Akpom still has some way to go to prove he can succeed at Arsenal



It was one of the more bizarre statistics relating to any Arsenal player. Going into this season, Chuba Akpom was yet to score a goal in senior football, despite having amassed over 20 appearances during his loan spells at Brentford, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest, as well as his fleeting outings at senior level for the Gunners.

Akpom broke that duck in emphatic style by commencing his latest loan spell, with Championship side Hull City, by scoring on his debut against Huddersfield Town.

Since then, however, the striker has found the net just twice more for his temporary side, suggesting that there is still some way to go before he can lay a genuine claim to being Arsenal future centre-forward.

Akpom has long been earmarked as a potential star at Arsenal. He was a regular in the U21s at the age of 16 and has been called up by Arsene Wenger for the first-team on several occasions.

Now aged 20, however, it is time for the forward to really make substantial strides in his career. His lack of goals aside, there have been some encouraging signs during his time with Hull. Akpom’s lively presence has seen him cause numerous problems for opposition defenders, whilst he has also created several chances for his team-mates.

Akpom has also been progressing on the international scene, with the forward having recently broken in the England U21 squad, having previously represented his country at various other age groups.

Akpom’s potential prompted Arsenal to award the forward a new long-term deal running until 2019, but that is by no means a guarantee that he will still be with the Gunners by then. Progressing as a striker from Arsenal’s youth sides to the first-team is an incredibly difficult task, whilst the club’s increased financial resources for transfers means that there is now a greater chance that Arsenal will sign an elite striker in the future.

Akpom has worked tremendously hard to get to this point, but the most difficult stage of his development is fast approaching. It seems certain that he will go on to have a prolonged career at a relatively high level, but whether it will be with Arsenal remains to be seen.

He is officially part of Arsenal’s first-team squad, and will return to the club next summer eager to prove himself in the first-team. A strong second half of the campaign with Hull, however, would boost his credentials in that regard, whilst it is also up to Akpom himself to prove that he can find the net with regularity in senior football.

There is a possibility that if Hull achieve their aim of gaining promotion back to the Premier League (they are currently top of the Championship) then Akpom could remain with Steve Bruce’s side for a further season in order to test himself fully in the top flight.

Akpom’s progress up until this point has been very quick, but now it is up to the striker to prove that he is capable of making the grade at Arsenal in the long-term.

Analysis- Robinson comes in from the cold to aid Arsenal U18s against Norwich



It has been a frustrating season at times for Tyrell Robinson. Whilst many of his fellow 2014 scholars have pushed into the U21 set-up, he has had to be content with being part of the U18 squad with the occasional call up to older age groups thrown in.

Last season was an impressive one for the Hale End product as he broke into the second-string side and also trained with the first-team but, largely owing to the development of others, the 18-year-old has had to be patient for opportunities this campaign.

Robinson, perhaps understandably so, has become a little disheartened with his situation, and was unhappy at regularly being asked to play at left-back last campaign.

Having been left out of the squad for the past couple of games, Robinson returned to the fray on Sautrday as the U18s travelled to face Norwich City.

The youngster, who is renowned for his searing pace, played a prominent part as Arsenal prevailed with a 3-2 victory in a difficult away game.

Edward Nketiah continued his good goalscoring form by putting Arsenal ahead, but Norwich responded and capitalised upon some weak defending to put themselves 2-1 ahead.

Robinson was determined to change matters, however, and he burst down the right flank before finding Savvas Mourgos, who, in turn, set up substitute Vlad Dragomir to make it 2-2.

There was more to come, with Robinson teeing up Yassin Fortune, who cut in from the left flank and finished superbly to score what proved to be the winner.

Robinson then could have got on the scoresheet himself to provide what would have been the perfect ending to an impressive overall display, but he shot over when well placed.

Almost everything else he did against Norwich was excellent, though, and the youngster will no doubt take much confidence from that performance. Having responded to his situation in the right way, Robinson’s only hope will be that he will now be rewarded with more call-ups for the older age groups.

