Loan report – Sheaf assists; Ballard suffers injury


Ben Sheaf provided an assist as Doncaster Rovers beat Fleetwood Town 3-2. Sheaf played the whole game in midfield and was also booked.

Daniel Ballard missed Swindon Town’s 1-1 draw with Exeter through injury. There have been suggestions that the defender could miss four to five months of action and has reportedly returned to Arsenal for treatment.

Tom Smith played the whole game as Salisbury won 4-1 against Dorchester Town.

Jordi Osei-Tutu was brought on in the 75th minute as VfL Bochum lost 1-0 to Hamburg.

Deyan Iliev played the whole game as Sered lost 4-0 to Slovan Bratislava.

Eddie Nketiah was an unused substitute as Leeds United won 2-0 against Wigan Athletic.

William Saliba missed out through injury as Saint-Etienne drew 1-1 with Brest.



Report – Cottrell hits brace as Arsenal U18s thrash Aston Villa 5-1

Ben Cottrell scored twice as Arsenal U18s bounced back from their opening day defeat to Chelsea to secure a 5-1 victory away to Aston Villa.

Coach Ken Gillard made one change to his team, with summer signing Catalin Cirjan replacing Alfie Matthews.




Dennis-Cottrell-Taylor Hart


Subs: Sraha (for Lopez, 58), Matthews (for Dennis, 63), Plange (for Taylor-Hart, 73). Not used: Graczyk, Butler-Oyedeji.

It was Cirjan who provided the assist for Arsenal’s first goal, with Cottrell scoring in the 23rd minute.

Cottrell added another before the break, with Mazeed Ogungbo teeing him up on this occasion.

On the stroke of half time the highly regarded Miguel Azeez opened his account for the season with a fine strike.

Villa got a goal back through Aaron Presley, but Arsenal weren’t shook up by that setback and instead made it 4-1 through substitute Matthews.

Sam Greenwood added a fifth from the penalty spot in the closing stages to complete an emphatic win.

Report – Smith Rowe shines as Arsenal U23s beat Brighton

Premier League 2 

Arsenal 2 (Tormey 58, Smith Rowe 62) Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Longman 90)

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park, Borehamwood


He was only promoted to the squad this summer, but Emile Smith Rowe carries all the hallmarks of a first-team player.

Tonight, in a hard-fought encounter at home to Brighton & Hove Albion, the 19-year-old produced an impressive display as he continued his return from injury and found the net in the 2-1 victory with a neat strike after a burst forward.

There remains uncertainty regarding what will happen to Smith Rowe in the next couple of weeks, with the youngster, who had an injury-ridden spell at RB Leipzig in the second half of last season, having been heavily linked with another loan move away.

On this evidence, it seems the best decision would be to keep him at Arsenal, for the first half of the season at least, with Smith Rowe, providing he stays fully fit, capable of providing the team with a extra dimension.

Nathan Tormey was also on the scoresheet against Brighton, with Steve Bould’s side continuing their 100 per cent start to the campaign, despite Ryan Longman’s late strike for the visitors.

Rob Holding started against Blackburn Rovers but wasn’t involved tonight, with Joseph Olowu replacing him. The other change saw Tyreece John-Jules come into the side at the expense of James Olayinka.

Tom Smith was named on the bench despite the goalkeeper being on loan at Salisbury.



Smith Rowe-Burton

Tormey-John Jules-Coyle


Subs: McEneff (for Smith Rowe, 62), Cottrell (for Tormey, 84). Not used: T. Smith, Omole, Olayinka. 

Folarin Balogun, who hit a hat-trick against Blackburn, was eager to get another goal, but he saw his early attempt saved by Thomas McGill.

A mistake from Zak Swanson then presented Brighton with an opportunity but they couldn’t capitalise.

At the other end Balogun had a penalty claim turned down with the striker later lashing an effort wide after being teed by John-Jules.

Swanson then had to make an important intervention at the other end to prevent Brighton from scoring, with a rather uneventful first half ending goalless.

Arsenal started the second half much more sharply and John-Jules shot over following a well-timed cross from Trae Coyle.

Smith Rowe then showed that his penchant for bursting forward remains very much intact, with the prospect drawing a foul from the opposition.

After much pressure, Arsenal finally took the lead in the 58th minute and it was Tormey who scored his first goal of the season with a composed finish after he was located by Balogun.

Soon afterwards it was 2-0 with Smith Rowe scoring a goal very much of his own making as he pushed forward again and finished well.

That proved to be Smith Rowe’s last action of the game as, after 62 minutes, he was withdrawn and replaced by Jordan McEneff.

Brighton threatened intermittently but Balogun missed a chance to score when John-Jules felt he should have passed the ball to him instead.

The game was far from over, with Brighton missing an inviting chance to score, and eventually Longman managed to score to ensure a frantic finish.

There was a further chance for Brighton in the closing stages, but Arsenal goalkeeper James Hillson refused to be beaten, with the young Gunners taking all three points for the second time this week.

Arsenal’s first half performance wasn’t of a particularly high standard, but they were far more effective after the restart, with Tormey, Coyle, John-Jules and Balogun linking up well, while Smith Rowe also made a significant contribution before being withdrawn.

McEneff also caught the eye with some slick passes after he entered the fray, while centre-back Joseph Olowu was resilient as he read the game well and showed that he is over his injury struggles. Captain Robbie Burton also deserves credit for his display.

It does feel as though there is something missing in this Arsenal team, especially after players of the calibre of Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Xavier Amaechi, for various reasons, are no longer in action at this level.

However, there are still some talented players for Bould to call upon, and Tormey is certainly getting his reward for his hard work in training.

Another player who has endured much misfortune with injuries, the winger appears to be very highly regarded by Bould and should receive plenty of further opportunities to impress this season.

