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News

U-15s win Premier League 6v6 tournament

Our under-15s won the Premier League 6v6 National Finals last weekend.

Dan Micciche’s side remained undefeated throughout the tournament, scoring an impressive 27 goals in just seven fixtures, winning six and drawing once.

We kicked off the group stage with a 4-1 win over Leicester City, before running out 6-0 winners over Birmingham and then beating Middlesbrough 4-2. 

Fulham held us to a 2-2 draw in our final game of the day, but we bounced back the following morning with a 5-0 win over Sunderland to ensure that we finished top of our group.

We then went on to defeat Middlesbrough 6-3 in the semi-finals, before securing the trophy with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Fulham. Charlie Patino finished the competition as top scorer with seven goals.

Arsenal U-15

“The tournament challenged the lads in many ways,” said Macciche. “They’re all such high-intensity games because we used rebound boards, meaning the ball basically never goes out, so it challenges them physically during the game and during their recovery. 

“Technically, no one can hide either because there are only six players on the pitch, so everyone’s got to be comfortable on the ball - and that includes the goalkeeper.

“Tactically it’s a challenge too because there are no offsides, so that means you’ve got to change how you defend. The feedback from other clubs was that we challenged them the most tactically, so although we had a lot of individual talent, they said that we were very flexible tactically.

“By the end of the group stage, every player had received equal game-time. We had a squad of 12 and we wanted to be inclusive, so we essentially had two teams and they were always in rotation. We never stuck with a winning team, it was very much a squad effort.” 

Dan Micciche and Arsenal U-15s

Post-Match Report

U-23s: Tottenham 0-4 Arsenal - How it happened

Willock

WHAT HAPPENED

Joe Willock scored twice on Friday night as we ran out convincing 4-0 winners over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League 2.

Eddie Nketiah also scored on his return from a Europa League call-up in Belarus, while Dinos Mavropanos provided a calming presence at the heart of our defence.

After being forced to abandon our 3-0 lead over West Ham United last week due to dog, Freddie Ljungberg would have hoped for another fast start from his side - and that’s exactly what he received.

Bukayo Saka broke free down the left early on and picked out Xavier Amaechi at the far post, who cut the ball back to Joe Willock for a simple finish from six yards out.

Shortly after Deyan Iliev put his body on the line to deny Jack Roles from close range, before George Marsh handled the ball inside the penalty area.

Xavier Amaechi’s improvised skill forced the Tottenham defender into the error - and Charlie Gilmour made no mistake in converting from 12 yards.

We continued to dominate possession and on the half-hour mark Willock bagged his second - and our third - of the night.

Nketiah teed the ball up to Willock following a well-worked corner routine, and our No 8 rifled the ball into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season in all competitions.

Tottenham would have hoped to regroup after the break, but within just two minutes, we increased our lead once more thanks to some fine attacking instincts from Nketiah.

The 19-year-old reacted first to an underhit back pass to round Brandon Austin and fire into an empty net.

The hosts then went on to apply some late pressure, but our defence stood strong to keep their first clean sheet in eight league fixtures.

WHAT IT MEANS

PL2 table

WHAT’S NEXT

Our next game is against Swansea City in the PL2 on Monday, March 4.

The game will take place at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).

News

Folarin Balogun signs first professional contract

Folarin Balogun has signed his first professional contract with the club.

The 17-year-old striker has scored 13 goals so far this season for our under-18s side.

Flo, as he is known amongst his team mates, is an academy graduate, having been at the club since he was 10 years old.

Everyone at the club would like to congratulate Flo on his new contract and we look forward to his continued development.

News

Under-9s win Premier League National Futsal finals

Arsenal Under-9s

Our under-9s were crowned champions at the Premier League Futsal finals last Sunday.

Paul Barry’s side were only beaten once throughout the tournament, winning six games and drawing twice, scoring an impressive 21 goals along the way.

We kicked off the group stage with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Manchester City, before drawing 2-2 with Stoke City and defeating Manchester United 4-3.

This was followed by a 4-0 win over Fulham, a 3-3 draw with Everton, a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough and a 1-0 loss to Chelsea, ensuring that we finished second in our group and reached the semi-finals.

We then went on to beat Manchester United 4-3 on penalties following a goalless draw, before comfortably defeating Fulham 4-2 in the final.

“The team showed fantastic decision-making and technical execution in a very fast and tight indoor format,” Barry said. “Their desire and attitude to work hard, listen and apply themselves with maximal effort was evident throughout all games. 

