The Arsenal academy teams had a frustrating weekend overall, despite a couple of positives from matches against Spurs and Fulham.
The Arsenal u21s kicked off the weekend with a match against Tottenham Hotspur, with Amario Cozier-Duberry continuing his strong recent form with an early goal – assisted by Charles Sagoe Jr.
But senior Spurs winger Lucas Moura had dropped down to the u21s for a match, and he levelled the scores shortly afterwards.
Nile John then gave the away side the lead in the second half, and Arsenal slipped to their first home defeat in the Premier League 2 this season.
Whilst there are some standout players in the u21s, with Cozier-Duberry among them, team performances seem to have dipped lately, and this was the latest example.
On Saturday, the Arsenal u18s took on Fulham, and once again the young Gunners took an early lead.
This time it was Osman Kamara, fresh from his winner in the FA Youth Cup at St. James’ Park, who opened the scoring just two minutes in.
Ismail Oulad M’hand (the younger brother of Salah-Eddine) assisted the goal with a free-kick.
Again, Arsenal let the lead slip, with Fulham coming from behind to lead 2-1.
Fortunately, Jack Wilshere’s side managed to salvage a draw, with Jimi Gower finishing off a chance created by Kamara shortly after coming on for 2-2.
Another upside was the return of Maldini Kacurri from injury with a substitute appearance for the u18s in the second half.
So whilst neither result was exactly what Arsenal would have wanted, there are positives to take forward into the bigger games next week.
The u21s first play Burnley in a Premier League Cup group stage game on Tuesday, but the key fixture will be on Friday, when they play Reading at home in the last-16 of the same competition.
Arsenal’s group game against Burnley was postponed, but the Gunners had already secured top spot. As a result, the draw for the next round went ahead despite that game still not having taken place.
As for the u18s, they face Watford at Vicarage Road in the FA Youth Cup on Monday, February 6th. With Kacurri back and Kamara and Cozier-Duberry in good form, they’ll be feeling confident about a result in that fixture.