It was another positive weekend for our young Gunners as we enjoyed an unbeaten Saturday across both our under-21 and under-18 sides.
Tottenham 0-0 Arsenal U21s
Mehmet Ali's under-21 side extended their unbeaten streak in the Premier League 2 to eight matches after a 0-0 draw with Tottenham in the north London derby.
We started the afternoon on the front foot, taking the game to the hosts from the first whistle with Matt Smith at the heart of much of our good play in the centre of the pitch.
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Amario Cozier-Duberry both came close to giving us a first-half lead, while Smith also sent a free-kick wide of the post just before the break.
We failed to take advantage of our first-half dominance and Tottenham came on strong after the interval, forcing Hubert Graczyk in a string of impressive stops to keep the scores line.
The hosts finished the match with nine men after Jamie Donley was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Charles Sagoe Jr deep into stoppage time, before the subsequent altercation between both sets of players resulted in a second yellow for Kallum Cesay.
After the match, Ali revealed the overriding emotion in the dressing room was one of frustration, but remained keen to highlight the positives in the performance.
"These boys are winners and they want to win every single game," he said.
"They're frustrated that we didn't win, but at the same time, we didn't lose, we stay unbeaten and they gave everything today.
"I just said to them that I'm proud of them because every single one of them, their application and focus for 90 minutes was very, very good.
"That's the foundation, that's the minimum we expect and now we need to keep building on that so we can dominate games for 90 minutes and not just 45 minutes."
Mauro Bandeira was a standout performer in midfield and revealed how the importance of playing in a north London derby is established from a young age at Hale End.
"From when you're at Hale End and you hear it's Tottenham, a little fire sparks up inside you," he said.
"You try and stay as calm as you can on the pitch, but it's always in the back of your mind that this is the one game of the season that you can't lose, especially with the first team and every other age group doing so well against them.
"We couldn't let the club down today and so there's always that extra responsibility against Tottenham."
Arsenal U18s 1-0 Aston Villa
Jack Wilshere's under-18 side picked up their first points in Group C in the Premier League Cup with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at London Colney.
Seb Ferdinand scored the game's only goal inside 15 minutes after some good link-up play from Luis Brown and Ismail Oulad M'Hand.
Osman Kamara and Ethan Nwaneri both had good opportunities to extend our advantage, with the latter even having the ball in the back of the net, but his strike was disallowed for offside.
Harrison Dudziak went close after a jinxing run into the box as Wilshere's side started the second half with the same intensity as the first.
Maldini Kacurri's goal-line clearance denied the visitors an equaliser against the run of play, before substitute Omari Benjamin marked his return from injury with a driving run into the box to earn us a penalty in the closing stages.
Ferdinand stepped up hoping to secure his brace, but fired against the post as we held out to secure all three points at London Colney.
After the match, Wilshere praised the application of Ferdinand in training and revealed how he and his coaching staff have challenged the 16-year-old to deliver more end product.
"Seb is just getting better and better," he said.
"He works hard in training, he's always out there, he's always willing to learn and when you have a player like that with that hunger and desire to get better, he's a joy to work with.
"We've challenged him to start scoring more, start assisting more and he's getting in better positions.
"I said to him after the game that I want him to realise how good he is, because sometimes I think that can make the difference."
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