Tottenham clash crucial for outstanding Arsenal U18s

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Arsenal U18s have been in outstanding form of late, with their 8-0 thrashing of Swansea City yesterday indicative of the quality that they possess.

Swansea are, admittedly, the worst side in the division and have conceded goals with regularity this season, but Arsenal were still hugely impressive, with Trae Coyle scoring a hat-trick and Ben Cottrell getting a brace, while Sam Greenwood, Folarin Balogun and Mark McGuinness were also on target.

Ken Gillard’s side have now won their last seven league games in a row, scoring 30 goals in the process.

Arsenal are fully aware, however, that there is still much more hard work to do if they are to win the title.

The young Gunners are top of the table but they are just one point ahead of their closest challengers Tottenham Hotspur, who have a game in hand.

Intriguingly, the north London rivals will face each other on Tuesday in what is likely to be a high-octane encounter, and one that could go a long way towards deciding which team will be champions.

Tottenham have also been in excellent form of late and most certainly won’t make matters easy for Arsenal at London Colney.

Given the importance of the fixture, Gillard could well be tempted to call upon the likes of Xavier Amaechi, Bukayo Saka, Tyreece John-Jules and James Olayinka, who have stepped up to the U23s but are still eligible to play for the U18s.

Bringing in any of those players would, though, mean Gillard would face a considerably difficult task in leaving out some of the individuals who have been very impressive recently.

Matt Smith and Cottrell have caught the eye in midfield, while the attacking triumvirate of Greenwood, Balogun (pictured)


and Coyle is extremely difficult for opposing defences to cope with.

For many years Arsenal had struggled defensively at U18 level but that hasn’t been as much of a problem this season, and in recent games McGuinness and Harry Clarke have formed an encouraging partnership at the heart of the defence.

Zak Swanson deserves much credit too, with the youngster’s versatility having proven extremely useful.

Capable of playing in central midfield, out wide, at centre-back or in either full-back berth, Swanson always gives complete commitment wherever he is deployed.

Right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell, meanwhile, isn’t certain to be at the club next season as he assesses his options, but he has produced some encouraging displays.

In goal, Tom Smith has recovered from his injury nightmare and has been an assured presence between the sticks.

This is a very strong Arsenal team but their next game could well be crucial in determining whether their season is successful.

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

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Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Go gunners

Goonereality
Goonereality

Let’s hope they do, keeping top spot – and going on to win the league – would be a great boost to the youngsters.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob

Oh nice to see the spud own goal against liverpoo lol extra incentive to win tomorrow and move up to third!!!

arsepedant
arsepedant

That was a quality moment, I nearly shat myself laughing. Only Spurms could score a 90th minute own goal to lose a match they should have won. It was a complete Spursy!

Spursy (n): (1) An act of spectacular and calamitous failure when in a position of almost certain success. (2) The consistent ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Santori
Santori

And we have a chance to pip Spurts on Monday.

Restore the world.