Assessing Arsenal’s young goalkeepers

With Petr Cech and David Ospina out injured, suddenly there is much focus on the goalkeeping situation at Arsenal.

Emiliano Martinez started last night’s Premier League victory over West Ham United, with Matt Macey, who was re-called from his loan spell at Luton Town, on the bench.

Here’s an assessment of the young goalkeepers at the Gunners’ disposal.

MATT MACEY  (Age 22)


Macey, who joined Arsenal from Bristol Rovers in 2013, is the closest young goalkeeper to the first-team squad, although he is classed as a senior player by Premier League rules.

The tall shot-stopper struggled during a loan spell with Accrington Stanley in the 2014/15 campaign but has improved considerably since then and impressed for Luton before his loan was cut short.

Macey will remain with Arsenal until the end of the season, while his current deal runs until the summer of 2018. He featured for the first-team in a friendly against Lens last summer.



A Macedonian youngster who signed for Arsenal in 2012, Iliev has been hugely unfortunate with injuries in recent seasons and has been sidelined since August 2015.

It isn’t currently clear when he will be fit enough to play again, but once he fully recovers Iliev could be sent out on loan to gain further experience.

A long term future at Arsenal, however, is looking rather unlikely, especially as he previously performed inconsistently when given a chance at second-string level.



Having arrived at Arsenal from Charlton Athletic as a schoolboy, Huddart made the bench for the Gunners in both Champions League games against Anderlecht in 2014 when he was just 17.

However, he hasn’t earned another senior call-up since then and, although he has trained with the first-team recently, Huddart will surely be frustrated with the club’s decision to re-call Macey rather than give him a chance to be on the bench against West Ham.

Huddart produced some encouraging displays on loan at non-league Eastleigh earlier in the campaign but was re-called due to a lack of regular playing time.

HUGO KETO (Age 19)


Approaching the end of his third season at Arsenal, the Finland youth international has been involved for the club at various age groups this campaign, featuring for the U23s, the U19s and the U18s.

Although his distribution still requires improvement, Keto has stellar reflexes and is highly regarded within the club.

It is anticipated that the youngster could fully establish himself as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper at U23 level next campaign.



Formerly with Benfica, Virginia has been heavily involved for Arsenal U18s this season and also played in the UEFA Youth League.

Short in stature but not short of ability, the Portugal youth international was part of the Arsenal side that won the Future Cup in Holland last year, while he was also included in his country’s squad for the Olympics in Rio.

Next season Virginia will gain plenty more experience of playing at youth level and will also be looking to make his debut for Arsenal U23s.



Previously with Celtic and Crystal Palace, Crean joined Arsenal on a professional contract earlier this season.

The prospect has played for the U18s, making some encouraging stops in the process, and should be involved for Kwame Ampadu’s team again next season.


In addition, talented schoolboys Daniel Barden and Arthur Okonkwo have both been part of the U18 squad this season.

Matt Macey on bench for Arsenal against West Ham after being recalled from Luton loan

Arsenal have recalled Matt Macey from his loan spell at Luton Town, with the goalkeeper on the bench for tonight’s Premier League game at home to West Ham United. 

Macey had produced some impressive performances after joining Luton in January and made eleven appearances for his temporary team, keeping four clean sheets. 

However, Macey has now returned to Arsenal as back up for Emiliano Martinez after Petr Cech and David Ospina suffered injuries. 

Loan report – Szczesny keeps clean sheet; Bielik and Nwakali feature

SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game and kept a clean sheet as Roma beat Empoli 2-0.

Krystian Bielik played the full game and was booked as Birmingham City drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town.

Jon Toral played the whole game and received a yellow card as Rangers drew 1-1 with Motherwell.

Matt Macey played the entirety of Luton Town’s 1-0 victory over Blackpool.

Ismael Bennacer played the whole game as Tours beat Red Star 3-1.

Kelechi Nwakali played the full game and was booked as MVV Maastricht drew 1-1 with Fortuna Sittard. Stefan O’Connor wasn’t involved.

Dan Crowley played 88 minutes as Go Ahead Eagles beat Twente 2-1.

Chuba Akpom played 58 minutes as Brighton & Hove Albion beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0.

Kaylen Hinds started on the left wing and played 72 minutes as Stevenage beat Barnet 1-0.

Jack Wilshere came on in the 70th minute as Bournemouth drew 0-0 with Southampton.

Gedion Zelalem was brought on in the 76th minute as VVV-Venlo lost 4-0 to NAC Breda.

Takuma Asano was an un-used substitute as Stuttgart drew 3-3 with Dynamo Dresden.

Julio Pleguezuelo was an un-used substitute as Mallorca lost 1-0 to Alcorcon.

Marc Bola was an un-used substitute as Notts County beat Colchester United 3-1.

Joel Campbell wasn’t involved as Sporting Lisbon beat Nacional 2-0.

Calum Chambers missed out through injury as Middlesbrough drew 0-0 with Swansea City.

Aaron Eyoma wasn’t involved as Volendam beat RKC Waalwijk 4-1.

