Arsenal Academy U-21 squad secures a thrilling 2-1 Cup final victory against AFC Wimbledon, showcasing exceptional young talent.

  • Arsenal Academy U-21 team achieves a thrilling 2-1 Cup final victory against AFC Wimbledon, demonstrating exceptional young talent.
  • Teyah Goldie, named Player of the Match, scores an equalising goal in the 47th minute, followed by Laila Harbert’s winning goal in the 79th minute.
  • The hope is that these talented young players can continue to develop and eventually make their way to the first team, just like the men’s team.

Arsenal’s Academy U-21 team achieved a thrilling 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon in a captivating Cup final at CB Hounslow. Head coach Elliott Allum chose a traditional 4-3-3 formation for the young Gunners’ starting lineup, including Ellie Sarter, Emilie Simpson, Katie Reid, Lucy Fazackerley, Jasmine Gallo, Teyah Goldie, Amelia Bloom, Gessa Marashi, Emily Pittman, Ruby Doe, and Sienna Hurrell.

On the other side, AFC Wimbledon featured former Arsenal Academy player Billie Brooks and ex-FA WSL players Ashlee Hincks and Emily Donovan. Although the match took place on a challenging surface with sandy goalie areas, both teams showcased quality attacking football, with AFC Wimbledon sometimes opting for a more direct approach.

The Arsenal Academy U-21 squad, whose oldest player is 19, displayed their signature style with a quality build-up play from the back. Centre-back Reid frequently advanced the ball, and the combination of Bloom and Pittman on the right wing caused problems for Wimbledon’s defence. Arsenal’s striker Doe showed great determination throughout the game, battling fiercely with Wimbledon’s experienced centre-halves.

In the 34th minute, Wimbledon scored the first goal after Simpson fouled a forward, leading to a penalty that Plewa successfully converted. Arsenal made two changes at half-time, with Araya Dennis replacing Pittman and Laila Harbert coming on for Fazackerley. Harbert’s creative play in the deep playmaker role and her quick thinking, vision, and excellent first touch reminded many of a young Jordan Nobbs.

Dennis’s energetic performance throughout the second half helped set up Arsenal’s equaliser after a corner led to Goldie scoring in the 47th minute. The winning goal came in the 79th minute when Harbert’s left-footed shot found the top right corner. Despite injuries and cramps leading to 10 minutes of added time, Arsenal held on to secure a well-deserved 2-1 victory.

Teyah Goldie was named Player of the Match for her outstanding performance. Although the gap between Academy football and first-team football is significant, the hope is that these talented young players can continue to develop and eventually make their way to the first team.

The club’s focus should be on producing homegrown talent through the pathway, just like the men’s team. With a little more time, these Arsenal Academy U-21 stars could be ready for loan spells in the Championship or WSL, followed by integration into the first team.