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Bould - What we’ll learn from this competition


Steve Bould believes our involvement in the Trophy has been an invaluable experience for our under-21s.

We went into the match against Cambridge United knowing we couldn’t reach the knockout stages regardless of the the result, but a spirited performance saw us come from a goal behind to draw, before winning the penalty shootout.

We spoke to Bould after the match and this is what he said...

on the performance…
It was good to come back from a goal down but I feel a little bit disappointed with the second half because the went down to 10 men and I think they created more chances than they did with 11. We did have a lot of chances, three or four one-on-ones with the keeper but we didn’t really look like we were ever going to score in those situations. Again, no clean sheet so we’re disappointed from that respect and the lads feel it’s an opportunity missed against league opposition.

on what we’ll learn from the experience…
I think the big thing is, it’s not about winning these games, it’s about playing against men in league grounds with scouts coming to watch and seeing who they would like to take on loan and looking further down the line, who they might want in their teams. It’s a fabulous experience for the young players and I think tonight we just let ourselves down a little and we didn’t have too much belief so that’s something we need to look. It’s a shame we didn’t reach the next round of the competition because it would have given them a bit more experience but the competition as a whole has been a good learning curve.

on his view on the competition… 
The competition is fabulous, I just wish we could have reached the knockout stages just to gain a bit more experience in playing in the next level above the youth leagues. The lads don’t often encounter men this early in their careers so it’s a big experience for them. Maybe I’m being a little bit harsh but I think in the second half we really weren’t at our best.

on the different challenges this competition gives…
It gives the players a completely different experience. They’re playing against league experienced players and we don’t often come across many seniors in the youth leagues. It's very unlikely that they’ll meet nine big strong players and that’s something that they’ll learn. This is the next stage of their careers and this is where we will want them to be at the very least so if they’re not in our first team then they will need to get themselves careers so it’s great for them to have a taste of first-team football.

Post-Match Report

Match report: Fulham 2-2 Arsenal U-18s


We twice battled back from a goal behind to earn a point against Fulham at Motspur Park on Saturday afternoon.
Ken Gillard's side could consider themselves unlucky not to take the lead when after Daniel Oyegoke's surge forward set up Sam Greenwood, but our forward's shot cannoned off the crossbar.
We were looking comfortable in the early stages but then when Alex Kirk failed to clear a long throw in, Terry Ablade broke into the box to fire a low strike past Hubert Graczyk.
But our youngsters were straight back on the attack. Miguel Azeez picked out Ryan Alebiosu on the right-hand side, but Nathan Butler-Oyedeji couldn't direct our forward's cross on target.
We kept going, though, and made it count when Alebiosu picked up the ball in the channel again. The teenager fired in another low cross and under pressure from Greenwood, Ibane Bowat turned past his own goalkeeper to draw us level.
Back in the game and in firm control, we were full of momentum but once more went behind. After Graczyk had denied Sylvester Jasper from close range, the tricky Fulham winger found Jay Stansfield, who fired home past our keeper.
Undeterred, we continued to create chances with Azeez's low strike stinging Luca Ashby-Hammond's palms. And then when our midfielder's corner was only partially cleared, the unmarked Oyegoke reacted quickest to head into the top corner.



Upon returning from this month's international break, Gillard's side will prepare for the visit of Swansea City on Saturday, November 30.
The game will take place at Arsenal Training Centre. Kick-off is at 11am (UK) and attendance is by invitation only.