Loan report- Wellington impresses; Akpom’s goal search goes on

Chuba Akpom‘s search for his first professional goal continued, with the striker failing to find the net in Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town. The England U20 international missed a couple of chances. Wellington played the whole game as Almeria were given hope in their battle to beat the drop by beating Granada 3-0. The Brazilian came close to scoring twice in quick succession as he impressed on the right wing.

Carl Jenkinson played the entirety of West Ham United’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City. Victor Moses almost scored for the visitors with a shot that deflected off the right-back.

Yaya Sanogo replaced hat-trick hero Yannick Bolasie for the final 19 minutes of Crystal Palace’s 4-1 victory over Sunderland.

Emiliano Martinez couldn’t prevent Rotherham United from losing 2-0 to Middlesbrough, but the Argentinean did save Patrick Bamford’s penalty late on.

Jon Toral was introduced for the final four minutes as Brentford conceded a late goal and eventually drew 1-1 with Derby County.

Josh Vickers kept a clean sheet as Concord Rangers beat Staines Town 2-0.

Lukas Podolski was an un-used substitute as Inter Milan beat Hellas Verona 3-0.

Joel Campbell was an un-used substitute as Villarreal drew 1-1 with Getafe.

Ryo wasn’t involved in Twente’s 3-1 thrashing of Go Ahead Eagles.

Jack Jebb missed Stevenage’s 2-1 win over Northampton because of injury.

Semi Ajayi wasn’t part of the Cardiff City side that drew 1-1 with Leeds United.

Zelalem features as Arsenal U18s lose to Bolton

U18 Premier League- Play-offs

Bolton Wanderers 2 Arsenal 1

Gedion Zelalem dropped down to U18 level, but the midfielder was unable to prevent Arsenal’s youngsters from suffering a 2-1 defeat away to Bolton Wanderers this morning as their inconsistent set of performances continued.

Ilias Chatzitheodoridis scored his first goal for the club, but it proved to be in vain as Frans De Kat’s team fell to their second defeat in this play-off section.

Zelalem was an un-used substitute for the U21s last week and his inclusion in this game indicates that he won’t be involved from the offset for the second-string against Reading on Monday, suggesting that Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby could again be called upon for the game at Emirates Stadium.

Jonatas Centeno’s departure has left Arsenal short of right-backs at youth level, with Chatzitheodoridis, who normally operates on the other side of defence, filling in there today. Other changes saw Hugo Keto, Marc Bola, Tyrell Robinson and Chris Willock all come into the side, along with Zelalem.

Keto

Chatzitheodoridis-Da Graca-M. Bola-Robinson

Sheaf-Donovan

Mourgos-Zelalem-C. Willock

Da Silva

 subs: Phillips, T. Bola, Gilmour, Nketiah.

Arsenal’s next U18 fixture is away to Newcastle United next week.

Info via @AFCFixtureNews

What next for Alex Iwobi?

If any Arsenal supporters hadn’t previously heard of Alex Iwobi, his name would have been difficult to avoid this morning after the youngster’s hat-trick for the U21s against Stoke City served to enhance his reputation.

It wasn’t just the fact that Iwobi scored a hat-trick, but the manner in which he took all three of his goals was hugely impressive and lent credence to the claim that, despite being deployed mainly on the flanks during his formative years at the club, the 18-year-old could have a future as a central striker.

Following last night’s events, Iwobi now has six goals in 12 U21 games this season, which is a marked improvement on the previous campaign, when he failed to score in 11 appearances at that level.

A quick and skilful player, thoughts will now turn towards Iwobi’s future and, ultimately, his chances of making the grade in the long term at Arsenal. The latter question isn’t easily answerable, but we should have a much clearer picture of events once Iwobi embarks on his first loan spell, perhaps with a League One side, which will probably take place at some point next season.

Before then Iwobi will be seeking to continue his excellent form at U21 level. Chuba Akpom’s loan departure to Nottingham Forest has seen Iwobi ushered into a centre forward position and he has relished the chance that he has been given.

Iwobi could also make his first-team debut in the near future. The Hale End product has previously made the bench for the senior side in the Champions League and the Capital One Cup and has trained regularly with Arsene Wenger’s squad this campaign, which perhaps provides an explanation for why he was so at ease when playing with a selection of first-team players last night.

Having seen the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Stefan O’Connor feature, albeit fleetingly, for the first-team, Iwobi will look to follow suit as soon as possible and, if he continues to perform like he did last night, he won’t have to wait too long for his opportunity.

Report- Iwobi hits hat-trick and Diaby impresses as Arsenal U21s beat Stoke

SkySports

SkySports

U21 Premier League 

Arsenal 4 (Iwobi 24, 42, 90, Mavididi 73) Stoke City 1 (Shenton 8)

By Jeorge Bird @Emirates Stadium

For a night that started so negatively for Arsenal U21s, with a mistake by goalkeeper Deyan Iliev allowing Ollie Shenton to open the scoring for Stoke City, by the end of the night’s events there were a multitude of positives to take away for the club as a whole.

