Arsenal’s u18s will play their first match of the season against Fulham at 11am on Saturday 12th August.
The u18s enjoyed a fairly solid campaign in 2016-17, coming in the top half of the Southern division, and winning 12, drawing 7 and losing 10 of their 29 games. The standout performers were Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.
Reiss spent most of his time with the u23s, but when he did play for the u18 side he tended to produce, with four goals in his five games for the side. Eddie, on the other hand, played a few more games for the team, scoring 15 and assisting three in his 16 appearances.
Both players got called up on the pre-season tour as a result of this good form, and will likely play much more of a part for the u23s and possibly even the first team this year, so this will give other youngsters the chance to step up for the u18s this season.
Amongst this group are Joao Virginia, Emile Smith-Rowe, Nathan Tormey and Zech Medley, who have all signed professional deals from the 2016 intake of scholars.
The team have had some good results in pre-season, including a 5-0 thrashing of Luton Town, and will be hoping to carry this form into the season.
At this stage, it remains to be seen who will step up and impress the academy bosses enough to become a regular, and maybe even be considered for promotion to the higher age groups, as there are almost always some surprises along the way.
But the match at Fulham’s training ground gives them their first opportunity to do so.