Loan report- Toral scores; Jenkinson goes in goal; Martinez thwarts Akpom

Jon Toral scored his second goal in as many games as Birmingham City drew 2-2 with Burnley. Toral, operating in central midfield, opened the scoring with a fine strike and went on to play 75 minutes.

Carl Jenkinson‘s first Premier League start of the season was an eventful one, with the 23-year-old having to play in goal for the final few minutes of West Ham United’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester City after Adrian was sent off. Earlier n the game Jenkinson received a yellow card for a foul on Shinji Okazaki.

No fewer than three Arsenal loanees were involved as Wolverhampton Wanderers drew 1-1 with Hull City in the Championship. Chuba Akpom played the whole 90 minutes for Hull and struck the post late on, with the England youth international also having a shot saved by fellow Gunner Emiliano Martinez, who was making his league debut for Wolves.

Isaac Hayden, meanwhile, played 54 minutes for Hull as a defensive-midfielder before being replaced by David Meyler.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles started and played 74 minutes as Ipswich Town beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1. The youngster provided some dangerous crosses from the right flank.

Dan Crowley was introduced at the start of the second-half as Barnsley beat Burton 1-0.

Wojciech Szczesny made a good save as he played the first 45 minutes of Roma’s 6-4 friendly victory over Sevilla. The Polish international kept a clean sheet during his time on the pitch.

Yaya Sanogo was introduced as a substitute for the final eight minutes as Ajax beat Willem II 3-0.

Serge Gnabry wasn’t part of the West Bromwich Albion squad for their goalless draw against Watford.

Thierry Henry plays key part in Arsenal U18s’ win over Norwich

Henry with goalscorer Reiss Nelson. (Image: John Dunn)

Henry with Marcus Agyei-Tabi. (Image: John Dunn)

Thierry Henry may have retired as a player but he is still contributing towards goals for Arsenal.

The club’s record goalscorer was amongst the youth coaching staff today as Arsenal U18s started their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Norwich City.

Henry, who coached some of Arsenal’s schoolboys at Hale End on several occasions last season, devised the set-piece routine, along with U16s coach Kwame Ampadu, that led to the young Gunners’ opening goal, which was scored by Reiss Nelson.

Henry isn’t currently being employed by the club on a permanent basis (such an announcement is yet to be made), but, in addition to his punditry work with SkySports, the Frenchman is keen to gain further experience of coaching and it is anticipated that he will be involved with the U18 side throughout the season.

Schoolboy Nelson strikes as Arsenal U18s beat Norwich

Getty Images: Serena Taylor

Getty Images: Serena Taylor

After Arsenal U21s started their season with a win last night, the U18s did likewise today by dispatching of their Norwich City counterparts with a 2-0 victory at London Colney.

The goals came courtesy of schoolboy Reiss Nelson, who scored for the first time at this level, and Eddie Nketiah, who enjoyed an excellent pre-season.

Arsenal’s next game at this level is at home to Chelsea on Monday August 24th.

Coach Frans De Kat gave a competitive debut to right-back Jordi Osei-Tutu, whilst fellow first-years Tolaji Bola and Marcus Agyei-Tabi also started. Yassin Fortune, Savvas Mourgos and Aaron Eyoma were also involved despite being on the bench for the U21s against Fulham last night.


Osei Tutu-Da Graca-T. Bola-Chatzitheodoridis

Agyei Tabi-Donovan



Subs: Huddart, Tella, Da Silva, Nketiah, Gilmour. 

via @AFCFixtureNews

Campbell, Bennacer + Bellerin train as Arsenal first-team prepare to face Crystal Palace

Arsenal held their final training session ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game away to Crystal Palace, with recent young signing Ismael Bennacer participating in proceedings. With the U21s having played last night and the U18s also in action today, Bennacer was one of the few youngsters available to train with the senior squad.

Hector Bellerin also trained after recovering from a slight injury, whilst Joel Campbell was back in training despite being heavily linked with a move to Palermo.

Jack Wilshere didn’t participate in the training session as he continues his recovery from injury, whilst Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky are still out with long-term knee problems.

Players in training today: Cech, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Cazorla, Ospina, Gibbs, Debuchy, Gabriel, Sanchez, Walcott, Arteta, Flamini, Chambers, Bellerin, Campbell, Bennacer.

Manager Arsene Wenger faces some difficult selection decisions as his side seek to respond to the disappointing defeat to West Ham United.

Hector Bellerin should replace Mathieu Debuchy at right-back, whilst Santi Cazorla could move back centrally alongside Francis Coquelin.