Tafari Moore is expected to feature when Utrecht II face Ajax II tomorrow.




Which Arsenal youngsters could leave this summer?


The end of the season is approaching and, inevitably, this will prove to be the final campaign at the club for some young prospects.

Winger Nathan Tella has already sealed a move to Southampton, but which other young players could leave Arsenal this summer?

Glen Kamara has endured a hugely frustrating season, with the defensive-midfielder having been unable to fully impose himself on loan at Colchester United in the first half of the campaign, while since January he has been training with Arsenal’s U23 side but hasn’t made an appearance. The Finland youth international, who has played one senior game for Arsenal, seems certain to be let go.

Kristopher Da Graca is another player who is surplus to requirements and the tall centre-back has been on trial at Genoa recently. With Ben Sheaf and Joseph Olowu now ahead of him in the pecking order at Arsenal, Da Graca has no future at the club.

Having shown some glimpses of his ability for the U18s last season, it was anticipated that Savvas Mourgos would step up to the U23s on a more regular basis this campaign. That hasn’t quite transpired, however, with the midfielder having, rather strangely, been restricted to just four appearances at that level, and he may well move on.

Like Tella, defender Kostas Pileas sees his scholarship deal expire at the end of June. The club have yet to hold discussions with the 18-year-old regarding whether he will get a professional contract.

Centre-back Stefan O’Connor has barely featured on loan at Dutch club MVV Maastricht and could depart permanently along with Aaron Eyoma, who has yet to play on loan at Volendam.

On a slightly different note, Chris Willock’s contract expires this summer, with the winger, who has made two competitive appearances for the first-team, yet to commit to a new deal. Meanwhile, his brother Joe has yet to sign the professional contract that was offered to him when he signed scholarship terms.

It seems, then, that there will, in all likelihood, be several exits from the academy, and it should also be taken into consideration that some high-profile players, such as Jon Toral, could leave depending on whether or not they are promised first-team opportunities.


Arsenal winger Nathan Tella joins Southampton in permanent deal


Arsenal winger Nathan Tella has signed for Southampton on a permanent deal following a successful trial.

The 17-year-old progressed through the ranks at Arsenal’s Hale End academy before signing scholarship terms but was informed earlier this year that he wouldn’t be offered a professional contract.

A direct and skilful player, Tella featured prominently for Arsenal at U18 level, although he also endured misfortune with injury.

via Andy’sArsenalU18s


Arsenal’s Kristopher Da Graca on trial at Genoa

Image: 90 minutes online

Arsenal defender Kristopher Da Graca is on trial at Serie A side Genoa as he closes in on a permanent departure from the club. 

Da Graca started the season as a key part of the Arsenal U23 side but the tall centre-back fell out of favour following several disappointing performances. 

The 19-year-old, who joined Arsenal as a schoolboy in 2013, has been playing for Genoa at youth level recently and scored in the 4-0 victory over Parma yesterday in the Viareggio Cup. 

A tall and physically imposing player, Da Graca is rather error prone and hasn’t played for Arsenal U23s since November, with Ben Sheaf (who has been converted from midfield) and first-year Joseph Olowu now ahead of him. 

It is widely anticipated that Da Graca will be released when his Arsenal contract expires at the end of June. 

Loan report- Toral assists for Rangers; Bielik impresses again for Birmingham

Jon Toral played the whole game and set up a goal for Clint Hill in Rangers’ 4-0 thrashing of Hamilton Academical.

Krystian Bielik played the full 90 minutes and impressed as part of a back three as Birmingham City drew 0-0 with Newcastle United.

Wojciech Szczesny played the whole game as Roma beat Sassuolo 3-1.

Dan Crowley played the full match as Go Ahead Eagles lost 3-1 to PEC Zwolle.

Kelechi Nwakali played 90 minutes in MVV Maastricht’s 1-1 draw with Telstar. Stefan O’Connor was an un-used substitute.

Marc Bola played the whole game and was booked late on as Notts County beat Barnet 1-0.

Matt Macey played the entirety of Luton Town’s 1-1 draw with Exeter City.

Takuma Asano was introduced in the 71st minute of Stuttgart’s 1-0 loss to Greuther Furth.

Chuba Akpom was brought on in the 74th minute as Brighton & Hove Albion lost 2-0 to Leeds United.

Jack Wilshere came on in the 75th minute as Bournemouth beat Swansea City 2-0.

Ismael Bennacer played 72 minutes as Tours ran out 4-0 victors against Valenciennes.

Gedion Zelalem came on in the 72nd minute as VVV-Venlo lost 5-2 to Dordrecht.

Kaylen Hinds was brought on in the 67th minute of Stevenage’s 3-0 win over Portsmouth.

Tafari Moore played the whole game as Utrecht II beat Eindhoven 3-1.

Calum Chambers missed out through injury as Middlesbrough lost 3-1 to Manchester United.

Joel Campbell wasn’t involved as Sporting Lisbon beat Nacional 2-0.

Julio Plegueuzelo wasn’t in the Mallorca squad for the 2-1 loss against Huesca.

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