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Arsenal’s Chiori Johnson eager to build on impressive progress

johnson

Zimbio.com

Having spent much of the season on the sidelines, Chiori Johnson had plenty of time to contemplate his situation at Arsenal and motivate himself to make a sizeable impact upon his return to action.

He has certainly succeeded in that regard, with the right-back having delivered some hugely encouraging performances at youth level in recent weeks after finally putting his injury nightmare behind him.

Johnson broke into the U18s as a schoolboy and featured for the U21s in the first year of his scholarship, but the prospect has reached new heights since returning from injury.

Quick, skilful and a good reader of the game, Johnson’s positioning was previously a little suspect, but he has made significant strides in that regard and, against West Bromwich Albion for the U21s on Monday night, demonstrated that he can be effective going forwards as he frequently combined well with Jack Wilshere.

Johnson was invited to train with the first-team recently after catching the eye in the FA Youth Cup exit to Manchester City, and the 18-year-old will hope to edge closer to the senior squad next season.

With Tafari Moore, another player who has had injury troubles, likely to go on loan next season, there is set to be an opening for Johnson to establish himself as Arsenal’s first-choice right-back at U21 level.

He will no longer be eligible for the U18s, but Johnson will still be permitted to feature in the UEFA Youth League and should be heavily involved in the latter competition.

With Hector Bellerin ahead of him, making the leap into the first-team squad won’t be an easy task for Johnson, but his recent development has been very encouraging indeed, and, perhaps most importantly, his injury problems have seemingly been consigned to the past.

 

 

Report- Wilshere scores but Arsenal U21s’ title dreams are over

U21 Premier League- Division 2

Arsenal 1 West Bromwich Albion 2

By Jeorge Bird@Meadow Park

Screen shot 2016-04-08 at 22.45.41

Jack Wilshere scored his first goal in almost a year, but it wasn’t sufficient to prevent Arsenal U21s from seeing their title hopes go up in flames as they were beaten 2-1 by a spirited West Bromwich Albion side at Meadow Park this evening.

A victory would have seen Steve Gatting’s side gain automatic promotion to the top tier of second-string football, but now Arsenal must go through the play-offs if they are to get out of this division.

The sight of Wilshere completing 90 minutes was one positive to take from proceedings, with the midfielder catching the eye in the second period after struggling to have much of an influence in the first-half.

Both of West Brom’s goals stemmed from errors from Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey, who failed to stop efforts from Joe Ward and Samir Nabi.

Arsenal fielded a strong side but their cause wasn’t helped by Gatting’s rather bizarre decision to deploy Serge Gnabry as a central striker. The German youth international has impressed in that position in the past but on this occasion he struggled to exert much of an influence on proceedings.

Macey

Johnson-Bielik-Pleguezuelo-Moore

McGuane-Sheaf

Reine Adelaide-Wilshere-Crowley

Gnabry

Subs: Huddart, O’Connor, Malen, Hinds, Nelson.

Arsenal, knowing that a victory would secure the title, adopted an attack minded approach from the outset, with full-backs Chiori Johnson and Tafari Moore pushing forwards with regularity.

Moore had Arsenal’s first attempt of the game as his effort was deflected for a corner and then Wilshere played a slick pass into the path of Gnabry, whose finish lacked conviction.

Despite Arsenal’s dominance, it was West Brom, rather against the run of play, who would take the lead, with Joe Ward tucking home after Macey struggled to hold an earlier attempt.

That setback caused Arsenal to push forwards even more, with Gnabry, Johnson and Moore all shooting wide.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide was starting to have a major impact on proceedings as he drifted infield to good effect, but Arsenal still lacked conviction in an attacking sense.

Wilshere played a neat backheel into the path of Reine-Adelaide, but the Frenchman couldn’t find the net. Reine-Adelaide was then dragged down in the area but, much to his frustration, the referee waved play on.

West Brom had a chance to extend their advantage just prior to the break when Krystian Bielik needlessly squandered possession, but the prospect quickly atoned for his error by recovering well to win the ball back.

West Brom started the second half very well, with Bielik forced into making a goal-line clearance, but Arsenal soon managed to gain a foothold in the game.

