Following Thursday’s match against Spurs, Arsenal decided to pull out of an u23 friendly match planned for Friday night.

Kevin Betsy and the Arsenal u21s celebrating a win (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Kevin Betsy and the Arsenal u21s celebrating a win (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

Farnborough Football Club were set to host the Arsenal u23s on Friday night, a friendly match to keep the Arsenal youth team fresh after their competitive season came to an end on April 29th.

On Friday morning, Farnborough announced the match had been cancelled, writing that “tonight’s visitors have had to pull out at short notice”.

The most reasonable conclusion is that the cancellation was related to the events of Thursday night.

The defeat to Spurs in itself places extra pressure on Arsenal’s next couple of games, but the loss was combined with an apparent injury to Gabriel Magalhaes and a suspension for Rob Holding.

The Gunners are now very low on centre-backs, and will likely have to call up a youth player or two to the first-team squad on Monday.

In the meantime, Arsenal will also need players available to fill in during their training sessions.

As a result, a friendly match against Farnborough has turned from a good way to keep players sharp, to an unnecessary risk that a player Mikel Arteta might need on Monday could get injured.

Kevin Betsy with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Kevin Betsy with the Arsenal u23s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

Arsenal’s u23s have a few different options if Arteta needs a centre-back.

There’s Tunisia international Omar Rekik, 22-year-old Jonathan Dinzeyi – who has recently trained with the first team – or perhaps Reuell Walters, a young but talented England u18.

Sadly, one of their best options is currently unavailable. Left-footed Mazeed Ogungbo is arguably one of the Arsenal u23s most deserving of a first-team debut, and he can play both centre-back and left-back. But he’s out with an injury.

The big downside is that none of the others have played a senior game for Arsenal, outside of Rekik’s appearance in a pre-season friendly against Hibs. It would be a big ask to include them in the team on Monday.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.