Arsenal U21s made progress in the Papa John’s Trophy this week, with Mehmet Ali’s side coming from behind to beat Northampton Town 3-1 in their final group game and seal their place in the knockout stages.
Ali acknowledged that Arsenal’s play was too slow in the first half, but they stepped up considerably after the break, with Zach Awe equalising before Amario Cozier-Duberry made it 2-1 with a fantastic goal. Nathan Butler-Oyedeji added another with a composed finish following a break downfield.
This competition is hugely beneficial for the development of Arsenal’s youngsters in that it often pits them against much more senior opponents. Against Northampton, though, it was a somewhat different encounter, with the hosts fielding a lot of young players themselves, including 16-year-old Josh Tomlinson, who became their youngest ever scorer, and Max Dyche, the son of former Burnley manager Sean.
Highly rated schoolboys Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly made their first appearances in this competition at substitutes, with the latter making his debut for the U21s.
Both players helped to contribute towards Arsenal’s attacking momentum and didn’t appear fazed by the encounter.
It is a very busy season for Arsenal U21s, with plenty of games in various different competitions, but matters are going well at present.
Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird
When I was living in London I used to love watching the U21 games. Our academy is producing some wonderful players but I wonder how it compares with others in England? Is there a ranking of academies?
I am not telling the BFG that we are not number 1. 😀