Four Arsenal academy players joined first-team training this week for the final sessions ahead of the AFC Wimbledon clash.

Tim Akinola with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Akinola on Instagram)
Tim Akinola with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Akinola on Instagram)

Ahead of the first-team League Cup clash against AFC Wimbledon, a number of Arsenal academy players were involved in training.

Most notably, Charlie Patino got another call-up to join the senior training session. Reports have been building for weeks that he’s set to make an appearance in the Arsenal squad against Wimbledon, and this is another hint that might be the case.

Tim Akinola, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, and Ryan Alebiosu were the other three to join training.

It’s worth mentioning here that we’re no longer considering Folarin Balogun as a youth player. He was in first-team training as well, but that’s normal for him now.

Charlie Patino with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Charlie Patino on Twitter)
Charlie Patino with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Charlie Patino on Twitter)

For those who aren’t aware of the above players, Patino is a midfielder. He usually plays fairly deep, as his strengths lie in beating the press and playing forward.

The 17-year-old has been in excellent form for the u23s lately, helping them beat Spurs, Manchester United, and Chelsea in consecutive fixtures, with a goal and an assist in those games.

Akinola is also a midfielder, but he’s more of a traditional defensive midfielder. He’s a strong dribbler as well, but his game is mainly focused on breaking up opposition attacks.

With Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny potentially absent against Wimbledon, it’s not impossible Patino or Akinola could get a chance. Or even both.

Oulad M’Hand would be an option if Mikel Arteta is looking for someone further forward in midfield. He can play at 8, 10, or out wide, and he’s another showing good form for the u23s at the moment. He’s technical and confident in the link-up play.

Finally, Alebiosu is a right-back, or wing-back. Realistically, he’s going to find it hard to get a game in that position on Wednesday, with so many senior options available. But he played well in the 6-1 u23 win over Chelsea and deserves the recognition.

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