Arsenal find themselves in a tough spot in the u18 Premier League Cup, after losing to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Arsenal u18s 2-3 Blackburn Rovers
Arsenal are in a group with Wolves, Chelsea and Blackburn, with only the team that finishes in first place guaranteed progression to the next stage. The top two second-place finishers from the six groups make the quarter-finals, as Arsenal know all too well from last year when they were eliminated despite finishing in second place.
With Chelsea in the group this year, it was likely going to take three wins to finish top.
Arsenal had made a strong start to the group stage, beating Wolves 3-0, and it looked like they were going to keep that going as Mazeed Ogungbo scored in the 22nd minute, assisted by Charlie Patino.
It was a big moment for Patino, who only turned 16 this month and is already starting to establish himself in the u18 side. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a sign of things to come, as Blackburn quickly equalised through Jared Horlock in the 24th minute.
That’s become a pattern recently. In the last five games for the u18s, there have been five instances of the team conceding within three minutes of scoring. It’s near impossible to get results like that.
Blackburn scored twice more through Brandon Lonsdale and Chanka Zimba in the second half, with Zimba also assisting the Lonsdale goal to keep up his strong form this season.
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji pulled one back for Arsenal late on, but it wasn’t enough. The Gunners remain top of the group temporarily, but Chelsea are likely to change that next Wednesday when they play Wolves.
Arsenal u16s 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
The u16s fared better, with Khayon Edwards scoring twice in the second half to secure the three points. Edwards also scored the winner against Wolves in Arsenal’s previous 1-0 victory in the competition, and he’s in great form right now.