Ben Cottrell returned from injury to score as the Arsenal u18s defeated Wolves 3-0 in their first match of the u18 Premier League Cup.
Ever since Cottrell’s injury in August, the u18s have been struggling badly. The last game he played was a 5-1 win over Aston Villa, which was followed by a draw and three defeats.
That’s not entirely down to the midfielder’s absence, as there have been other injuries and u23 call-ups that have contributed to their poor form. It’s still fair to say they’ve badly missed the 17-year-old though.
Cottrell made his return against Wolves on Saturday, starting Arsenal’s opening group stage game of the u18 Premier League Cup. With Chelsea in the group as well and no guarantees second place will ensure progression to the next round, it was pivotal the Gunners didn’t drop points here.
It was Cottrell who ended up opening the scoring, set up by Matthew Dennis in the 34th minute. Catalin Cirjan then doubled the lead five minutes later, assisted by Miguel Azeez.
Cirjan has made an excellent start to life with the Arsenal u18s, despite the team’s results so far. The summer signing has a goal and three assists with his new team. Meanwhile, Azeez is celebrating his first professional contract with Arsenal, so it’s great to see him involved in the scoring as well.
In the second half, Alfie Matthews made sure of the result with a third goal, his second of the season.
Arsenal really need to carry the momentum from this result into the league now, before they fall further behind the top clubs.