray for his debut as he replaced Quesada-Thorn, and Luigi Gaspar was later brought on.
Arsenal continued to impress and Bradley Ibrahim got his first goal at this level before Cozier-Duberry completed the scoring.
Although Arsenal’s form has been inconsistent recently and they remain in sixth place in the table, this was an impressive victory which offers encouragement for the future.
Jonathan Dinzeyi was among the members of the Arsenal U23 squad to train with the first-team ahead of tomorrow’s game at home to Burnley.
The centre-back, who recently returned from a loan spell at Carlisle United, could be loaned out again before the transfer window closes.
Striker Tyreece John-Jules also trained with the first-team despite being close to joining Sheffield Wednesday on loan, while Salah-Eddine, who has been on the bench for the senior side recently, was also involved and will hope to make his debut tomorrow.
Charlie Patino, Mika Biereth, Omari Hutchinson and Ryan Alebiosu also trained with the squad.
In addition, centre-back Alex Kirk and striker Nikolaj Moller were also called upon.
Derby County 1 (Hutchinson 17) Arsenal 1 Cottrell 63 (pen.)
An Arsenal U23 side deprived of the services of a host of key players managed to survive a late scare to secure a point in a 1-1 draw away to their Derby County counterparts tonight.
After Derby had taken the lead through Isaac Hutchinson in the 17th minute, Ben Cottrell equalised for Arsenal from the penalty spot in the second half with his first goal in almost a year.
However, Derby were awarded a late penalty following a challenge from Joel Lopez. Louie Watson stepped up to take it and Arsenal goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri managed to make a save, with Zak Swanson blocking the rebound.
The result means that Arsenal remain in fourth place in Premier League 2.
Arsenal were without Charlie Patino, Salah-Eddine, Ryan Alebiosu, Mika Biereth and Karl Hein, who were on the bench for the first-team yesterday, as well as Arthur Okonkwo and Omari Hutchinson, who were back-up players for the clash against Liverpool.
Alex Kirk was also absent, but there was some positive news on the injury front, with Jordan McEneff returning to the squad for the first time since October 2020, while George Lewis was involved for the first time this season. Talented young forwards Kaleel Green and Henry Timi Davies received their maiden call-ups at this level despite neither player having featured for the U18s so far this season. Nathan Butler-Oyedeji received a rare chance to impress up front.
Subs: McEneff (for Cottrell, 64), Lewis (for Butler-Oyedeji, 79). Not used: Graczyk, Davies, Green.
Former Gunner Krystian Bielik started for Derby on his return from injury, while Malcolm Ebiowei was named on the bench.
Derby caused problems for Arsenal early on, with Harrison Solomon and Osazee Aghatise both trying their luck without success.
Ejeheri was then called into action as he made an impressive stop to thwart Max Bardell.
Eventually Derby managed to take the lead, with Hutchinson finishing well after Arsenal struggled to clear a free-kick from Watson.
Cottrell had an effort saved as Arsenal looked to get back into the game, and then Ideho showed good skill to create an opening but was thwarted by Derby goalkeeper Harrison Foulkes.
Arsenal had another notable chance before the break, with Butler-Oyedeji looking for his first goal at this level, but Foulkes made another impressive stop and Derby went into the break in the ascendancy.
Bielik was substituted at half-time in a pre-planned change, and Derby then had to make some well-timed blocks to continue to keep Arsenal at bay.
Substitute Courtney Clarke shot over for Derby, but Arsenal were given a route back into the game when Bardell jumped into the back of Zach Awe in the area.
Cottrell stepped up to convert from the spot, with the midfielder relishing his recent return to action.
That proved to be Cottrell’s last involvement before he was replaced by McEneff, with the latter ending his injury nightmare as he made his first appearance in 448 days.
Derby then sent on Ebiowei, who left Arsenal as a schoolboy.
Arsenal withdrew Butler-Oyedeji and sent on Lewis, who is another player who has had much misfortune with injuries.
Ebiowei was eager to make an impact against his former club and went for goal, but Ejeheri responded by making an impressive save.
McEneff shot just wide for Arsenal as he looked to mark his comeback in style.
Derby’s Kornell McDonald cleared the ball off the line as Arsenal increased the pressure.
Bardell headed over and then there were some hugely concerning moments for Arsenal, with Lopez bringing down McDonald in the area.
Watson took the penalty but Ejeheri, who has developed a habit of saving spot-kicks, managed to keep it out, with Swanson responding well thereafter.
Neither side could score in three added minutes, with the game finishing level.
Considering they were without some key names, Arsenal will take this result.
Winger George Lewis has returned to training with Arsenal U23s as he nears a comeback from injury.
The 21-year-old has yet to play this season following a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but he is hopeful of being back in action soon.
Lewis had been made available for a loan move last summer but his injury prevented a deal from happening.
Signed on a free transfer in 2020, Lewis made 11 appearances for Arsenal U23s/U21s last season as he scored once and provided one assist. He also featured as a substitute for the first-team in a friendly against MK Dons.
Hale End product Ryan Alebiosu has received his first senior call-up for tonight’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg fixture at home to Liverpool as he has been named amongst the substitutes.
The 20-year-old is capable of playing at right-back or as a right winger and relishes pushing forward. Alebiosu has got seven assists this season across U23 and U21 fixtures.
Having progressed to scholarship terms in 2018, Alebiosu signed a professional contract two years later. Last summer he held talks about a loan switch to Sunderland, but the deal failed to materialise.
Alebiosu has made 36 appearances for Arsenal at U23 level having played 24 times for the U18s.
Karl Hein, Charlie Patino, Salah-Eddine and Mika Biereth are also on the bench tonight.
Arsenal team: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tierney; Lokonga, Odegaard; Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette.
Since he first featured for Arsenal U18s towards the end of last season it has been apparent that Amario Cozier-Duberry is a very talented player, and this campaign he has continued to develop apace.
After being one of the standout performers for Arsenal U18s so far this season, Cozier-Duberry was called into action for the U23s against Bournemouth last night, and he seized his opportunity with a goal and an assist.
Cozier-Duberry scored his first goal for the U23s at the age of 16 years and 234 days. Since 2009, only Reiss Nelson, Serge Gnabry and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have scored for the U23s at a younger age.
Last night Cozier-Duberry was deployed on the left wing, but he can also play as an attacking midfielder or on the right flank.
A player who has excellent close control and a powerful shot, he is undoubtedly one of the standout players from this season’s scholarship intake.
At U18 level Cozier-Duberry has made a tremendous impact this season, scoring five goals and providing two assists in eleven games.
There is a lot of competition for places in the Arsenal U23s side at present but Cozier-Duberry will surely receive further opportunities in due course, and, given the quality that he possesses, it seems likely that he will take them. He has already made fleeting appearances in Premier League 2 and the Papa John’s Trophy.
Cozier-Duberry seems rather similar in style to Omari Hutchinson and the possibility of them both potentially featuring for the first-team together in the future is an intriguing one.