After a morale-boosting FA Youth Cup quarter-final win over Cambridge United at Emirates Stadium last week, there were rather different emotions for Arsenal U18s yesterday.
Jack Wilshere’s side suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat against Crystal Palace at London Colney, with their performance lacking the desire that had underpinned the success against Cambridge.
Although Jimi Gower found the net, it was a disjointed team display against Palace, and Wilshere admitted as much when speaking to the club’s official website after the game. He spoke of the importance of players being able to be up for the challenge in each fixture and not just for the big occasions.
Results aren’t of primary importance at youth level, but Arsenal still strive to win every game and it is frustrating to see that the U18s are in eighth place out of 12 teams in the table, some 26 points behind runaway leaders West Ham.
Arsenal still have a chance of glory in the FA Youth Cup this season – they have been drawn at home to Manchester City or Oxford in the semi-finals. If City are their opponents then Arsenal certainly won’t be able to afford to make many mistakes.
There is an opportunity for Arsenal to bounce back on Saturday when they face West Bromwich Albion away, with their opponents having also lacked consistency this season.
Wilshere stated that he is looking for a response in that fixture, with the Palace game having not gone to plan.