Saturday wasn’t a good day for Arsenal’s u23s and u18s, but the u16s provided one positive for the weekend with a quarter-final win.
The Arsenal u23s were well beaten by Liverpool, losing 3-0 away from home.
In fairness, there were some mitigating circumstances. The team recently lost Mavropanos, Smith Rowe, Olayinka and John-Jules to loans. Matt Macey is now unavailable due to senior commitments, whilst star winger Nathan Tormey picked up an injury.
Tolaji Bola also missed the match, leaving Joel Lopez to fill in for his u23 debut. Arsenal just couldn’t get a foothold though, conceding once in each third of the 90 minutes. The team lost their 2020 unbeaten run as a result.
The u23s’ best chance to score came from Folarin Balogun – no surprise. The striker hit the post, and the rebound fell to Sam Greenwood, but he saw his shot blocked.
The u18s lost 5-1 to West Ham United, despite drawing level at 1-1 right before half time.
That was one of few positives from the match, with u16 striker Khayon Edwards making his first u18 start and winning the penalty Alfie Matthews converted. Miguel Azeez also returned from injury, playing just under an hour.
In the second half, it was all downhill. Arsenal conceded three in the first 20 minutes before a late own goal in injury time made it 5-1.
The u16s gave us the only positive of a difficult day. After a 0-0 draw against Newcastle in the u16 Premier League Cup quarter-finals, the youngsters won 3-0 on penalties.
Remy Mitchell saved a couple of the spot-kicks and Taylor Foran was among the scorers. Harry Jones, Brooke Norton-Cuffy, Mauro Bandeira and Omari Hutchinson also featured in the match. They all progress to the semis now.
The result was even more impressive given Edwards’ promotion to the Arsenal u18s and Marcelo Flores’ time away with the Mexico u18s. Not easy to get results when you’re missing two of your star players.