Much like the senior side, the 2020-21 season was not kind to Arsenal’s U23s. The club finished thirty points behind league winners Manchester City and just ten points clear of the drop. Despite changes in the coaching staff and squad, this season opened with an ominous warning that Arsenal might be in store for another difficult year.
However, with the addition of new goal-scoring threats and a revamped defense (after match-day one), the young Gunners are off to a bright start under the leadership of Per Mertesacker.
Results to date
Arsenal opened the season with a massive blowout by West Ham U23s, losing 6-1, but quickly bounced back with a 4-2 defeat of Crystal Palace just four days later. Kido Taylor-Hart was the star of the U23s North London Derby as his brace saw Arsenal past Spurs. The young Gunners were in full flow at that point beating Manchester United and Chelsea by a combined score of 9 to 2.
Up next, was first versus second as Arsenal traveled to Manchester City and came away with a 2-2 draw. And in their most recent match, Folarin Balogun’s brace saw Arsenal comfortably past Brighton’s side.
In the Premier League Cup, Arsenal drew 1-1 with Southampton, who they currently are tied with on one point, with West Brom in first place and Bournemouth at the bottom. The top two from group play will advance to the knockout rounds which will be comprised of 16 clubs.
A wonderful team move— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) October 3, 2021
Finished off by Salah! #AFCU23 pic.twitter.com/xz35OJn786
Premier League 2 Table
Through seven matches the Gunners currently sit second just one point behind league leaders Manchester City. Arsenal have scored the most goals (21), but have allowed 13 goals (sixth-best).
Goals: Folarin Balogun (6), Mark Biereth (5), Salah Oulad M’Hand, Omari Hutchinson, & Kido Taylor Hart (all tied on 2).
Assists: Ryan Alebiousu (3), Omari Hutchinson (2), and seven players tied at one.
Balogun is averaging 2.05 goals+assists per 90 minutes so far for the U23s as he continues to show his potential while waiting for more consistent opportunities for the first team.
Karl Jacob Hein, who recently signed a new contract with the club, has been in the net three times so far this season for Arsenal - the Tottenham, Chelsea & Brighton matches - which had an aggregate scoreline of 11 to 2 in favor of the Gunners.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Patino has been consistently impressive in his first full season with the U23s. With Xhaka’s injury and both Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny expected to be gone for the African Cup of Nations, Patino may be in contention for a spot in the squad over the next few months.
B A L L E R— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) September 26, 2021
What a hit from Salah Oulad M'Hand against Man City yesterday for #AFCU23 pic.twitter.com/K8njBUjPme
Arsenal will be expecting at least seven points from their remaining league schedule this month and need a win in the Cup to stay in control of their fate for the next round.
- 10/6 - Bournemouth U23s (PL Cup) - Arsenal are currently in second place with Bournemouth in last.
- 10/16 - Liverpool (PL2) - currently 11th in the league.
- 10/22 - Everton (PL2) - second from the bottom.
- 10/29 - Leeds United (PL2) - In fifth place, five points behind Arsenal.
You can catch most of the U23s matches on the Arsenal website via the Arsenal Player.