Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Myriad of positives for Arsenal as Youth Cup run begins with dispatch of Newcastle

Myriad of positives for Arsenal as Youth Cup run begins with dispatch of Newcastle

Having struggled in the competition since last winning it in 2008/09, it was rather refreshing to see Arsenal U18s deliver an impressive performance in the FA Youth Cup this week as they comfortably dispatched of Newcastle United with a 3-0 victory at Underhill.

Much of Arsenal’s attacking threat came down their right flank, with the pace of winger Anthony Jeffrey and right-back Hector Bellerin proving too much for the abject visitors to cope with. The pair both got on the scoresheet in the first-half, with Bellerin setting up hard-working striker Chuba Akpom to complete the scoring late on.

It was a night of several positives for the Gunners as coach Steve Gatting earned his first victory at this level since replacing Pat Holland last month. Kristoffer Olsson turned in a sublime display in a deep midfield role, which only served to add to the growing body of evidence that the Swedish midfielder is a brighter talent than his midfield colleague Jon Toral.

That is not to discredit Toral in any way. Since joining from Barcelona with Bellerin at the start of last season, the 17 year old has impressed with his wide array of skills and his impressive finishing ability. Olsson, however, possesses those qualities plus the aptitude to take players on and drive forward at the opposition defence. The fact that Olsson was considered above Toral as a candidate for the Capital One Cup squads earlier this season, though, was more owing to the fact that the Spaniard missed much of the end of last season through injury.

It is hoped that they will both push on and compete for a place in the squad for that competition next season. Tuesday’s game also provided the first sustained opportunity to assess Deyan Iliev, a Macedonian youth international goalkeeper who was the club’s sole acquisition on deadline day in the most recent transfer window.

The signing of Iliev was a surprising one, given that Damian Martinez, James Shea and Reice Charles-Cook are all already competing for the gloves at U21 level, with Josh Vickers, Ryan Huddart and Ethan Ross behind them. Iliev certainly seems a promising enough goalkeeper on this early evidence, though, even if he wasn’t tested regularly by the blunt Newcastle attack.

He made one impressive save to rectify an error after he had given the ball away cheaply and, in truth, the young stopper’s kicking was a concern all evening. It is something that Wojciech Szczesny had and, to a certain extent, still has, problems with, but it is hoped that, over time, Iliev will be able to improve this area of his game, especially given that he appears well stocked with regards to his other attributes.

For Arsenal as a whole, though, Tuesday night’s game can be looked back upon with fondness, with thoughts now turning towards the Fourth Round, when Serge Gnabry, who was absent against Newcastle owing to injury, should be back available again.

4,693 views

15 comments

  1. Jeorgebird. I salute you for all your work. The youth are the future and a weekly read on how good they’re doing is top stuff, especially with the seniors doing little to excite us!

    Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  2. Let’s hope the YoungGuns can up their game even more in the next round. The Newcastle youth have been terrible this year to be fair. COYYGs!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Ive been disappointed with the lack of centre back quality coming through. we all had high hopes for bartley miquel and boateng then hajrovic angha monteiro now it appears that fagan hayden dallison siemann etc are not living up to expectations with many flirting with other positions. How or rather who do you think might have a future at the club jeorge?

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • I think that what you say is true to a large extent, but Miquel has improved a lot over the past couple of seasons and I’ve been impressed with Hayden, who appears more comfortable at centre-back than in a holding midfield role.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Here’s to the future….

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Here is another for you jeorge
    If you had to pick an u21 team using only players NOT listed on the official site as first team (inc those first teamers out on loan) what would it be? it would be a tough call for some positions like who are the best 2 keepers from martinez shea charles-cook iliev and vickers whilst i do not see such tough calls for who would be right back? as bellerin is the stand out candidate. I think we lack a really top dm in the academy and as i saud earlier the centre back options are not great. I personally think that the likes of gnabry olsson bellerin and akpom have leapfrogged a lot of the elder player and would certainly make my 18.

    Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    • If you’re not including players out on loan, I would probably say:
      Martinez
      Bellerin-Hayden-Miquel-Ormonde Ottewill
      Yennaris-Olsson
      Eisfeld-Toral-Gnabry
      Akpom

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. How very exciting

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  7. Great article. More article/insight to youth team progress or maybe player highlights/quality/potential attribute breakdowns would be awesome, Blogs!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. too many commas!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. I cant wait to see more of the like of Joel Campbell and Ryo Miyaichi….. These players with so much potential. But it seems from what ive read they’re both not getting regular game time. What was the point of going on loan Jeorge?? Surely theyre missing out

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. I’ve just heard of an U-15 youth tournament with Barcelona, Arsenal, Dinamo Zagreb, Stuttgart, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Manchester City and Besiktas all competing. Sounds an interesting proposition for our youth scouts.

    Can’t say I know much about our guys that young except for the two names Costello and Young. Any insight you can provide?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Arsenal 0 – Swansea 2

    This fucking team and this fucking manager.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

Scroll To Top