Arsenal U23s get their season underway with a trip to face Blackburn Rovers tonight, and, while much of the focus will be on the latest crop of prospects at the club’s disposal, it will also be interesting to see how a more senior player fares.
Rob Holding, having played 60 minutes in a friendly against Watford U23s last weekend, will receive another runout against Blackburn, with the defender edging closer to a return to full fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Holding is only 23 years old himself but his relative experience should prove to be very useful for the Arsenal youngsters that are set to play alongside him in defence tonight, such as Zech Medley and Harry Clarke.
Aside from Holding, the likes of Tyreece John-Jules, Robbie Burton and James Olayinka will all be looking to push on further having featured for the first-team in pre-season, with the trio aiming to show that they deserve a chance in cup competitions this campaign.
Folarin Balogun, who enjoyed a superb pre-season, is likely to lead the line, although it remains to be seen if Bukayo Saka will feature, with the winger having trained with the first-team recently.
Another player for whom this is a very important season is Trae Coyle.
The winger struggled for consistency last season, but now, having signed a new deal, is ready to make a major impact.
Coach Steve Bould has already outlined that he isn’t particularly bothered about results at this level, with development taking precedence, but given the quality of Arsenal’s squad, the young Gunners will look to at least match last season’s second-place finish.