Arsenal U18s: Huddart; Eyoma, Da Graca, T. Bola, Pileas; Agyei-Tabi, Mourgos; Robinson, Malen, Fortune; Nketiah. Subs: Phillips, Chatzitheodoridis, Dragomir, J. Willock, DaSilva.

Loan report- Toral scores and “was the best player on the pitch”; Martinez suffers injury

Jon Toral returned to the starting line-up and the scoresheet as Birmingham City beat Fulham 5-2 at Craven Cottage. Toral’s strike after half an hour put Birmingham 3-0 up, with the talented Spaniard being replaced with ten minutes remaining. After the game Birmingham manager Gary Rowett said: “Jon Toral was the best player on the pitch, in terms of his composure and his vision. We know what he’s got – he’s only 20 years old and starting games for the first time.”

Emiliano Martinez started and made some impressive saves as Wolverhampton Wanderers drew 0-0 with Burnley, but the goalkeeper had to be substituted in the 57th minute after suffering an injury.

Carl Jenkinson played the whole game and had a shot saved as West Ham United drew 1-1 with Everton.

Gedion Zelalem played the whole game and made several impressive passes as Rangers thrashed Alloa Athletic 4-0.

Chuba Akpom was introduced as a 72nd minute substitute as Hull City beat Middlesbrough 3-0. Isaac Hayden, meanwhile, entered the fray in the 87th minute.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was brought on in the 65th minute as Ipswich Town beat Rotherham United 5-2. The youngster delivered one dangerous cross into the penalty area to set up a chance.

Wellington didn’t feature in Bolton Wanderers’ goalless draw with Bristol City because of injury.

Serge Gnabry was once again left out of the West Bromwich Albion squad as Tony Pulis’ side lost 2-0 to Manchester United.

Wojciech Szczesny is expected to start when Roma host Lazio this afternoon.

Yaya Sanogo‘s Ajax take on Feyenoord today, although the striker is unlikely to feature.

Dragomir amongst scorers as Arsenal U18s beat Norwich

Screen shot 2015-11-07 at 13.48.59

Summer signing Vlad Dragomir returned from international duty and was on the scoresheet today as Arsenal U18s beat their Norwich City counterparts 3-2 in a challenging away fixture.

Edward Nketiah scored Arsenal’s first goal, with the forward continuing his fine form this campaign, whilst Yassin Fortune, another first-year scholar, was also on the scoresheet.

The victory was Arsenal’s second win in succession following their triumph over Reading last time out. The youngsters host Brighton & Hove Albion next Saturday.

Via Andy’s Arsenal U18’s

Koscielny, Arteta and five youngsters train with Arsenal squad ahead of Tottenham game



Arsenal held their final training session at London Colney this morning ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game at home to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta and David Ospina playing a full part.

All three players, who have suffered with injury of late, could make the squad for tomorrow’s game, with Arsene Wenger being given a further boost by the news that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to light training following his short spell on the sidelines. He could soon be joined in that regard by Tomas Rosicky, who is recovering from a knee problem.

The respective returns of Koscielny, Arteta and Ospina mean that it is unlikely that there will be many members of the U21 side included in tomorrow’s squad, with Alex Iwobi the only youth player set to be involved. The Nigeria international has featured in the last three games for the first-team, and made his Champions League debut in the defeat to Bayern Munich in midweek.

There were several other youngsters who trained with the senior squad today, however, with Matt Macey, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Glen Kamara and Julio Pleguezuelo all being called upon.

As far as the senior players are concerned, Hector Bellerin is out with a groin strain, but could return to action after the international break for the game away to West Bromwich Albion.

Aaron Ramsey, who has missed several matches with a hamstring problem, could also be in contention for the trip to The Hawthorns, but Theo Walcott’s calf injury may keep the striker out until December.

Then there are the long-term injuries to consider, with Jack Wilshere (calf) and Danny Welbeck (knee) not expected to return until the New Year.

Possible team:






Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Arteta, Flamini, Chambers, Campbell, Iwobi.

Report- Crowley returns as Bennacer’s superb strike earns Arsenal U19s a draw against Bayern Munich

UEFA Youth League

Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 (Bennacer)



Arsenal U19s came from behind to secure a point away to their Bayern Munich counterparts today, and, in so doing, edged closer to reaching the knockout stages of the UEFA Youth League.

