Monday, July 15, 2024

Henderson returns as U21 fixture list throws up intriguing battles

Prior to this week, Arsenal’s youngsters had not tasted action since December 6th, so the club’s young charges could have been forgiven for being itching to get some game time under their belts for the first time in 2013 when West Brom visited London Colney this week in the first match of the Elite Round of the U21 Premier League.

As it transpired, however, many of the players who usually feature in such matches were given the day off, at least in terms of playing time, as coach Terry Burton was instructed to deploy several members of the first-team squad in his side in the 1-1 draw. Seven senior figures started in total, with mixed results, as Abou Diaby impressed on his latest return from a long-term injury, whilst Andre Santos found the net with a well-struck effort. For Emmanuel Frimpong, back from a disappointing loan spell at Charlton, however, things did not run so smoothly. The midfielder, who turned 21 yesterday, was sent off for dissent after kicking the ball away having conceded a late foul when he was already on a yellow card. He had previously looked uncomfortable for large periods after he was deployed in an unfamiliar position on the left wing.

The game also saw the notable return of Conor Henderson to action. Henderson, like Diaby, has suffered countless injuries during the past few seasons, and the Irish midfielder’s recent loan spell with Coventry was largely blighted by minor knocks, which restricted him to just two appearances for his temporary side. He certainly looked a little ring-rusty on Wednesday as he put his own goalkeeper, Vito Mannone, under pressure with a rather unnecessary back-pass shortly after his introduction as a substitute.

The game against West Brom was the first of 14 which Arsenal will play in this section, with the Gunners scheduled to face Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool home and away. The majority of fixtures will, unfortunately, be played behind-closed-doors at the home club’s training ground, but the games at home to United and Tottenham, as well as Southampton, will be played at Barnet’s Underhill Stadium, with the first two matches in particular likely to draw large crowds.

The U18s did not fare nearly as well as the U21s in the first half of the season and, as a consequence, will compete in a lesser division in their section. They start with a trip to face Norwich tomorrow, and it is only a matter of weeks now before coach Steve Gatting will be able to hand a long-awaited debut at that level to midfielder Gedion Zelalem, who has attracted much attention since his move to the club, having already trained with the first-team at just 15 years of age. Calm in possession and adept at breaking up play, Zelalem will be able to play officially for Arsenal once he turns 16 on January 26th.

Arsenal are also awaiting information of their opponents in the next stage of the NextGen Series, but, before that, the cream of the U18s will do battle with Fulham in the FA Youth Cup at Underhill next week. Fulham, who can call upon a Moussa Dembele (no, not that one) in their ranks, should provide a stern test for the young Gunners, who may again be without Serge Gnabry, with the German winger still recovering from an injury he picked up prior to the Christmas break.

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Red Fred

Frimpong deployed on the left wing. And we thought he was gonna be Songs replacement :o) when all along the boss had him lined up to replace poldolski after 80 minuets of every game. The added benefit of this system is as he will only play 10 minutes a game he shouldn’t get booked more than 20 games a season :o)


Zelalem?? Cant wait to see i action……to Youtube i go!


Precisely why we need to sign a DM to the first team. Frimpong still has a few years of maturation needed (mentally). He constantly gets himself into card trouble and needs to learn to control his emotions! We can’t rely on glass legs Diaby

Merlin's Panini

If Frimpong really knuckles down and grows up, and stops banging on about Dench and screaming whenever he’s on Arsenal TV then he could be a Yaya Toure type of player for us. He’s got a great engine, he’s good on the ball, he’s physical and has a decent shot on him. Just needs to look before he leaps sometimes.

Henderson is a player I would love to see come through but one whose time is increasingly looking like it’s running out, and mostly because of injuries.


I think that the line-up was made by those kids from Norway. Frimpong on wing!?!

Dai Gooner

What do people think about us trying to get Lescott and if we can’t get Yann M’Vila until the summer try playing TV5 or Koscielny as the holding midfielder?


Dai GOoner, u must be smoking the same thing as arsene mate. Lescott? Never in a million years. Would love to have him here, but with arsene stinking the place up, u know it aint gonna happen.


When is everyone gonna realise frimpong isnt showing enough promise to challenge firat team ahead of others. Coquelin and eisfeld are far more promosing and they are disciplined. Great heart, and loves Arsenal no doubt. But so do i. Stop hyping him up to yaya toure standards ffs.


Are the rules for the NextGen draw the same as for the CL proper? If so, we can get Barca, PSG, Sporting Lisbon or, depending on the final-game result, CSKA or Ajax. What’s the betting it’s Barca?


Damn typo’s!! Bloody stupid fat fingers!!


If we win Next Gen, it would mean we have sort of finally won the Champs League…. A trophy finally to shut the critics up…….no.


Does it borther anyone that we are strugling from the senior through to the und-5s? The good thing is with what i’ve read and heard, i think we’ve got loads of talents stucked up there. Am really worried as to why coquelin and eisfield are not getting more chances with the first team? Coquelin and eifield can fill in for arteta and carzola/rosicky respectively. Hopefully serge gnerby, tomas eisfield, ryo miyachi and joel-campbell will be integrated into the first team by next season. COYG!


I feel the EXACT same way.


Im sorry, but i just dont get the hype for frimpong. Hope he proves me wrong though . .

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