O’Connor scores as Arsenal U19s beat Wolfsburg in Spax Cup

o'connor

Arsenal U19s beat Wolfsburg 1-0 today in their first game of the Spax Cup in Germany, with Stefan O’Connor scoring the only goal.

Several high-profile players, including Chris Willock, Dan Crowley and Kaylen Hinds, featured for the young Gunners.

Keto

Osei-Tutu- Da Graca-O’Connor-Robinson

Hinds-DaSilva

Eyoma-Crowley-C. Willock

Mavididi

Subs: Mourgos, Nketiah, J. Willock, Tella

Trialist defenders Keith Groeneveld (who was previously on trial at Manchester United) and Christos Shelis have also travelled with the squad.

Arsenal will face Fluminense and Ennepetal tomorrow.

Stefan O’Connor- the victim of Krystian Bielik’s progress

o'connor

Zimbio.com

Everything was going so well for Stefan O’Connor. The defender made his Arsenal first-team debut last season, in the Champions League no less, and was training frequently with the first-team squad.

Just a month after that game against Galatasaray, however, an incident occurred that would alter the course of O’Connor’s Arsenal career, at least in the short term, as the club signed the talented Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw.

The Poland youth international was initially seen as a defensive-midfielder, but he has featured increasingly frequently at centre-back, which has hampered the progress of O’Connor.

It is true that the Hale End product has struggled with injuries at times this season, while he also had a short loan spell at York City, but O’Connor has been restricted to just four UEFA Youth League and two U21 Premier League appearances for the Gunners this season.

Taking into account how little he has played this campaign, it is difficult to make a fair judgement on whether O’Connor has progressed over the past year. It has been an extremely frustrating time for the youngster and now, whilst Bielik is on the cusp of the first-team squad, O’Connor finds himself isolated- too old for the U18s, not really under consideration for the U21s and nowhere near the senior side.

With Julio Pleguezuelo likely to go on loan at some point next campaign, O’Connor could well reclaim his place in the side at U21 level. It seems rather strange, however, that the youngster finds himself in this situation considering that he established himself as a key player for the second-string in the first year of his scholarship.

Now time is starting to run out for O’Connor, and the youngster will know that if he is still at Arsenal next season then it will be a crucial campaign as far as his future at the club is concerned. He is effective at bringing the ball out from the back but remains prone to lapses in concentration, and can ill afford any slip-ups next season.

 

U17 Euros- Nelson impresses again with goal and assist as England progress

  
Reiss Nelson’s superb tournament continued as he scored one goal and set up another in England’s 3-1 win over Denmark. Including qualifying fixtures Nelson has now scored nine goals in this U17 campaign, the highest amount in the competition. Marcus McGuane also featured, whilst Tolaji Bola was an unused substitute. 

Donyell Malen played 70 minutes as the Netherlands beat Serbia 2-0. 

Yassin Fortune played 52 minutes as France were beaten 1-0 by Sweden. 

Joao Virginia was an unused substitute as Portugal drew 0-0 with Belgium.

England, the Netherlands and Portgual are all through, meaning Arsenal will have five representatives in the quarter-finals. Fortune’s France, however, are out. 

Arsenal Youth awards 2015/16

A hugely eventful campaign for Arsenal’s youngsters reached a fittingly dramatic conclusion last night as the club’s U21 side secured their place in the top tier of second-string football with a victory over Aston Villa.

Here’s a look at some of Arsenal’s best performers across the various age groups this campaign.

BREAKTHROUGH STAR- ALEX IWOBI

iwobi

Zimbio.com

After an impressive pre-season Iwobi remained on the cusp of the first-team squad before eventually breaking into the starting line-up. He is still a prominent part of Arsene Wenger’s plans and will seek to be heavily involved again next season.

BEST LOANEE- JON TORAL

toral

Birmingham Mail

Toral built upon an impressive spell with Brentford and enjoyed an excellent campaign for Birmingham City as he scored eight goals in 38 appearances. The Spaniard will return to Arsenal for pre-season and will hope to finally be afforded a chance to prove himself in the first-team.

BEST U21 PLAYER- CHRIS WILLOCK

willock

Zimbio.com

Although Stephy Mavididi topped Arsenal’s scoring charts at this level, it was Willock who was the most consistent performer as the winger impressed with his trickery and ability to beat players. Willock became increasingly influential as the campaign progressed and was excellent in both the play-off semi-final and final.

BEST U18 PLAYER- EDWARD NKETIAH

nketiah

Once again Arsenal endured some frustrating results at U18 level, but matters could have been much worse were it not for the actions of Nketiah, who finished as the top goalscorer in the U18 Premier League with 24 goals, which saw him included in the U21 squad towards the end of the campaign.

BEST SCHOOLBOY- REISS NELSON

nelson

Zimbio.com

It was already clear prior to this season that Nelson is a stellar talent, but he provided some glimpses of his potential as he broke into the U21 squad, impressed in the UEFA Youth League and trained with the first-team. There is much more to come from this very exciting prospect.

