FA Youth Cup success a genuine possibilty for Arsenal


Chelsea may have won the last five editions of the FA Youth Cup, but there will be a different name on the trophy at the conclusion of this campaign.

The Blues were knocked out of the competition by Manchester United in the third round and United were subsequently beaten by Brighton & Hove Albion.

Arsenal, meanwhile, beat Tottenham Hotspur in an enthralling encounter that went to extra-time and will host West Bromwich Albion in the fifth round.

With three of their main rivals already out of the competition, Arsenal seem to have a genuine chance of winning this prestigious competition for the first time in a decade.

Last season Arsenal managed to reach the final only to be ruthlessly dispatched of by a Chelsea side including Callum Hudson-Odoi.

This time around the young Gunners, now managed by Ken Gillard, are especially determined to win the trophy and they certainly possess a very strong squad.

In goal, for instance, Arthur Okonkwo and Karl Hein are both excellent options, while right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell is a fine prospect.

In midfield there is much competition for places, with the likes of Matt Smith, Jordan McEneff and James Olayinka competing for involvement.

Meanwhile, the attackers and wingers at Gillard’s disposal are of a very high standard and include Bukayo Saka, Xavier Amaechi, Folarin Balogun, Tyreece John-Jules, Ben Cottrell and Sam Greenwood.

There are some elements of concern, with Arsenal having not been especially secure defensively in their two Youth Cup games so far, but even then schoolboy centre-back Mazeed Ogungbo has managed to emerge with some credit.

It is important for Arsenal to not get carried away, and they must take matters on a game by game basis, with West Brom certainly being no pushovers.

However, circumstances have dictated that Arsenal have a very good chance of glory in the Youth Cup this season, especially given the strength of their options in various positions.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Damon, that’s one scary attack. So much talent in midfield and upfront, and surprisingly very little in the way of defenders. We might need a defensive coach for the academy, or someone to oversee the development of our young defenders. Even those that are close to the first team were developed elsewhere.

Good attack though.