Monday, April 22, 2024

Ayden Heaven aiming to keep progressing for Arsenal U21s

As Arsenal U21s faced their Southampton counterparts on Friday night it was tempting to draw a comparison between the players wearing the number three shirt for either side.

Ayden Heaven was deployed at left-back for Arsenal, with the 17-year-old having made excellent progress during his first season as a scholar.

On the opposing side of the pitch, 20-year-old Zach Awe was in action at centre-back for Southampton, with the defender facing Arsenal for the first time since choosing to leave the club last summer.

There are a lot of similarities between Heaven and Awe, with both players mainly deployed at centre-back, while they are both very tall and are composed in possession.

However, despite the qualities which they possess, both players have a tendency to make costly errors at times, and that was evident during Arsenal’s 4-2 victory.

Heaven’s all-round game is of a very high standard and he made some excellent interventions on Friday, but there are still occasions when he can get caught too far forward or make a misjudgement.

Awe’s performances for Arsenal at youth level were often similar in that he would stand out for long periods but could then occasionally lose concentration. The defender remains a talented player and it will be interesting to see what level he can reach in his career.

During his time at Arsenal Awe managed to get on the bench for the first-team in the Premier League against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2022, but he found it difficult to make a sustained breakthrough.

Heaven will hope that his journey at Arsenal is rather different and that, as time progresses, he will be able to reduce the errors and perform to a consistently high standard.

The signs are encouraging regarding Heaven’s progress, but Awe’s situation indicates that there is still a lot of work to do.

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

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Eric Blair

Hope he makes it, imagine the headlines.


Especially if we still have Jesus and the other Gabriels!


Headline writers of the world praying they are successful.


Sounded like made in Heaven.


Pity we lose Awe, he made a great partnership with the talented Andreus Shőck


And I’d have liked to hear Awe Jesus at least once


Ooh baby do you know what that’s worth, seeing Heaven get a first team berth

Dr. Gooner

I kind of wrote off Albert Sambi Lokonga, but watching him against Man United here, I have to say we still have a player in him. He was just announced man of the match. He made a highlight reel of perfectly timed last ditch tackles, calm turns away from pressure and pinpoint crossfield passes. This is far flung of course but he reminded me a bit of Pirlo today. This loan move to Luton may have unlocked him. He seems like a player who needs to feel needed, and Luton has given him appreciation and a sense of importance. It… Read more »

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

I came here to post something similar – he was magnificent today.. I thought Gary Neville was going to ignore his performance completely, but finally after 85 minutes even Neville had to admit that Sambi has been “outstanding”

David Hillier's luggage

Sounds like huge progress for the player, remember him being positioned as a driving midfielder in the Hale End doc (granted with the U15s), interesting how his skillset has been translated into a CB/Inverted LB position at the higher age levels. I could be miles off, but it indicates the player is good at taking on board advice, as opposed to relying on talent, which should bode well for the future.

Thierry Ennui

Heaven help us!

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