West Ham to provide stiff opposition

Arsenal u-18s look to get back to winning ways as they take on West Ham at London Colney tomorrow. Having lost 1-0 at Anfield in Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup tie the Gunners haven’t won for three matches, having lost their previous two League games. Hopefully we’ll see some more of Luke Freeman tomorrow. He didn’t really have many chances to score against Ipswich last week. There was one opportunity, the ‘keeper made a mistake and the ball fell to Luke but he didn’t have as much time as he thought and he scuffed his shot. We can’t put any pressure on the lad at the moment, he’s still only fifteen! He does look a real prospect though, otherwise Wenger wouldn’t have worked so hard to sign him. It looks like Lansbury and Wilshere will still be out, whilst Rui Fonte is out for three weeks with a broken nose. So it should be a similar team to the one that played last week. It would be good to see Jonas Rasmussen play because I haven’t seen much of him so far, he looks like a decent player who can hold the ball down and win battles in the air although I don’t really know too much about his finishing ability. So it should be a good game tomorrow, anyone else going?

 In other news, Kieran Gibbs talks about his loan spell. Hopefully he plays regularly there and becomes a better player for it. Meanwhile, Mark Randall will wear the number ten shirt at Burnley, so that implies that he will be an important player for them. Anyway, we’ll see come the end of the season.

Okay, now for the loanees weekend preview:

Mark Randall- West Brom v Burnley

Hopefully Mark will make his debut in this game and it would be nice to see him get on the scoresheet.

Kieran Gibbs- Norwich v Preston

Gibbs will be hoping to make his debut tomorrow at Carrow Road.

Jay Simpson- Millwall v Doncaster

Jay should start again and will be hoping to find the net.

Carlos Vela- Barcelona v Osasuna

Carlos will be hoping to start this big fixture.

Fran Merida and Pedro Silva will also be hoping to feature in Spain, whilst Vincent van den Berg is out injured.


Randall and Gibbs go on loan

It’s transfer deadline day and Mark Randall and Kieran Gibbs have both joined Championship sides on loan.

Randall will spend the second half of the season at Turf Moor, with Burnley, who he scored against in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round.

Gibbs has  joined Norwich City  until the end of the season. Gibbs, who has featured for the first-team in the Carling Cup this season will gain valuable experience from this move.

Obviously it will be good experience for the lads and also it will leave a gap in our Reserve team. It will allow some of the younger lads to push on and see whether they can stake a claim in the Reserves. For me, Randall’s loan spell was long overdue. He needs to show that he isn’t just an ordinary player and he can prove that by playing week in, week out for Burnley, which I’m sure he will. As for Gibbs, it will be interesting to see how he does and if he can force his way into Arsene Wenger’s thinking when he returns.

There’s still time for more transfers to be completed, so watch this space.

In other news, Emmanuel Frimpong and Oliver Nicholas have been named in the latest England u-16 squad. They’ve both recently agreed scholarship deals and look like decent prospects.

Thanks for reading, and there will be more tomorrow.

Have the u-18s got what it takes?

So now we have it. A face-off between two of the best academies in the country in the Fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. Arsenal came so close to meeting Liverpool in last season’s competiton but were denied by a late Manchester United goal in the semi-final at Old Trafford. Now they finally go head to head at Anfield tonight.

Liverpool’s youth squad is very different to the side that has won the last two competitions back to back. There are lots of younger lads in their academy now, but they are no less talented. The likes of striker David Amoo for example, cannot be ignored. And then there is the fact that Liverpool have home advantage and there’s sure to be a few of their supporters in the ground cheering them on. Even at this level, the prospect of playing at Anfield is very daunting indeed.

On the Arsenal side of things, it seems we are without Henri Lansbury, who has a glandular problem. Also Rui Fonte is out for three weeks with a broken nose, and Jack Wilshere is out too. On the plus side, we should see Nacer Barazite back, but the absence of Lansbury is key. Not only did he score a hat-trick in the last round but many of our passing moves flow through him and he is difficult to close down.

Paul Rodgers says the entire squad wanted to draw Liverpool, which says something about the immense self-belief and determination of the lads.

On the transfer front, rumours persist about Edin Dzeko, whilst it also appears that we are considering the option of QPR youth ‘keeper Liam O’Brien, who played for the u-18s on Saturday. Luke Freeman and Sam Byles also made their debuts in that game.

So, with kick-off nearing all we can do is hope for a result and it’s hard to predict an Arsenal win, but anything is possible in football.

