Author: Jeorge Bird

Report- Concern as depleted Arsenal U23s are thrashed 5-0 by Everton


Premier League 2

Arsenal U23s 0 Everton U23s 5

By Jeorge Bird @Meadow Park, Borehamwood


A heavily depleted Arsenal U23 side fell to a 5-0 defeat against a ruthless Everton team at Meadow Park tonight, with the young Gunners delivering an inept performance.

A whole host of players weren’t available to feature as they trained with the first-team today ahead of the EFL Cup fixture against Nottingham Forest, while Arsenal’s coach arrived late for the game against Everton, meaning there was limited time for a warm-up. Everton, meanwhile, have started the season extremely well and were able to call upon players such as Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies who boast Premier League experience.

Even in such circumstances, however, Arsenal’s performance was pitiful. Their defending (the hard-working Chiori Johnson aside) was woeful once again, while their approach play in midfield was non-existent, with Ismael Bennacer, one of the more experienced players in the team, struggling to keep possession.

Up front Edward Nketiah, who has been prolific for the U18s, worked hard but was starved of service, and, other than a brief period early in the second half, Arsenal posed very little threat to the Everton goal.

As noted, there were a horde of absentees, with Matt Macey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Krystian Bielik, Chris Willock, Gedion Zelalem, Ben Sheaf, Stephy Mavididi, Marc Bola and Josh DaSilva all in contention to be involved with the first-team tomorrow night.

Steve Gatting called upon several members of the U18 squad, with Tolaji Bola, Reiss Nelson, Nketiah, Vlad Dragomir and Emile Smith-Rowe featuring, the latter becoming the first player to represent the club at this level who was born this millennium.

Gatting also gave a chance to Savvas Mourgos, while Tyrell Robinson was back on the bench after failing to secure a move away from the club during the transfer window.


Johnson-Da Graca-Pileas-T. Bola


Smith Rowe-Dragomir-Mourgos


Subs: Eyoma, Malen, McGuane. Not used: Robinson, Virginia.

It quickly became apparent that Everton were the stronger side, with the visitors calling Arsenal goalkeeper Hugo Keto into action very early on.

Keto’s next involvement was to pick the ball out of the net as Everton opened the scoring through Kieran Dowell, who slotted in with just four minutes gone.

Arsenal attempted to respond instantly, with Dragomir sending in a free-kick that couldn’t quite locate Nketiah. However, the Romanian was still able to win a corner and from a move that emanated from the subsequent set-piece Nketiah had an effort saved.

At the other end Niasse, the most experienced player on the pitch at the age of 26, twisted and turned before shooting over, and Keto then had to be alert to make a fine save to prevent Everton from doubling their advantage.

Everton continued to dominate as the half wore on and there appeared to be no cohesion about the Arsenal team, with Gatting’s side finding themselves overrun in midfield with alarming regularity.

Arsenal just about managed to keep the score down before the break but after the interval Everton finally made it 2-0, with Liam Walsh getting the better of Keto with a sweetly struck free-kick.

Dragomir then had a weak effort saved, but Everton continued to cause problems for the Arsenal defence and even the introduction of Donyell Malen couldn’t get Gatting’s side back in the game.

Keto made another fine stop, but he could do little to prevent Niasse from making it 3-0 shortly afterwards, with the forward finishing adroitly as Arsenal’s defence was torn apart yet again.

Then it was four, with substitute Calum Dyson heading in to inflict further damage upon the young Gunners shortly after his introduction.

Everton continued to press for more goals and hit the post with one effort before Dyson score again.

Nelson hammered an effort wide in frustration in the dying moments and relegation back to the second tier is looking an increasingly realistic possibility for this Arsenal side unless matters improve dramatically.

There were certainly mitigating circumstances tonight, but some of the more experienced players involved, Bennacer in particular, were disappointing, while several of the defenders are clearly out of their depth at this level.

Tomorrow night could well turn out to be a glorious occasion for Arsenal’s academy if several youngsters make their debuts, but the events this evening suggest that problems still exist within the set-up.

The lack of a bonafide defensive midfielder across the age groups is one of the most significant problems with the Arsenal youth system, while defensive issues, which were similar to those that were in evidence in the U18s’ defeat to Chelsea, were on show again.