Alexis Sanchez is in contention to return to the starting line-up, whilst there is considerable competition for places on the right flank, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain having started the season in good form. However, it seems unlikely that Wenger will drop Aaron Ramsey from his starting line-up, with the Welshman likely to be involved from the offset in some capacity.

The other dilemma relates to the centre-forward position, with neither Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud having cemented their place in the starting line-up. Walcott could well start after Giroud struggled against West Ham, but the Frenchman is arguably better suited to playing against physical opponents such as Palace.

Possible team:






Subs: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud. 

Report- Zelalem scores late winner and Reine-Adelaide debuts as Arsenal U21s beat Fulham at Emirates

U21 Premier League

Arsenal 1 (Zelalem 86) Fulham 0

By Jeorge Bird @ Emirates Stadium

Arsenal U21s started their new league campaign against Fulham this evening with a new-look side on show, but it was the club’s most experienced player at this level, Gedion Zelalem, who proved to be the difference between the two sides, with the talented midfielder scoring a late winner to cap off a fine individual performance.

For much of the game this had threatened to be a missed opportunity for the Arsenal youngsters as they dominated proceedings but, mirroring an accusation that has often been levelled at the first-team, they often failed to convert their possession into goals.

There was much to admire about Arsenal’s attacking play, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Alex Iwobi both impressing in patches. Neither player quite lived up to their performances in the Emirates Cup, but they still figured prominently against a Fulham side who, whilst resolute defensively, also posed a threat on the counter-attack.

Arsenal’s defence managed to stand firm, however, with the central-defensive partnership of Krystian Bielik and Julio Pleguezuelo remaining sturdy.

Coach Steve Gatting surprisingly elected to deploy Bielik at centre-back rather than in defensive-midfield, with Stefan O’Connor named amongst the substitutes. Meanwhile, there was a first call-up at this level for striker Yassin Fortune, who made his debut in the second-half.


Moore-Bielik-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Sheaf-Reine Adelaide-Iwobi


Subs: Fortune (for Mavididi), Eyoma (for Reine-Adelaide). Not used: Iliev, O’Connor, Mourgos.

Whilst Arsenal were playing their first league fixture of the campaign, Fulham had already started their season with a victory, so Gatting’s side were aware that getting three points wouldn’t be straightforward this evening.

The young Gunners made much of the early running in front of a small Emirates crowd, with Stephy Mavididi heading wide from Tafari Moore’s cross before Zelalem did well to work space for himself only to direct his effort straight at Fulham goalkeeper Jesse Joronen.

A full Finnish international who has played for Fulham’s first-team, Joronen put his relative experience to good use as he made several impressive saves to thwart Arsenal throughout the course of the evening.

Arsenal managed to keep the ball well but were often over intricate in their build-up play. On one occasion Sheaf found Iwobi with a clever pass, with the winger in turn finding the on-rushing Bola. The Hale End product delivered a fine cross but unfortunately there was no recipient waiting in the penalty area.

Fulham responded, with their captain Dean O’Halloran shooting wide, but Arsenal continued to create the vast majority of the chances, with Sheaf and Mavididi both coming close to finding the net.

At times Arsenal’s play was sublime, with Zelalem, Reine-Adelaide and Iwobi all combining to excellent effect on one occasion, although the latter could only force a corner with his subsequent shot.

Reine-Adelaide was initially deployed as an attacking-midfielder but squandered possession on a couple of occasions in the early stages and appeared to be more suited to playing on the left flank when he switched there in the second-half.

Somehow, despite Arsenal’s dominance, the game remained goalless at the interval. Fulham made an audacious attempt to score direct from the second-half kick-off, but, having survived that scare, Arsenal soon began to click into gear and they appeared to play with more purpose and cohesion in the second period.

A slick multi-pass move culminated in Iwobi having a shot saved, then, after he received the ball from Moore, Reine-Adelaide spun quickly and forced Joronen to tip his effort over the crossbar.

Fulham posed an occasional threat to Matt Macey’s goal, but Joronen was by far the busier goalkeeper, as he was called into action again to deny Sheaf and Reine-Adelaide.

Arsenal introduced Fortune, who was so impressive in the U19s’ recent success in South Africa, and the forward dragged a shot wide of the far post shortly after being brought on.

Iwobi then forced another save from Joronen and, by that point, some of the supporters had headed for the exits with time running out for an Arsenal goal.

The goal would eventually come, however, and it was fitting that Zelalem was the scorer. The midfielder was hugely impressive in the first-half and, although he was slightly less influential in the second period, the United States U20 international was still the initiator of many of Arsenal’s attacking moves.

