FA Youth Cup run a major boost for Arsenal starlets


There is much to play for at youth level for Arsenal in the closing stages of the season.

The U18s have an outside chance of winning the league, while the U23s know that if they win all of their remaining fixtures they will be crowned Premier League 2 champions and they are also through to the semi-finals of the Premier League International Cup, where Villarreal await.

Perhaps the most intriguing opportunity for success, though, is in the FA Youth Cup, a competition that Arsenal haven’t won for nine years.

Arsenal have often found matters difficult in this competition in recent campaigns, largely due to some inept defending, but coach Kwame Ampadu can call upon a very talented side that is both cohesive and clinical.

This week Arsenal thrashed Colchester United 5-1 away to secure their place in the semi-finals of the competition.

Having previously seen off Sheffield Wednesday, Liverpool and Middlesbrough to reach this stage, the young Gunners were in confident mood going into the game, although they were careful not to underestimate a Colchester side that were only in the competition as Reading, their opponents in the previous round, were thrown out for fielding an underage player.

Colchester showed much spirit but Arsenal still managed to prevail, with the excellence of Emile Smith Rowe really shining through.

Capable of thriving as a winger or a central midfielder, Smith Rowe hit a brace against Colchester, including a superb free-kick.

Bukayo Saka, Folarin Balogun and Xavier Amaechi were also on the scoresheet in a comprehensive victory and Arsenal will be hopeful of prevailing past Blackpool in the semi-finals.

Chelsea, who have won the last four editions of the competition, could lie in wait in the final, but Arsenal must first focus on reaching that stage.

There are several creative starlets in this team, with the likes of Smith Rowe, Amaechi, Saka and Trae Coyle all players of a very high standard.

Forward Tyreece John-Jules, who was suspended for the game against Colchester, is also a player to look out for and it shouldn’t be forgotten that Arsenal have the option of calling upon Reiss Nelson for the latter stages of the competition depending on his commitments with the first-team or U23s.

There are several other players in this group, though, who perhaps deserve more credit.

Right-back Vontae Daley-Campbell has been hugely impressive throughout the competition, while Dominic Thompson has improved considerably at left-back.

At the heart of the defence Danny Ballard has skippered the side well and will hope that his performances will lead to him becoming increasingly involved with the U23s.

This FA Youth Cup run has been very entertaining but there is still much more work to do in order for silverware to be secured.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird



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We have some great prospects coming through our academy, also a lot of credit must go to Kwame Ampadu and the other youth coaches.

Woolwich Shepherd
Woolwich Shepherd

So many hyphenated names! Vic Akers must be busy as hell!!!


Thrown out for fielding an underage player? Thats kind of.. strange. Anyway go young guns !