Zelalem back running with Bielik also set for Arsenal return


Arsenal U23s are set to receive a double fitness boost with midfielder Gedion Zelalem and defender Krystian Bielik closing in on their respective returns from long-term injuries.

Zelalem has been sidelined since May with an anterior cruciate ligament injury that he suffered while playing for the United States at the U20 World Cup but he is now back running individually and will hope to return to full training soon.

Bielik, meanwhile, hasn’t featured since suffering a shoulder injury during Arsenal’s U23 game against Manchester City in August.

The centre-back, who had a successful loan spell at Birmingham City in the second half of last season, should be back in training shortly.

Once Zelalem and Bielik have returned to fitness it is anticipated that they will feature for Arsenal U23s in early January before perhaps heading out on loan prior to the closure of the transfer window if they are deemed sharp enough.

Zelalem, who has already had loan spells with Rangers and VVV-Venlo, is out of contract at Arsenal at the end of the season and has yet to be offered a new deal.

Meanwhile, defender Chiori Johnson remains sidelined having not featured since pre-season because of injury.


Loan report – Jenkinson back in training; Lucas and Asano feature

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Cohen Bramall is unlikely to be involved when Birmingham City host Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow night but there is positive news regarding Carl Jenkinson, who is back in training as he steps up his recovery from a dislocated shoulder.

Lucas Perez played the whole game and was booked as Deportivo La Coruna lost 2-0 to Sevilla.

Takuma Asano played 57 minutes as Stuttgart lost 1-0 to Werder Bremen.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe beat Valencia 1-0.

Kelechi Nwakali was an unused substitute as VVV-Venlo lost 2-0 to AZ.

Joel Campbell missed out through injury as Real Betis took on Las Palmas.

Stephy Mavididi wasn’t involved as Preston North End beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0.

Marc Bola wasn’t involved as Bristol Rovers beat Rotherham United 2-1.


Report – Smith Rowe excels as Arsenal U18s beat Stoke in Premier League Cup

U18 Premier League Cup

Stoke City 2  (Toure 10, Collins 46) Arsenal 4 (Amaechi 3, Smith Rowe 67, Burton 75, M. Smith 89)


Arsenal U18s produced a spirited performance to overcome their Stoke City counterparts with a 4-2 away victory today, with Emile Smith Rowe the standout performer for Kwame Ampadu’s team.

Ampadu made two alterations to the side that thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 last weekend, with Smith Rowe and Zech Medley replacing Bukayo Saka and Dominic Thompson.


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Benson-M. Smith

Amaechi-Burton-Smith Rowe


Subs: Okonkwo, Olayinka, Spencer-Adams, Beckford, Thompson.

Xavier Amaechi has been in superb form since returning from injury and the creative starlet continued in that vein as he opened the scoring in the third minute after being found by Josh Benson.

However, the lead lasted just seven minutes as Stoke pulled level courtesy of Abdoulaye Toure, whose effort got the better of Arsenal goalkeeper Joao Virginia.

Arsenal assumed control of the game thereafter, with Trae Coyle, who was again deployed up front, seeing a shot saved before Amaechi came close to doubling his tally.

Smith Rowe was also a threat but Stoke were still dangerous at times themselves and hit the crossbar in the closing stages of the first half through Luis da silva.

Stoke took the lead early in the second half when Nathan Collins found the net.

Arsenal were determined to respond and they almost did so through Amaechi, who had an effort saved.

Smith Rowe was becoming increasingly influential and, after being thwarted on a couple of occasions, the winger’s persistence eventually paid off as he made it 2-2 with a fine individual strike.

Virginia had to make a fantastic save to preserve parity and then Arsenal took the lead, with Robbie Burton scoring what proved to be the decisive goal of the game.

There was still time for Arsenal to score again as Smith Rowe teed up the ever-improving Matt Smith to make it 4-2.

Despite their impressive victory Arsenal must wait for the outcome of the other game in this group, between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United, to discover whether they will progress in this competition.