“The players were a credit to the club with exemplary behaviour, especially off the pitch where they stayed in a local hotel overnight and were complimented on their manners and politeness, as well as their respect towards hotel and Premier League staff.”

Interview

‘This will be a learning curve for our players’

Ken Gillard

Our under-18s’ FA Youth Cup journey came to a frustrating end on Saturday, as they were beaten 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion.

After Bukayo Saka’s equaliser in the 31st minute, we placed the Baggies’ defence under great pressure and looked set to book our place in the quarter-finals of the competition.  
But it wasn’t to be, as the visitors struck once more in the second half against the run of play. 

We spoke to Ken Gillard after the final whistle - and this is what he said. 

on his thoughts on the final whistle…
My main thought on the final whistle is disappointment. We’ve come up against a West From team who are very organised, got behind the ball, had a gameplay and look to play on the counter-attack. They done that twice and we haven’t been quite good enough to break them down. We created some good chances, but we were unable to find that extra goal as a result of some missed chances, poor decision making and some exceptional saves from their goalkeeper. That’s allowed them to go through into the next round, which is great for them, but very disappointing for our lads.

on whether his side created enough chances to win…
I think we certainly created enough to at least be level at the end of 90 minutes. On another day we could have scored more and won comfortably , but today it just hasn’t happened and that’s football. They’ve taken two of their three chances they had and I wish them the best of luck in the next round. They dug in and they competed really well against us, but from our point of view, I’m disappointed n the amount of chances we created and the execution of those chances as well. 

on where West Brom troubled his side…
I just thought that in the top half of the pitch they were always going to be a threat. They’ve got boys there that have played in the first team so they have some very good players in the top half of the pitch and it was always going to be the team that created the most chances and got the ball to the front players, because our front players are a threat, but unfortunately today we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net and they did twice.

on what his side can take away from the performance and the competition…
It’s a great competition. The initial thoughts of all the boys in there is extreme disappointment, but hopefully all of those lads will have long careers, so this will be a learning curve for them for FA Cup competitions that they’ll play in in the future. That’s what it’s about. It’s about developing these boys so that they can play for the under-23s regularly and ultimately into the first team. If they come into cup games again against teams that sit in, they’ve got to question how they can break them down, whether they can make better decisions in the top half and ultimately go on to win the game, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be today. We’ve still got a league campaign to carry on with, so we’ll pick the boys up on Monday and go again.

Post-Match Report

Youth Cup: Arsenal 1-2 West Brom - How it happened

Saka

WHAT HAPPENED 

Despite dominating possession and creating a host of chances, our under-18s were knocked out in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup on Saturday, slipping to a 2-1 defeat against West Bromwich Albion.

Bukayo Saka scored his 10th goal of the season in all competitions, while Tyreece John-Jules made his return from injury as a substitute, but we would ultimately be made to pay for a slow start at Meadow Park.

Ken Gillard would have hoped to have seen his side pick up from where they left off in their 5-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur last week, but the opening exchanges belonged to the visitors.

Rayhaan Tulloch provided an early warning after firing wide from a dangerous position before Jamie Soule opened the scoring in the 7th minute, racing through on goal to find the bottom left corner.

This sparked a reaction from our frontline, as Xavier Amaechi, Folarin Balogun and Saka started to combine in the final third.

The latter came closest to scoring when latching onto a delicate pass from Ben Cottrell, before Saka rattled the crossbar with a powerful effort from inside the area.

We continued to push forward in search of an equaliser - and on the half-hour mark we found just that following a well-worked free-kick routine.

Matt Smith’s delivery caused havoc inside the Baggies area and Saka was the first to react, firing home from close range.

Following the break, Saka came close to finding two golden opportunities, but the Baggies defence - sitting deep in their own half - were able to clear their lines on both occasions.

However, despite starting the second half in such a positive manner, the visitors were able to restore their lead against the run of play.

In a sweeping counter from back to front, the ball dropped to Finn Azas on the left wing, who fired past the onrushing Arthur Okonkwo from close range.

With less than five minutes remaining Balogun leapt high inside the box to meet Amaechi’s cross, but the 17-year-old headed narrowly wide of the far post, ensuring victory for the visitors.

WHAT’S NEXT 

Gillard’s side must now turn their attention to their Under-18 Premier League clash against Leicester City on Tuesday, February 19.

The game will take place at Leicester City Training Ground with kick-off at 12pm (UK time).