Report – Dragomir provides two assists as Arsenal U18s secure point against Reading

U18 Premier League – Merit Group

Arsenal 2 (J. Willock, Smith-Rowe) Reading 2



Vlad Dragomir provided two assists as Arsenal U18s came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Reading today in their first Merit Group fixture, with Joe Willock and Emile Smith-Rowe both on the scoresheet.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made three changes to his team, with Hugo Keto, Tolaji Bola and Dragomir coming in for Joao Virginia, Kostas Pileas and Tyreece John-Jules.


Osei Tutu-Olowu-Medley-T. Bola


Smith Rowe-Dragomir-J. Willock


Subs: Benson (for Dasilva, 62). Not used: Crean, Omole, Ballard, Thompson.

Arsenal got off to a disappointing start, with Danny Loader putting Reading in front after just four minutes, but the young Gunners managed to equalise through Willock, who was teed up by Dragomir.

Although he has mainly been playing for the U23s in recent weeks, Dragomir still appeared determined to make an impact upon his return to the U18s and the Romanian certainly did just that.

Reading, though, posed a threat of their own and the Royals restored their advantage courtesy of Ramarni Medford-Smith before the break.

Arsenal refused to give up, however, and managed to secure a point when Dragomir found Smith-Rowe, who has been excellent of late, with the winger making it 2-2 in the closing stages.

Loan report – Toral scores first Rangers goal; Asano and Nwakali feature


Jon Toral scored his first goal for Rangers in the 6-0 Scottish Cup win over Hamilton Academical, with the Spaniard playing the full game.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma lost 2-1 to Napoli.

Takuma Asano played 70 minutes as Stuttgart beat Kaiserslautern 2-0.

Joel Campbell came on in the 66th minute as Sporting Lisbon drew 1-1 with Vitoria Guimaraes.

Dan Crowley played the full 90 minutes of Go Ahead Eagles’ 2-2 draw with Heerenveen.

Ismael Bennacer played the full game as Tours drew 2-2 with Gazelec Ajaccio.

Kelechi Nwakali played the entirety of Maastricht’s 2-2 draw with Almere City. Stefan O’Connor wasn’t involved.

Marc Bola played 66 minutes as Notts County lost 3-0 away to Stevenage. Kaylen Hinds came on for the hosts in the 85th minute.

Matt Macey kept a clean sheet as Luton Town beat Yeovil Town 4-0.

Jack Wilshere was an un-used substitute as Bournemouth drew 1-1 with Manchester United.

Krystian Bielik was an un-used substitute as Birmingham City lost 3-1 to Leeds United.

Gedion Zelalem is likely to be in the squad for VVV-Venlo’s game away to Utrecht II tomorrow. Tafari Moore is doubtful for the hosts due to injury.

Chuba Akpom wasn’t involved a Brighton & Hove Albion lost 3-0 to Nottingham Forest.

Julio Pleguezuelo wasn’t involved as Mallorca drew 1-1 with UCAM Murcia.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam drew 1-1 with Dordrecht.

Calum Chambers missed out through injury as Middlesbrough lost 2-0 to Stoke City.

Stephy Mavididi has returned to Arsenal for treatment after his loan spell at Charlton Athletic was cut short by a hamstring injury that is set to keep him out for between twelve and fourteen weeks.



Report – Dasilva scores but Arsenal U18s lose to Tottenham

U18 Premier League

Arsenal 1 (Dasilva) Tottenham 2


Image: Tottenham Hotspur

Josh Dasilva’s goal wasn’t sufficient to prevent Arsenal U18s from falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to rivals Tottenham Hotspur today in the club’s final regular fixture of the campaign.

Coach Kwame Ampadu made five changes to the team that prevailed past Swansea City last weekend, with Joseph Olowu, Zech Medley, Dasilva, Charlie Gilmour and schoolboy striker Tyreece John-Jules coming into the team in place of Daniel Ballard, Tolaji Bola, Josh Benson, Dominic Thompson and Eddie Nketiah


Osei Tutu-Olowu-Medley-Pileas


Smith Rowe-J. Willock-Fortune

John Jules

Subs: Omole (for John-Jules, 84). Not used: Barden, Benson, Thompson, Olayinka.

Arsenal may have been the dominant force when these clubs met at U23 level yesterday but on this occasion it was Tottenham who were on top and the visitors took the lead through Timothy Eyoma, brother of Arsenal loanee Aaron, in the seventh minute.

Tottenham then doubled their advantage through Jack Roles, and, although Arsenal reduced the deficit through Dasilva’s well-struck effort, they were unable to take anything from the game.

Report – Sanogo and Nelson score as impressive Arsenal U23s beat Tottenham



Premier League 2 

Arsenal 2 (Sanogo, Nelson) Tottenham Hotspur 0 

Yaya Sanogo scored his first goal for the club since November 2014 and the ever improving Reiss Nelson was also on the scoresheet as Arsenal U23s prevailed past their Tottenham Hotspur counterparts with a 2-0 victory at London Colney today in the first game since Andries Jonker’s departure as academy manager.

As they did for the victory over Chelsea last week, Arsenal fielded a very strong side for this fixture, with Sanogo, making his first appearance at any level this season after recovering from injury, joined in the team by fellow senior squad members Emiliano Martinez, Carl Jenkinson and Mathieu Debuchy, with the latter operating at centre-back.

Meanwhile, Marcus McGuane was back in the squad and started alongside Nelson at the base of the midfield.




Malen-Dragomir-C. Willock


Subs: Nketiah (for Sanogo, 46), Dasilva (for Dragomir, 77). Not used: Keto, Johnson, Olowu.