The young Gunners fell behind early on but equalised through a superb effort from distance from Ismael Bennacer, although they missed an inviting opportunity to take the lead when Ben Sheaf failed to find the net from the penalty spot just before half-time.

Arsenal welcomed back Dan Crowley from his loan spell at Barnsley, with the midfielder playing 45 minutes, but the Gunners were deprived of the services of Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who will be with the first-team tonight. Reiss Nelson, meanwhile, kept his place in the side, with Stephy Mavididi only making the bench.

Krystian Bielik was absent, with Stefan O’Connor coming into the side.


Osei-Tutu-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Crowley-Nelson-C. Willock


Subs: Agyei-Tabi (for Sheaf, 46), Malen (for Crowley, 46), Eyoma (for Osei-Tutu, 76).

Not used: Huddart, Chatzitheodoridis, Mourgos, Mavididi.

Arsenal ran out victors against Bayern at home, and they started well on this occasion with Kaylen Hinds, deployed as a central striker, doing well to find Chris Willock, who was unable to find a team-mate with his cross.

Despite Arsenal’s bright start it was Bayern who took the lead, with Fabian Benko getting the better of Hugo Keto with an effort from the edge of the area.

Bayern, buoyed by their goal, caused further problems for the Arsenal defence, with Julio Pleguezuelo having to make an important intervention before Keto made an excellent save to prevent Benko from getting his second goal.

Arsenal responded with Nelson doing well to find Crowley, who saw his effort saved, but Keto then had to make two excellent stops in quick succession at the other end to deny Bayern.

The momentum shifted as the half drew to a close, however, with Ismael Bennacer, who made his first-team debut last week, scoring with an excellent strike from 25 yards out to equalise.

The Gunners should have gone into the break in the ascendancy after the dangerous Nelson was fouled in the area, but Ben Sheaf, usually so efficient from the penalty spot, spurned his effort.

Arsenal made a double change at the second-half, with first-year scholars Marcus Agyei-Tabi and Donyell Malen replacing Sheaf and Crowley.

The two new introductions combined well shortly after being brought on, with Agyei-Tabi’s pass finding Malen, whose effort went just wide.

Willock was next to test the Bayern backline, but, after embarking on an impressive run, the England youth international couldn’t find a team-mate with his cross.

Arsenal created further opportunities as they sought to go ahead. Bennacer’s free-kick caused problems for Bayern, with O’Connor ready to react to the rebound, but the German side managed to clear the danger just in time.

Arsenal, for all their attacking momentum, still had to be alert defensively, and Andries Jonker’s side had Agyei-Tabi to thank for clearing the danger as Bayern threatened to regain the lead.

Keto, who was in excellent form again, had to make another late save to preserve parity, and Arsenal held on to edge closer to reaching the Last 16.

Reine-Adelaide to make bench against Bayern; Maitland-Niles strikes for Ipswich

Jeff Reine-Adelaide will be included in an Arsenal matchday squad for a competitive fixture for the first time when the Gunners take on Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tomorrow night.

The exciting winger, who is just back from representing France at the U17 World Cup, will be amongst the substitutes against Pep Guardiola’s side after Hector Bellerin was ruled out through injury. Fellow youngsters Matt Macey and Alex Iwobi are also expected to be in the squad.



Meanwhile, it was a bittersweet night for Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles, with the winger scoring his first senior goal as Ipswich Town beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 only to later suffer an injury that caused him to be withdrawn just before half-time. His strike was something to savour, however, with the England youth international finding the net from 25 yards out.

Maitland-Niles wasn’t the only Arsenal loanee in action tonight. Chuba Akpom played 73 minutes and was booked as Hull City beat Brentford 2-0, whilst Isaac Hayden was once again an un-used substitute.

Emiliano Martinez made some good saves but couldn’t keep a clean sheet as Wolverhampton Wanderers lost 1-0 to Bristol City.

Jon Toral was introduced in the 65th minute and set up a couple of chances as Birmingham City drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers.