Arsenal’s u18s defeated West Ham 5-2 on Saturday to continue their push for the league title, with Folarin Balogun playing a starring role once again.
Arsenal are currently top of the u18 Premier League, four points ahead of Tottenham in second having played a couple of extra games. As a result, they just need to keep winning and hope Spurs eventually drop points, or ideally defeat their North London rivals directly in their match in April.
For now, they look comfortable going up against pretty much any opponent, and that was no different against West Ham. The Gunners raced into a 3-0 lead by half time, with goals from Zak Swanson, Folarin Balogun and Joel Lopez in the first half, assisted by Sam Greenwood and Harry Clarke.
In the second half, they added to that lead, with Mark McGuinness and Balogun scoring, with Balogun’s goal assisted by Trae Coyle. After that, the team took their foot off the pedal, and a goal from Emmanuel Longelo as well as an own goal from McGuinness brought the score back to 5-2. That’s how it ended, with another three points secured.
It was the fifth league game in a row Balogun has scored in since signing professional terms with Arsenal, with eight goals and three assists in those games. In his 25 total appearances for all the academy teams this campaign, Balogun has scored 23 goals and provided seven assists. Here’s the full breakdown of his record in each competition:
- Premier League 2 (u23s): 4 substitute appearances, 1 goal
- EFL Trophy (u21s): 1 substitute appearance, 0 goals
- U18 Premier League (u18s): 15 starts, 19 goals, 5 assists
- FA Youth Cup (u18s): 3 starts, 2 goals, 2 assists
- U18 PL Cup (u18s): 2 starts, 1 goal
If he keeps that up, nothing’s going to stop Arsenal walking to the title in May. Let’s hope he can do so.