There has been much focus on who Arsenal’s next coach will be at U23 level but the early signs regarding the new man in charge of the U18s are very encouraging.
Dan Micciche, who previously coached the club’s U15 and U16 players, has stepped up to replace Ken Gillard (who is still part of the club’s academy coaching staff) as U18s coach and was in the dugout for the first time last weekend for a friendly against Chelmsford’s academy.
Arsenal, as was perhaps to be expected given the opposition, secured an emphatic victory as they prevailed 4-0 with Jimi Gower scoring a brace while forwards Khayon Edwards (with a penalty) and Kaleel Green were also on target.
What was most intriguing about the game, though, was Micciche’s tactical approach.
Arsenal have traditionally used a 4-2-3-1 system at U18 level but for his first game Micciche deployed a 4-4-2 diamond, which, after an initial period of adaptation, worked very well.
It will be intriguing to see whether Micciche persists with this formation for the games to come but he seems eager to enhance the tactical knowledge of Arsenal’s starlets.
Micciche places a lot of emphasis on players moving the ball quickly and certainly seems to relish the extra responsibility he has been afforded this season.
The 41-year-old possesses much pedigree, especially when it comes to coaching young players, as he was previously in charge of the England U16 team. He also has experience of coaching at senior level from his time at MK Dons.
Micciche will hope that his methods will be able to get the best out of Arsenal’s U18 squad.