The Arsenal u18s thrashed Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to progress to the next round of the FA Youth Cup and get some revenge at the same time.

Kido Taylor-Hart with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Kido Taylor-Hart with the Arsenal academy (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

Last season, Arsenal went out of the FA Youth Cup in disappointing fashion, losing 4-1 to Blackburn Rovers. So it was only fitting that they reversed the scoreline this time around, in a 4-1 away victory at Ewood Park.

Khayon Edwards opened the scoring in the early stages. Brooke Norton-Cuffy played a great ball to put the striker in on goal, and when the goalkeeper got there first but failed to gather possession, Edwards was on hand to pounce and steer the ball home.

Around the half-hour mark, Kido Taylor-Hart doubled the scoreline. Miguel Azeez broke the lines for Catalin Cirjan, who attempted to slide Taylor-Hart in behind. The ball fell to a defender, but Taylor-Hart nicked it off him before arrowing a shot into the net.

Azeez then made it 3-0 just before half-time, scoring the pick of the bunch. He received the ball in space from Omari Hutchinson well outside the penalty area, but he fired into the top corner with both power and accuracy.

The midfielder continues to look hugely impressive for the academy, albeit after dropping down an age group on this occasion. He’s surely edging his way into contention for a pre-season opportunity with the first team at this rate.

After the half-time break, Rovers gave Arsenal a bit of a scare. Zak Gilsenan scored almost immediately after kick-off, and the hosts had a couple of chances to add to the lead shortly afterwards. But the young Gunners held on well.

Right-back Norton-Cuffy made sure of the win with a goal in injury time, and Arsenal will now progress to the last-16.

If you’re wondering how we’ve made it to March whilst still only playing the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, the competition was suspended in January amid the ongoing Covid situation. Thankfully, things have improved sufficiently to start it back up again.

With some key players still to return from injury and a comfortable win away from home, Arsenal will fancy their chances to keep progressing in this competition.

Lineup: Ejeheri, Norton-Cuffy, Kirk, Monlouis, Ogungbo, Azeez, Bandeira, Cirjan, Taylor-Hart, Edwards, Hutchinson

Subs: Graczyk, Foran, Ideho (for Hutchinson, 80), Awe, Jeffcott, Henry-Francis (for Cirjan, 75), Sagoe Jr