Arsenal’s u18s were thrashed by North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, as the club rotated heavily ahead of the FA Youth Cup final later this week.
The academy have had a lot of success this season, but this match against Tottenham was a write off. The young Gunners already had second place in the table wrapped up, and no chance of catching Chelsea in first.
Their one chance of silverware is against the Blues in the Youth Cup, with the first-leg on Friday and the second on Monday. Knowing this, they rested almost the entire first choice team against Spurs.
Most of Virginia, Daley-Campbell, Olowu, Medley, Thompson, Olayinka, Smith Rowe, Balogun, John-Jules, Amaechi, Coyle and Saka will probably start on Friday, and none of them did on this occasion.
Nonetheless, it was disappointing to see such a completely lifeless effort from the players coming in. In the first half Rodel Richards scored a brace for Tottenham, then Dilan Kumar Markanday added a third in a five-minute spell which killed off the match. Arsenal didn’t even have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Arsenal u18s beat Spurs 6-0 earlier in the season, and clearly their opponents wanted revenge.
The second half started in the same way, with Reo Griffiths scoring after just 4 minutes. Griffiths set up two of the goals in the first half as well, so he was Tottenham’s star player to that point. By the 55th minute it was 5-0, with Markanday getting his second of the game.
Then Griffiths added his second from the penalty spot. Arsenal subbed on Ogungbo, who immediately scored an own goal, then Griffiths completed his hat-trick for 8-0.
Arsenal brought on the more experienced Olowu to try and put a stop to the goals with 20 minutes to go. That slowed Spurs down for a bit, but then Griffiths added his fourth of the game for 9-0.
Fortunately, that’s when the referee finally put an end to Arsenal’s misery by blowing the final whistle.
Starting XI: Barden; Clarke, McGuinness, Spencer Adams, Omole; M. Smith, Azeez; Beckford, McEneff, Swanson; Okoflex
Subs: Okonkwo, Flaherty (for Smith, 63), Cottrell, Ogungbo (for Omole, 69), Olowu (for Swanson, 71).