Thursday, June 20, 2024

Mehmet Ali faces selection decisions as Arsenal U21s take on Leeds

Arsenal U21s host Leeds United tomorrow night in what will be their first fixture since the closure of the January transfer window.

There was much activity on deadline day as some youngsters left permanently, others headed out on loan and some loan spells came to an end.

As a result, U21s coach Mehmet Ali will face some intriguing selection decisions as he prepares to name his team to face Leeds.

One of the key decisions will be over who starts at left-back following Lino Sousa’s departure to Aston Villa.

Sousa had been the regular left-back for the U21s since the start of last season, while Elian Quesada-Thorn, another option in that position, is currently injured.

Arsenal could turn to one of their U18s defenders in Josh Nichols or Ayden Heaven but left-back isn’t their main position, with Nichols primarily being a right-back while Heaven is often used as a centre-back.

Henry Jeffcott, meanwhile, is back from his loan spell at Derby County’s U21 side but it remains to be seen who will start at left-back.

There is also a place available on the left wing after Charles Sagoe Jr joined Swansea City on loan. Like Sousa, Sagoe Jr had established himself as a key component of the U21 team.

Ismeal Kabia scored on his first start for the U21s against Middlesbrough last month, while Osman Kamara has been in impressive form for the U18s of late.

It will also be interesting to see if striker Nathan Butler-Oyedeji is back involved with the U21s against Leeds. The Hale End product returned early from a loan spell at Cheltenham Town where he was unable to find the net. Butler-Oyedeji will look to regain his scoring touch in the U21s before securing another move in the summer.

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

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Just win.


Ah yes, that famous scientific equation for achieving success in football:

Just win + don’t lose = trophies

Hopefully some of the younger lads can step up into the vacated roles, and throw their hat into the ring for a bit of involvement with the first team.
All we need is a 30 goal a season striker to step up from the youth team, and we should be all set!

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