Loan report – Lucas Perez and Akpom score again

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Lucas Perez scored an equaliser in second half stoppage time as Deportivo La Coruna drew 1-1 with Celta Vigo.

Chuba Akpom came on as a substitute in the 58th minute for Sint-Truiden and scored in the 3-1 defeat to Eupen. The attacker now has four goals in his last six games.

Kelechi Nwakali played the whole game as MVV Maastricht lost 3-2 to Almere City in the second leg of their play-off semi-final, with the Arsenal loanee’s side suffering a 6-3 aggregate defeat.

Ben Sheaf was substituted at half-time as Stevenage lost 1-0 to a Wycombe Wanderers side that were without Tafari Moore.

Stephy Mavididi came on in the 71st minute as Charlton Athletic lost 1-0 to Rochdale. The Addicks will now face Shrewsbury Town in their League One play-off semi-final.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe beat Las Palmas 1-0.

Joel Campbell was an unused substitute as Real Betis lost 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Stuttgart beat Hoffenheim 2-0.

Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall weren’t involved as Birmingham City beat Fulham 3-1.

Julio Pleguezuelo wasn’t involved as Gimnastic de Tarragona lost 2-0 to Osasuna.

Marc Bola wasn’t involved as Bristol Rovers drew 0-0 with Southend United.

Krystian Bielik missed out through injury as Walsall lost 2-0 to Fleetwood Town.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide missed out through injury as Angers beat Metz 2-1.

 

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U17 Euros – Amaechi impresses and Daley-Campbell assists as England beat Israel

Hosts England got their U17 European Championship campaign underway today with a 2-1 victory over Israel in Chesterfield, and five of the six Arsenal players in the squad were in action.

Xavier Amaechi, who has enjoyed an excellent campaign at club level, was perhaps the game’s standout performer as he frequently caused problems for the Israel defence.

Bukayo Saka, meanwhile, also made a major impact and won the penalty from which Thomas Doyle put England ahead.

Saka, who commenced the game out wide, switched to left-back during the second half and demonstrated that he is effective defensively as well as in an attacking sense.

Israel equalised through a penalty of their own when Dan Lugassy scored just before the break.

England, however, proceeded to make it 2-1, with Arsenal’s Vontae Daley-Campbell crossing for Matthew Daly to score what proved to be the winning goal.

Having started the game in the unfamiliar position of left-back, Daley-Campbell thrived when he switched to his usual right-back berth.

Another Arsenal prospect, Tyreece John-Jules, started the game before being replaced by his club team-mate Folarin Balogun, while Trae Coyle was an unused substitute.

What will Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup team look like next season?

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Arsenal made it through to the final of this season’s FA Youth Cup but matters didn’t exactly go to plan as they were thrashed 7-1 on aggregate by Chelsea, who won the competition for the fifth year in succession.

Next season the young Gunners will be especially determined to wrest the trophy from Chelsea’s grasp but they will have to do so without some of the standout performers from this campaign, including Emile Smith Rowe and Joao Virginia.

Here’s a look at how Arsenal could line up in the Youth Cup next season.

Goalkeeper

Virginia is still eligible to represent the U18s next season as an overage player, but the talented shot-stopper won’t be able to feature in the Youth Cup.

Arthur Okonkwo has been offered a scholarship deal at Arsenal but has yet to accept it, meaning Daniel Barden could be between the sticks with Tom Smith as his back-up.

Defence

Vontae Daley-Campbell showed some encouraging signs at right-back this campaign and will still be able to play in the Youth Cup next time around.

As far as the centre of the defence is concerned, Arsenal require an overhaul with Danny Ballard, Zech Medley and Joseph Olowu all stepping up to the U23s on a full-time basis, so Harry Clarke and Mark McGuinness, who featured in the U18s’ 9-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the league recently, could be called upon, with Bayli Spencer-Adams an alternative option.

Left-back, meanwhile, is something of a problem position, with Dominic Thompson and Tobi Omole no longer eligible from next season. Schoolboy Mazeed Ogungbo could step up, but one possible solution would be to deploy Bukayo Saka there, with the starlet having regularly featured in defence for England at youth level despite mainly being a winger for Arsenal.

Midfield

Matt Smith and James Olayinka are still available for next season’s tournament and seem likely to start at the base of midfield, with Trae Coyle possibly in the number ten position, while Republic of Ireland youth international Jordan McEneff will also hope to make the squad.

Attack

Tyreece John-Jules should lead the line, with Folarin Balogun and Xavier Amaechi, who both impressed this season, providing support from out wide.

Possible team:

Barden

Daley Campbell-Clarke-McGuinness-Saka

M. Smith-Olayinka

Balogun-Coyle-Amaechi

John Jules

Subs: T. Smith, McGuinness, Swanson, McEneff, Okoflex.

Other eligible players: Cottrell, Martin, Flaherty, Matthews, Dennis, Alebiosu, Azeez, Musah, Graczyk, Ogungbo, Okonkwo.

 

 

Joao Virginia offers hope for Arsenal despite FA Youth Cup defeat

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Arsenal’s youngsters will want to forget about last night’s FA Youth Cup final defeat to Chelsea as quickly as possible, with the 7-1 aggregate scoreline leaving a bitter overall feeling.