Next up for Arsenal U23s is a trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, although it remains to be seen what type of side Gatting will be able to field in that fixture.

Chris Willock amongst 10 youngsters to train with Arsenal first-team pre-Nottingham Forest


Arsenal held their final training session ahead of tomorrow’s EFL Cup tie away to Nottingham Forest, with several youngsters in attendance.

Matt Macey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gedion Zelalem, Krystian Bielik, Ben Sheaf, Chris Willock, Stephy Mavididi, Josh DaSilva, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe all trained with the senior squad. The latter is set to be part of the Arsenal U23 squad for the game against Everton tonight.

With regards to first-team players, Mathieu Debuchy is back in full training after injury, while Emiliano Martinez, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Chuba Akpom, Lucas Perez and Jeff Reine-Adelaide all trained.

Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker, Carl Jenkinson, Yaya Sanogo, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are all still out injured.



Loan report-Campbell subbed at half-time; Nwakali makes Maastricht debut


Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma lost 1-0 to Fiorentina.

Takuma Asano made his first start for Stuttgart and played 78 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Kaiserslautern.

Jack Wilshere started for Bournemouth, with the midfielder playing 68 minutes of the 4-0 loss to Manchester City.

Joel Campbell started but was taken off at half-time in a tactical change as Sporting Lisbon lost 3-1 to Rio Ave.

Glen Kamara came on as a substitute in the 34th minute as Colchester United drew 1-1 with Barnet.

Tafari Moore made his senior debut as he was brought on in the 66th minute of Utrecht’s 5-1 defeat to Groningen.

Kelechi Nwakali was introduced as a substitute in stoppage time as he made his first senior appearance for Maastricht in the 1-0 win over Ajax II. Stefan O’Connor was an un-used substitute.

Calum Chambers was an un-used substitute as Middlesbrough lost 3-1 to Everton.

Dan Crowley was an un-used substitute as Oxford United drew 0-0 with MK Dons.

Ryan Huddart was an un-used substitute as Eastleigh beat Macclesfield Town 1-0.

Jon Toral didn’t feature as Granada drew 2-2 with Real Betis.

Julio Pleguezuelo didn’t feature as Mallorca beat Girona 1-0.

Osei-Tutu and Benson goals not enough as Arsenal U18s lose to Chelsea

Football - 2016 Durban U19 International - Semifinal - Arsenal v TP Mazembe - Moses Mabhida Stadium

©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Arsenal U18s saw their unbeaten start to the season come to an end today as they were beaten 4-2 by their Chelsea counterparts at Cobham.

The clinical Martell Tyler-Crossdale scored a hat-trick for Chelsea, for whom Harvey St Clair was also on target, with Jordi Osei-Tutu’s first Arsenal goal and a strike from Josh Benson not sufficient to enable the Gunners to take anything from the game.


Osei Tutu-Olowu-Ballard-T. Bola


J. Willock-Malen-Smith Rowe


Subs: Benson, Coyle, Omole. Not used: Okonkwo, Thompson.

Chelsea made a scintillating start, with Tyler-Crossdale opening the scoring by slotting past Joao Virginia after pouncing upon an Arsenal error.

With just ten minutes gone Chelsea doubled their advantage from the penalty spot, with Taylor-Crossdale scoring again after Jacob Maddox was brought down in the area.

At this stage there was a concern that Chelsea could put the game beyond doubt very early on, but Virginia did well to thwart the opposition and Osei-Tutu then reduced the deficit as he found the net following impressive work in the build up from Joe Willock.

However, any chance that Arsenal had of getting into the game was soon eradicated, with St Clair making it 3-1.

Edward Nketiah, who joined Arsenal from Chelsea as a schoolboy, worked hard up front, but it was the Blues who continued to dominate.

Chelsea were awarded another penalty in the second-half, with Taylor-Crossdale stepping up to complete his hat-trick.

Arsenal, to their credit, continued to battle in adversity, and substitute Josh Benson scored an impressive goal to make it 4-2, but it was Chelsea who emerged victorious.

Next up for Kwame Ampadu’s side is a home game against Leicester City next weekend.

