Match report here

An Arsenal XI containing mostly u23 players will face Hitchin Town on Saturday afternoon after a win against Barnet in midweek.

Top Field, home of Hitchin Town FC (Photo by Alistair Lockyer)
Top Field, home of Hitchin Town FC (Photo by Alistair Lockyer)

The u23s kicked off pre-season with a 3-3 draw against Boreham Wood, before heading off with the u18s to play a few matches in Slovakia. They returned this week to defeat Barnet 3-2, and they now travel to Hitchin Town for their next test.

The match will take place at 15:00 BST on Saturday 27th July. At this point, it doesn’t seem as if it will be streamed. In order to watch the game, you’ll have to buy a ticket – online or in-person on the gates – and head on down to Top Field, Hitchin.

Let’s have a look at our predicted team for the match.

Predicted Lineup (4-3-3) and Team News

James Hillson; Zak Swanson, Harry Clarke, Joseph Olowu, Tolaji Bola; Matt Smith, Jordan McEneff, Ben Cottrell; Ryan Alebiosu, Trae Coyle, Folarin Balogun.

Plenty of the u23s were on tour with the first team, including Bukayo Saka, Robbie Burton, James Olayinka, Tyreece John-Jules, Dominic Thompson and Zech Medley. Despite returning, they’re still training with the senior side and won’t be available for this match.

In their absence, Folarin Balogun is the star man to watch out for in the team, after his six-minute hat-trick against Barnet.

After missing out on the senior tour, Xavier Amaechi is available for selection. With the growing rumours surrounding a €2.5m exit to Hamburg and his illness in midweek, however, it seems unlikely he’ll feature in this one.

Ryan Alebiosu should take Amaechi’s place in the lineup as he did on Wednesday.

Arthur Okonkwo still appears to be absent from Arsenal’s pre-season plans, presumably with an injury, though nothing has been made official. He’s attended some of the preparation matches on the bench despite not featuring.

Mark McGuinness has just ended his involvement with the Republic of Ireland u19s, thanks to their elimination in the semi-finals of the u19 European Championship. This game may well come too soon for him though.

Tolaji Bola returned from injury to feature against Barnet on Wednesday, and he’ll presumably get another start as he continues to build fitness.

There should also be chances to see the likes of Sam Greenwood, Nathan Tormey, Miguel Azeez and more from the bench.

Match report here