Arsenal’s u18s thrashed Swansea City 8-0 in the early Saturday kickoff this weekend, with 17-year-old midfielder Ben Cottrell one of the stars of the show.
In an 8-0 victory, there are always going to be a number of impressive performances for the winning team. Trae Coyle scored a hat-trick, Matthew Smith managed a hat-trick of assists, Folarin Balogun scored his 20th league goal of the season despite only playing 45 minutes, and so on.
We’re going to focus on one player who has been going under the radar lately though, Ben Cottrell. The teenager scored twice and assisted one more against Swansea, and his goals were both well taken from outside the box:
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) March 31, 2019
In total, Cottrell now has five goals and two assists for the season, but his impact on the team is much more than that. Particularly in recent weeks, he’s been an influential presence in midfield, using his shorter stature to twist and turn away from anyone who presses him before finding an effective forward pass to keep the play going.
Unlike Coyle, Balogun and Smith, Cottrell is still young enough that he could play another season in the u18s. Nonetheless, he’s cemented a spot in the heart of the current side, and he’ll be hoping to help them to the u18 Premier League title in May. We’ll see if he can.