Saturday, May 25, 2024

U21 suffer disappointing Derby defeat, but U18s offer hope

The stage was set for a memorable encounter on Monday night, but, despite the unusually vibrant atmosphere for a second-string fixture, in addition to the fact that this was a North London Derby, Arsenal’s U21 fixture with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday failed to live up to expectations.

As it transpired, Tottenham prevailed 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Nabil Bentaleb just 12 seconds after the re-start, and, in truth, Arsenal got what they deserved from the fixture, as Tottenham dominated for long periods despite the Gunners being able to call upon the first-team experience of Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin.

The performance of Coquelin was rather worrying, with the France U21 international squandering possession frequently and not appearing remotely interested in winning it back. Perhaps he has gone stale, having not featured regularly for the first-team for a considerable period, but it was still rather concerning to see him perform without his usual zest and vigour. Jenkinson didn’t enjoy the best of nights, either, but, then, neither did the majority of the Arsenal side, with very few players managing to live up to expectations during a poor performance.

It said something about Arsenal’s situation that they required the introduction of 22-year-old Sanchez Watt as a second-half substitute to provide them with some much-needed attacking momentum, but even his presence failed to yield a goal and the result means that Arsenal now cannot qualify for the end-of-season play-offs.

They still have two fixtures to fulfil before the campaign is out, however, with Wolves and Liverpool both scheduled to visit Underhill next week, on Tuesday and Friday respectively. The proximity of the two games should force Steve Gatting into rotating his side somewhat, whilst the fixtures will be Arsenal’s final two games at Underhill, with Barnet having already played their last game at the venue.

It is not currently clear where Arsenal’s U21s will be playing the majority of their home fixtures next season, but the possibility remains that they could follow Barnet to their new facility at the Hive, whilst Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park is another option.

One player who, it seems, will not be at the club next season is Kyle Ebecilio, with the Dutch midfielder having reportedly agreed to join FC Twente in the summer. Despite showing much promise at international level, Ebecilio largely struggled to transfer that form onto the club stage, and departs North London without a first-team appearance to his name.

Arsenal U18s, meanwhile, exacted a measure of revenge on their Aston Villa opponents last Saturday with an emphatic 5-2 victory. Having lost 6-1 in the reverse fixture back in February, Arsenal were in determined mood on this occasion, with goals from Alfred Mugabo, Jack Jebb, Anthony Jeffrey, Austin Lipman and Alex Iwobi sending them on their way to victory. They will play out the remainder of the season with games against Middlesbrough and Newcastle, whilst an Arsenal U15 side, containing Gedion Zelalem and Danish trialist Mads Thychosen, will compete in the Ferroli Cup in Italy this weekend.

Jeorge Bird is the author of  Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird


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Fucking sp*r toddler cunts.


I really hope Coquelin stays. He is a talented player no doubt and will get his time in the squad. He just has to be patient because if Arteta or Ramsey get injured, we really do need him.

Dr. Awesome

When arteta is injured,ramsey plays D.M When ramsey is injured,wilshere drops to his position…..if i were coq,i would pack my bags and leave


Looks like we have found the next Maradona-Pele-Dennis hybrid. With a name like Mads ThyChosen, Odin will have blessed him with all the powers of Thor himself

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