Kwame Ampadu’s side were comprehensively beaten 5-1 away at Reading, and finished the match with ten men after a late dismissal to compound their misery even further.

Goals from Ben House, Joel Rollinson, Akin Odimayo as well as a brace from Jordan Holsgrave were more than enough to effectively blow away our u18 side at Hogwood Park.

Plenty of key players were missing from the matchday squad altogether including the more established crop, such as midfield duo Marcus McGuane and Vlad Dragomir, as well as Reiss Nelson and Edward Nketiah – both goalscorers from midweek’s UEFA Youth League victory over Ludogorets.

This ultimately showed in a disappointing overall display, with trialist Zech Medley failing to impress defensively. The 16-year-old defender, previously on the books at rivals Chelsea, has started his trial in unspectacular fashion having given away a penalty against Fulham last weekend and will need to improve drastically if he’s to earn a contract.

With four players on bookings, once tempers flared late in the game attacking midfielder, Joe Willock, was given his marching orders by the referee (straight red) in the final few minutes before Odimayo added salt into the already bruising wounds with an 89th minute finish to settle the score at 5-1.

After this heavy defeat, Arsenal’s u18 side have fallen from top spot in the Southern Division with West Ham’s 3-2 win over Swansea propelling them above the Young Guns into first place.

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Chelsea and Reading are now level on points with us, ahead of the u18s’ next fixture – a home game against Norwich, where they’ll be desperate to get back to winning ways.

One of the only positives to take from the defeat is the fact that Trae Coyle, still a schoolboy at 15, continues to impress at u18 level.

With two recent cameo appearances in the UEFA Youth League, it’s clear that the talented forward is developing at a rapid rate and playing against opposition older than him has helped him to adapt and improve his skillset over time.