Reports- Arsenal set to sign Yassin Fortune

Arsenal have reportedly agreed a deal to sign French youngster Yassin Fortune from Lens.

The 16-year-old has previously been linked with other prominent clubs, including Manchester United, but the French U16 international, who usually plays as a striker, has chosen to join Arsenal, according to France Football.

If he does sign, Fortune would form part of Arsenal’s scholarship intake for next season, which could also include Cypriot defender Kostas Pileas.

Loan report- Ryo and Toral conclude temporary spells

Picture: EMPICS

Picture: EMPICS

Carl Jenkinson played the entirety of West Ham United’s 2-1 defeat to Everton. The right-back created a chance that was squandered by Alex Song.

Wellington started on the right wing and was replaced after 74 minutes as Almeria lost 2-1 to Sevilla.

Jon Toral played the final half an hour as a substitute as Brentford’s play-off dream came to an end with a 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough. Toral, who recently signed a new one-year deal with Arsenal, made 36 appearances for the Championship side, scoring six goals.

Joel Campbell started but was substituted at half-time as Villarreal beat Malaga 2-1.

Lukas Podolski was introduced as a substitute for the final eight minutes as Inter Milan lost 2-1 to Juventus.

Ryo was an un-used substitute as Twente concluded their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Heerenveen. The Japanese winger made just 10 appearances for Twente’s senior team but featured on 14 occasions for their reserve side.

Yaya Sanogo wasn’t involved as Crystal Palace beat Liverpool 3-1.

Jack Jebb wasn’t part of the Stevenage squad for their 3-1 play-off defeat against Southend United.

Prospective signing Pileas scores as Arsenal U17s beat MK Dons

Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 19.47.48

An Arsenal U17 side containing many schoolboys prevailed with a 1-0 victory over their MK Dons counterparts in a friendly at London Colney this morning.

Arsenal’s goal was scored by Kostas Pileas, a Cyprus U17 international who previously impressed whilst representing the club as a trialist at the AlKass International Cup in Qatar. It seems likely that Pileas, who has previously played for Arsenal’s Elite Academy in Greece, will form part of the club’s scholarship intake for next season, although such a deal is yet to be formally announced.

The team that played today provided something of an indication as to what the club’s U18 side could look like in the near future.

Hugo Keto, Savvas Mourgos and Elliot Wright, the latter potentially playing his last match for the club, were the only full-time scholars who started the game. Several members of next season’s scholarship intake- Tolaji Bola, Charlie Gilmour and Eddie Nketiah were also in action, whilst the most intriguing selections were the U15 players on show, including Nathan Tormey and Jaidon Anthony, two players who have yet to be called up to the U18 squad.

Keto

Howard-Wright-Pileas-T. Bola

Gilmour-Mourgos

Tormey-Anthony-Smith Rowe

Nketiah

subs: Perrin, J. Willock, Benson, Omole, Chatzitheodoridis, Burton. 

Info via AFCFixtureNews

Arsenal’s Willock stars at U17 European Championships

The FA

The FA

Arsenal may not have won any silverware at youth level this season, but there remains a strong possibility that some of the club’s youngsters could end the season with a trophy, after an England side containing Chris Willock and Stephy Mavididi progressed to the Quarter-Finals of the U17 European Championships.

Both players started England’s first two group stage matches, with Willock being named man of the match following a virtuoso display in the 1-1 draw with the Netherlands. The Arsenal duo started today’s final group stage game against the Republic of Ireland on the bench, but were introduced in the second-half.

Willock again had a profound impact on proceedings, with the youngster setting up the only goal of the game, a stunning strike from Tottenham Hotspur talent Marcus Edwards.

There was another Arsenal player on show in Bulgaria, with schoolboy Marcus Tabi completing another full game for Ireland. His nation may have crashed out of the tournament prematurely having taken just one point from their three fixtures so far, but Tabi, who has already established himself as a key member of Arsenal’s U18 squad, will surely have gained some valuable experience from the competition to take into his first year as a full-time scholar.

For Willock and Mavididi the trophy is in sight as England look to win this tournament for the second year in succession. Last season Tafari Moore was involved as the Three Lions reigned supreme, but this time England will first have to navigate their way past Russia in the Quarter-Finals this weekend. Willock and Mavididi will be hoping to be restored to the starting line-up for that fixture.

Report- Gnabry scores as Arsenal U21s beat Bolton

U21 Premier League

Bolton Wanderers 1 Arsenal 3 (Ormonde-Ottewill 10, Iwobi 73, Gnabry 77)

It has been a stop-start season for Serge Gnabry, with the dynamic winger having endured several setbacks in his attempts to make a full recovery from the injury he suffered last season, but today there was a moment for the youngster to savour as he applied the finishing touch against Bolton Wanderers to help Arsenal U21s secure their second victory in succession.

There has been much debate about the future of the Arsenal academy in recent days after the U18s finished bottom of their section, but the U21s, despite not being able to achieve promotion back to the top tier, have at least had some positive results this season and today Gnabry was joined on the scoresheet by two Hale End products in Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Alex Iwobi.

