If you missed this week’s Daily Cannon Weekly podcast, episode 215, you’ll have missed our youth round-up, but never fear, we have the details below for you.
The u18s bounced back from their disappointing 6-3 defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion in the under 18 Premier League by winning 3-0 in the under 18 Premier League Cup.
It was a much needed result because the u18s form had dropped off a bit lately.
A lot of their win was influenced by the return to fitness of Ben Cottrell, who is captain of the u18s and he scored the opener.
He’s a sort of very diminutive playmaking midfielder who can play at number 10. Competitive, quick, with good ball skills.
We also scored a second goal just before halftime where new signing, Romanian wonderkid mark II, following Vlad Dragomir who decided to move to pastures new after his Arsenal contract expired rather than renewing and staying at the club.
But Catalin Cirjan managed to score after good work from midfielder, Miguel Azeez, who’s a deep-lying midfielder.
Azeez, with great promise who’s thought of very highly, has a good physical stature.
Alfie Matthews, who’s been in and around the u18s for about a year or so scored a good header following a defensive mix-up from Wolves.
He’s a player that doesn’t get as much discussion and, perhaps, isn’t as close to making a progression to the u23s, but he does seem to make contributions when he participates in games so there is some growth that we’ve seen in his game in recent months.
Arsenal u21s started brightly before falling away in a damaging defeat to Peterborough United in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.
With the Europa League coming up on Thursday and a number of injuries in the u23/u21 squad, Arsenal named a relatively inexperienced lineup against Peterborough in their second group game this week.
Star striker Folarin Balogun had been held back for the Europa League, Trae Coyle, James Olayinka and Tyreece John-Jules were all injured and Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are finally back in contention for senior matches.
17-year-old Ben Cottrell made his first start of the season above u18 level, as did Sam Greenwood, but the young team actually started pretty well.
Right-back Zak Swanson forced a good save out of the Peterborough keeper before Nathan Tormey narrowly failed to turn in the rebound from the tightest of angles. Arsenal put together some nice passing moves, but their early enthusiasm quickly evaporated.
The hosts came back into the game and dominated the chances for most of the rest of the match. Even though Arsenal had a fair bit of possession with their centre-backs, they just couldn’t get the ball out of their defensive third without hopeful long passes.
When Peterborough’s only goal eventually came, it was with a huge slice of luck on their part. Joe Ward took a shot on from a long way out and a difficult angle, but as it flew towards Matt Macey’s gloves it took a deflection off Zech Medley and ended up in the net.
Macey had made a few good saves throughout the rest of the match, so he’ll be particularly disappointed to concede in that manner.
The u23s had a 2-2 home draw with Liverpool.
Curtis Jones got a double for Liverpool to give them a 2-0 lead at Meadow Park, Borehamwood. He’s probably one of the two hottest young prospects in the Liverpool system at the moment. A really, really talented player. He’s even reportedly been earmarked to get some first team time for them at some stage this season.
But Arsenal came back to claim a draw with Nathan Tormey getting the first goal. He’s a player that’s had terrible injury problems through the age groups and many would be surprised to see him playing as much as he has done this season for the u23s given those issues. But he seems to be fighting back to try and reestablish his career in the Arsenal youth setup and is having slightly more impact game-by-game, so maybe not a player to write off just yet.
He is certainly a player who is proving that he may have credentials for the professional game, which, as we saw earlier this season with Thompson going off to Brentford, if he doesn’t make it at Arsenal he can at least be a profitable asset for the Academy if he keeps that level of current development.
Getting the second goal was Fol Baogun, who is just an Nketiah-esque goal-scoring beast at youth level, continuing his form at u23 level in the absence of John-Jules who picked up a bit of a knock.
To hear what else was said on this week’s podcast, you can subscribe to the Daily Cannon Weekly podcast in your podcast app of choice or you can listen here.