Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Rekik makes debut as Arsenal U23s avoid relegation

Arsenal U23s concluded their season last night with a 2-2 draw away to West Ham United.

Steve Bould’s side went into the game knowing that a point would be sufficient to keep them in the top division, although even if they lost it would have required an emphatic victory for Leicester against Liverpool next week to send them down.

As it transpired, Arsenal left it very late to get a draw, with the impressive Kido Taylor-Hart scoring an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the second half.

Nikolaj Moller had earlier scored a penalty, as he did when these two sides faced each other last weekend.

The game was also notable for Arsenal giving U23s debuts to three players.

Winger Nathan Butler-Oyedeji is set to turn professional in the summer and was given a runout as a substitute, while highly rated midfielder Marcelo Flores started the game.

The biggest news, though, was the involvement of centre-back Omar Rekik, who came on in the closing stages to finally make his first appearance for the club.

Rekik was set to join Arsenal last year but the paperwork didn’t go through on time, meaning he had to wait until January for the transfer to become official. He subsequently suffered an injury that kept him out for several months but is now fully fit and will hope to feature prominently for the U23s next season.

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

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Johnny 4 Hats

This relegation avoiding experience could be invaluable when promoted to the first team…




Now, now.

Hank Scorpio

Next season perhaps


F*ck me sideways we’re poor across all age groups!

Johnny 4 Hats

Fact check : Untrue.

The under 9’s came third in their league.


Last I heard, there were only 4 teams in that league.


top four is a trophy


So they’ll be in the u10s champions league next year?


Further to Blogs headline this morning, the only way this club would be in any way Ruthless is if the ladies team doesn’t have a lady named Ruth….

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Bring back the Super League proposal but make it an U60’s league. I’d love to watch Bergkamp and Kanu against Maldini and Nesta.

Philip Visser

Except the Women team



He’s a one man rekik crew.

Noticed Balogun and Azeez both played. Would have thought WBA tomorrow would be a good opportunity to have them in the squad, but I guess the U23’s avoiding relegation is a bigger priority in the long-run for the development of players next season.

Viv The 🐐

I think it is hard to judge, but how would you rate Bouldys coaching? I don’t know if he is a good coach for free flowing attacking football.


If judged by results then not too good, but there are also added complications around the nature of U23 football. Overall, he’s probably doing the best he can.


It’s seems a popular narrative to rubbish Steve Bould regardless of the amount of players sent out on loan and a rash of injuries leaving him short of players, but it is what is is I guess. The odd thing is that Arsene Wenger valued him as a coach, but what does he know eh?

Viv The 🐐

Yeah, the amount of loans ripped last years core apart. In general he always seemed to be a very hard nosed guy, who won’t teach you the insights into free flowing attacking football. But maybe Wenger was a good influence into that. I did not want to rubbish him, I just wanted to ask how he is regarded, or what people think of him.


Forget about free flowing football that comes naturally with freedom and technique coaching. I would have loved to see some solid defenders coming out of our academy and U18 setup. Disappointed that Bould is unable to remember the tips of Graham to help keep the doors shut. We have allowed alot of goals at U23 level which one won’t have expected from Bould’s team

Viv The 🐐

I think we loaned out our 3 best CBs and Dinzeji and Rekik didn’t have the impact wanted. Also: Were Frimpong and Coquelin the last DMs to come through? It seems Akinola is not the best protection in front of the defense too.


from what i read earlier in the season this was a pretty hastily assembled under 23 squad. brought in a lot of last minute players from elsewhere at beginning of season. sounds like season has not been ideal and hopefully they are turning things around.

Viv The 🐐

Yeah it definitly was. And I kinda like it, because some of our youngsters got real pro football experience and that is, what the academy should be about. I was just asking in a general kind of sense. But he did take over just after Freddie left? Ok, I thought he was there for a couple of years.


Clearly they we determined not to show up the first team. They did a pretty good job of it – almost too good.

Viv The 🐐

They wouldn’t have been picked regardless. Willian is better than anyone.

Public Elneny

Let’s be honest here, why is Steve Bould managing the U-23s?

These are supposed to be the elite of their age group – shouldn’t they be coached by an elite youth-specialist coach, not an old-school defensive coach?

Just like Aidy Boothroyd / Stuart Pearce managing the England U-21s, or an axe to open a tin of soup. Bad outcomes for everyone involved


A link to the “old” Arsenal, so we just can’t say goodbye? The U23s (and our other teams) will become more important to Arsenal in coming seasons when we’re likely to have to rely upon them more rather than on expensive transfers. Whether that will mean changes in the coaching set up remains to be seen, although are we getting enough “bang for the buck” is likely to be the pressing question.


I think Arteta could do with some old heads around him. Just having a bunch of young coaches hadn’t helped first team



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