With Arsenal U21s involved in a host of different competitions this season it has given coach Mehmet Ali the opportunity to give game time to various players.
That was certainly the case against Stoke City in the Premier League Cup yesterday afternoon, with Arsenal’s starting lineup including five players who are still eligible to feature for the U18s, including schoolboys Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly.
Lewis-Skelly, who has been selected to travel with the first-team for their training camp in Dubai, is usually a midfielder but was deployed at left-back against Stoke and gave a good account of himself.
Nwaneri played some neat passes although he did give the ball away in the build-up to Stoke’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw.
Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri are becoming increasingly involved with the U21 squad, and games such as this are hugely beneficial for their overall development in terms of their work off the ball.
Other players who have barely featured for the U21s in the league this season, such as George Lewis and Kido Taylor-Hart, also started against Stoke. Taylor-Hart was deployed out of position in midfield and played a pass which led to Joel Ideho being fouled in the area before Khayon Edwards scored a penalty.
Taylor-Hart’s situation is somewhat strange as the 20-year-old is undoubtedly talented but he has found himself rather edged out due to the progress of other players such as Amario Cozier-Duberry and Charles Sagoe Jr.
Arsenal U21s are back in action on Tuesday night when they face Stevenage away in the Papa Johns Trophy, with Ali set to select his strongest possible team for that fixture.