The tie certainly didn’t work out as expected for the young Gunners, with Chelsea capitalising upon the weaknesses of Kwame Ampadu’s side and making the most of their own considerable strengths.

Were it not for the many interventions of Arsenal goalkeeper Joao Virginia, however, the damage inflicted by the Blues could have been much, much worse.

Across the two legs Virginia made a string of saves, some of which were of an extremely high standard, and not many of the goals that the Portuguese youngster conceded could be deemed to be primarily his fault.

Virginia won’t be eligible for the FA Youth Cup next season but the 18-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Benfica’s academy as a schoolboy in 2015, will now hope to push on to bigger and better things.

This season Virginia has broken into Arsenal’s U23 side, making two appearances at that level, and he recently stated his desire to get into the first-team as quickly as possible.

Arsenal have a host of other young goalkeepers on their books and, although some of them may be moved on this summer, Virginia may well have to be rather patient in order to make the breakthrough, especially with Matt Macey, for instance, ahead of him at present.

Virginia, though, certainly possesses much in the way of potential, with his reactions rather impressive, while his distribution has also notably improved of late.

Next season Virginia will still be able to play for the U18s in the league as an overage player but he will aim to instead feature regularly for the U23s and perhaps even get onto the bench for the first-team in the League Cup.

This campaign Virginia has been selected to train with the senior goalkeepers on a regular basis and certainly seems to have benefited from the experience as he now commands his penalty area with greater authority.

Virginia may not be the tallest but he is still capable of making fine saves from various angles and there is an overriding feeling that he could thrive with a reliable defence in front of him.

It will be intriguing to see what next season has in store for Virginia, and indeed Arsenal’s other current U18 players, as they look to put the agony of the Chelsea defeat to one side and continue in their quest to succeed at the club.

Report – Arsenal thrashed 7-1 on aggregate in FA Youth Cup final as young Gunners are outclassed by Chelsea

FA Youth Cup final, second leg

Arsenal 0 Chelsea 4 (Gilmour 10, Hudson-Odoi 56, 76, Anjorin 66)

(Chelsea win 7-1 on aggregate)

By Jeorge Bird @Emirates Stadium

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Arsenal worked extremely hard to get to the final of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in nine years but upon reaching that stage they found themselves outclassed by a superb Chelsea team, with the Blues having now won this prestigious trophy for the last five seasons in succession.

Chelsea deserve much credit, and they have some sterling talents at their disposal, such as Callum Hudson-Odoi, Billy Gilmour and Dujon Sterling, but Arsenal will still feel that they should have done better than suffer a 7-1 aggregate defeat.

In reality this tie was lost at Stamford Bridge, where Arsenal were beaten 3-1 on Friday night, and Kwame Ampadu’s team had very little chance of oveturning the deficit at Emirates Stadium.

They found Chelsea reinvigorated and even more determined, while Arsenal were woeful as they lacked cohesion and struggled to make the most of the considerable talents of Xavier Amaechi and Emile Smith Rowe.

Were it not for the many interventions of impressive goalkeeper Joao Virginia, Chelsea could easily have reached double figures in terms of the aggregate scoreline, with Arsenal’s midfield and defence frequently being carved apart by their opponents’ incisive passing.

All is not lost – there are certainly some members of this group who could go on to become first-team players – but this was a chastening defeat and losing 4-0 at home in a final will take some getting over.

Ampadu’s decision to substitute Smith Rowe when Arsenal were 1-0 up at the Bridge could be looked back upon as a turning point in the tie, but it seems likely that Chelsea, given the quality that they possess, would have prevailed in any case.

For tonight’s game Ampadu made two alterations to his side. Schoolboy winger Bukayo Saka came in for Matt Smith, while Joseph Olowu replaced Zech Medley at the heart of the defence, with Folarin Balogun fit enough to make the bench.

Virginia

Daley Campbell-Olowu-Ballard-Thompson

Burton-Olayinka

Amaechi-Smith Rowe-Saka

John Jules

Subs: Coyle, Balogun, Medley. Not used: Barden, M. Smith.

Arsenal looked to quickly get themselves back into the tie, with Smith Rowe aiming to find Tyreece John-Jules, but the move didn’t materialise as hoped.

Smith Rowe then played a neat pass into the path of Xavier Amaechi, with the latter seeing his effort saved.

Arsenal’s early momentum was quickly quashed, however, with Chelsea opening the scoring through Billy Gilmour, who found the net after Olowu’s headed clearance saw the ball land at his feet.

The young Gunners were dejected and there could have been further misery to endure shortly afterwards but Virginia did well to make an impressive stop after Danny Ballard was caught out.

Arsenal were starting to lose their composure, with some players expressing their frustration with eachother, but they could have at least pulled one goal back through Bukayo Saka had the winger’s effort not lacked conviction.

Virginia had to react well again to keep out Hudson-Odoi’s effort just before half-time, with Chelsea going into the break 4-1 up on aggregate.

There were, at long last, some encouraging signs for Arsenal in the early stages of the second half, with the sprightly Saka seeking to get beyond the Chelsea defence.

