Report – Amaechi excels as Arsenal beat Sheffield Wednesday in FA Youth Cup to set up Liverpool tie

FA Youth Cup third round

Arsenal 2 (Amaechi 2) Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Shaw)

By Jeorge Bird @Meadow Park

2017-12-13 22_42_15-(no subject) - jlrbird@googlemail.com - Gmail

At this stage of the FA Youth Cup last season, when Reiss Nelson was sent off in a tempestuous encounter against Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal capitulated without their star man.

On this occasion, however, the young Gunners managed to produce a dominant performance against Sheffield Wednesday even though they were deprived of the services of Nelson, who was rested ahead of the U23 fixture against Derby County on Friday.

In Nelson’s absence Xavier Amaechi came to the fore. The creative starlet has been in sparkling form since returning from injury and he continued in that vein here as he hit a first half brace to give Arsenal control of the tie.

Kwame Amapdu’s side had several chances to extend their lead even further, with Tyreece John-Jules, for instance, rattling a post with one effort.

Sheffield Wednesday were on the backfoot for the majority of the game yet remained spirited in their approach and gave themselves late hope through a header from Liam Shaw.

Arsenal managed to hold on, however, to set up an intriguing trip to face Liverpool, who are coached by Steven Gerrard, in the next round.

Aside from Nelson’s omission, the standout team news saw Trae Coyle named amongst the substitutes, with the prospect yet to truly excel since returning from injury.

John-Jules was preferred to Folarin Balogun up front and Matt Smith was rewarded for his fine league performances with a starting berth in midfield.

Relative experience was provided by Emile Smith Rowe and Zech Medley, who have been involved with the U23s recently, while sprightly schoolboy Bukayo Saka made the bench.


Daley Campbell-Ballard-Medley-Thompson

Benson-M. Smith

Amaechi-Burton-Smith Rowe

John Jules

Subs: Saka (for Smith Rowe), Coyle (for Benson), Omole (for M. Smith). Not used: Balogun, Okonkwo.

Arsenal went into this fixture in excellent form having won their last five games in succession and it soon became apparent that they were going to dominate proceedings.

Ampadu was vocal on the touchline, encouraging his players to pass the ball quickly and simply, with one such move culminating in John-Jules seeing an effort saved by Joe Walker.

Smith then located Amaechi with a fine pass and the latter blazed over as Arsenal continued to threaten.

Amaechi made no mistake with his next opportunity shortly afterwards as he latched onto an incisive pass from Robbie Burton and slotted the ball beyond Walker’s reach.

The combination down Arsenal’s right flank of Amaechi and powerful right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell was proving too much for Sheffield Wednesday to handle and Ampadu’s team soon doubled their advantage.

It came as no surprise that Amaechi was the scorer again, taking his tally to six goals in five matches. On this occasion he found the net with a composed finish to further strengthen Arsenal’s grip on the game.

Sheffield Wednesday threatened in a rare attack that amounted to little but they were starting to lose their cool before the interval, with Alex Hunt booked for a rash challenge.

Arsenal started the second half with confidence and, following yet another burst forwards, Daley-Campbell swung in a cross from which John-Jules’ header was saved.

Shortly afterwards Daley-Campbell was rather fortunate not to score an own goal following a swift Sheffield Wednesday breakaway, with Joao Virginia alert to repel the danger.

The Arsenal goalkeeper, who had hitherto been called upon sparingly, then made another impressive claim as he provided a reminder of his credentials.

Daley-Campbell, undeterred by his earlier error, continued to provide a significant attacking threat and he found John-Jules with a cross again, with the striker this time hitting the post.

Emile Smith Rowe, who was kept largely quiet by former Arsenal defender Josh Dawodu, saw his follow-up effort saved.

Smith Rowe sent another effort wide but that proved to be his final action before injury struck and he was replaced by Saka.

Burton was becoming increasingly influential for Arsenal and had a shot saved after he was teed up by John-Jules before Virginia did well at the other end to thwart Ben Hughes.

