Arsenal goalkeeper Deyan Iliev returns to training after two years out with knee injury



Arsenal goalkeeper Deyan Iliev has returned to full training for the first time in almost two years after recovering from a serious knee injury.

The former Macedonia youth international, who joined Arsenal in 2012, required surgery on a knee problem and hasn’t played for the Gunners in a competitive fixture at any level since May 2015.

Iliev expects to be fit in time to feature for Arsenal U23s when the season gets underway.

However, the 22-year-old is now classed as a senior player with regards to Premier League and Europa League squad rules, meaning he is unlikely to be registered for either of those competitions.

Arsenal have several goalkeepers on their books at U23 level, with Matt Macey, Ryan Huddart and Hugo Keto also at the club.


Nelson and Willock remain with Arsenal first-team ahead of Emirates Cup

The Arsenal first-team continued their pre-season preparations today with youngsters Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock continuing to train with the squad. 

The pair, who impressed during the friendlies in Australia and China, are set to be involved in some capacity in the Emirates Cup this weekend, along with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is already part of the first-team squad. 

Jack Wilshere was in full training today after recovering from injury, while Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers returned following their international exertions. 

Lucas Perez, who has been heavily linked with a move away from the club, trained with the squad. 

Kieran Gibbs, Chuba Akpom, Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson, who will be sold if suitable offers are made for them, are set to feature for an Arsenal XI against Boreham Wood tomorrow night. Jeff Reine-Adelaide is also likely to play in that game. 

Gabriel and Joel Campbell are recovering from injury, while Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi are still on holiday after being involved in the Confederations Cup. 

Nathan Tormey recovers from injury nightmare to sign professional terms with Arsenal

Talented winger Nathan Tormey has signed his first professional contract with the club. 

The 17-year-old, a graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, saw his first season as a scholar heavily disrupted by injury and he was restricted to just one appearance for the U18s. 

However he is now fully recovered and travelled with the U18s to Germany in pre-season. 

Tormey will hope to be a regular for the U18s this campaign and will also be aiming to break into the U23 squad. 

He follows Joao Virginia and Reiss Nelson in having signed professional terms from the 2016 intake of scholars. 

Maitland-Niles and Bramall struggle but Malen impresses as Arsenal are beaten by Chelsea

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Arsenal’s fourth game of pre-season was a rather disappointing affair as they were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea in China today.

Chelsea, who were dominant throughout, opened the scoring through Willian, with Michy Batshuayi hitting a brace to add further gloss to the scoreline.

As far as Arsenal’s young players were concerned, Ainsley Maitland-Niles was again deployed as a right centre-back, with the prospect struggling to cope with Chelsea’s regular attacks.

Meanwhile, Cohen Bramall, who started at left wing-back, also endured a difficult game and made some costly mistakes.

Later in the second half some of the other youngsters received opportunities to impress, with Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Donyell Malen all entering the fray.

Nelson was bright and looked to get at the Chelsea defence, while Malen made a major impact, with the Dutch striker making some clever runs and he hit the post with one effort.

Eddie Nketiah and Krystian Bielik weren’t involved.

Arsenal will now return to England ahead of next weekend’s Emirates Cup and it will be intriguing to see which youngsters remain with the first-team squad for that tournament.


Nelson and Willock feature as Arsenal beat Bayern Munich on penalties

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Arsenal’s pre-season preparations stepped up a gear today as Arsene Wenger’s side took on Bayern Munich in China.

Bayern dominated for much of the game and took the lead through a penalty from Robert Lewandowski early on after Ainsley Maitland-Niles had conceded the spot-kick.

However, Arsenal improved following the introduction of several youngsters and pulled level in the dying moments courtesy of a header from Alex Iwobi, which saw the game finish 1-1.

Arsenal then prevailed on penalties, with Juan Bernat seeing his effort saved by Emiliano Martinez.

In all, what threatened to be a disappointing game turned out to be a positive experience in terms of the result, but, most importantly, the youngsters involved will have learned a considerable amount from playing against such a high quality side.

In the first half Maitland-Niles and Krystian Bielik struggled to cope with the threat of Franck Ribery, although Maitland-Niles improved a little when he was switched to right centre-back in the second period.

Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Cohen Bramall and Joe Willock also received run-outs and, although they weren’t able to make as big an impact as they did during the previous games, the youngsters were full of enthusiasm and will benefit immensely from playing in this fixture.

Next up is a game against another high-profile opponent in Chelsea on Saturday.


Arsenal officially promote Ainsley Maitland-Niles to first-team squad



Arsenal have officially promoted youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles to the first-team squad ahead of the new season.

Maitland-Niles, a product of Arsenal’s Hale End academy system, has developed well since signing scholarship terms four years ago and has made ten competitive appearances for the Gunners’ first-team so far, while he also gained valuable experience on loan at Ipswich Town in the 2015/16 season.

Capable of playing in various positions, Maitland-Niles is naturally a winger but has been frequently deployed as a central-midfielder in recent seasons, while on the club’s pre-season tour so far he has played as a centre-back and a left wing-back.

Part of the England squad that won the U20 World Cup earlier this summer, Maitland-Niles is expected to feature prominently in cup competitions for Arsenal this campaign.

The youngster, who turns 20 next month, has been wearing the number 30 shirt in pre-season.


Willem II complete permanent signing of Dan Crowley from Arsenal

Dutch club Willem II have completed the permanent signing of midfielder Dan Crowley from Arsenal. 

Crowley, who impressed on loan at Go Ahead Eagles in the second half of last season, has signed a three year deal with Willem II. 

Signed amidst much publicity from Aston Villa in 2013, Crowley produced some outstanding performances for Arsenal at youth level (one display against Middlesbrough in particular stands out) but he leaves without having made a competitive appearance for the first-team. 

Crowley struggled to make an impact during loan spells at Barnsley and Oxford United but in any case his chances of making the cut at Arsenal were hindered by the fact that he had players such as Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey ahead of him in the first-team. 

Undoubtedly one of the most naturally talented youth players at Arsenal in recent years, it is a surprise that Crowley didn’t make the cut but with less than a year remaining on his deal he has elected to make the switch to Holland.