Sanogo seemed determined to make an impact following his lengthy lay-off and he tested Pau Lopez with an acrobatic effort before later being denied again by the Tottenham goalkeeper.

Arsenal carved out some impressive attacking moves in the opening period and one such sequence culminated in Chris Willock seeing his effort cleared away.

Just before the break Sanogo opened the scoring, with his attempt finding the net after Lopez was unable to keep it out.

Understandably, given how long he has been out, Sanogo was withdrawn at the break, with Eddie Nketiah entering the fray.

It was Tottenham, though, who started the second period in the ascendancy, with Debuchy reacting well to clear Shilow Tracey’s attempt off the line.

Soon, however, Arsenal re-asserted themselves as the dominant force in the game, and were it not for the brilliance of Lopez, Steve Gatting’s side could have chalked up a comprehensive scoreline.

After the lively Willock had shot just wide, Lopez did well to thwart Vlad Dragomir before twice denying Donyell Malen.

Jenkinson, who got forwards with regularity from right-back, was next to try his luck, but it was Nelson who sealed the win as he finished well after being teed up by Malen.

Arsenal U23s are now third in Premier League 2, although they are some 13 points adrift of leaders Everton.

Arsenal name Luke Hobbs as interim Academy Manager following Jonker’s departure


Arsenal have named Luke Hobbs as interim Academy Manager after Andries Jonker left the position to become head coach at Wolfsburg yesterday.

Hobbs joined Arsenal in July 2013 and was the club’s Football Operations manager at Hale End. Prior to that he was a community officer at Peterborough United before spending time as centre of excellence manager at Cambridge United and then operating as head of coaching at Southend United.

The club have already commenced their search for a permanent successor to Jonker.

Meanwhile, Jan Van Loon, who was previously head of individual development, has been appointed as Arsenal’s U15 coach after Freddie Ljungberg joined Wolfsburg as an assistant to Jonker.

Assessing Andries Jonker’s Arsenal tenure: Positives outweigh negatives 

Andries Jonker has today left his position as Arsenal’s head of academy to become the head coach at Bundesliga side Wolfsburg. 

Having arrived at Arsenal in July 2014, Jonker went on to make a significant impact during his time at the club and oversaw the acquisitions of some extremely exciting young talents, including Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Donyell Malen and Vlad Dragomir. 

There were also some slight changes in playing style at youth level under Jonker’s guidance as the Dutchman encouraged the Arsenal prospects to move the ball quicker and be more direct in their approach. 

The progress of Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles can be partly attributed to Jonker’s decision to play individuals in various different positions to enhance their overall game, while this season Ben Sheaf has benefitted from moving from defensive-midfield to centre-back. 

Another intriguing element of Jonker’s tenure was his choice this season to send several of Arsenal’s best prospects on loan to Dutch football, with the likes of Kelechi Nwakali and Dan Crowley benefiting from regular playing time. 

Meanwhile, having fallen into the second tier of second string football Arsenal have now seemingly stabilised themselves in the top division. 

There has also been progress off the pitch, with improvement works talking place at the club’s London Colney training ground and the Hale End academy. 

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Jonker, however, with Arsenal’s lack of defensive resources at U18 level remaining a pertinent problem. 

Furthermore, Arsenal have struggled to make any sort of progress in the UEFA Youth League under his guidance and this season were eliminated from the competition in the group stages. 

An additional difficulty this season has been that there are several players that are clearly surplus to requirements, such as Glen Kamara, Kristopher Da Graca and Aaron Eyoma, who have remained at the club despite having no long- term future at Arsenal. 

Overall, the positive aspects of Jonker’s reign outweigh the negatives but now the search is on for his successor – a key decision that could have a significant bearing on the club’s future. 

Loan report – Crowley scores, Bielik impresses, Mavididi stretchered off



Dan Crowley played the whole game and scored his first goal for Go Ahead Eagles in the 3-1 loss to Vitesse.

Wojciech Szczesny played the entirety of Roma’s 3-1 win over Inter Milan.

Takuma Asano played 70 minutes of Stuttgart’s 2-0 victory over Kaiserslautern.

Jack Wilshere played 66 minutes as Bournemouth lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion.

Jon Toral was booked in the first half and substituted in second half stoppage time as Rangers lost 2-1 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Krystian Bielik was brought on in the 55th minute of Birmingham City’s 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and produced an excellent display.

Chuba Akpom came on in the 82nd minute as Brighton & Hove Albion beat Reading 3-0.

Ismael Bennacer played the full game as Tours drew 0-0 with Troyes.

Stephy Mavididi was stretchered off in the closing moments as Charlton Athletic lost 1-0 to Bury.

Kelechi Nwakali played the full game as MVV Maastricht lost 4-0 to Cambuur. Stefan O’Connor wasn’t involved.

Marc Bola played the entirety of Notts County’s goalless draw with Yeovil Town.

Matt Macey featured as Luton Town drew 1-1 with Plymouth Argyle.

Gedion Zelalem came on in the 56th minute as VVV-Venlo beat Achilles ’29 4-0.

Joel Campbell returned from injury but was an un-used substitute in Sporting Lisbon’s 2-0 success against Estoril.

Kaylen Hinds was an un-used substitute as Stevenage lost 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra.

Calum Chambers missed out through injury as Middlesbrough lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace.

Injury meant that Tafari Moore didn’t feature in Utrecht II’s 1-1 draw with Helmond Sport.

Julio Pleguezuelo wasn’t involved as Mallorca were beaten 4-1 by Tenerife.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam lost 1-0 to NAC Breda.