Arsenal’s u18s got their first league win since August against Reading on Saturday, grinding out a 1-0 victory away from home.

Ben Cottrell (Photo via Instagram / BenCottrell80)
Ben Cottrell (Photo via Instagram / BenCottrell80)

The young Gunners had been on a poor run of form in the league, drawing against West Ham before three consecutive defeats to Southampton, Leicester City and Brighton.

They’d managed to get back to winning ways in the u18 Premier League Cup, overcoming Wolves 3-0, but they desperately needed three points in the league as they travelled to Reading this weekend.

Thankfully, that’s exactly what they came away with. Arsenal took the lead in the 12th minute, with Alfie Matthews scoring from a Ben Cottrell assist.

It’s no coincidence that Cottrell got injured after a 5-1 Arsenal u18 win, missed their poor run of form and then returned for the last two games.

The 17-year-old is an important part of the team’s creative side in midfield and they missed that. Two goals and two assists in four u18 matches this season emphasises what he adds in the middle.

Sam Greenwood, Zane Monlouis and 15-year-old Charlie Patino all came on in the second half to see out the result, replacing Alfie Matthews, Joel Lopez and Catalin Cirjan. Patino was making his third u18 appearance despite his age and he’s clearly highly rated at the academy.