The Arsenal u18s secured a vital win in their Premier League Cup campaign on Saturday, beating Aston Villa to keep their hopes of progression alive.

Seb Ferdinand celebrating his goal for the Arsenal u18s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Seb Ferdinand celebrating his goal for the Arsenal u18s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

With only three games in the u18 Premier League Cup group stage, and only the top team guaranteed qualification to the next round, Arsenal’s opening-day defeat to Newcastle United was a major blow to their competition chances.

There are seven groups in the competition, and only one of the seven runners-up progresses to the quarter-final. To have any hope at all, Arsenal knew they’d need to win both of their remaining games.

That started with the visit of Aston Villa on Saturday, with Ethan Nwaneri starting as a false nine for Jack Wilshere’s side once again.

Nwaneri was joined in the lineup by young Myles Lewis-Skelly, who turned 16 last week, and Ismail Oulad M’hand, the younger brother of Salah-Eddine, who scored an impressive goal against Norwich City last weekend.

But it was Seb Ferdinand who gave Arsenal the lead with his second goal in three games, scoring in the 15th minute from an Osman Kamara assist.

Despite the early goal, neither team managed to add to the scoreline throughout the 90. Arsenal had the best chance, as Ferdinand had the chance to score a brace with a penalty. But he failed to convert, setting up a nervy finish.

Fortunately, Ferdinand’s opening goal proved enough to secure the three points on the day. The pressure is now on to secure three points and a decent goal difference in the final game away to Manchester United.

Arsenal's u18 Premier League Cup group as it stands
Arsenal’s u18 Premier League Cup group as it stands

Arsenal u18 lineup vs Aston Villa

Fedorushchenko, Robinson, Kacurri, Brown, Nichols, Lewis-Skelly, Dudziak, I. Oulad M’hand, Ferdinand, Kamara, Nwaneri


Small (for Robinson, 46), Benjamin (for Kamara, 60), Roberts (for Dudziak, 60), Kovacevic, Green

What’s next?

The Arsenal u18s don’t play again until Saturday, October 22nd at 11:30 BST, when they’ll host Brighton in the u18 Premier League South, so they have a bit of a break for the next week or so.