Arsenal Under-18s host Manchester United Under-18s on Saturday morning and will be looking to improve on a mixed start to their league campaign.
Carl Laraman's team began well with hard-fought 2-1 win over Liverpool with goals from Tom Dallison and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. It was a solid performance from Arsenal in a tight encounter. Eight days later they went down 4-2 at home to Fulham before Kaylen Hinds' goal secured the team a well-earned point at Sunderland last time out.
The likes of Jack Jebb, Dallison and Maitland-Niles were given further opportunities by Steve Gatting in pre-season and will be looking to push their way into the Under-21s as the season progresses
The Under-18s’ form has improved under Laraman. They ended last season in fine fashion, winning four out of their last five league games including a 5-4 win away to Newcastle.
Dan Crowley will be looking to continue his impressive start to his academy career after arriving from Aston Villa in the summer. The 16-year-old made his debut in the pre-season friendly against Sutton United and immediately set about playing some exquisite passes and showing some deft touches in the No 10 role.
The likes of Jack Jebb, Dallison and Maitland-Niles were given further opportunities by Steve Gatting in pre-season and will be looking to push their way into the Under-21s as the season progresses. The Gunners experienced some tough encounters in pre-season against seasoned semi-professional outfits who gave the side physical examinations that they perhaps have not experienced before.
United’s youngsters visit London Colney on the back of a good start to their season, winning three out of their first four games including a 6-1 thrashing of Wolves and a 3-0 win away to Stoke. That leaves them second in their table, just one point behind local rivals Manchester City. Ashley Fletcher and James Wilson have both impressed so far and will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of Tom Cleverley, Jonny Evans and Robbie Brady who have carved out careers in the Premier League.
The game promises to be Arsenal’s stiffest test of the season so far but if the hosts can produce a similar showing to the one against Liverpool they will be confident of getting a positive result against the Red Devils and push them towards the top end of the table.
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