Report – Dasilva and Sheaf impress as Arsenal U23s are held by resolute Reading


Premier League International Cup

Arsenal U23s 0 Reading U23s 0

By Jeorge Bird @Meadow Park

Despite coming close to scoring on several occasions, Arsenal U23s had to settle for a point against Reading tonight in their second Premier League International Cup fixture.

The young Gunners had to work extremely hard to overcome Porto a couple of weeks ago and this was another difficult challenge for Steve Gatting’s side, both defensively and going forwards.

Arsenal had to be reliant on goalkeeper Matt Macey, who made some fine saves, while Ben Sheaf and Julio Pleguezuelo made some important interventions.

At the other end Eddie Nketiah had the ball in the net towards the end but the goal was ruled out for offside and Arsenal were unable to secure victory.

There were three changes from the victory over West Ham United, with Mathieu Debuchy, Reiss Nelson and Chuba Akpom replacing Zech Medley, Emile Smith Rowe and Tolaji Bola. The alterations saw Vlad Dragomir deployed at left wing-back, while Marcus McGuane was still unavailable due to injury.

Arsenal wore black armbands in remembrance of Dermot Drummy, the club’s former youth player and coach, who died this week.



Osei Tutu-Dasilva-Willock-Dragomir



Subs: Medley (for Debuchy, 65), Smith Rowe (for Akpom, 66). Not used: Keto, Gilmour, T. Bola.

Arsenal are used to starting brightly and they did just that on this occasion, with Debuchy, up from the back, heading over from Josh Dasilva’s free-kick.

Nelson and Joe Willock then missed inviting opportunities, with Akpom especially frustrated that the latter didn’t pass to him when he was well placed.

Soon, however, Reading started to provide an indication of the attacking threat they possessed themselves.

Sheaf, who was once again impressive in defence, made an excellent intervention to thwart the danger on one occasion and then Macey, as he would have to do on several occasions during the game, made a good stop.

Arsenal continued to create chances at the other end but they lacked conviction in front of goal with even the usually prolific Nketiah struggling to make the most of his chances.

Dasilva was at the hub of much of what was good about Arsenal’s play and the 19-year-old has benefited immensely from his spell at left wing-back as he is now more assured defensively in addition to being a creative threat.

The versatile youngster saw an effort deflected wide towards the end of the first half and then Akpom, who had impressed with his link-up play but hadn’t had many chances in front of goal, had a shot saved.

Arsenal seemed especially determined to break the deadlock early in the second half and they almost did so when Nelson threaded a neat ball through into the path of Joe Willock, but the midfielder couldn’t score.

Nelson was becoming increasingly involved in proceedings but didn’t have his best game overall as he frequently over-ran the ball and missed some good opportunities to score.

Reading were certainly capable of causing Arsenal problems but the visitors deserve much credit for a resolute defensive display which restricted the space available to Gatting’s side and made it difficult for them to get in behind.

Debuchy, for the second time in the game, came close to scoring, but that proved to be the 32-year-old’s final contribution as he was replaced by Medley.

Smith Rowe, meanwhile, entered the fray in place of Akpom, who will hope to get an opportunity to impress for the first-team against BATE Borisov in the Europa League next week.

Medley’s first act was almost a costly one as he lost possession in a dangerous area but Reading were unable to capitalise.

Arsenal’s seemed more fluid as an attacking unit, meanwhile, following Smith Rowe’s introduction, with Nketiah pushed into the striking berth vacated by Akpom.

Reading continued to threaten intermittently but the majority of the drama in the closing stages occurred down the other end, with Arsenal cranking up the pressure.

Nketiah had the ball in the net but the offside flag was raised and then Dasilva came close from a free-kick.

Reading were extremely well organised, though, with the vast majority of their team inside their own penalty area towards the end. Ryan East was especially effective at the back for the Royals but Arsenal just couldn’t find the breakthrough despite the attacking stars that they had on show.