Bielik helps Arsenal U19s keep clean sheet in Youth League draw with PSG


UEFA Youth League- PSG 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal U19s got their UEFA Youth League campaign underway with a creditable goalless draw away to Paris Saint-Germain today, but their overall performance left a lot to be desired as they were overrun in midfield.

Arsenal had a presentable chance to take the lead in the first-half, but Donyell Malen was unable to find the net. For the most part, though, it was PSG who were the dominant force, with the French side forcing several good stops from Hugo Keto, whilst Krystian Bielik and Kristopher Da Graca defended well.

The young Gunners struggled to keep hold of the ball in midfield, with Marcus McGuane and Josh DaSilva often unable to cope with PSG’s technical wizardry, rendering the decision not to include the likes of Gedion Zelalem, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Ismael Bennacer in the squad rather baffling.

Arsenal were also without Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ben Sheaf, with Stephy Mavididi operating in the number ten position. Schoolboy Trae Coyle made the bench, an indication of how highly regarded he is within the club.


Johnson-Bielik-Da Graca-M. Bola


Nelson-Mavididi-C. Willock


Subs: Dragomir, Nketiah, T. Bola. Not used: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Mourgos, Coyle.

PSG kept the ball well in the early exchanges and that set the tone for what was to come, with Arsenal unable to establish any sort of momentum.

For all their possession, however, the hosts struggled to carve out many clear cut chances, although Ikone shot wide.

It was Arsenal, though, who would create the two most inviting openings of the first-half. First Chris Willock, who was impressive on the right flank, saw his shot saved after good work in the build-up from Mavididi.

The next opportunity fell to Malen, who found himself in front of goal after he was located by Willock. However, the Dutchman, to widespread bewilderment, shot wide.

Mavididi then did well to work space for himself but his subsequent effort lacked conviction, much like PSG’s build-up play as the home side continued to spray neat passes around without hardly ever threatening the Arsenal goal in the first period.

The second half was slightly more open, with PSG eventually deciding to go for goal with greater regularity. The majority of their attempts went over the crossbar, but there was also some noteworthy defending from Bielik and Da Graca, who frequently got in the way of PSG’s shots.

PSG continued to dominate, with one cross hitting the woodwork, and Arsenal attempted to gain a foothold in the game, with Vlad Dragomir and Edward Nketiah, who have both been impressive for the U18s, entering the fray.

Mavididi had an attempt kept out from a difficult angle, but PSG still looked far more likely to score and they came extremely close to doing so in the closing stages.

Arsenal had a chance of their own through Nketiah, whose effort was saved, but in the end a hard-fought game ended goalless.

The young Gunners will certainly be happy with the point, but there is much work to be done if they are to go far in this competition.

Arsenal pre-PSG training report: Maitland-Niles and Ramsey involved

Arsenal held their final first-team training session today ahead of tomorrow night’s opening Champions League group stage fixture away to Paris Saint-Germain, with youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles in attendance. 

The prospect was hugely impressive for the U23s against Derby County on Friday and could feature in the EFL Cup fixture against Nottingham Forest next week. 

Chuba Akpom was also back training with the senior squad, while Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Debuchy have returned to light training. 

Gabriel continued to train with the squad and Laurent Koscielny was fine to participate despite suffering an injury against Southampton. Former player Robert Pires also trained. 

Yaya Sanogo is still out injured, along with Carl Jenkinson, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck. 

Players in training today: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Perez, Ospina, Holding, Elneny, Giroud, Xhaka, Iwobi, Sanchez, Martinez, Gabriel, Akpom, Maitland-Niles, Pires, Gibbs. 

Light training: Ramsey, Debuchy. 

Jeff Reine-Adelaide didn’t train with the squad today as he is instead set to play for the U19s against PSG in the UEFA Youth League tomorrow. 
Freddie Ljungberg coached the U19s in training today. 

Possible U19 team:

Keto; Johnson, Bielik, Da Graca, M. Bola; McGuane, Sheaf; Nelson, Reine-Adelaide, C. Willock; Mavididi. Subs: Virginia, T. Bola, Pileas, Malen, Nketiah, DaSilva, Mourgos. 

