Arsenal Youth preview – U23s and U18s in action


It is a busy weekend for Arsenal’s youngsters, with the U18s and U23s both in action.

Firstly, the U18s resume their FA Youth Cup campaign with a trip to face Blackburn Rovers in the fourth round.

The game, which kicks off at 12pm on Saturday, sees Ken Gillard’s side take on the team that knocked them out of the competition last season.

In this year’s edition of the tournament Arsenal overcame Rotherham United in the third round, but Charlie Patino, one of the scorers from that game, may not be available to fa Blackburn due to injury.

For the clash against Rotherham Arsenal elected against fielding Miguel Azeez and Catalin Cirjan, with both players deemed to be beyond that level. However, it is possible that Cirjan could be involved against Blackburn as Arsenal look to progress in this prestigious competition.

Arsenal U18s have been in disappointing form of late – they have gone four league games without a win – so they know that they will have to improve if they are to avoid going out again.

Then attention will turn to the U23s on Sunday, who face Everton away in a 1pm kick off.

The young Gunners are on a woeful run of seven games without a win, with their most recent result seeing them lose 3-0 to Blackburn.

Arsenal are four points clear of the relegation zone and will be seeking a morale-boosting win as they look to edge towards safety.

Azeez, who was one of the few impressive performers against Blackburn, is likely to start again. Meanwhile, with Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah having been on the bench for the first-team on Thursday, it isn’t currently clear whether they will be called upon for the U23s on this occasion.

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

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Shocking to me that Nelson and nkehtia can’t seem to get a start for the under 23s, I hope it’s just a fitness issue.


Nketiah and Nelson should be used, they must need game time to stay sharp. The first team may need them and the U23 need to break the bad run they are on. Continuously losing games is not much of an education for the Arsenal youngsters.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I’d give Chambers a game too; some experience at the back for the youngsters to learn from.


I have a sneaking suspicion we may see him against West Ham with Cedric on the left, Bellerin and Tierney both looked tired.


It didn’t work last time and seemed to cause more harm than good. The young players are used to playing with each other, putting Eddie and Reiss in unbalanced the team and ended up with too many attackers on the pitch. The problem is mostly the defence, the young central defender look very shaky, hopefully Omar Rekik is fit soon.


Miguel Azeez. Something about this guy that makes me think he could be the next big break through.

Looked so comfortable when he appeared at senior level.

Viv The 🐐

No personal offence, but I find it funny, that there seems to be certain group of fans, who no matter what the topic might be, they point out that Azeez should play more, get into the first team, etc.

And I agree with you, that against Dundalk he looked really good, but PL is another level.
Though I would really like a CM to come through the academy in the near future and he seems to be one of the best prospects to do so.


Miguel Azeez should start getting some pro minutes, joe willock had had his chance Miguel should too

Hank Scorpio

Agreed. Ceballos should be gone for next season. The futures of Elneny, Willock, AMN, Torreira, Guendouzi, are either settled or in doubt. Hopefully we can create enough room in the squad for him to get some opportunities. Not sure he’ll get many opportunities this season with every game critical in qualifying for Europe via the league or Europa League.

Viv The 🐐

It is pretty clear, that no new youngster will get into the first team this season. It’s crunch time, so no errors allowed. I think the CM “legion” will have a total overhaul in the summer, with most of the names mentioned leaving. As 3rd/4th choice on paper, I would let an academy player in the squad. I don’t know if Miguel is ready next year, and if the club now says, go out on loan once and come back with that experience, and go from there, of if he should play a full 23 season. But he should at… Read more »

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Smith is a strange situation. Was getting 90 minutes every game for Swindon from September to January, then Arsenal decided to move him to Charlton in January where he has only started 3 games and hasn’t completed a full 90 minutes at all.


Arsenal didn’t move him, Swindon got a new manager who didn’t fancy him and they let him go

Viv The 🐐

Yeah, at the end he was not starting. And s far as I’m concerned Charlton has moved the manager, who wanted Matt on after a couple of weeks and he is in the same situation again.