Dasilva’s encouraging display was the main plus point to take away from proceedings, although it was notable that Arsenal suffered creatively due to Dragomir being deployed in the unfamiliar position of left wing-back, which meant that the Romanian couldn’t have as much of an impact going forwards as he usually does.

Overall, Arsenal will be frustrated not to have prevailed but a return of four points out of six so far in this tournament is commendable, with Bayern Munich still to visit Meadow Park in January.


Daley-Campbell putting strength to good use with excellent form for Arsenal U18s

2017-11-28 19_17_30-Vontae Daley-Campbell Photos - England U17 v Germany U17 - International Match -


Arsenal supporters have already taken one physically-imposing defender to their hearts this season in Sead Kolasinac and at U18 level another well-built full-back has made a significant impact.

Vontae Daley-Campbell is in the first year of his scholarship at Arsenal and has already established himself as the first-choice right-back in Kwame Ampadu’s team with some excellent displays.

The prospect relishes pushing forwards and provided an assist in the 6-0 thrashing of rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, while he also got on the scoresheet himself earlier in the campaign against Reading.

Daley-Campbell’s strength is his main asset and gives him a major advantage over opponents at U18 level, many of whom struggle to cope when up against him in one-on-one duels.

It is clear that Daley-Campbell still needs to improve defensively – he has been caught out of position on several occasions and loses concentration at times.

However, the same could be said of Jordi Osei-Tutu last season and he is now thriving as a right wing-back for the U23s and has been on the bench for the first-team.

Daley-Campbell, who recently made his debut for England U17s, should take inspiration from Osei-Tutu and should aim to continue developing defensively under the tutelage of Ampadu.

Like Osei-Tutu, Daley-Campbell would be well suited to playing as a right wing-back given that it would provide him with greater opportunities to push forwards and make the most of his attacking attributes.

With Arsenal U18s continuing to play with four at the back, though, it seems as if Daley-Campbell will have to stay developing as a right-back for now.

The FA Youth Cup third round is edging ever closer, with Arsenal hosting Sheffield Wednesday next month.

Daley-Campbell is likely to be involved in that fixture and a good performance would cap off what has been a rather impressive calendar year for the 16-year-old.

Loan report – Asano scores first Bundesliga goal; Perez features

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Takuma Asano scored his first Bundesliga goal as Stuttgart drew 1-1 with Hannover. The Japan international, who played up front, was also booked and was substituted after 73 minutes.

Lucas Perez played the whole game as Deportivo La Coruna drew 2-2 with Athletic Bilbao.

Kelechi Nwakali was an unused substitute as VVV-Venlo drew 3-3 with Willem II.

Cohen Bramall wasn’t involved and Carl Jenkinson missed out through injury as Birmingham City drew 1-1 with Sheffield United.

Joel Campbell missed out due to injury as Real Betis drew 2-2 with Girona.

Stephy Mavididi wasn’t involved due to injury as Preston North End drew 1-1 with Norwich City.

Marc Bola wasn’t involved as Bristol Rovers lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers.

Emiliano Martinez is expected to be amongst the substitutes for Getafe away to Espanyol tomorrow night.



Reine-Adelaide back from injury and Nelson trains with Arsenal first-team pre-Burnley



Arsenal held their final first-team training session today ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s Premier League game away to Burnley, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide playing a full part in proceedings.

The talented midfielder hasn’t played for the first-team this season and hasn’t featured at any level since having to be substituted in the U23s’ game against Sunderland last month.

Reine-Adelaide will hope to be in contention for Arsenal’s Europa League and Carabao Cup games in December.

Meanwhile, three members of the U23 squad trained with the first-team today, with Matt Macey, Reiss Nelson and Charlie Gilmour all involved in the session.

As far as first-team players are concerned, Theo Walcott didn’t train again due to illness but should be back soon, while Santi Cazorla remains sidelined.

Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy, who are working their way back towards full fitness, and Chuba Akpom weren’t selected to train with the squad today,

Possible team






Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Welbeck, Giroud.