Youth round-up: Zelalem and Dragomir impress


Arsenal U23s were hugely impressive as they beat their Derby County counterparts 3-1 away on Friday night, with Gedion Zelalem helping to dictate the tempo with some neat passes.

The midfielder blotted his copybook a little by conceding a late penalty, but his overall performance was excellent as the youngster pushes for involvement in the first-team’s EFL Cup fixture against Nottingham Forest.

His central-midfield partner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, also caught the eye, as did Stephy Mavididi, who demonstrated his intelligent link-up play in the number ten position.

Chuba Akpom led the line brilliantly, with the striker hitting a brace, while he also set up the opening goal for Chris Willock. On the right flank, meanwhile, Ben Sheaf delivered an encouraging performance as he kept the ball well.

This was a much-needed victory for Arsenal, who produced their best display of the campaign so far after suffering three defeats in their first three games.

The U18s also ran out comfortable winners as they thrashed Southampton 3-0 at home. The prolific Edward Nketiah showed his strength, speed and finishing ability once more, and substitute Donyell Malen also found the net, but the standout goal was scored by Vlad Dragomir, who struck a stunning long-range effort.

Josh DaSilva and Emile Smith-Rowe also made a major impact for Kwame Ampadu’s side, who have started the season extremely well.

Loan report- Campbell scores; Wilshere and Asano make debuts


Joel Campbell marked his Sporting Lisbon debut with a goal as he found the net in a 3-0 win over Moreirense. The Costa Rican, who featured on the left flank, was also booked in the closing stages of the game.

Jack Wilshere made his first appearance for Bournemouth, with the midfielder being brought on in the 63rd minute of the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Takuma Asano made his debut for Stuttgart as he featured as an 81st minute substitute in the 2-1 defeat to Heidenheim.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game and made several saves as Roma beat Sampdoria 3-2.

Glen Kamara made his first appearance for Colchester United as he entered the fray as a 68th minute substitute against Blackpool.

Calum Chambers was an un-used substitute as Middlesbrough lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace.

Dan Crowley was an un-used substitute as Oxford United beat Swindon Town 2-0.

Stefan O’Connor was an un-used substitute as Maastricht drew 1-1 with Eindhoven. Kelechi Nwakali didn’t feature.

Tafari Moore was an un-used substitute as Utrecht drew 1-1 with Zwolle.

Julio Pleguezuelo was an un-used substitute as Mallorca lost 1-0 to Rayo Vallecano.

Ryan Huddart was an un-used substitute for Easleigh in their 1-1 draw with Southport.

Jon Toral didn’t feature as Granada lost 2-1 to Eibar.


Nketiah and Dragomir amongst scorers as Arsenal U18s thrash Southampton 

Arsenal U18s continued their impressive start to the season with a 3-0 victory over their Southampton counterparts at London Colney today. 
The prolific Edward Nketiah opened the scoring with his third goal of the season, whilst Vlad Dragomir and Donyell Malen were also on the scoresheet for the young Gunners.

Virginia; Osei-Tutu, Olowu, Barden, Pileas; DaSilva, Benson; J. Willock, Dragomir, Smith-Rowe; Nketiah.

Subs: Malen, Burton, Omole. 

Not used: Okonkwo. 

Bellerin amongst 20 youngsters named on Arsenal’s Champions League B-List


Arsenal have submitted their B-List for the Champions League group stages, which is comprised of U21 players.

First-team players Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi and Chuba Akpom are all on the list.

Ismael Bennacer, Vlad Dragomir, Donyell Malen and Jordi Osei-Tutu aren’t yet eligible for inclusion.

You can view Arsenal’s A-List for the group stages here.


17. Alex Iwobi, 24. Hector Bellerin, 32. Chuba Akpom, 38. Marc Bola, 39. Tolaji Bola, 40. Gedion Zelalem, 42. Kristopher Da Graca, 44. Aaron Eyoma, 46. Charlie Gilmour, 48. Kaylen Hinds, 50. Deyan Iliev, 51. Chiori Johnson, 53. Hugo Keto, 55. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 57. Stephy Mavididi, 58. Marcus McGuane, 60. Savvas Mourgos, 64. Tyrell Robinson, 65. Ben Sheaf, 68. Chris Willock.