It was Wilshere, the most experienced player on the field, who would prove to be the young Gunners’ source of inspiration as he finished expertly to level the scoreline.

Arsenal then went for the jugular, with Sheaf shooting over and Dan Crowley, who was growing into the game, then seeing his attempt deflect wide.

Sheaf and Gnabry had further efforts, but, try as they might, a second goal continued to elude Arsenal.

Gatting brought on Donyell Malen for Marcus McGuane in an attack-minded change, but, crucially, it was West Brom who would score the decisive goal, with Samir Nabi finishing adroitly and Macey’s actions once again questionable.

Arsenal threw on Reiss Nelson and Kaylen Hinds, but there was a feeling that their chance to secure the title had already passed, and so it proved as West Brom held on for victory.

The play-offs now await and it cannot be stressed enough how crucial those fixtures are for Arsenal as it would be extremely beneficial for these youngsters to test themselves against a higher calibre of opposition.

Wilshere’s return, however, provided a silver lining on a dark night.

Loan report- Zelalem scores in shoot out against Celtic; Toral sent off

Gedion Zelalem entered the fray as an 88th minute substitute and confidently dispatched a penalty in the shootout as Rangers overcame Celtic to reach the Final of the Scottish Cup, with the game having finished 2-2 after extra-time. 

Jon Toral had a couple of chances to score before being sent off in second half stoppage time for a second bookable offence as Birmingham City were beaten 2-1 by Burnley. A late challenge on Lloyd Dyer lead to the Spaniard being dismissed.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma drew 3-3 with Atalanta. 

Mathieu Debuchy played the whole game and was booked as Bordeaux lost 3-1 to Angers. The defender had a goal disallowed for offside.

Chuba Akpom was introduced as a 73rd minute substitute in Hull City’s 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Isaac Hayden didn’t feature. Emiliano Martinez was an un-used substitute for Wolves.

Yaya Sanogo wasn’t involved as Charlton Athletic lost 1-0 to Derby County.

Wellington missed out through injury as Bolton Wanderers were beaten 2-1 by Middlesbrough.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles didn’t feature as Ipswich Town drew 1-1 with Sheffield Wednesday.

Glen Kamara wasn’t involved as Southend United lost 1-0 to Walsall.

 

Benson and Smith-Rowe feature as Arsenal U18s lose to Leicester

benson

Arsenal U18s suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to their Leicester City counterparts at London Colney yesterday, despite Edward Nketiah scoring his 19th goal of the season.

It has become an all too familiar narrative this campaign, with the prolific forward often finding the net while as a team Arsenal have struggled for consistency in terms of their performances.

Coach Frans De Kat made a couple of changes to his side, with schoolboys Josh Benson and Tobi Omole coming into the side. Benson was impressive in midfield, while fellow U16 player Emile Smith-Rowe featured as a substitute and Joseph Olowu was named on the bench for the first time at this level.

Arsenal conclude their season with a trip to face Sunderland and a home game against Tottenham Hotspur.

Virginia

Osei Tutu-T. Bola-Omole-Chatzitheodoridis

Benson-Mourgos

Eyoma-J. Willock-Fortune

Nketiah

Subs: Keto, Dragomir, Smith-Rowe, Olowu.

via @AFCFixtureNews

 

Joe Willock showcases potential in Arsenal U18s’ win over Wolves

joewillock

His brother Chris has already been mentioned by Arsene Wenger as a potential candidate to break into the Arsenal first-team squad next season and now Joe Willock is starting to demonstrate that he is a very talented prospect in his own right.

The 16-year-old- the youngest of Arsenal’s current first-year scholars- hasn’t always been a regular for the club’s U18 side this season, but when he has featured the England youth international has invariably been impressive.

In the 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers last week striker Edward Nketiah hit the headlines by continuing his fine recent form with a brace, but Willock’s performance in that game certainly warrants a mention.

The youngster showcased his immense potential by controlling the ball immaculately while he also played several short, snappy passes to his team-mates as Arsenal impressed in an attacking sense.

Although he is also capable of operating out wide, the younger Willock is best suited to playing as an attacking midfielder as from that area of the pitch he can burst forwards to great effect.

