It's that time again. Time to gaze upon the beauty of mediocre quality moving images containing the high points of Arsenal youth team action over the past weeks.
Aston Villa - Sept. 11th
As this was the first televised Arsenal youth match this season, you guys are in for a treat....non-highlight GIFs! (Also, you can check out my full, detailed match review here.)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was outnumbered on this break, but did well to make some space for himself and his effort wasn't far off.
The feel good GIF of this collection. Diaby looking confident in his dribbling. The pass was awry, but I couldn't help but smile watching those feet dribble intricately again.
This was flagged for offside (Villa player obstructing the GK's view from an offside position) but still a fine save from the goalkeeper formerly known as Damian.
Friends don't let friends Neuer. Luckily for this guy, Akpom was far too wide to take advantage of his poor keeping.
Akpom's goal showed more work rate than anything else. Fine finish after continually cutting inside, but it was a tad annoying to see Gedion Zelalem standing there wide open, ready to tap it in. All's well that ends well, I guess.
Some Arsenal opponents did this earlier this year. Whatever advance scout suggested that tactic ought to be given a stern talking-to.
Wonderful pass from Diaby. Akpom really should have scored.
Loved this little interplay out of the back. Sexy backheel, Gedion.
Our fourth-string centerback and fourth-string defensive midfielder, Isaac Hayden, plays a nice cross in which is so good both Akpom and Maitland-Niles could have scored. Neither did, though.
This is the good stuff you get when you have more film to work with.
Diaby with another brilliant pass spotting the run of Bellerin, whose touch unfortunately fails him.
I put this GIF in here because it is often indicative of the U21s performances. Akpom, Crowley, and Maitland-Niles are all frequently guilty of holding onto the ball too long and trying to do too much themselves. Sometimes it comes off, but more often than not it does not. That is an area where Zelalem is miles ahead of his youth counterparts. He moves the ball quickly and retains possession well in the final third.
Overhead shot of Zelalem's through ball. Brilliant.
Newcastle United - Sept. 22nd
Last time you saw George Dobson, he was buccaneering forward for the U18s. Well, he got his first U21 start here and his effort getting back in defense lacks the intensity he showed going forward. Maybe track back a little bit faster than a brisk jog next time.
One of my consistent tropes in these features has been how these youth teams at times seem a parody of the criticisms of the first team. Yay for continuing tropes!
Hey there, Gedion. You're not in these much. Nice to see you there, pal.
I have to say, this is the best multi-stepover free kick I've ever seen. Bravo, Toon Toddlers.
I swear I'm not making this up. Another goal conceded from a corner. I bet Newcastle practices these a lot.
Zelalem again! This time doing something we haven't seen him do too often in his time at Arsenal. Driving forward and putting in a strong shot.
Errant backheel. Akpom needs to be in the first team now.
British talent with hyphenated name scores because a striker misconnects on a chance. Hmmmm.....we all knew at the time this was a harbinger of things to come.
Norwich City - Sept. 13th
We've got some pretty good free kick takers in our youth ranks, which is pretty cool, I guess. This effort from new boy Ben Sheaf came quite close to being a goal.
Sheaf with another fine play, though he probably should have passed rather than going for it himself.
Chris Willock leaves his marker in the dust here with this turn and his cross (shot?) is hammered home by goal machine Stephy Mavididi.
This one didn't count for the foul on the goalkeeper, but it was oh so close to being a wonderful goal.
Dobson again in a GIF highlight first - a two-parter! Once again, the center back prospect goes galloping forward, and this time he wins a penalty! Good work, George!
Mavididi PK for his second.
Here's is a nice exchange between Harry Donovan and Mavididi, who shows he can do more than just poach goals.
Mavididi completes the hat trick with a fine finish from a tight angle.
Reading - Sept. 20th
These U18s GIFs are pretty boring. They're all just Stephy Mavididi scoring goals. Kinda boring after awh...actually no, it's nice to see some prolific striker-ing in an Arsenal kit.
Tolanji Bola with a comical and shocking error here. Peak early-Emirates era Arsenal stuff being reenacted here.
Deflected goal puts the Gunners in a hole.
Tyrell Robinson oh so nearly converts what would have been a magnificent counterattacking goal.
Real training ground stuff from the Arsenal U18s here. Also, these matches are played at the training ground.
Willock with another nice turn here, he seems to enjoy that move, and fires just over.
Clumsy tackle earns Arsenal a PK, but I think we all know the senior squad wouldn't have gotten that call.
Mavididi continues to be automatic from the spot.
Willock with another outstanding long range effort that just misses, and the Gunners have to settle for a draw.