Alex Iwobi enhanced his rapidly-growing reputation with a well-taken hat-trick that emphasised his key attributes of pace and skill, substitute Stephy Mavdidi struck his first goal at this level, Jack Wilshere and Serge Gnabry both completed 90 minutes, with the former more heavily involved in proceedings, club captain Mikel Arteta played an hour, Krystian Bielik was composed on his first appearance at Emirates Stadium and Julio Pleguezuelo returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines to play the last 18 minutes.

Above all that, though, perhaps the most significant aspect of the game was the performance of Abou Diaby, who was Arsenal’s best player for the 72 minutes that he was on the field. It isn’t currently clear whether Diaby, the club’s longest-serving player, will be offered a new deal, with his current contract expiring at the end of June.

The Frenchman’s performance this evening demonstrated just why so many Arsenal supporters yearn for him to be granted an extended stay. Diaby set up Iwobi’s second goal with a precise pass, but his all-round game was hugely impressive.

Whether he can replicate that at first-team level, and, crucially, whether he can stay fit for a lengthy period of time, is still questionable, but tonight Diaby showed that, for all the setbacks he has endured over the past few years, he can’t be discounted just yet.

As soon as it was announced that Diaby, Wilshere and Arteta would be starting the game, an Arsenal win was expected. Gnabry and Bielik were also involved from the offset, with the latter being deployed at centre-back. Ainsley Maitland-Niles started at right-back in the absence of Glen Kamara.

Iliev

Maitland Niles-O’Connor-Bielik-Ormonde Ottewill

Arteta-Diaby

Gnabry-Wilshere-Crowley

Iwobi

subs: Mavididi (for Arteta, 59). Pleguezuelo (for Diaby, 72). Not used: Zelalem, Dobson, Huddart.

Arsenal had the first opportunity of the game, with Diaby shooting over, but it was a moment of carelessness from Iliev that led to the young Gunners falling behind in the eight minute.

The Macedonian goalkeeper made a save but pushed the ball straight into the path of Shenton, who found the net from close range.

Arsenal immediately set about mounting a response, with Crowley seeing his audacious effort diverted for a corner. Wilshere was gradually beginning to assert himself on proceedings, with the England international coming close with a free-kick before producing a sublime piece of skill to work his way towards goal only for Daniel Gyollai to be equal to his effort.

An enterprising run from Diaby culminated in the midfielder being brought down in the area, but there were no claims for a penalty and, in truth, the award of a spot-kick would have been rather harsh on Stoke.

During last week’s friendly victory over Brentford Wilshere and Crowley exchanged some neat passes and the pair repeated the feat here, with their intricate move preceding an effort by Gnabry, who couldn’t get the better of Gyollai.

Arsenal were soon level, though, and, just as Stoke’s goal stemmed from an opposition mistake, so too did the Gunners’ first strike of the evening, with Iwobi capitalising on a slack pass before finishing well.

Wilshere and Gnabry continued to threaten thereafter, with Diaby then playing an intelligent pass into the path of Iwobi, whose powerful effort went just wide of the target.

The same two players combined as Arsenal went ahead just before the break, with Diaby’s precise ball being latched onto by Iwobi, who continued his excellent form with a fine finish.

Stoke had battled well, but never looked likely to recover once they were behind. Diaby’s showcase of his ability continued into the second-half, with a powerful surge down the right flank almost resulting in another goalscoring opportunity.

Iliev did well to keep out Charlie Ward’s free-kick at the other end, before Mavididi was introduced in place of Arteta. It was a good run-out for the Spaniard, but, despite the fact that he played some clever passes, he was beaten for pace a little too easily on some occasions.

Mavididi wasted little time in making it 3-0, with the striker, who was preferred to Austin Lipman for a place on the bench, lashing home after Crowley and Wilshere’s efforts were repelled.

Iwobi missed a chance to add further gloss to the scoreline when he shot wide following Gnabry’s astute dragback, but he made amends not long afterwards when he raced past the stranded Stoke defence and finished with aplomb.

There was still time for Mavididi to come close to adding another, but the damage had long since been done and, despite a shaky start, it turned out to be a very good night indeed for Arsenal.

U21 preview- Arteta and Wilshere to feature against Stoke

The chances of the Arsenal U21 side gaining promotion back to the top tier have been given a massive boost by the involvement of three senior players for tonight’s game at home to Stoke City at Emirates Stadium.

Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby, who are all in the final stages of their respective recoveries from lengthy injury lay-offs, are all set to play some part for Steve Gatting’s side, along with fellow first-team squad members Serge Gnabry, Krystian Bielik and Gedion Zelalem.

Competition rules state that clubs are permitted to field three players over the age of 21, meaning that club captain Arteta will be able to feature. The Spaniard, along with Wilshere and Diaby, was involved in the U21 friendly victory over Brentford last week.

The U21s have struggled for consistency this season and have gone two games without a win, but they will be confident of prevailing tonight, especially given that they beat Stoke 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in October.

