FA Youth Cup quarter-final preview – Liverpool v Arsenal

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Anfield has been a significant venue for Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup in recent years.

It was at Liverpool’s famous ground that the young Gunners last won the prestigious competition in 2009, with Jack Wilshere amongst the players involved.

In 2018 a side containing Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe also won at Anfield in the fourth round, with Arsenal reaching the final that year, where they lost to Chelsea.

Tomorrow night another crop of talented youngsters make the trip to Merseyside for what should be an enthralling encounter.

This crop of Arsenal players are widely seen as one of the best groups the club has ever produced in terms of the variety of prospects in different positions, but, make no mistake, they face a major task against a Liverpool team that have earned many plaudits this season.

Liverpool thrashed Leicester City 5-1 in the last round of the competition and are second in their league with a goal difference of +46.

Defender Billy Koumetio is another good prospect along with attacker James Balagizi.

As far as Arsenal are concerned, coach Ken Gillard was rewarded in the last round for naming his strongest possible lineup as Arsenal won 3-1 against West Ham United.

Miguel Azeez has barely featured for the U18s this season as he has stepped up to the U23s, but he could have a key part to play tomorrow.

There will also be much focus on winger Omari Hutchinson, who was superb against West Ham and has subsequently made his U23s debut.

With Charlie Patino doubtful, Jack Henry-Francis, an excellent passer, could be called upon again in midfield.

There is also a doubt over right-back Brooke Norton-Cuffy, but Daniel Oyegoke, who previously featured for the first-team in pre-season friendlies, could fill in.

Arsenal have some excellent players at their disposal, but if there is a concern about this side then it’s defensively – they have yet to keep a clean sheet in this competition this season.

Still, Arsenal’s attacking quality should cause problems for Liverpool and vice versa. Everything is set up for another memorable night at Anfield.

Possible Arsenal team

Ejeheri

Oyegoke-Kirk-Monlouis-Ogungbo

Azeez-Henry Francis

Hutchinson-Flores-Taylor Hart

Edwards

Subs: Graczyk, Ideho, Awe, Foran, Jeffcott, Gaspar, Butler-Oyedeji.

Injury doubts: Cirjan, Patino, Norton-Cuffy, Salah-Eddine, Bandeira, Vigar, Sweet. 

Other options: Sraha, Sagoe Junior, Mitchell.

The game kicks off at 7pm tomorrow night and will be shown live on Arsenal.com.

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

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steve

With Tierney out injured if only we had a quick, powerful, 6 foot, 22 year old natural left back to come in and pick up the slack during this time of emegency. Of course it would be helpful if he’d had half a season out on loan plying his trade and putting in good performances (somewhere like Rochdale for example) and then continued to put in solid performances at left back after his return to the U23 squad from the loan spell. You know what if we were to have such a player i would probably give him a name like… Read more »

Neder

I get where you’re coming from to a certain extent Steve… but Rochdale are currently languishing in 21st place in League 1, having shipped 76 goals in 44 games. That’s obviously not to say that Bola is solely responsible, but doing what you ask would be one hell of a jump for the guy. Unless I’m mistaken he’s also had the opportunity around the first team, but never quite made the step to fully integrate. More than anything, the current situation at left back is a result of poor squad management. Kolasinac was never the answer, but letting him leave… Read more »

allezkev

Well I guess the expectation was that Soares could fill in at left back in an emergency and other than his last appearance there he’s been no worse than Kolasinac.

steve

Well can’t really argue with you Jeorge, you see these lads a lot more than me. I will add though that the times i have seen him play (only clips at Rochdale, not full 90’s but full U23 matches) i don’t remember any noteable deficiencies in his ability and many crappy defeats were down to a capitulation of the defence as a whole rather than any individual error on his part. And there is just the gut feeling that i would much prefer seeing Chukwueze bombing down the wing trying to get past Tolaji than Xhaka. Thanks for the reply though,… Read more »