Loan report – Akpom and Pleguezuelo make debuts; Mavididi injured

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Chuba Akpom made his debut for Sint-Truiden, featuring as a 75th minute substitute in the 2-0 defeat to Kortrijk.

Julio Pleguezuelo made his first appearance for Gimnastic de Tarragona as he played the entirety of the goalless draw with Cadiz.

Lucas Perez played the whole game as Deportivo La Coruna lost 5-0 to Real Sociedad.

Marc Bola was substituted in stoppage time at the end of the second half as Bristol Rovers lost 2-1 to Shrewsbury Town.

Stephy Mavididi started in Charlton Athletic’s 3-2 defeat to Oxford United but had to be taken off in the 69th minute after suffering an injury.

Cohen Bramall was brought on in the 33rd minute and Carl Jenkinson wasn’t involved as Birmingham City beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-1.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe drew 0-0 with Leganes.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Stuttgart drew 1-1 with Wolfsburg.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide didn’t feature as Angers lost 2-1 to Montpellier.

Joel Campbell missed out through injury as Real Betis beat Villarreal 2-1.

Tafari Moore missed out through injury as Wycombe Wanderers beat Carlisle United 4-3.

Injury meant that Ben Sheaf didn’t feature for Stevenage in their 3-2 defeat to Accrington Stanley.

Krystian Bielik missed Walsall’s 1-0 win over MK Dons because of injury.

Kelechi Nwakali is expected to be involved when MVV Maastricht take on PSV II tomorrow night.


Report – Ballard hits winner as Arsenal U18s survive scare to beat Middlesbrough in FA Youth Cup

FA Youth Cup fifth round

Middlesbrough 2 Arsenal 3 (Smith Rowe, John-Jules, Ballard)

Captain Daniel Ballard scored the winner as Arsenal U18s secured their place in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup with a hard-fought 3-2 victory away to Middlesbrough tonight.

Kwame Ampadu’s side, who prevailed past Sheffield Wednesday and Liverpool to reach this stage, established a two-goal lead courtesy of strikes from two in-form players in Emile Smith Rowe and Tyreece John-Jules.

However, Middlesbrough showed commendable determination to pull level before the break, with Tyrone O’Neill and Nicholas Hood getting on the scoresheet.

Arsenal, though, were undeterred, with Ballard’s goal meaning that they are through to the last eight, where they will take on Colchester United or Reading away.

Ampadu named the same squad that saw off Liverpool, with Reiss Nelson training with the first-team and Joseph Olowu still out injured.


Daley Campbell-Ballard-Medley-Thompson

Burton-M. Smith

Amaechi-Coyle-Smith Rowe

John Jules

Subs: Benson (for M. Smith), Saka (for Coyle). Not used: Okonkwo, Omole, Balogun.

Middlesbrough started well, with Nathan Guru coming close to scoring, but some expert defending from Arsenal kept him at bay.

Arsenal goalkeeper Joao Virginia then made an impressive stop to thwart O’Neill and Billal Brahimi as Middlesbrough increased the pressure.

However, it was Arsenal who took the lead as Smith Rowe, who has caught the eye for the U23s of late, finished adroitly.

Middlesbrough looked to respond and they caused some difficulty for Arsenal, but Smith Rowe was still providing a significant threat at the other end and came close to doubling his tally.

Arsenal continued to put Middlesbrough under pressure and were rewarded for their persistence, with John-Jules tucking the ball home after Matt Smith’s initial effort was blocked.

In an entertaining encounter, Middlesbrough looked to quickly reduce the deficit and they very nearly did so through Stephen Wearne, who had an effort cleared off the line.

Virginia then made an excellent stop to keep out Kian Spence’s effort but he was unable to stop O’Neill from scoring from close range a few minutes later.

Middlesbrough managed to claw themselves level before half time as Hood managed to scramble the ball over the line.

Arsenal were livid at surrendering their lead but they emerged for the second half with renewed determination to persevere.

Soon enough they were back in front as Ballard scored following yet more good work from Smith Rowe.

Middlesbrough refused to give in and Virginia made some further good stops, but Arsenal still posed an attacking threat of their own, with Smith Rowe a constant danger.

Xavier Amaechi and John-Jules had further efforts and, although they had to survive a scare when O’Neill sent a free-kick narrowly wide late on, Arsenal managed to secure victory.

Arsenal add Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Cazorla and Coyle to Premier League squad


Arsenal have submitted their updated Premier League squad for the remainder of the season, with January signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Konstantinos Mavropanos all included.

Midfielder Santi Cazorla has been added to the squad despite still being out injured.

In addition, youngster Trae Coyle, who wasn’t included in Arsenal’s previous Premier League squad, has now been registered for the competition.

