Pre-Match Report

Match preview: Blackburn v Arsenal U-18s

Arsenal U-18

We’ll be looking to progress to the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup on Friday night when we face Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

THE STORY SO FAR 

Our journey started away at Cheltenham, where we were held to a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, before eventually winning 4-2 on penalties.

Sam Greenwood, Alfie Matthews, Matthew Dennis and Charlie Patino all scored from 12 yards, while Hubert Gracyzk produced an impressive save to deny Charlie Stanton and send us through to the fourth round.

We then went on to defeat Southampton 1-0 at Meadow Park, thanks to a sublime solo goal from Dennis.  The 17-year-old picked up the ball on the halfway line and dribbled to the edge of Saints’ area, before firing a powerful strike in to the top corner for his third of the season. 

This was followed by a dramatic 4-3 win over Brighton in the last-16 of the competition, courtesy of a double from Greenwood, a stunner from Miguel Azeez and an own goal Roco Rees.

Matthew Dennis

THE OPPOSITION 

Blackburn kicked off their FA Youth Cup campaign with a comfortable 3-1 win over Newport County, with Brandon Lonsdale, Luke Brennan and Sam Burns all on the scoresheet.

This was followed by a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic, courtesy of another goal from Burns, before the Rovers fired four past Preston North End in a thrilling 4-2 victory, featuring six different goalscorers and a red card. 

The Lillywhites led by two goals to one on the hour-mark, but a red card for Ben Dooley saw the visitors crumble and allow Rovers to score three times late on.

Burns was once again on target and remains their top scorer in the competition with three to his name.

ONE TO WATCH 

With an outstanding passing range and an eye for goal, Azeez could prove to be the difference for Ken Gillard’s side on Friday night.

The 17-year-old typically operates as a central midfielder, dropping deep to receive the ball, before skipping past his marker and playing an incisive pass in the final third.

With quick feet, silky skills and the ability to glide past players with ease, Azeez is more than capable of running the show in the middle of the park.

It’s also worth noting that he’s made three appearances for our under-23s this season, with his most recent start arriving in our 4-3 win over Monaco in the Premier League International Cup.


FOLLOW THE ACTION 

You can receive live updates by following our Twitter account @ArsenalAcademy

Stay close to Arsenal.com for our match report and post-match reaction from Ken Gillard

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