Zelalem amongst four Arsenal youngsters to train with first-team pre-West Ham



Arsenal held their final first-team training session today prior to tomorrow’s Premier League game away to West Ham United, with Gedion Zelalem one of four U23 players in attendance.

Zelalem was overlooked for the EFL Cup defeat to Southampton in midweek, but his inclusion here suggests that he is still rated highly by Arsene Wenger.

In addition, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Krystian Bielik and Chris Willock also trained with the senior squad.

With  regards to senior players, Mohamed Elneny trained after recovering from illness, but Olivier Giroud, Hector Bellerin, Mathieu Debuchy, Danny Welbeck, Yaya Sanogo, Per Mertesacker, Chuba Akpom and Santi Cazorla are all out.


Mavididi hoping to make Arsenal first-team debut against Southampton


The EFL Cup, as it is now known, has been the competition in which many Arsenal players have made their debuts for the club and Stephy Mavididi will hope that he is the latest individual to make the step up when the Gunners host Southampton tonight.

The talented young forward was on the bench for the third round victory over Nottingham Forest but wasn’t included in the squad for the fixture against Reading. However, Mavididi trained with the first-team yesterday, and, with Olivier Giroud missing through injury, the 18-year-old, who hit a brace against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Youth League last week, has a good chance of featuring tonight, most probably as a substitute.

Matt Macey, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Krystian Bielik and Marc Bola are also expected to make the squad but there is no room for Chris Willock, Gedion Zelalem, Ben Sheaf or Josh DaSilva.

Given that tonight’s opponents are an established Premier League side, Arsene Wenger will surely consider naming a slightly stronger squad than he normally does in this competition.

Those who have been on the periphery of the squad this season- Emiliano Martinez, Carl Jenkinson, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs and Jeff Reine-Adelaide- should all play, along with Alex Iwobi, the returning Lucas Perez and possibly Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Furthermore, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny also trained yesterday, and there is a possibility that some of these players may be named on the bench in case they are required to make an impact.

Petr Cech, David Ospina, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Aaron Ramsey were all rested from training yesterday and aren’t expected to be involved tonight. Ismael Bennacer trained with the first-team yesterday but may not make the bench.

Giroud, Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazorla, Mathieu Debuchy, Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom are out injured.

Possible team:



Coquelin-Maitland Niles

Reine Adelaide-Oxlade Chamberlain-Iwobi


Subs: Macey, Bielik, M. Bola, Mavididi, Elneny, Xhaka, Walcott.

Malen hits late equaliser and Crean debuts as Arsenal U18s draw with Aston Villa

Image: Aston Villa

Donyell Malen struck a 91st minute equaliser as Arsenal U18s came from behind to draw 1-1 away to Aston Villa today. 

Villa took the lead through Harry Knibbs but, after coming close on several occasions, Arsenal eventually levelled through Malen.

Arsenal were without several players who were involved with the U23s yesterday, while they were doubt a further setback when Marcus McGuane had to be substituted in the first half due to injury. 

Alex Crean, who joined Arsenal in September, made his debut in goal while trialist Zech Medley was again called upon at centre-back. 

Arsenal: Crean; Osei-Tutu, Olowu, Medley, Pileas; McGuane, Burton; Tella, J. Willock, Smith-Rowe; Malen. Subs: Ballard (for McGuane, 18). Not used: Virginia, Omole, Coyle. 

Report – Nketiah hits hat-trick as Arsenal U23s thrash Leicester

Premier League 2

Arsenal 3 (Nketiah 3) Leicester City 0

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park


Having previously scored with regularity at U18 level, Edward Nketiah demonstrated tonight that he is also capable of making a sizeable impact on the U23 stage as the forward scored all three of Arsenal’s goals in their comfortable dispatch of Leicester City.

Nketiah’s second goal was the standout moment of the game as, after a couple of sublime step-overs, the 17-year-old sent a superb driven finish into the back of the net as Arsenal ran out winners.

The young Gunners were deprived of the services of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matt Macey, Marc Bola, Stephy Mavididi and Krystian Bielik, all of whom are expected to be involved in some capacity when the first-team take on Southampton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

That meant that Josh DaSilva, who was a striker just two years ago, started at left-back, while Vlad Dragomir and Nketiah were involved from the outset.


