The Arsenal academy teams kicked off pre-season with a 4-0 win on Saturday, Dan Micciche’s first game formally in charge of the u18s.

Arsenal u18s take on Chelmsford City academy (Photo taken by Dan Critchlow)
Arsenal u18s take on Chelmsford City academy (Photo taken by Dan Critchlow)

For Arsenal’s first fixture of pre-season, the u18s travelled to Chelmsford to take on Chelmsford City’s academy side this weekend.

Dan Micciche took over the head coach job for the u18 side this summer, amid a few coaching changes that saw Steve Bould leave the u23 job and Ken Gillard move from u18 coach to u23 assistant.

Micciche had technically managed one Arsenal u18 game already this year, taking charge of an u18 Premier League win over Reading. But that was a special case, with both sides agreeing to essentially name u16 teams.

As a result, this was effectively the coach’s first proper game in the role.

Dan Micciche speaks to the Arsenal u18s (Photo taken by Dan Critchlow)
Dan Micciche speaks to the Arsenal u18s (Photo taken by Dan Critchlow)

Micciche named different sides in each half, with only Kristopher Quesada-Thorn starting both halves – and even he came off midway through the second period. At this early stage of pre-season, the priority was obviously getting players minutes.

It certainly kicked off like an early pre-season game, with a rather scrappy opening as both sides saw promising moves breaking down. Arsenal defender Tino Quamina had to be alert to make a key sliding challenge to stop one counter-attack.

Arsenal grew into the game though, with a few shots blocked and deflected away. Chelmsford’s best chance came when Remy Mitchell had to beat an opposing striker to a long ball without leaving his box, which he did well.

In the 35th minute, they had their best chance to open the scoring yet after Kaleel Green was brought down in the penalty area.

Green had got ahead of his man and it was always going to be a foul when the defender made contact. Khayon Edwards converted emphatically with a shot into the bottom corner.

Green then scored one of his own three minutes later, racing down the wing before powering an effort in at the near post. There seemed to be little angle for him to aim for, but he found a superb finish to make it 2-0 at the half-time break.

After all the mid-match changes, the rhythm of the game was disrupted again, and there weren’t too many opportunities for either side. Jimi Gower ended up making it 3-0 when he pressed the Chelmsford goalkeeper and blocked his clearance into the net.

Gower was alive to an opportunity again in the dying minutes of the game, capitalising on a loose ball in the box following positive work from Mauro Bandeira. Gower spun on the ball and finished for 4-0. The final whistle went not long afterwards.

Amani Richards, Henry Timi Davies, and Reuell Walters all made positive impressions in the second period, which is a testament to Arsenal’s recent youth recruitment. All three were added to the Arsenal academy just last season.

Arsenal u18 Lineup vs Chelmsford City Academy

First Half

Mitchell (GK), Robinson, Foran, Quamina, Quesada-Thorn, Ibrahim, Sweet, Roberts, Sagoe Jr, Edwards, Green

Second Half

Kovacevic (GK), Walters, Awe, Jeffcott, Quesada-Thorn (subbed off for Foran, 67), Bandeira, I. Oulad M’Hand, Gower, Cozier-Duberry, Richards, Davies

What’s Next?

The Arsenal u18s will travel to Devon for a training camp, and face Tavistock AFC on Thursday. For information on all Arsenal’s youth pre-season fixtures confirmed so far, click here.