Coyle then entered the fray in place of Burton but the substitute was rather rusty, providing an indication as to why he wasn’t involved from the outset.

Sheffield Wednesday, to their credit, continued to push forwards despite their two goal deficit and they were eventually rewarded, with Shaw heading in from a corner to set up a dramatic conclusion.

Arsenal threw on Tobi Omole in place of Smith to provide them with extra defensive solidity but Sheffield Wednesday, in the pouring rain, were determined to core an equaliser and send the game to extra time.

Amapdu’s side stood firm, however, with Dominic Thompson making a crucial intervention and Sheffield Wednesday were left devastated, with this Wednesday belonging to Arsenal.

The Liverpool game, which will provide a reunion with another former Arsenal youngster in Elijah Dixon-Bonner, will be a bigger test, but Ampadu’s side can be pleased with their performance tonight, both in an attacking sense and defensively.

Amaechi certainly stood out but there were plenty of other positives to take from proceedings, with Daley-Campbell, Burton, Smith, Virginia and Medley all giving positive accounts of themselves, meaning Nelson’s absence, in the end, was barely noticeable.



Arsenal U18s exceeding expectations with impressive peformances



They still have the significant matter of an FA Youth Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night to come, but Arsenal U18s have been in excellent form towards the end of 2017, with Kwame Ampadu’s team having won five games in succession.

There have been some superb performances from some of the older players in the group, such as Emile Smith Rowe, but, encouragingly, many of the club’s first-year scholars have exceeded expectations in the first half of the season.

Trae Coyle and Xavier Amaechi, who can both play as central midfielders or wingers, have long been identified as excellent prospects and have showcased their credentials in recent weeks, with the former playing some slick passes and the latter scoring four goals in as many games.

Meanwhile, striker Folarin Balogun has been effective in front of goal, scoring five goals in eight U18 appearances.

Tyreece John-Jules, another exciting attacking talent, has three goals in four league appearances for the U18s, and, like Balogun, has also featured at U23 level.

Some of the less well known youngsters have also stepped up, with right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell pushing forwards and using his strength to excellent effect, while midfielder Matt Smith has been a hub of creativity and is starting to get on the scoresheet himself.

Winger Zak Swanson has also caught the eye with his incisive passing and midfielder James Olayinka has adapted well to U18 level, even though he has found it difficult to command a regular starting berth in recent weeks given the intense competition for places.

Defender Harry Clarke has been composed and, overall, this is a very encouraging group of players who are very effective when playing together.

Arsenal have often struggled for consistent results at U18 level in recent seasons but of late they have been hugely impressive, which will hopefully lead to a lengthy run in the Youth Cup.


Loan report – Bramall back in favour for Birmingham; Nwakali and Asano feature


Image: Birmingham Mail

Cohen Bramall was re-called to the Birmingham City starting line-up for the 1-0 defeat to Fulham as he made his first appearance since August. Playing as a left wing-back, he completed 89 minutes.

Carl Jenkinson wasn’t involved as he continues to build up his fitness after recovering from injury.

Lucas Perez played the whole game as Deportivo La Coruna beat Leganes 1-0.

Takuma Asano came on in the 85th minute as Stuttgart lost 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen.

Kelechi Nwakali started and played 67 minutes as VVV-Venlo drew 2-2 with Heerenveen.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe drew 0-0 with Eibar.

Stephy Mavididi was an unused substitute as Preston North End lost 2-1 to Burton Albion.

Marc Bola was an unused substitute as Bristol Rovers beat Southend United 3-0.

Joel Campbell missed out through injury as Real Betis lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid.


Report – Osei-Tutu scores and Bielik returns as Arsenal U23s beat Manchester City

Premier League 2 

Manchester City 0 Arsenal 1 (Osei-Tutu 48)


Arsenal U23s overcame their Manchester City counterparts with a hard-fought away victory today that was secured courtesy of a second half goal from Jordi Osei-Tutu.