Johnson-Sheaf-Da Graca- DaSilva


Nelson-Dragomir-C. Willock


Subs: T. Bola (for Sheaf, 46), McGuane (for Johnson). Not used: Keto, Mourgos, Malen.

Arsenal started in the ascendancy, with Chris Willock having a shot closed down by the Leicester defence.

Reiss Nelson then started to weave his magic, with the winger playing a delightful lofted ball into the path of Dragomir, but the Romanian rather snatched at his effort.

Nelson’s next act was to play in Nketiah, but the forward was unable to hit the target on this occasion.

Shortly afterwards, however, Nketiah was celebrating his first goal at this level. Nelson was once again the architect as he slipped a precise pass into Arsenal’s number nine, who finished adroitly.

Arsenal looked to add to their lead straight away and Willock came close to doing just that but his effort was tipped around the post by Leicester goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

Nketiah then lashed over but following that it was Leicester’s turn to attack, with the Foxes coming close on a couple of occasions prior to half-time.

Arsenal had to make an alteration at the start of the second half, with Tolaji Bola replacing the injured Ben Sheaf, who had fared well in the opening period. That change meant that DaSilva moved across to centre-back, a position he had no previous experience of playing in.

Leicester threatened occasionally but Arsenal were very much still in control, and, after Willock shot wide, it was Nketiah who got on the scoresheet again.

It didn’t take long for Nketiah to complete his hat-trick, with Willock involved once more, and Arsenal’s three points were very much secured.

Arsenal still went for more goals, with Ismael Bennacer having a powerful effort saved, while at the other end Hugo Keto preserved his clean sheet with some fine stops.

The night certainly belonged to Nketiah, who has followed in the footsteps of Mavididi by impressing at U18 level before stepping up to the second-string. Nketiah is more than just a finisher, however, as he is excellent at linking up play and making clever runs in behind the opposing defence.

It wasn’t just Nketiah who impressed tonight. Nelson and Willock were a constant menace for the Leicester defenders to deal with, while Kristopher Da Graca was excellent at centre-back and Josh DaSilva filled in well alongside him in the second half.

The headlines, though, belong to Nketiah, whose ascent continues.

Loan report- Pleguezuelo sent off; Nwakali named man of the match


VI Images

Julio Pleguezuelo started and was sent off as Mallorca lost 1-0 to Elche.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma beat Pescara 3-2.

Calum Chambers was booked and conceded a late penalty in Middlesbrough’s 2-2 draw with Leicester City. The defender played the full game.

Kelechi Nwakali played the entire game and was named man of the match as Maastricht beat Den Bosch 3-0. Stefan O’Connor wasn’t involved.

Joel Campbell started and played 63 minutes as Sporting Lisbon beat Boavista 1-0.

Takuma Asano came on in the 71st minute as Stuttgart drew 1-1 with Union Berlin.

Jon Toral was an unused substitute as Granada drew 1-1 with Celta Vigo.

Glen Kamara was an unused substitute in Colchester United’s 4-0 victory over Crewe Alexandra.

Tafari Moore was an unused substitute as Utrecht II lost 4-2 to Oss.

Dan Crowley wasn’t in the squad as Oxford United drew 1-1 with Scunthorpe United.

Ryan Huddart wasn’t involved in Eastleigh’s 3-0 loss to Chester.

Jack Wilshere wasn’t eligible to play in Bournemouth’s 3-1 defeat to Arsenal.



Reiss Nelson showcases vast potential in Arsenal U19s’ draw with PSG


Arsenal U19s, much like their senior counterparts, lacked conviction in their overall display against Paris Saint-Germain yesterday.

However, while several of his team-mates were rather disappointing, Reiss Nelson continued to excel in the 2-2 draw, with the winger providing another indication of his vast potential.

An expert dribbler who is capable of playing defence splitting passes, Nelson caused several problems for the PSG defence and frequently drifted inside to good effect.

With Arsenal knowing that they had to avoid defeat to preserve their chances of remaining in the UEFA Youth League, coach Freddie Ljungberg instructed Nelson to adopt a more individualistic approach.

