The Arsenal u21s face Newport County in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday needing a result to avoid another early exit from the competition.
Despite winning the Premier League 2, and reaching the finals of the FA Youth Cup and the Premier League International Cup in the last few years, the one competition the Arsenal academy have had no success in is the EFL Trophy.
The Arsenal u21s made their debut in the competition in 2018/19, reaching the first knockout stage before being eliminated by Portsmouth. They went out in the group stage in 2019/20, and the first knockout round against AFC Wimbledon last season.
The team are up against it again this campaign. An own goal from Kido Taylor-Hart condemned them to defeat in their opening group fixture against Swindon Town, and they’ll be missing a few players in Newport on Tuesday.
Charlie Patino, Folarin Balogun, and Mika Biereth are among the players missing at the moment, as was the case with the u23 Premier League Cup fixture last week.
Arsenal will probably go with a slightly stronger side this time than in that game, when Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand, Joel Lopez, Ryan Alebiosu, and Tim Akinola were among those on the bench.
Though there will also be a couple of enforced absences, with Ben Cottrell picking up an injury and Omar Rekik leaving for international duty after the Bournemouth game.
A defeat could spell an early end for Arsenal’s tournament, if Swindon pick up a point against Plymouth. Kevin Betsy’s side need at least a draw, and ideally a win, if they want to go into the final group game with a decent chance of making the knockout stages.
Predicted Arsenal u21 lineup vs Newport County
Graczyk; Alebiosu, Walters, Ogungbo, Lopez; Olayinka, Akinola, Oulad M’hand; Hutchinson, Butler-Oyedeji, Taylor-Hart
How to Watch
If you happen to be in the area, tickets for the game are available here. It’s at Rodney Parade in Newport, South Wales on Tuesday at 19:00 BST.
If not, there’s a paid stream available for the game. You can purchase a match pass here.