Transfer rumours and speculation as attention turns to Anfield


Picture from: SkySports

There’s been a lot of news concerning transfers today with only three days left before the transfer window shuts. One player that we have been linked with is Edin Dzeko, who was reccomended by first-team coach Boro Primorac. He’s twenty-one, he’s a striker and he’s likely to cost a lot of money, so it’s difficult to see it happening. However, with the squad short on numbers at the moment, Wenger may be tempted to buy, but given his reluctance to spend big cash on players, the chances of this deal taking place are minimal.

Another player we have been linked with is Piet Velthuizen.  He’s also 21 years old and he’s a Dutch goalkeeper. With Fabianski roughly the same age and Mannone waiting in the wings, it’s unlikely to happen although he could join in the summer.

There’s also speculation about players leaving the club, and Norwich boss Glen Roeder says that he has first refusal on an Arsenal youngster, which is believed to be Armand Traore. This story broke earlier this month and whilst it could be him, Mark Randall could be a possibility to go there as well.

The u-18s travel to Anfield tomorrow to take on Liverpool in the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup. This is going to be a real test of character for the lads and it’s difficult to predict anything other than a Liverpool win, but we beat Man.Utd last year, so who knows what to expect. As I have mentioned before, this is a fantastic chance to win the Youth Cup for us because if we get through, we have Sunderland in the next round and Man.Utd are already out of the competition, although Chelsea are still a threat. The u-18s are in poor form going into this game, having lost against Portsmouth last week, and then again to Ipswich on Saturday. But this is the Cup, and League form counts for nothing. At least we have Barazite back from injury and hopefully Lansbury and Gibbs will feature too.

Check how the youngsters out on loan got on this weekend. There’s more on Carlos Vela here.

Thanks for reading and there’ll be more tomorrow including a full preview of the Liverpool match.

Is there too much pressure on the shoulders of young players?

Well, a lot has been said recently about our fantastic youth academy and the fact that the majority of it is actually young English talent with huge potential. The likes of Murphy, Lansbury, Randall and Gibbs have all been touted as future superstars, but what if they don’t live up to the hype. Take Theo Walcott for example, at the moment he is all pace and nothing else but although there is still a decent chance of him making it at Arsenal, he will never be as good as we’d all have hoped. There have even been rumours that he will join West Ham on loan this month. I think that would be a good move for him as he needs to beef up and playing at Upton Park would definitely improve the physical side of his game. Hopefully, the pressure won’t get to the rest of our youngsters because I would hate to see the same thing happen to them.

In other news, Arsene Wenger has ruled out a move for Nikolay Dimitriev and the player himself has also admitted that he has not been in contact with the club.

The Reserves take on Birmingham away on Monday. It’s live on Arsenal TV and remember to keep checking the site for the best coverage of the match, including an in-depth preview and match report.

Also, comments on the new layout would be much appreciated, as would suggestions for articles.

Thanks for reading.

Merida’s loan spell is ‘filling a gap’

With the transfer window in full flow, a few players have been suggested as possible targets for Championship clubs on loan, with Armand Traore  amongst them. Of course rumours are going to be rife at this time of year and it would be good for these youngsters to get experience, but at the same time these rumours could be the brainchild of some lazy hack with nothing better to do with his life.
On the subject of transfers, rumours about Nikolay Dimitriov persist, whilst we are reportedly close to capturing youngster Andre Ayew.
Arsene Wenger talks about Fran Merida’s loan spell and how it is ‘filling a gap’ in his education. He’s at that stage now, where technically he knows all there is to know, it’s just that he has to adapt to the physical side of the game and for that reason I would have sent him to a Championship side instead ( QPR were supposedly interested) but Wenger knows best.
There was a shock in the FA Youth Cup last night as Man Utd lost to Carlisle. Ha,ha, ha. Revenge is sweet. They didn’t deserve to beat us last year and if we get past the holders Liverpool at Anfield (which is going to be no easy task, by the way) then we will have a fantastic chance of winning the competiton, especially as Sunderland lie in wait in the Fifth Round.
The u-18s game against Portsmouth on Saturday morning will now take place at London Colney.
Nacer Barazite has returned to full training with Arsenal and talks about his injury woe here.
Henri Lansbury and Kieran Gibbs have been named in the England u-19 squad for the game with Croatia.
Finally, remember to stay with the site for the latest news on all the young players at Arsenal, including exclusive match reports and it’s also the best place for opinion, debate and analysis concerning the stars of the future. If you have a suggestion for an article, then don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading. More tomorrow, including a preview of the u-18s match with Portsmouth.

News round-up: Freeman deal not done yet


It appears that the deal to sign Luke Freeman from Gillingham has not been completed yet. Talks have stalled on the transfer fee and it seems that we may have to wait until the summer to get our hands on him.

In other news, Paul Rodgers has been talking about his admiration for Mark Randall.

More tomorrow, including part four of our ‘ Who is most likely to make it at Arsenal?’ series. Thanks for reading.