On this occasion he was involved in another sublime move as he made a darting run into the penalty area and finished expertly.

It was anticipated that this season will be the one in which Zelalem manages to demonstrate his undoubted talent on a consistent basis. He has made an excellent start on that front, with his performance tonight showing why it would be churlish to write off his chances of making the grade at Arsenal even when the considerable competition for places in Arsenal’s midfield is taken into account.

As far as the team as a whole is concerned, this will go down as a largely positive performance, supported by the fact that the young Gunners remained relatively untroubled defensively throughout. Arsenal made good use of full-backs Moore and Bola, who were both dangerous going forwards, although the service to Mavididi, who was later withdrawn, could have been of a higher standard.

This may be U21 football, but Arsenal’s oldest outfield player tonight was 19 years old, which is representative of the club’s policy of pushing youngsters into second-string football at an early age.

After excelling at Emirates, another home game awaits next week against Derby County, this time at Boreham Wood, as Gatting’s team continue their quest to earn promotion back to the top tier of U21 football.

Arsenal Youth – 2015/16 season preview- How will the youngsters fare in their four competitions?

Arsenal’s final youth fixture last season was against Fulham as the club’s U18 side suffered a humiliating defeat that confirmed their status as the lowest-placed team in the academy league. Tomorrow night the new academy season will get underway, with the two sides meeting again at U21 level in what is sure to be an intriguing fixture at Emirates Stadium.

Much has changed in the ensuing period. Several long-serving youngsters have departed and are now attempting to carve out careers elsewhere, whilst Academy Manager Andries Jonker has overseen a considerable recruitment drive in his attempt to improve the club’s youth-set up, with no fewer than eight players arriving at the club, the majority of them from abroad.

There have been alterations to the coaching staff too, with goalkeeping coach Tony Roberts moving to Swansea City and Jason Brown, the former Blackburn Rovers shot-stopper, being appointed as his replacement. Jordan Reece and Ivan Mutandi have also joined the youth coaching set-up as a physio and fitness coach respectively.

With regards to players, Arsenal have sent several of their most promising talents out on loan already, with the likes of Chuba Akpom, Isaac Hayden, Dan Crowley, Jon Toral and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all spending time elsewhere. These, and any other loan moves that occur, will inevitably open up space for younger players to feature in the U21s this campaign.

Here we assess Arsenal’s prospective squads in each of the four youth competitions they will be competing in this season:


Despite enjoying some impressive results last season, Arsenal U21s were unable to earn promotion back to the top tier and, as such, remain firmly ensconced in the second division of second-string football.

Such a predicament certainly isn’t ideal for development or entertainment value, but there is hope that this season the young Gunners will be able to perform more consistently, with several members of the current squad already possessing considerable experience of U21 football.

Gedion Zelalem and Krystian Bielik, for example, will be eager to prove that their recent demotions from the first-team squad will only be a temporary measure, whilst the central-defensive pairing of Stefan O’Connor and Julio Pleguezuelo have featured prominently at this level in the past.

It will interesting to see how right-back Tafari Moore develops after he spent much of last season on the sidelines, but the most intriguing element of Arsenal’s U21 side this season relates to the club’s attacking set-up. In the likes of Alex Iwobi,Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Kaylen Hinds, Chris Willock, Tyrell Robinson, Stephy Mavididi and Yassin Fortune, Arsenal possess a multitude of players who are quick, skilful and capable of inflicting considerable damage upon the opposition.

Iwobi, Fortune and Reine-Adelaide will probably form the first-choice front three to begin with, but all of the aforementioned players should receive an opportunity to shine throughout the campaign and the Gunners will have hope that they will be able to find the net frequently despite Akpom’s loan departure.

It could also be a substantial season for midfielder Ben Sheaf, who shone in the recent U19 success in South Africa. Sheaf, who joined from West Ham’s academy last season, will hope to be heavily involved for Steve Gatting’s team. Recent signing Ismael Bennacer is another player worth keeping an eye on.

The U21s start their campaign against Fulham tomorrow before facing Derby County and West Ham United in further home fixtures.

First-choice U21 XI


Moore-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Iwobi-C. Willock-Reine Adelaide



Arsenal have progressed through the group stages in the UEFA Youth League in each of the last two seasons, but have fallen in the knockout stages against Spanish opposition on both occasions.

They were impressive in the group stages last season, but this year they will be hopeful of progressing even further, especially off the back of the U19s’ aforementioned success in South Africa.