The latter has had a surprisingly productive season in front of goal- today’s strike was his ninth of the season at this level and he will be looking to reach double figures when the young Gunners conclude their season at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers next week.

Bolton equalised through Jordan Lussey shortly after Ormonde-Ottewill had given Arsenal the lead, but Steve Gatting’s side managed to battle back to secure their second victory in succession.

There were two changes from the side that beat Brighton & Hove Albion last week. Deyan Iliev returned from suspension to start in goal, whilst, in the absence of George Dobson, Renny Smith was drafted in at right-back, with Julio Pleguezuelo moving across to centre-back. Aaron Eyoma was named amongst the substitutes in preference to Marc Bola.

Iliev

Smith-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-Ormonde Ottewill

Bielik-Maitland Niles

Zelalem-Crowley-Gnabry

Iwobi

Subs: Robinson (for Crowley, 50), Eyoma (for Zelalem, 68), Lipman (for Iwobi, 86). Not used: Kamara, Macey. 

The game got off to a rather slow start, with neither side creating a clear-cut chance in the opening ten minutes. The first opportunity of note fell to Sanmi Odelusi, but the Arsenal defence did well to close him down and force him to rush his shot.

Shortly afterwards Arsenal took the lead, with Ormonde-Ottewill finding the net with well-struck effort.

Bolton were level within two minutes, however, with Odelusi causing problems down the left flank before finding Lussey, whose shot was beyond the reach of Iliev.

Odelusi was certainly Bolton’s most dangerous outlet, with the 21 year old then weaving his way past three players before shooting just wide.

Bolton then had a penalty appeal turned down as they increased the pressure on the Arsenal defence, but Gatting’s team provided a reminder of their own attacking threat when Iwobi played a neat ball through to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who just lost his footing at the crucial moment when well placed.

Iliev then did well to gather the ball from a corner, with Bolton subsequently enduring a moment of good fortune as Matija Boben’s clearance went over his own goalkeeper, but, thankfully for the youngster, the ball struck the crossbar rather than going in.

Gnabry sent an effort wide as the half drew to a close but Arsenal, having had much defending to do in the opening period, were grateful for the whistle.

Bolton continued to dominate in terms of chances created early in the second-half, with Niall Maher seeing his effort cleared.

Bolton then introduced substitute Jamie Thomas into the fray and the change very nearly proved to be an inspired one as he sent an effort just wide.

Arsenal hadn’t created too many chances during the course of the match, but their intelligence in front of goal paid dividends in the latter stages against a tiring Bolton defence.

They took the lead when Iwobi cut inside from the right flank and nutmegged the bewildered Bolton goalkeeper Harry Campbell before finding the net.

Gnabry inflicted further misery on the Bolton defenders as he confidently got the better of Campbell in a one-on-one situation with 13 minutes remaining.

Iliev was called into action in the dying moments, with the goalkeeper making a good intervention to deny Thomas, but Arsenal’s lead was secure and, given all the talk about the academy of late, this victory is a welcome one.

Loan report- Campbell scores; Ryo receives rare run out

Joel Campbell scored his first goal for Villarreal, and his first goal of the season at any level, as his temporary side beat Elche 1-0. Campbell, who was deployed on the left wing, scored with a header from close range and also created an opportunity for his team-mate Mario before being substituted in the 54th minute.

Carl Jenkinson played the whole game as West Ham United lost 1-0 to Aston Villa. On Friday Arsene Wenger said that he intends to keep the right-back at the club.

Wellington played the full 90 minutes as struggling Almeria lost 2-1 to Malaga.

Lukas Podolski was introduced at the start of the second-half as Inter Milan beat Lazio 2-1.

Ryo was introduced as an 81st minute substitute as Twente beat Dordecht 3-0.

Jon Toral was an un-used substitute as Brentford were beaten 2-1 by Middlesbrough in the first leg of their Championship play-off fixture.

Yaya Sanogo wasn’t involved as Crystal Palace lost 2-1 to Manchester United, whilst Jack Jebb wasn’t part of the Stevenage side that faced Southend United in the League Two play-offs.

Report- Arsenal U18s finish bottom of the league after being thrashed by Fulham

U18 Premier League- Tier 3

Fulham 5 Arsenal 1 (Donovan)

By Jeorge Bird @Motspur Park

Arsenal U18s concluded what has been another torturous season in terms of results by suffering one final indignation today as they were thrashed 5-1 by Fulham at Motspur Park. The result means that Frans De Kat’s side will finish bottom of the third tier of the U18 Premier League having won just one out of their seven play-off fixtures.

The damage could have been even greater for Arsenal had goalkeeper Hugo Keto not made an impressive penalty save early on. The Gunners, you may be surprised to learn, actually took the lead through Harry Donovan, but they soon found themselves unable to cope with Fulham’s sustained attacking pressure.