Next up for Arsenal is another home game, this time against Everton, which will take place at Emirates Stadium next week.

Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith joins Salisbury on loan and immediately wins man of the match award

Arsenal goalkeeper Tom Smith joined Salisbury FC this week on an initial one-month work experience loan deal.

The 17-year-old has headed to England’s seventh tier to gain his first experience of first-team football and help Salisbury ease their goalkeeping crisis.

Smith was on the bench for Arsenal U23s against Blackburn Rovers on Monday but just a day later was featuring for Salisbury, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory against Gosport Borough and being named man of the match.

Last season Smith impressed as Arsenal U18s were crowned southern section champions.

The Hale End product was recommended to Salisbury by his Arsenal team-mate and fellow goalkeeper James Hillson, who had a productive loan spell at the Southern League Premier Division South team last season when he was a Reading player.

With Arthur Okonkwo out injured and Deyan Iliev on loan at Sered, Hillson is the current first-choice goalkeeper for Arsenal at U23 level.

Karl Hein, who played for the U18s against Chelsea last weekend, could be on the bench for the U23s while Smith is away.

Alternatively, Matt Macey may still play some games for the second-string despite being part of the first-team squad.

Gabriel Martinelli in U23 squad as Arsenal confirm five promotions

Arsenal have confirmed that Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe, Matt Macey and Eddie Nketiah are part of the first-team squad.

However, winger Gabriel Martinelli, who joined from Ituano this summer, is in the U23 squad.

Martinelli, who made his competitive debut against Newcastle United last weekend, has been given the number 35 shirt for this season.

It is anticipated that the Brazilian will still be heavily involved with the first-team this season.

Willock and Nelson both started against Newcastle, while Macey and Smith Rowe have also been promoted along with Nketiah, who is on loan at Leeds United.

Carabao Cup loan report – Nketiah scores on Leeds debut; Sheaf and Ballard feature


Eddie Nketiah scored on his debut for Leeds United as his temporary side beat Salford 3-0 in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Nketiah, who started up front, slotted the ball home from close range having done very well to go into position.

Elsewhere, Ben Sheaf was brought on at the start of the second half as Doncaster Rovers lost 1-0 to Grimsby Town.

Daniel Ballard played the whole game as Swindon Town lost 3-0 to Colchester United, for whom former Arsenal defender Cohen Bramall was sent off.

Another former Arsenal youngster, Dominic Thompson, made his competitive senior debut as Brentford took on Cambridge United.

Report – Balogun scores hat-trick while Smith Rowe and Holding feature as Arsenal U23s beat Blackburn


Premier League 2 

Blackburn Rovers 1 (Mols 27) Arsenal 3 (Balogun 30, 84 (pen), 90 (pen))

The void left by Eddie Nketiah’s loan departure to Leeds United was sizeable, with the striker having scored with regularity for Arsenal U23s over the past few seasons.

Have no fear, however, because Folarin Balogun is here. The striker, having frequently found the net for the U18s before enjoying a stellar pre-season with the second-string, scored all three of Arsenal’s goals as they commenced the campaign, and the Steve Bould era, with a 3-1 victory away to Blackburn Rovers tonight.

Granted, two of Balogun’s goals were penalties, with the other coming from a rebound after a spot-kick was saved, but the 18-year-old caused numerous problems for the Blackburn defence, with his pace and trickery making him extremely difficult to deal with.

There was further positive news, too, with Emile Smith Rowe and Rob Holding playing 45 and 63 minutes respectively as they stepped up their returns from injury.

Bould started Balogun up front, with Tyreece John-Jules only fit enough to make the bench having suffered a knock in the final pre-season friendly against Watford.

Zech Medley was absent, but Robbie Burton captained the side, with James Olayinka also starting in midfield. Bukayo Saka wasn’t involved having travelled with the first-team to Newcastle.




Coyle-Smith Rowe-Tormey


Subs: McEneff (for Smith Rowe, 46), Olowu (for Holding, 63), John-Jules (for Olayinka, 72). Not used: T. Smith, Omole. 

It was Burton who had the first chance of the game, with the midfielder shooting over from distance.

Blackburn then started to assert themselves, with Bradley Lyons coming close to finding the net before the hosts took the lead in the 27th minute.

Lyons was heavily involved as he managed to locate Stefan Mols, who slotted the ball beyond the reach of James Hillson.

Blackburn’s lead didn’t last long, though, with Arsenal being awarded a penalty shortly afterwards after Balogun was brought down by Charley Doyle in the area.

Balogun’s penalty was saved by Joseph Hilton but the striker was quick to react as he steered the rebound into the back of the net to pull Arsenal level.

Although Blackburn threatened to restore their lead in the closing stages of the first half, the two sides went into the break level.

Smith Rowe, as had been pre-planned, didn’t emerge for the second half, with Jordan McEneff replacing him.

Blackburn continued to cause problems for Arsenal, with Jack Vale in particular heavily involved.

Joseph Olowu then replaced Holding at the back, but at the other end Arsenal had an opportunity to take the lead when Zak Swanson burst forward from right-back and shot just wide.

In what was now an entertaining contest, Arsenal goalkeeper Hillson had to react quickly to keep out Luke Brennan’s effort.

John-Jules then entered the fray in place of Olayinka as Arsenal added to their attacking firepower.

In the 84th minute Balogun was brought down in the area again, with Hilton fouling him. This time the Hale End product made no mistake as he scored to make it 2-1 to Arsenal.

Remarkably, Arsenal were awarded a third penalty in the closing stages, with Balogun again stepping up to complete his hat-trick and secure the victory.

This was a hard-fought encounter, but Balogun’s star continues to rise and he will be looking to add to his tally when Arsenal host Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday.