We will have to wait a few more days before the senior team returns to action against Wolves on Thursday. However, the Arsenal U23s were back in action this weekend and continuing a recent resurgence of the academy. Challenging in both the league and Cup competitions, there are several promising players who might make their way into Mikel Arteta’s squad in the next two years.
On Friday, Arsenal got their first league win since November 22nd (3-1 against Chelsea). Prior to that it was a trio of Premier League 2 draws and a pair of victories in the Premier League Cup. In the Cup, the Gunners are currently 2nd in their group with just one match remaining. A win over West Brom U23s, a draw in the Bournemouth v. Southampton match, or a Southampton win will see Arsenal through to the knockout rounds.
Following the 3-1 result over Chelsea, Arsenal maintained its position towards the top of the table. After 18 matches the U23s have 32 points, which places them in third place just four off the lead. While Arsenal have the best Goals For tally (44), their defense has struggled compared to the other top teams having let in 34 goals (10 more than 2nd place West Ham).
- Folarin Balogun - 15
- Mike Biereth - 8
- Omari Hutchinson - 7
- Salah Oulad M’Han - 6
- Mike Biereth - 5
- Omari Hutchinson - 4
- Joel Lopez - 3
- Salah Oulad M’Han - 3
Future First Team Players?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen players break through to the first team (Bukayo Saka & Emile Smith Rowe) and others look on their way to that level only to eventually halt their progress. But there are numerous U23 players that are showing signs that they could be pushing into the edges of the first team in the coming seasons — Charlie Patino, Miguel Azeez, & Omari Hutchinson. Then there are plenty that are on the right path but need a quality level loan to test their readiness, such as Kido Taylor-Hart, Salah Oulad M’Han, Marcelo Flores, Karl Hein (currently at Reading), Mika Biereth, etc.
2/3 - Miguel Azeez plays it into Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand, who roulettes past a defender before finishing at the near post. pic.twitter.com/BNVWZKYUaV— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) February 4, 2022
Upcoming Schedule / How to Watch
Arsenal’s next match will be their last Premier League Cup group stage match as they travel to group leaders West Brom on February 14th. The side then have a pair of PL2 matches later in the month, Leicester City (A) on 2/21 and Liverpool (H) on 2/25.
You can watch select Arsenal U23 matches on the Arsenal website or streamed like on Twitch.
Which players do you think could make the first-team roster over the next two years? Which position would you like to see an academy player breakthrough at?