Osei-Tutu, who signed a contract extension this week, found the net early in the second half.

Coach Steve Gatting welcomed back Krystian Bielik and Jeff Reine-Adelaide from injuries, while Deyan Iliev also came into the side.

Marcus McGuane was back from injury to make the bench, where he was joined by Yassin Fortune, who has been on the periphery of proceedings this season.



Osei Tutu-Dasilva-Willock-Dragomir

Nelson-Reine Adelaide


Subs: Fortune (for Reine-Adelaide, 68). Not used: Keto, T. Bola, Gilmour, McGuane.

Arsenal were impressive in the first half and had an opportunity to take the lead through Joe Willock, who saw his effort saved.

Manchester City provided a threat of their own but Arsenal took the lead in the 48th minute when Osei-Tutu scored his first goal at this level having been teed up by Josh Dasilva.

Arsenal introduced Fortune into the fray as he made a rare appearance, replacing Jeff Reine-Adelaide, and the young Gunners held on to secure an impressive victory.

Report – John-Jules amongst scorers as Arsenal U18s overcome Swansea

U18 Premier League

Swansea City 0 Arsenal 3 (Amaechi 7, John-Jules 78, Saka 79)

2017-12-09 13_11_22-Tyreece John-Jules Photos Photos - Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Premier League

Arsenal U18s extended their winning run to five matches as they prevailed past Swansea City with a 3-0 away victory today.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made eight alterations to the side that beat Stoke, with Arthur Okonkwo, Harry Clarke, Bayli Spencer-Adams, Dominic Thompson, Jay Beckford, James Olayinka, Bukayo Saka and Tyreece John-Jules all starting.

Defender Mark McGuinness, meanwhile, made the bench for the first time this season after recovering from injury.


Clarke-Spencer Adams-Omole-Thompson



John Jules

Subs: Burton (for Beckford, 55), Balogun (for Amaechi, 62). Not used: Barden, McGuinness, Swanson.

Arsenal have played some excellent attacking football this season and they continued in that manner on this occasion, with Xavier Amaechi opening the scoring in the seventh minute.

The young Gunners had to wait until late in the second half to double their tally through Tyreece John-Jules before schoolboy Bukayo Saka added further gloss to the scoreline with his fourth goal of the campaign.

Attention now turns to next week’s FA Youth Cup fixture against Sheffield Wednesday, when Ampadu could field a rather different team to the one that started today.

Arsenal defender Osei-Tutu rewarded with contract extension


Arsenal defender Jordi Osei-Tutu has signed a contract extension with the club.

Now in his third season at Arsenal since joining from Reading, Osei-Tutu has established himself as a regular for the club’s U23 side and has also been on the bench for the first-team in the Europa League and the EFL Cup.

Although he struggled defensively upon first joining Arsenal, the youngster has now improved significantly in that regard, while he has retained his attacking prowess.

Capable of playing as a right-back, Osei-Tutu has thrived as a right wing-back for Arsenal U23s this campaign.

Osei-Tutu, 19, becomes the latest Arsenal youngster to sign a new deal this week following on from Eddie Nketiah, Ben Sheaf, Matt Macey and Joseph Olowu.

Centre-back Olowu signs first professional contract with Arsenal after making excellent progress


Centre-back Joseph Olowu has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal after making excellent progress over the past couple of seasons.

Olowu, a graduate of the club’s Hale End academy, made his debut for Arsenal U23s during the first year of his scholarship and has made three appearances at that level this season, while he has also continued to feature for the U18s.

The 18-year-old, who is comfortable in possession, has missed several games recently through injury but is nearing a return to full fitness and will now be looking to continue his development having secured his short-term future at the club.

Olowu becomes the latest member of last season’s scholars to sign a professional contract with Arsenal, following on from Joao Virginia, Emile Smith Rowe, Zech Medley and Nathan Tormey.

There remain six second years whose futures are undecided – Daniel Ballard, Jay Beckford, Josh Benson, Robbie Burton, Tobi Omole and Dominic Thompson.