Arsenal u18 boss Ken Gillard has spoken about his delight at his side’s season so far, after the team were crowned U18 PL South Champions recently.
With the Arsenal u18s recent 3-0 win over Fulham, they confirmed themselves as the top club in the U18 Premier League south division, finishing four points above Tottenham Hotspur in second place. In fact, Arsenal’s points total was the highest in the country, with no one in the north division matching their 60-point haul.
That’s not how the system decides the overall champion though. Instead, Arsenal will take on the winners of the north division (either Derby or Liverpool) in a play-off final. According to Ken Gillard, that’s coming up very soon.
“The date is yet to be confirmed but it looks like it could be between May 6 and 9, so between now and then we will regroup and look after a few little bumps and bruises that we’ve picked up today,” Gillard told Arsenal.com. “The fitness is there so we just need to maintain them and wrap them up in cotton wool.”
There’s already cause for celebration though. Arsenal have had a fantastic season, winning 20 of their 22 games, scoring 86 goals and conceding just 23. There have been plenty of individual storylines, from Folarin Balogun racking up over 30 goals in all competitions, to Matt Smith topping the assist charts across the country at u18 level.
Then there’s Tyreece John-Jules, Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka, who all earned promotions from the u18s to the u23s and then the first-team this season. Arthur Okonkwo has also recently stepped up to the u23s and summer signing Sam Greenwood has settled in excellently. Gillard admits he’s really happy with how things have gone.
“It feels fantastic,” he continued. “It’s been a long season and the boys have worked very, very hard, so I’m delighted thy finished it off, especially with the way we’ve been playing this season. We’ve had to be patient, but it’s very, very pleasing.
“I know it’s not all about winning games, but the boys have improved in their performances in almost every game they’ve played in. They’ve kept going and going so all in all it’s been really pleasing.
“To win every game at home is fantastic and only losing two games all season is brilliant, especially with the amount of goals we’ve scored and the football we’ve played. We’ve also got a decent defensive record as well, so it’s really pleasing for the boys.”
Hopefully, the young side can end their season on a high by becoming the u18 champions of England.