Monday, July 4, 2022

Youth Cup provides an opportunity to shine

Arsenal have a rich history in the FA Youth Cup having won the competition on seven occasions, most recently in 2009, but have exited at the Fourth Round stage in each of the past two seasons, something they will be looking to rectify this time around.

The Gunners face Derby County at Underhill tonight as they get their campaign under way in the 3rd Round and the game is likely to provide those involved with an opportunity to progress to bigger things, namely a regular place in the Reserve squad, in the New Year.

Some, such as Martin Angha, have already achieved that aim, but for others it will be one of their first experiences of playing at a stadium in front of a crowd and, with that, comes added pressure and intensity.

Arsenal’s players are unlikely to be fazed though and will be confident of progressing against Derby. Zak Ansah is a certainty to start, either in his preferred centre-forward role or the deeper midfield position that he has been occupying recently, whilst the likes of Jeffrey Monakana, Kyle Ebecilio, Josh Rees and Philip Roberts will also provide an attacking threat.

Derby have a prodigious youngster of their own in Mason Bennett, who could feature tonight. The 15 year old, who shone for England under-16s during their Victory Shield campaign, has already turned out on several occasions for the Rams at first-team level and several of the scouts likely to be watching Arsenal players this evening may also be keeping an eye on him throughout proceedings.

As far as Arsenal are concerned, they will be wary that they went out to Ipswich two seasons ago at the Fourth Round stage, whilst Brentford conquered them on penalties back in 2005/06. Despite Arsenal’s Academy being superior in terms of facilities, training methods and, by and large, the quality of players produced, in a one-off game it is not a given that Steve Bould’s side will prevail.

Arsenal’s recent form, though, the 3-0 defeat at Southampton aside, has been promising, and Bould will be hopeful that the experience that the bulk of his side has built up since the start of last season will stand them in good stead. With exciting foreign talents such as Serge Gnabry, Jon Toral and Kristoffer Olsson ready to be thrown into the mix, in addition to promising schoolboy Chuba Akpom, there is a chance that Arsenal could progress into the latter stages of this season’s competition, which, if it came to fruition, would carry the added bonus of fixtures being played at Emirates Stadium.

Before that, though, Derby must be dispatched of tonight.

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Ben

Is Bellerin playing?

Robin

What about Bunjaku?

ozz

Bunjaku will surely play. Not sure about Bellerin.

feygooner

Jorge, in the comments in your last blog post, a few people stated that Bunjaku has left the club. Can you confirm/refute that?

sagnafamily

bunjaku is injured i think ,lets hope gnabry and bellerin on the right side too much pace there for derby’s kids surely

Anon

One of my favourite writers on Arseblog News and always looks so tidy and informed while also being eloquent. Though one side of reading these articles that I fear is becoming far too optimistic for the future of Arsenal (this article wasn’t really hyping anything though). I’d really like to see an article in which describes your standards for ‘promising youngsters’ and the such.

But really, excellent work as always! Shame I will never be able to watch Reserve and U18’s football until I move abroad.

Frog

I hears bukake is in line for a start. And maybe even a big finish!!

Bromley Gooner

Oh come on people good one frog ha

Frog

Thanks mate. You just can’t please some people.

dcfc

Great dispatching of Derby… oh no, wait.

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