Nelson found the side-netting with one effort and kept pushing forwards until the very end. Other players deserve credit for their performances yesterday, including Stephy Mavididi, who hit a brace, and goalkeeper Hugo Keto, but Nelson continued to demonstrate that he is one of the standout players in this team.

The prospect will turn 17 next month and is expected to sign his first professional contract. Having already established himself as a key player for the U23s, the next step for Nelson is to break into the first-team but it appears unlikely that a chance in that regard will arise this season and he will most probably have to wait until next campaign before making an appearance for Arsene Wenger’s side.

For now, though, he is developing very well indeed. Nelson is undoubtedly one of, if not the, outstanding talents in the Arsenal youth set-up at present and first-team recognition appears to be an inevitability.

Report- Mavididi hits late equaliser to “get Arsenal out of jail” against PSG in UEFA Youth League

UEFA Youth League

Arsenal 2 (Mavididi 2) PSG 2

By Jeorge Bird @ Meadow Park



Stephy Mavididi struck a dramatic late equaliser to secure Arsenal a 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain and keep their hopes of reaching the Last 16 of the UEFA Youth League alive.

Arsenal knew that a loss would send them out of the competition but they fell behind in the first half to a goal from Antoine Bernede before Mavididi equalised from the penalty spot.

There was a hectic conclusion to proceedings as Felix Eboa Eboa restored PSG’s lead but Mavdidi struck at the death to make it 2-2.

There is still work to do- Arsenal must beat Basel away by two clear goals on the final matchday- but they are still alive in this competition.

After the game U18s coach Kwame Ampadu reflected that this was a “get out of jail free” moment for Arsenal, who hadn’t been at their best.

Chris Willock was absent but Jeff Reine-Adelaide started, while Kaylen Hinds was also involved from the outset.


Johnson-Da Graca-Bielik-T. Bola

Reine Adelaide-McGuane



Subs: DaSilva (for Malen, 81), Nketiah (for Da Graca, 83), Dragomir (for McGuane, 88). Not used: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Mourgos, Eyoma.

Arsenal immediately adopted a very attacking approach, with Krystian Bielik, in contrast to his usual style, playing several searching long balls out from the back.

Reiss Nelson had a penalty claim turned down as Arsenal made a bright start and then Donyell Malen spun expertly only for his finish to lack conviction.

Thereafter PSG seized control, with Arsenal losing the midfield battle, where Reine-Adelaide was unable to have much of an impact.

Chiori Johnson misjudged a ball and further disappointing defending from Arsenal presented Bernede with the opportunity to open the scoring, with the PSG player duly obliging.

Arsenal looked to respond, with the dangerous Mavididi crossing for Malen, who was unable to find the net from close range.

Nelson, one of the few bright sparks in the Arsenal team, then shot wide but at the other end Hugo Keto had to be alert to make two impressive saves in quick succession after Marcus McGuane had squandered possession.

Somewhat against the run of play, Arsenal managed to claw their way back into the game, with Kaylen Hinds being brought down in the penalty area and Mavididi converting the spot-kick successfully.

Arsenal could even have gone into the break in front but Kristopher Da Graca’s header lacked conviction.

In the early stages of the second half Keto had to make another good stop to prevent PSG from regaining the lead.

Nelson then, having been instructed to take players on by coach Freddie Ljungberg, weaved his way past several PSG defenders before his effort hit the side-netting.

PSG continued to threaten at the other end and Keto, rather remarkably, made three impressive saves in a short period of time, with his defenders helping to clear the danger.

Arsenal had several substitutes warming up but Andries Jonker waited until very late before making an alteration, with Josh DaSilva replacing Malen in the 81st minute.

Not long afterwards PSG were in front, with Eboa Eboa capitalising upon some static defending to make it 2-1.

Arsenal, on the verge of exiting the competition in the group stages for the first time, had to go all out to score in the limited time they had left, and that is exactly what they did.

Jonker made the decision to switch to playing three at the back, with Reine-Adelaide pushed out wide and Nketiah sent on in search of a goal. Shortly afterwards Vlad Dragomir came on for McGuane.

The change in approach worked, with Mavididi finding the net, sparking wild celebrations.

For the remaining moments Jonker reverted to playing a back four, with DaSilva filling in at left-back, and Arsenal managed to gain a point that keeps them in this competition, for now at least.