Pre-Match Report

U-19s: Arsenal v Shakhtar - Preview

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

It's crunch time for the under-19s.

After finishing top of their Youth League group, Arsenal were rewarded with a home tie against Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16 of the competition and it's a game the academy have been relishing ever since they nudged themselves over the line in December.

With a FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Everton on the horizon, plus a League Cup semi-final for the under-21s, the next few months will provide this generation of young Gunners with invaluable experience at the very least.

For left back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, it's an opportunity that he's determined to grasp.

"I think both teams will be going for it because it's one leg so someone has to win on the night"

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

"We're still in all competitions so it's a busy season for all of us," he told Arsenal.com. "But that's how we want it. To end the season with a trophy would be amazing but we're just focused on Shakhtar for now.

"We know Shakhtar's going to be a tough game but to know that we've got Barcelona in the next round if we win is always going to motivate us. They are a team every footballer want to play against no matter what age group you're in."

The team that Steve Gatting picks for Tuesday's tie is likely to be similar to the one that Carl Laraman selected for the Youth Cup victory over Charlton on Friday. Chuba Akpom returned from his loan spell to face the Addicks and Ormonde-Ottewill believes his presence will be an important boost for the team.

"Chuba is always going to provide a threat for opposing teams because he's a top player," the 18-year-old said. "It's good to have him back because he's got that firepower and he's always an outlet for us because he runs at defenders and holds the ball up well.

"I think both teams will be going for it because it's one leg so someone has to win on the night. We've got to take our chances but at the same time be patient, we can't force it too much because that can lead to mistakes and they can catch us on the counter-attack."

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

Shakhtar finished second behind Real Sociedad with nine points in Group A and Ormonde-Ottewill says Arsenal will be prepared for a tough battle.

"We've watched their set-pieces on video and how they set up in terms of their formation," he said. "They're a good team but we've got enough quality to be able to deal with them. We watched a few clips so we're pretty confident we know what we're facing.

"As young players, the bigger the crowd, the more pumped up you get. We've had good support at Boreham Wood this season and we're excited about playing there tomorrow because you're always looking to impress people."

For the winners, a glamour tie in Catalonia awaits.

We will tweet the key moments from Meadow Park from 6.55pm (UK time) on the @Arsenal account. Remember, entrance to the game is FREE!