It will be a big occasion for Bielik, who is set to make his first appearance at Emirates since joining the club in the January transfer window. Although primarily a defensive-midfielder, the 17-year-old could be deployed at centre-back tonight alongside Stefan O’Connor.

Deyan Iliev could start in goal, with Matt Macey currently on first-team duty following an injury to Wojciech Szczesny.

Isaac Hayden, Chiori Johnson, Kaylen Hinds, Julio Pleguezuelo and Tafari Moore are all likely to miss out through injury, but Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill is poised to return to the side, with Alex Iwobi, who has been in good form of late, set to start up front.

There are still seven games remaining this season for Arsenal after this fixture, but a win would be an important step in the right direction as they look to fulfil their aim of testing themselves against better opposition next term.

Oliver Shenton, who made his Premier League debut earlier this season, is Stoke’s player to watch, with the central-midfielder likely to see a lot of the ball if he plays tonight.

Possible team:

Iliev

Kamara-O’Connor-Bielik-Ormonde Ottewill

Arteta-Wilshere

Gnabry-Diaby-Crowley

Iwobi

Subs: Huddart, M. Bola, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, Mavididi. 

Jonatas Centeno leaves Arsenal

Screen shot 2015-04-06 at 12.34.27

First-year scholar Jonatas Centeno has left the club.

The right-back, who is also capable of operating as a winger, joined Arsenal late last season after failing to earn a scholarship deal at Fulham.

He made 15 appearances for the U18s and was also named on the bench in the UEFA Youth League, but the 17-year-old struggled for consistency and stood no realistic chance of making the grade at the club, with Chiori Johnson, who has already signed professional terms, considered a better prospect.

Centeno’s departure leaves Marc Bola, Ilias Chatzitheodoridis, Harry Donovan, Aaron Eyoma, Hugo Keto, Stephy Mavididi and Savvas Mourgos as the club’s remaining first-year scholars, although Mavididi isn’t eligible to sign professional terms until he turns 17 next month.

Meanwhile, schoolboy Owen Moore, who wasn’t offered a scholarship with the Gunners, has joined Brighton & Hove Albion. The youngster, who can play at right-back or in central-midfield, has been capped by England at youth level.

Loan report- Akpom makes Forest debut; Jenkinson struggles; Ryo features

Chuba Akpom made his Nottingham Forest debut on Friday, with the England U20 international playing the whole game as his team were beaten 2-1 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Akpom endeared himself to the Forest fans with his work-rate and enthusiasm, with the youngster sending a header over the crossbar after he did well to win a free-kick. However, Akpom’s performance was overshadowed by that of another Hale End graduate, Benik Afobe, who continued his tremendous goalscoring form with an excellent strike.

Akpom, still searching for his first professional goal, should be involved against Brentford tomorrow.

Carl Jenkinson had a difficult afternoon as West Ham United were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City.

On the same day that his right-back rival Hector Bellerin further enhanced his reputation with an impressive performance against Liverpool, Jenkinson made several errors as Sam Allardyce’s side fell to defeat at the King Power Stadium.

Jenkinson gave away a penalty with a late challenge on Leonardo Ulloa and received a yellow card as punishment, but the defender was thankful that Adrian managed to save David Nugent’s spot-kick.

Later in the game Jenkinson was presented with a goalscoring opportunity but directed his header straight at Kasper Schmeichel.

Wellington played the whole game on the left wing and was booked as Almeria lost 4-1 to Levante, one of his former loan sides.

Lukas Podolski was introduced as a substitute in the 76th minute of Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with struggling Parma. Inter manager Roberto Mancini ordered his players in for extra training today following the disappointing performance.

Emiliano Martinez couldn’t prevent Rotherham United from losing 2-1 to Birmingham City. The Argentinean goalkeeper was beaten by efforts from Robert Tesche and Clayton Donaldson, with the latter finding the net after Martinez punched the ball out unconvincingly. Martinez is expected to feature again when his temporary side face Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow.

With Martinez out on loan and Wojciech Szczesny struggling with a rib injury, U21 goalkeeper Matt Macey was named on the bench yesterday for Arsenal’s Premier League game with Liverpool.

Jack Jebb played 66 minutes as he marked his return to Stevenage with a convincing showing during their 2-2 draw with Tranmere Rovers. The midfielder came to close to scoring with a shot from just outside the penalty area.

Ryo started on the left wing and played the whole game as Twente were thrashed 5-0 by PSV.

Joel Campbell started on the left wing and played 64 minutes as Villarreal took on Valencia.

Josh Vickers played the whole game as Concord Rangers’ unbeaten run came to an end with a 1-0 defeat to Eastbourne Borough.

Yaya Sanogo could feature when Crystal Palace face Manchester City tomorrow night.

Jon Toral was an un-used substitute as Brentford beat Fulham 4-1.

Semi Ajayi wasn’t involved as Cardiff City drew 1-1 with Reading, suggesting that the centre-back is likely to feature for The Bluebirds’ U21 side during his time at the club.