Report- Mavididi hits brace and Coquelin impresses as Arsenal U21s secure promotion by beating Aston Villa

U21 Premier League- Division 2- Play Off Final

Arsenal 3 (Willock, Mavididi (2) Aston Villa 1 (Hepburn-Murphy)

By Jeorge Bird @Emirates Stadium

coquelin

Zimbio.com

Arsenal U21s secured their place in the top tier of second-string football with a hard-fought victory over their Aston Villa counterparts at Emirates Stadium tonight.

Steve Gatting’s side contained much first-team experience, with Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Calum Chambers and Joel Campbell all starting, but it was two of the club’s young starlets, Chris Willock and Stephy Mavididi, who proved to be the difference.

Willock was initially only named on the bench, but he was catapulted into the starting line-up following the late withdrawal of Serge Gnabry, and that proved to be a blessing in disguise as the winger equalised after an error from Matt Macey had allowed Rushian  Hepburn-Murphy to give Villa the lead.

Willock later turned provider for Mavididi, and the latter doubled his tally in the closing stages as Arsenal, at long last, secured their place amongst the elite.

Macey

Pleguezuelo-Chambers-Bielik-Moore

Coquelin-Cazorla

Campbell-Reine Adelaide-C. Willock

Mavididi

Subs: Sheaf (for Cazorla, 82), Hinds (for Campbell, 82). Not used: Keto, Johnson, Nketiah. 

 

Arsenal started slowly and they very nearly gave away a goal in the early exchanges as Jeff Reine-Adelaide needlessly squandered possession, but Villa were unable to take advantage.

Jerrell Sellars then fired over as Villa cranked up the pressure, and Arsenal eventually crumbled, with Macey losing control of the ball, and Hepburn-Murphy, who featured for Villa’s first-team last weekend, capitalised.

Arsenal sought to respond instantly, with the ever dangerous Willock seeing his effort cleared off the line. Cazorla, Mavididi and Coquelin all had chances to score, but it was Willock who would equalise as he applied the finishing touch to a slick move involving Cazorla and Mavididi.

Villa had opportunities to equalise before the break, but Arsenal stood firm and went into the break level.

Some supporters thought Willock had doubled his tally early in the second half, but the winger’s shot struck the side-netting.

It wasn’t long, though, before Arsenal went ahead, with Willock turning provider on this occasion for Mavididi, who headed in.

Villa’s confidence was waning, as demonstrated by Sellars’ attempt, which went way over the crossbar.

Macey then somewhat redeemed himself with a good save, before Kaylen Hinds and Ben Sheaf entered the fray in place of Campbell and Cazorla.

Hinds had a header saved, and then Mavididi added further gloss to the scoreline with a calm finish.

There was no way back for Villa after that point, and Arsenal lifted the trophy aloft in front of a small crowd.

Their form may have tailed off a little towards the end of the campaign, and they were reliant on the help of some senior stars along the way, but the important thing is that Arsenal U21s are going up.

Playing against the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool will surely be hugely beneficial for the development of the Arsenal youngsters.

As far as tonight’s game is concerned, Willock and Mavididi were both hugely impressive, whilst Cazorla and Coquelin also caught the eye.

Several of the players on show tonight won’t be regularly involved at this level next season, but those that do feature will be especially grateful for what has been achieved.

 

U21 preview- Arsenal v Aston Villa- Will first-team stars be the difference?

cazorla1

Zimbio.com

It has come down to this. After two seasons of grafting in the second tier of U21 Premier League football, Arsenal’s youngsters have the chance to gain promotion by beating Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium tonight.

Villa’s first-team may be woeful, but they still boast one of the best youth set-ups in the country and will provide a considerable challenge to Arsenal this evening, when they are set to be backed by a large contingent of travelling supporters.

As far as Arsenal are concerned, Steve Gatting is likely to name a strong squad once again. Santi Cazorla was excellent in the semi-final against Blackburn Rovers last week and may receive another run-out, whilst he could be joined by Francis Coquelin, who is hugely familiar with youth football having played in many development fixtures for Arsenal earlier in his career. Calum Chambers could also feature.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide is poised to return to the fold, but Donyell Malen, Reiss Nelson and Marcus McGuane are all away at the U17 European Championships and midfielder Ismael Bennacer is doubtful.

Villa have already beaten Arsenal twice this season and will be hopeful of prevailing again. For Arsenal, though, this game is extremely important as it is vital for the young Gunners to be able to test themselves against the youth sides of major clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Kick-off is at 7pm tonight and extra-time and penalties will be played if required.

Possible team

Macey

Pleguezuelo-Bielik-Chambers-Moore

Coquelin-Cazorla

C. Willock-Reine Adelaide-Gnabry

Mavididi

Subs: Huddart, M. Bola, Sheaf, Crowley, Hinds.