However, again the youngster’s finishing was wayward as Arsenal spurned opportunities to give themselves a glimmer of hope.

Right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell was also getting forward to good effect as he delivered some teasing crosses, but that positive period for Arsenal was unfortunately shortlived as Chelsea soon returned to their devastating best.

The Blues engineered a stunning multi-pass move which bamboozled the Arsenal defence, with Hudson-Odoi finishing adroitly past Virginia to make it 2-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate, effectively ending any remaining chance of a comeback.

Ampadu continued his recent theme of making bizarre substitutions as he brought off the dangerous Amaechi, with Balogun entering the fray.

Virginia made another fine stop but the Portuguese goalkeeper couldn’t prevent Chelsea substitute Tino Anjorin from adding another goal.

Arsenal showed some signs of fight despite their plight as Ballard had a header cleared off the line, but Chelsea continued to excel and, after Medley replaced Ballard in the Gunners’ defence, Hudson-Odoi proceeded to find the net again, much to the delight of the small section of travelling Chelsea supporters.

There was, briefly, something to cheer for Arsenal as Saka put the ball in the net from Daley-Campbell’s cross, but, in keeping with a deeply frustrating night, the strike was ruled out for offside.

It looked as if Chelsea were going to add yet another goal to their tally following an error from Olowu, but the defender recovered well to clear the danger, albeit hurting Virginia in the process.

The Arsenal goalkeeper was able to finish the game, but, perhaps to sum up the gulf in class between the two teams, Hudson-Odoi had the audaciousness to attempt to find the net from the halfway line in the closing stages.

That may not have come to fruition but most of what Chelsea attempted did and they were, as painful as it is say, far too good for Arsenal.

Arsenal could certainly have done much more with the players they had and at times they looked more like a group of individuals than a team, with Chelsea ruthlessly exposing their weaknesses.

There are still some standout talents amongst these players. Virginia, despite conceding seven goals over the course of the tie, has enhanced his reputation with some excellent interventions and could thrive with a more reliable defence ahead of him.

Daley-Campbell has promise going forwards but perhaps his future lies as a winger rather than at right-back, while Smith Rowe’s qualities are clear to see.

Amaechi, too, is very talented, as are Balogun and John-Jules, even though the latter has appeared a little tired in recent games.

Some players, especially defensively, sadly aren’t of the required standard and almost certainly never will be, but all is not completely lost for the Arsenal academy when some of the aforementioned prospects are considered.

This, though, was a hugely frustrating occasion, with Arsenal unable to prevent Chelsea from adding to their ever-growing collection of Youth Cups.

The hope is that Arsenal will one day be able to reclaim this trophy themselves, but they might have to wait a while yet.

 

Loan report – Lucas Perez strikes against Barcelona; Akpom and Nwakali score

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Chuba Akpom came on in the 59th minute and scored in the closing stages of the game as Sint-Truiden beat Oostende 4-1.

Lucas Perez scored as Deportivo La Coruna lost 4-2 to Barcelona. The result saw Deportivo relegated to the second tier of Spanish football.

Kelechi Nwakali scored a penalty and played the whole game as MVV Maastricht lost 2-1 to Ajax II in their final game of the regular season. They will now compete in the play-offs.

Ben Sheaf played the entirety of Stevenage’s 3-1 victory over Exeter City.

Stephy Mavididi was brought on in the 80th minute as Charlton Athletic beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0.

Emiliano Martinez was an unused substitute as Getafe drew 1-1 with Girona.

Marc Bola was an unused substitute as Bristol Rovers drew 1-1 with Gillingham.

Tafari Moore missed out through injury as Wycombe Wanderers secured promotion to League One after beating Chesterfield 2-1.

Krystian Bielik, who is back running outside at Arsenal following injury, wasn’t involved as Walsall beat Northampton Town 1-0.

Takuma Asano wasn’t involved as Stuttgart beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide missed out through injury as Angers drew 1-1 with Marseille.

Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall weren’t involved as Birmingham City lost 3-1 to Queens Park Rangers.

Julio Pleguezuelo wasn’t involved as Gimnastic de Tarragona took on Lorca.

Joel Campbell is expected to be on the bench when Real Betis host Malaga tomorrow.

Mavropanos and Maitland-Niles enhance reputations in Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United

It was a familiar outcome for Arsenal today as they lost yet another away game, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, but on this occasion there were at least some positives to take from proceedings.

With Thursday’s Europa League semi-final, second leg away to Atletico Madrid in mind, several young players were given opportunities to impress, including Konstantinos Mavropanos and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Mavropanos has had to be patient since joining the club in January but the young centre-back made his debut against United and relished the occasion as he made several interventions.

Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, was given a runout in his preferred central midfield position, and was named man of the match despite being on the losing side.

The England youth international was typically composed in possession and he also won the ball back well.

Reiss Nelson was also given a start out wide and showed some glimpses of his potential without having too much of an impact, while Joe Willock featured as a substitute.

Jordi Osei-Tutu made the bench in the Premier League for the first time but remained unused along with striker Eddie Nketiah.