Omari Benjamin scored a hat-trick to get the Arsenal u18s back to winning ways away to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Despite a strong FA Youth Cup campaign, with the semi-final soon to come, the Arsenal u18s have struggled for the same consistency in the league, and after a 4-1 win over Chelsea, they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace last time out.
Saturday provided another opportunity to bounce back, and that’s exactly what Jack Wilshere’s side did.
With less than three minutes on the clock, Omari Benjamin gave Arsenal an early lead, and Seb Ferdinand doubled their advantage from the penalty spot in the 17th minute.
But Fenton Heard pulled one back for the hosts in the 24th minute to leave the game balanced precariously going into the half-time break.
Fortunately, Arsenal restored their two-goal advantage early in the second half, with Benjamin finishing off a chance created by Ismail Oulad M’hand for 3-1.
Benjamin then secured the result with another penalty goal in the 75th minute, completing his hat-trick. The Gunners took three points and a 4-1 victory back to north London on Saturday afternoon.
The Gunners are now up to 6th in the u18 Premier League South with 19 points, and in touching distance of the four places above them. Fulham are on 27 points in second, with Chelsea in fifth on 23.
The league leaders are long gone, however, with West Ham United now on 42 points with a 15-point lead and six games to play.
As for Benjamin, his strong debut u18 campaign continues to go from strength to strength, as he’s now up to 13 goals in 15 games between the u18 Premier League and the FA Youth Cup.
Arsenal u18 lineup vs West Brom
Cooper, Robinson, Kacurri, Brown, Quamina, I. Oulad M’hand, Nichols, Gower, Kamara, Ferdinand, Benjamin
Small (for Kacurri, 68), Green (for Benjamin, 79), Oyetunde (for Ferdinand, 86), Copley (for Gower, 86), B. Okonkwo
The Arsenal u18s have a chance for revenge against Crystal Palace, as they travel away for a rematch on March 11th at 11:00 GMT.