Willock isn’t a prolific goalscorer but he is steadily improving in that regard. His ability to lay on chances for others is superb and the starlet seems perfectly suited to Arsenal’s style of play.

In addition to Willock’s display there was another positive to take from the Wolves game as U15 player Xavier Amaechi made his U18s debut as a late substitute.

Arsenal: Virginia; Eyoma, Osei-Tutu, T. Bola, Chatzitheodoridis; Mourgos (Benson, 77), Dragomir; Tella (Omole, 46), J. Willock, Fortune (Amaechi, 86); Nketiah. Not used: Barden.

Report- Gnabry scores and Wilshere features but Arsenal U21s’ title hopes are dented by Swansea

U21 Premier League- Division 2

Swansea City 3 (King, Gorre, Bray) Arsenal 1 (Gnabry)

Screen shot 2016-04-04 at 13.24.34

Arsenal U21s saw their hopes of automatic promotion dented today as they were beaten 3-1 by Swansea City, although there were some positives to take from proceedings as first-team midfielders Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky stepped up their respective returns to full fitness, while Serge Gnabry provided a reminder of his quality with a stunning goal.

Swansea had former Arsenal goalkeeper Josh Vickers to thank for making some excellent saves to keep the young Gunners at bay.

Wilshere played the full game and Rosicky was on the field for 71 minutes, but neither was able to inspire the young Gunners to victory and attention will now turn to the final league game of the season at home to West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

A win in that fixture would see Arsenal top the table but even if they don’t succeed there is still a chance for them to be promoted via the play-offs.

Coach Steve Gatting fielded a very strong side, with first-team players Wilshere, Rosicky and Gnabry all returning to the fray. Kaylen Hinds, meanwhile, was given a starting berth after making a stellar impact as a substitute against Derby County on Monday. Stefan O’Connor made a welcome return from injury and was named on the bench.

Macey

Moore-Bielik-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola

Reine Adelaide-Wilshere

Gnabry-Rosicky-C. Willock

Hinds

Subs: Nelson (for C. Willock, 61), Sheaf (for Rosicky, 71), Crowley (for Reine-Adelaide, 82)

Not used: Keto, O’Connor.

Arsenal started well, with Gnabry forcing a save from former Gunner Josh Vickers. The goalkeeper, who was released by Arsenal last year, then made an impressive stop to thwart the lively Hinds.

Swansea then carved out their first opportunity of the game and they very nearly scored, with Joe Rodon’s header rattling the crossbar.

The Welsh side’s next attack would result in the game’s opening goal. Arsenal have improved defensively of late, but they were unable to prevent Adam King heading home from Nikola Maric’s cross as Swansea took the lead.

Arsenal attempted to respond, but they were finding it difficult to get the better of Vickers, with the goalkeeper doing well to keep out Gnabry’s free-kick.

Tafari Moore, who was making his return to action, then shot wide when well placed as Arsenal finally started to see more of the ball, and the Gunners then had a penalty claim waved away when Rosicky felt he had been fouled in the area.

Arsenal still had to be alert at the other end, however, with Matt Macey having to come to the rescue when a Swansea attempt deflected off Krystian Bielik.

Arsenal were struggling to break Swansea down and the hosts always seemed more dangerous in an attacking sense. That point was borne out when Kenji Gorre doubled Swansea’s advantage with a sweet finish beyond the reach of Macey.

To their credit Arsenal continued to stride forwards thereafter, but Hinds was unable to find the net and then Vickers was called upon again to make a good stop from Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

Wilshere then had his first attempt of the game, with the England international shooting over the crossbar, but Swansea held on to go into the break in the ascendancy.

Once the second half got underway Arsenal immediately sought to reduce the deficit, with Hinds coming close to scoring.

Swansea continued to threaten, however, with Macey, who made some excellent saves against Derby, doing well to make two impressive stops on this occasion.

Rosicky then had a chance at the other end, but his effort was easily gathered by Vickers, who also had no problems in keeping out a further attempt from Gnabry.

Arsenal then made their first alteration, with schoolboy Reiss Nelson entering the fray in place of Chris Willock.

The Gunners continued to charge forwards, with full-back Marc Bola shooting wide and Swansea responded with a chance of their own as Maric came close to scoring.

