With the likes of Charlie Patino and Salah-Eddine having trained regularly with the first-team over the past few weeks, Arsenal U23s coach Kevin Betsy has had to call upon some members of the club’s U18 squad.
One player who has really stepped up is Marcelo Flores, with the Mexico international having scored after coming on as a substitute against Chelsea in the Papa John’s Trophy, while he also hit a brace against Bournemouth U23s this week. The creative midfielder has had to be patient for opportunities to impress at a higher level, but he is certainly taking his chances now.
Another player who has benefitted from others being with the first-team is Amario Cozier-Duberry. Capable of playing out wide or as an attacking midfielder, the 16-year-old has excellent close control and found the net shortly after his introduction as a substitute against Bournemouth.
After flitting between the U18s and U23s for some time, midfielder Jack Henry-Francis is now getting regular playing time for the older age group and has performed well.
In defence Zach Awe has relished receiving a regular run of games for the U23s after a lengthy spell out injured earlier in the season. The tall centre-back still makes some avoidable errors, but he is progressing in the right direction in terms of his overall development.
Right-back Reuell Walters, who can also play at centre-back in a three-man defence, is likely to get plenty of further chances for the U23s after Brooke Norton-Cuffy joined Lincoln City on loan for the rest of the season.
Striker Khayon Edwards, meanwhile, scored against West Ham United U23s but his future at Arsenal is still unresolved as he has yet to sign a professional contract despite the club having made him three offers.
Arsenal’s new-look U23 side is certainly very exciting, although how many opportunities some players get is likely to be heavily dependent on whether other youngsters go on loan.