Arsenal will be able to call upon some of their most talented youngsters in the Youth League, with many of the players set to feature heavily in the U21s also available in this competition.

This season, players are eligible to play in the competition if they were born on or after January 1st 1997. That means that of Arsenal’s young professionals, only Deyan Iliev, Alex Iwobi, Glen Kamara, Matt Macey and Wellington aren’t allowed to play.

The majority of the players in this age group have played together for many years and, as such, are familiar with the nuances of eachother’s games. The success in Durban will also have fostered a sense of belief that the young Gunners are capable of challenging Europe’s elite.

First-choice U19 XI


Moore-O’Connor-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Hinds-C. Willock-Reine Adelaide


FA Youth Cup

Arsenal’s failure to win the FA Youth Cup since 2009 has been a source of frustration, with last season’s campaign a particularly gruelling one as the young Gunners were defeated by Crewe Alexandra.

This time around the likes of Zelalem, O’Connor and Moore are no longer eligible, but there are still plenty of talents for coach Frans De Kat to call upon, such as newly-arrived defender Kostas Pileas.

First-choice Youth Cup XI


Johnson-Pileas-M. Bola-Robinson


Hinds-C. Willock-Reine Adelaide



The U18 Premier League is perhaps where the greatest focus will be with regards to Arsenal’s youngsters this season. After finishing bottom last campaign, the young Gunners will be hoping to at least achieve something approaching consistency this time around.

It is likely to be a very young side once again in the league, but many of the new scholars already possess experience of this level of football, whilst there are high hopes for summer acquisitions Vlad Dragomir and Donyell Malen.

As is always the case, several schoolboys will feature for the U18s as the campaign drags on, whilst one of them, midfielder Reiss Nelson, is already training full-time at London Colney.

Possible U18 side


Osei-Tutu-Da Graca-Pileas-Chatzitheodoridis


Agyei Tabi-Da Silva-Mourgos


Bielik and Wellington amongst Arsenal youngsters allocated squad numbers

The vast majority of Arsenal’s young professionals have been assigned first-team squad numbers for the new campaign.

Gedion Zelalem retains the number 35 shirt, whilst Krystian Bielik moves to number 37. There are also lower numbers for Kristopher Da Graca, Kaylen Hinds, Chiori Johnson, Hugo Keto, Stephy Mavididi, Stefan O’Connor, Tyrell Robinson and Ben Sheaf, who all signed professional terms in the past twelve months.

Wellington has also been assigned a number, 58, despite being linked with a loan move away from the club, whilst Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who will spend the entire campaign at Ipswich Town, is currently without a squad number. Recent recruit Ismael Bennacer is also without a number.

There are some unassigned numbers. Bennacer could take the number 36 shirt soon, whilst number 40 is vacant following George Dobson’s departure to West Ham United.

As far as the first-team is concerned, shirt numbers 9, 29, 30 and 31 are currently vacant.

Arsenal squad numbers 2015/16

  1. Wojciech Szczesny
  2. Mathieu Debuchy
  3. Kieran Gibbs
  4. Per Mertesacker
  5. Gabriel
  6. Laurent Koscielny
  7. Tomas Rosicky
  8. Mikel Arteta
  9. Jack Wilshere
  10. Mesut Ozil
  11. Olivier Giroud
  12. David Ospina
  13. Theo Walcott
  14. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  15. Aaron Ramsey
  16. Alexis Sanchez
  17. Nacho Monreal
  18. Santi Cazorla
  19. Mathieu Flamini
  20. Calum Chambers
  21. Yaya Sanogo
  22. Danny Welbeck
  23. Hector Bellerin
  24. Carl Jenkinson
  25. Emiliano Martinez
  26. Serge Gnabry
  27. Joel Campbell
  28. Chuba Akpom
  29. Petr Cech
  30. Francis Coquelin
  31. Gedion Zelalem
  32. Krystian Bielik
  33. Dan Crowley
  34. Kristopher Da Graca
  35. Isaac Hayden
  36. Kaylen Hinds
  37. Ryan Huddart
  38. Deyan Iliev
  39. Alex Iwobi
  40. Chiori Johnson
  41. Glen Kamara
  42. Hugo Keto
  43. Matt Macey
  44. Stephy Mavididi
  45. Tafari Moore
  46. Stefan O’Connor
  47. Julio Pleguezuelo
  48. Jeff Reine-Adelaide
  49. Tyrell Robinson
  50. Ben Sheaf
  51. Jon Toral
  52. Wellington
  53. Chris Willock

Unassigned- Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Ismael Bennacer.

Players in green are out on loan