Monday, June 17, 2024

Lopez showing signs of improvement for Arsenal U23s

Arsenal U23s secured a hugely impressive 6-1 victory away to their Chelsea counterparts today, with Mika Biereth scoring a hat-trick, while Folarin Balogun got a brace and Blues goalkeeper Lucas Bergstrom scored an own goal following a corner from Salah-Eddine.

Although they had to cope with the red card of Omar Rekik in the 35th minute, Arsenal defended well for the most part and there certainly appears to be more structure to the team under coach Kevin Betsy.

The Arsenal youngsters have taken time to get used to Betsy’s methods and there were some teething problems in the 6-1 defeat to West Ham United in his first game in charge, but now matters certainly seem to be heading in the right direction.

One player who is benefitting from Betsy’s guidance is Joel Lopez, with the Spanish defender, who operates as a left wing-back in the current system, having produced some encouraging displays recently.

Lopez’s attacking attributes have never been in doubt as he is a fantastic crosser of the ball, but there are longstanding concerns regarding his defensive qualities, especially with regards to his positioning.

The 19-year-old has shown some signs of improvement of late, however, and is making impressively timed interceptions with regularity.

It had been anticipated that Lopez would go on loan in the summer transfer window but that didn’t materialise and a temporary switch in January is now a possibility.

Last season Lopez managed to get on the bench for the first-team against Slavia Prague in the Europa League but wasn’t really ready for further involvement.

If he can continue to progress with the U23s and then enjoy a productive loan spell, Lopez will put himself in a good position to challenge for a place in the senior squad.

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

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Q3 Technique

What is the oldest an arsenal youth player has been when they made their debut and actually went on to play more than 20 games for the 1st team? I have a feeling that if a youth player has not made their debut by the time they’re 19 then they won’t make it….


Francis Coquelin maybe? 19 is usually an age when players need to play a lot. Unless they’re exceptionally good like Saka, they won’t get game time at a club like Arsenal and won’t develop as players. I still can’t believe Arsene f*d up on gnabry.
And Even if they don’t come superstars, a club should be able to homegrown squad players so that you don’t spend money on players like Elneny, Chambers etc.


I don’t know if Arsene really f*ed up on Gnabry. It was an odd decision to let him play for a Pullis managed side but my impression is that his head was already turned by Bayern despite him not going directly there.

Q3 Technique

Coquelin is an interesting example as he almost didn’t make it according to some. I agree that arsenal should be producing their own squad players but we have a tendency to sell them to raise funds (e.g. Iwobi and Willock) our because they reach a stage where they want 1st team football.

Diaby's Left Peg


Azeez Is Good

I implore everyone to watch these highlights, if only because they are clearly nabbed from Chelsea TV and the two commentators give a hugely bias summation of events.


Ameture wankers these commentators are 😀 but Arsenal boys did them good.


Thank you! I was gonna comment the same thing.

Funny how they claim to be London’s best but never fail to be ridden with the little man syndrome whenever it comes to us.

And thats despite them doing a lot better on the pitch these last few seasons. Joke of a club.


Here’s the full match, from Chelsea’s YouTube page. When you watch the full thing it’s even more embarrassing for them.


Commentary was brilliant……playing against 10 men and still loosing that section of the match 1-3 they continued to say how unlucky the Chelsea team was!
Fun was live and free on Chelsea web site .. as blogs said pity Arsenal did not make more of it and at least make the live feed available on

Johnny 4 Hats

Well the women and the u23’s beat them.

So it’s 2-1 Arsenal in my book.


Ya, thats my favourite bit. They were busy going on about how good Chelsea had been all game, and how lucky Arsenal were and just as they mention our luck, the boys cut them off with another goal. The tears hahaha

Must have been licking their fingers when Rekik was sent off, thinking they could get back into it.


Happy for Lopez, however, of our many great young prospects emerging from the academy, he has kind of slipped under the radar. Is competing for the first team next year realistically within his sights…?

Also, Portsmouth’s boss’ comments on Azeez’ debut were underwhelming. Really hoping Azeez can realize his potential in full professional matches this season. Fingers crossed for him!


Salah looked very promising as well from that Chelsea game, lad’s also 17-18 years old. Pleasantly surprised we’ve closed the gap, and are now amongst the top youth system again. Last few seasons have been very bleak at academy level.

Dierry Bernry

The Chelsea team looked really poor and the Arsenal lads were very sharp! Love it. This can probably be explained by Chelsea’s incredible ability to send out a ton of players on loan (37 last season and most of them U23). Mixed bag in terms of quality of player and level of team they’re loaned to, but the best players often go to terms that will ensure growth, and the best of that batch either get sold for huge profits (Bakayoko) or come back and compete in the first team (James, Mount). They actually made a net profit this transfer… Read more »

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

Bakayoko? Sold for huge profit? Huh?😂

I totally agree with your point, just a very strange example. Thanks for the info btw. So in essence, this Chelsea U23s side is in the same predicament our U23s side was in last season when half the team were loaned out.

Dierry Bernry

You’re right with Bakayoko! Bit of a brain fart on my end, meant Abraham but was listening to a podcast and Bakayoko was being mentioned as an “ex-Chelsea player in Serie A” and didn’t realise the typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

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