There were three changes to the side that lost to Southampton last week, with Keto, Marc Bola and Chiori Johnson all coming into the side, the latter making his first appearance since January after recovering from injury. Once again De Kat fielded an inexperienced side in an attacking sense, with the entire front four being schoolboys.

Keto

Johnson-Wright-M. Bola-Chatzitheodoridis

Donovan-Mourgos

Tella-Nelson-Nketiah

Da Silva

Subs: Da Graca (for Johnson), Gilmour (for Donovan), Smith-Rowe (for Da Silva). Not used: Burton, Keto. 

Arsenal won 3-2 here earlier in the campaign, but today Fulham looked on top from the offset, with their tricky winger Ravin Shamsi causing some problems for the young Gunners’ defence early on.

Luca De La Torre then shot over as Fulham upped the ante, but Arsenal mounted something of a response, with Edward Nketiah shooting wide after he was found by Reiss Nelson, who was again deployed as a central attacking midfielder. Nketiah then returned the favour for Nelson, but the England U16 international could only shoot over.

Fulham were then presented with an inviting opportunity to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty following a foul by Ilias Chatzitheodoridis in the area. Keto was prepared, however, with the Finnish goalkeeper making an instinctive stop to keep the scores level.

That save appeared to provide Arsenal with a much-needed injection of confidence that they could take into their attacking endeavours. Nelson saw his free-kick tipped wide, with a long, searching pass from Bola then finding Savvas Mourgos, who was offside.

Johnson had to be alert at the other end to make an excellent recovery challenge to prevent Fulham from taking the lead and, not long afterwards, it was Arsenal who opened the scoring, with Donovan finding the net for the second game in succession after he pounced upon a weak clearance from Fulham goalkeeper Magnus Norman and finished from close range.

Arsenal were in buoyant mood, but the lead didn’t last very long at all, with Shamsi getting the better of Keto with a wonderfully struck free-kick to make it 1-1.

Arsenal looked to regain the lead imminently, with Mourgos seeing a free-kick saved, but matters quickly turned from bad to worse when Fulham were awarded another spot-kick following an incident involving Keto and Bola.

Keto, remarkably, again managed to prevent Fulham from scoring the penalty, but this time the goalkeeper was powerless to stop Isaac Pearce from scoring the re-bound.

Fulham went into the break in the ascendancy, and their cause for victory was strengthened further when Arsenal made a double change at the start of the second-half, with Kristopher Da Graca and Charlie Gilmour replacing Johnson and Donovan.

The changes had an adverse effect on Arsenal, with Da Graca appearing uncomfortable throughout and Gilmour not providing sufficient protection to the back four.

Keto had to do well to parry a teasing cross from Shamsi, with Pearce later sending a venomous effort over the crossbar as Fulham provided an indication of their attacking capabilities.

Fulham were, by now, playing with much confidence, but the way in which Arsenal’s defence was carved apart for the hosts’ third goal was alarming and, unfortunately, not too surprising given that many incidents of a similar ilk have occurred this season.

De La Torre slipped a neat pass into the path of striker Aaron Redford, who finished adroitly past Keto, but Arsenal’s newly-established central-defensive partnership of Da Graca and Bola had been culpable in the build-up to the goal.

Arsenal struggled to get most of their attacking players into the game, with wingers Nathan Tella and Nketiah often being crowded out and Josh Da Silva starved of service up front. When Arsenal did create chances, Mourgos and Nelson were usually involved and both players had efforts saved, with Nelson then seeing a penalty appeal turned down.

By this point there appeared to be no way back for Arsenal and so it proved as Fulham continued to attack at will. Keto had to make an intelligent save after a long ball over the top unlocked the Gunners’ defence, with Chatzitheodoridis then sending an effort over his own crossbar as he panicked when dealing with a cross.

Fulham’s fourth goal was calamitous from Arsenal’s perspective, with a lack of communication between Keto and Gilmour allowing the hosts to score with a simple strike.

Emile Smith-Rowe, a youngster who offers some hope for the future in these troubled times for the academy, was then introduced, but the pattern of the game had long since been established and the only question now was just how many goals Fulham would score.

In the end, it was Arsenal who would score Fulham’s fifth goal for them, with Bola inadvertently heading the ball past Keto to make it 5-1 and rather sum up yet another abject day for De Kat’s side.

Yes, development takes precedence over results at youth level, but how can Arsenal lay claim to having anything approaching the best academy in the country when scorelines such as this are hardly a freak occurrence?

The campaign started so well for Arsenal, with emphatic victories over Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea, but many of the results and indeed performances since then have been nothing short of abysmal.

Played 29, Won 7, Drawn 6, Lost 16- Arsenal’s overall record at U18 level this season hardly makes for good reading, even when it is taken into account that many of the older players have been pushed into the U21s. If you look at the team that played today, however, only two or three of them, even at this early stage, can be considered to have any realistic chance of becoming a regular for the first team.

Changes need to happen, but that said the situation now under Andries Jonker doesn’t look any better than it was before his arrival. He should be given time to make alterations, but right now there really isn’t much to be optimistic about with regards to the club’s academy.