The talented crop of u21s have a golden opportunity to close the gap on current league leaders Derby County with an away trip to Motspur Park in an intriguing mini-London derby on Wednesday evening.
Following a morale-boosting victory against Liverpool last week, sealing our progression into the semi-finals of this year’s FA Youth Cup, Steve Gatting’s youngsters will be hoping for all three points – with a few games in hand on the sides around them in the table.
The top six in Division 2 currently looks like this:
All to play for
With that being taken into consideration, the Young Gunners would be eager to avoid having to qualify for next season’s Division 1 competition through a semi-final and final play-off, which means more games.
Donyell Malen scored in our last u21 league fixture, a 1-1 draw against Wolves. The talented Dutch wonderkid will be eager to continue his goalscoring exploits if given the chance, whilst Krystian Bielik may be started ahead of Marcus McGuane, reverting to his preferred defensive midfield position.
Peter Grant’s side will be equally bullish about their chances of a victory, especially holding the home advantage.
Having drawn 1-1 against Stoke last time out, they’ll be targeting a play-off push as the season gradually comes to a close.
They boast plenty of key players who’ll look to positively influence the game: such as the midfield duo of Josh Smile and Dennis Adeniran, as well as 18-year-old forward Stevie Humphrys – who has scored three goals in his last two appearances.
Based on first-team players not involved in the matchday squad to face promotion hopefuls Burnley this evening, the likes of Emerson Hyndman and Zakaria Labyad could both feature alongside goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli – who continues to regain fitness following a knee ligament injury sustained in August.
Arsenal predicted XI: Huddart; Bola, O’Connor, Pleguezuelo, Moore; Sheaf, Bielik; Malen, Nelson, Hinds; Mavididi.
Fulham predicted XI: Bettinelli; Elworthy, Pino, Donnelly, Sheckleford; Adeniran, Smile; de la Torre, Hyndman, Labyad; Humphrys.