Goalkeepers Deyan Iliev and Matt Macey take up spaces on the senior list, while Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mavropanos are all on the U21 list despite being part of the first-team squad.

25 Squad players (*=Home grown)

Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick
Bellerin, Hector*
Cazorla, Santiago
Cech, Petr
Chambers, Calum*
Elneny, Mohamed Naser Elsayed
Holding, Robert Samuel*
Iliev, Deyan*
Kolasinac, Sead
Koscielny, Laurent
Lacazette, Alexandre
Macey, Matthew Ryan*
Mertesacker, Per
Mkhitaryan, Henrikh
Monreal, Ignacio
Mustafi, Shkodran
Ospina, David
Ozil, Mesut
Ramsey, Aaron James*
Welbeck, Daniel*
Wilshere, Jack Andrew*
Xhaka, Granit

Under-21 players (Contract and Scholars)

Amaechi, Xavier Casmier
Ballard, Daniel George
Balogun, Folarin Jerry
Barden, Daniel
Beckford, Jay Lloyd
Benson, Josh
Bielik, Krystian
Bola, Marc Joel
Bola, Tolaji
Bramall, Cohen
Burton, Robert
Clarke, Harrison Thomas
Coyle, Trae
Crean, Alexander Felix
Daley-Campbell, Vontae
Dasilva, Pelenda Joshua Tunga
Dragomir, Vlad-Mihai
Eyoma, Aaron Jordan
Fortune, Yassin Enzo
Gilmour, Charlie Ian
Huddart, Ryan David
Iwobi, Alex
John-Jules, Tyreece Romayo
Johnson, Chiori
Keto, Hugo Oliver
Maitland-Niles, Ainsley
Mavididi, Stephy Alvaro
Mavropanos, Konstantinos
McEneff, Jordan John
McGuinness, Mark James
Medley, Zechariah Joshua Henry
Moore, Tafari Lalibela
Nelson, Reiss
Nketiah, Edward
Nwakali, Kelechi
Olayinka, Olujimi James Ayodele
Olowu, Joseph Olugbenga
Omole, Tobi
Osei-Tutu, Jordi
Pleguezuelo, Julio Jose
Reine-Adelaide, Jeff
Sheaf, Ben
Smith, Matthew Gerrard
Smith Rowe, Emile
Spencer-Adams, Bayli Alexander
Swanson, Zak
Thompson, Dominic
Tormey, Nathan Alexander
Virginia, Joao
Willock, Joseph George
Zelalem, Gedion

Arsenal include Mkhitaryan, Cazorla and Amaechi in Europa League squad

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Arsenal have submitted their updated squad for the knockout stages of the Europa League, with new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan amongst those included.

Mkhitaryan isn’t permitted to wear number seven in the Europa League as Alexis Sanchez has already worn that number for Arsenal this season, with the Armenian instead allocated number 77.

Injured midfielder Santi Cazorla, who wasn’t named in Arsenal’s previous squad, has been included on this occasion, as has Konstantinos Mavropanos, who joined the club last month.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, however, isn’t eligible for inclusion as his previous club Borussia Dortmund are now also in the Europa League and he has already played in the group stages of a European competition this season.

Youngsters Xavier Amaechi, Trae Coyle and Joseph Olowu are all included on the B-List having signed their first professional contracts with the club.

Defender Zech Medley and goalkeeper Alex Crean are the only players with professional contracts who aren’t on loan who have been left out as they aren’t eligible for inclusion on the B-List.

Arsenal Europa League squad:

4. Per Mertesacker

6. Laurent Koscielny

8. Aaron Ramsey

9. Alexandre Lacazette

10. Jack Wilshere

11. Mesut Özil

13. David Ospina

16. Rob Holding

17. Alex Iwobi*

18. Nacho Monreal

19. Santi Cazorla

20. Shkodran Mustafi

21. Calum Chambers

23. Danny Welbeck

24. Héctor Bellerín

27. Konstantinos Mavropanos

29. Granit Xhaka

30. Ainsley Maitland-Niles*

31. Sead Kolašinac

33. Petr Čech

35. Mohamed Elneny

39. Tolaji Bola*

43. Josh Dasilva*

44. Vlad Dragomir*

45. Aaron Eyoma*

46. Yassin Fortune*

47. Charlie Gilmour*

49. Ryan Huddart*

50. Deyan Iliev

51. Chiori Johnson*

53. Hugo Keto*

54. Matt Macey

61. Reiss Nelson*

62. Eddie Nketiah*

63. Jordi Osei-Tutu*

67. João Virgínia*

69. Joe Willock*

70. Gedion Zelalem*

72. Xavier Amaechi*

77. Henrikh Mkhitaryan

80. Trae Coyle*

87. Joseph Olowu*

90. Emile Smith Rowe*

94. Nathan Tormey*

*- B List

How will Arsenal’s U23 team look after recent departures?