In an eventful game Gnabry’s free-kick went just over the crossbar and Macey still had to be alert to make a good save. Arsenal were then handed a lifeline when Gnabry found the net with a powerful effort as the Gunners finally managed to get the better of Vickers.

That flicker of hope didn’t last for very long at all, however, as Swansea soon made it 3-1 through Alex Bray.

Swansea had another chance late on through Gorre, but the damage had already been done and thoughts will now start to turn to Monday night’s game.

Report- Hinds the hero as Arsenal U21s keep title dream alive with win over Derby

U21 Premier League

Derby County 1 (Vernam) Arsenal 2 (Mavididi, Hinds)

hinds

Zimbio.com

Kaylen Hinds emerged off the bench to score the winning goal for ten-man Arsenal U21s away to Derby County this evening to keep their hopes of securing the second division title alive.

Arsenal took the lead through Derby-born striker Stephy Mavididi, but the hosts equalised through Charles Vernam and were in the ascendancy following the dismissal of Ben Sheaf for two bookable offences.

However, Arsenal survived the Derby onslaught, with goalkeeper Matt Macey making several fine stops, before Hinds scored what could prove to be a crucial goal. Derby could have clinched the title themselves with a victory here, but instead the momentum is now with Arsenal.

Three points from their final two games- away to Swansea City and at home to West Bromwich Albion- will be sufficient to see Arsenal crowned champions of the second tier and earn promotion to the top flight of U21 football.

Coach Steve Gatting made several changes from the side that were so impressive against Newcastle United on Friday, with the first-team trio of Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Serge Gnabry not included. Chiori Johnson, Reiss Nelson and Chris Willock came into the starting line-up.

Macey

Johnson-Bielik-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola

Sheaf-Reine Adelaide

Nelson-Crowley-C. Willock

Mavididi

Subs: Hinds (for Mavididi, 46). Not used: Keto, Pileas, Robinson, DaSilva.

It was Derby who started the brightest, with Callum Guy and Kellan Gordon shooting wide, but Arsenal gradually started to assert themselves, with the lively Nelson doing well to find Mavididi, but the striker’s effort was saved.

2016-04-11 20_13_06-Derby County (@dcfcofficial) _ Twitter

Official Derby County

Dan Crowley, who was hugely impressive against Newcastle United, was next to try his luck and he came close to finding the net, with his effort shooting just wide.

Shortly afterwards Arsenal took the lead and Mavididi was the scorer as he burst forwards, showcased his technical ability and then finished calmly for his 11th goal of the season at this level.

Arsenal quickly set about attempting to extend their lead, with Nelson seeing his shot saved before Sheaf’s effort from distance was blocked.

Matters soon started to take a turn for the worse for both Sheaf and Arsenal, however, with the midfielder receiving a needless yellow card for kicking the ball away.

Derby then equalised in somewhat controversial fashion, with Vernam, who had just entered the fray as a substitute, finding the net and the goal eventually being awarded despite initially being declared offside.

Arsenal’s immediate task was to attempt to see out the half without suffering any further damage but they were unable to achieve that aim as Sheaf was dismissed for arguing with the referee.

Arsenal made an alteration at the start of the second half, with Hinds entering the fray in place of Mavididi.

It was Derby, though, who started the second half more impressively, which didn’t come as too much of a surprise given their numerical advantage. Macey had to be alert to thwart Will Hughes, before Ivan Calero came close to scoring with a free-kick.

The winger then caused problems for Arsenal again, but his powerful effort only hit the side-netting on this occasion.

Arsenal then had Macey to thank for making a superb stop to keep out Farren Drawson’s header following a well-taken free-kick from Calero.

Derby continued to dominate, with Jake Buxton heading wide, and at that stage it appeared a near certainty that it would be the hosts who would score next.

Instead, rather improbably, and completely against the run of play, it was Arsenal who took the lead, with Crowley doing well to find Hinds, whose shot went in via the crossbar.

Derby continued to threaten thereafter, with Guy coming close and Macey then had to make another impressive stop.

Willock then shot wide in a rare Arsenal attack, and, despite Derby having a late free-kick with goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell going up, the young Gunners managed to hold on for a potentially vital win.