Image: Getty

It was a busy transfer window for Arsenal at U23 level, with Marcus McGuane departing permanently, while several players left on loan and Konstantinos Mavropanos, although technically a first-team signing, also joined the club.

With the squad having changed considerably, it will be intriguing to see what lineups coach Steve Gatting fields in the remainder of the campaign, with Arsenal battling to win the Premier League 2 title, while they are also in contention for glory in the Premier League International Cup.

Here’s a look at how Arsenal could now line up at U23 level.


Rather surprisingly, none of Arsenal’s young goalkeepers went out on loan during the transfer window, meaning Gatting still has several options to choose from in that regard.

Matt Macey is certainly first choice but will be required to train with the first-team at times, while Deyan Iliev and Hugo Keto will also hope for frequent game time.

Ryan Huddart has struggled with injury but Joao Virginia, despite still being eligible to play for the U18s, will be eager to become increasingly involved for the older age group.


Arsenal have fielded a three-man defence at U23 level for much of the season but switched to a back four for the victory over Sunderland last weekend and could persist with the latter setup.

Jordi Osei-Tutu is the regular right-sided defender, especially given that Chiori Johnson hasn’t played all season due to injury.

At the heart of the defence, Mavropanos should be a mainstay and it is likely that Zech Medley will now be his regular partner, with Joseph Olowu to compete for that position once back from injury.

Tolaji Bola could finally get a chance establish himself as a regular at left-back, where cover will be provided by Tobi Omole.


In midfield Arsenal are still able to call upon the regular pairing of Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva, both of whom have been involved with the first-team this campaign.

With McGuane gone, Charlie Gilmour will hope to now feature more regularly, although Emile Smith Rowe is capable of playing as a central midfielder as well as out wide.

Gedion Zelalem, one of the older players in the squad, should return from his lengthy injury absence soon and will aim to play regularly to build up his fitness.

Second year scholars Josh Benson and Robbie Burton, meanwhile, are useful backup options.

Vlad Dragomir has been one of the standout performers for the U23s this season and has featured in several different positions, but he could be used on the right flank, with Reiss Nelson as an attacking midfielder and Smith Rowe on the left wing.

Xavier Amaechi and Trae Coyle will look for further game time, especially with Aaron Eyoma surplus to requirements and Yassin Fortune also struggling to get much of a look in.


Eddie Nketiah will continue to lead the line when he is not involved with the first-team, but alternatively Arsenal can call upon some very exciting prospects in Tyreece John-Jules and Folarin Balogun.

Possible strongest Arsenal U23 team


Osei Tutu-Mavropanos-Medley-T. Bola


Dragomir-Nelson-Smith Rowe


Subs: Iliev, Olowu, Zelalem, Gilmour, John-Jules.

Other players: Huddart, Crean, Virginia, Eyoma, Johnson, Fortune, Keto, Amaechi, Coyle, Tormey, Benson, Burton, Omole, Balogun, Clarke, Olayinka, Swanson, McGuinness.




Akpom and Bielik become latest Arsenal youngsters to go out on loan

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Two further Arsenal youngsters have sealed loan departures on transfer deadline day.

Striker Chuba Akpom heads out on temporary transfer for the sixth time as he links up with Belgian top flight side Sint-Truidense.

Akpom has previously had spells with Brentford, Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Brighton & Hove Albion but has struggled for consistency and has found first-team opportunities limited at Arsenal.

Meanwhile, defender Krystian Bielik has signed for League One side Walsall on loan.

Bielik impressed in the Championship for Birmingham City in the second half of last season but a shoulder injury prevented him from going on loan in the summer transfer window.

Gilmour and Medley to benefit as Reine-Adelaide and Pleguezuelo head out on loan


Two Arsenal youngsters have secured loan moves away from the club on transfer deadline day, with midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide heading to Angers, while defender Julio Pleguezuelo has joined Gimnastic de Tarragona.

Reine-Adelaide will be hoping for regular playing time in Ligue 1 having been on the periphery of the Arsenal first-team setup in the first half of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Pleguezuelo, who has been a regular for the U23s this season, returns to the Spanish second tier having also featured in that division for Mallorca last season.

With Reine-Adelaide and Pleguezuelo having departed on a temporary basis, opportunities will start to open up for some of the younger members of Arsenal’s U23 squad.

Two players who could well benefit are midfielder Charlie Gilmour and defender Zech Medley.

Gilmour has scored twice in four Premier League 2 fixtures this season, while centre-back Medley has featured on six occasions, but both could now become more heavily involved for Steve Gatting’s side.