Jeffrey has worked his way through the Hale End academy system and now plays for the u-16s. A goal-getter, he fits in well with Arsenal’s style of play and is also a keen musician. Watch out for him in the seasons to come as he is very dedicated as well as being very talented.
First Rhys Murphy fired a low shot into the arms of Norwich ‘keeper Declan Rudd, then Jonas Rasmussen’s dipping effort almost caught Rudd out, but he got enough on it to push it behind for a corner. Jack Wilshere has an impressive scoring recordfor the u-18s this season, but was restricted here as Norwich acted to close him down whenever he got the ball. Norwich weren’t having much luck going forward either, with the wind against him, Bally Smart skipped past Anton Blackwood but the end product wasn’t there.
As the first half petered out it became clear that a single goal could win the game.
In the second half, it was Norwich who started the brightest, forcing Arsenal to concede three consecutive corners. However, Wojciech Szczesny was equal to everything that Norwich had to throw at him.
Arsenal introduced Freeman and Conor Henderson on the hour, and Henderson could have won the game for Arsenal in the dying moments, but blazed his shot over the bar. Rhys Murphy returned up front and was clear through on several occasions, but the linesman called for offside every single time. It was a frustrating afternoon for Arsenal, who lost further ground in the race for the title. They face Charlton next week at home in a game they cannot afford to lose if they are going to be Champions this season.
To sum up a bad day for Arsenal, the u-16s lost 4-0 to Norwich, despite fielding players such as Benik Afobe, Rorie Deacon, Oliver Nicholas and George Brisnal. Norwich’s training ground is on a par with Arsenal’s in my opinion, the facilities are second to none and I enjoyed my trip there. Hopefully next time Arsenal will be able to pick up more than just a point.
Norwich: Rudd, Adeyemi (booked), Habergham, Lathorpe, McLean, Ashman,R.Kelly, Smith, D.Kelly, Daley, Smart. Subs: Yong (for Ashman, 85). Not used: Steer, Cooper, Stephens, Richardson.
Arsenal: Szczesny (6), Blackwood (6), Ayling (5), Thomas (7, captain), Evina (5), Rasmussen (4), Eastmond (6), Frimpong (5), Wilshere (6), Sunu (6), Murphy (7). Subs: Freeman, for Rasmussen 60, (6), Henderson, for Frimpong 60, (6). Not used: Byles, Nicholas, Shea
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rhys Murphy- Worked hard and would have scored a hat-trick if it wasn’t for bad decisions from the linesman
James started his career of as a midfielder, which is one of the reasons why he is so small for a goalkeeper. Despite his lack of height, he is good in one on one situations and is a great presence in the air. He has made a few appearances for the u-18s this season and should be their main ‘keeper next campaign. After coming through the ranks at the Hale End Academy James initially thought he was going to have to wait another season for his scholarship, but Liam Brady showed faith in him and he signed the scholarship in September. He has been performing well for the under-16s this season and will be looking to continue his development in 2008/09.
Now one of the most highly regarded young prospects in the country, Keanu started his football career at Arsenal, where he played alongside the likes of Sam Byles, Jack Wilshere, Roarie Deacon and Emmanuel Frimpong.
The young right back is now on Fulham’s books having been let go by the Gunners and is now an England u-16 international.
As well as having some fantastic players already at the Academy, there are plenty of schoolboys who will be playing in the u-18s in the next couple of seasons and they have plenty of potential.
Benik Afobe (above)
Picture copyright of Arsenal FC
Arsenal’s under-18s lost further ground in the title race after they were defeated 2-1 by Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Gunners took the lead through Nacer Barazite on 25 minutes, but conceded two goals after the sending off of centre-back Kyle Bartley.
On the positive side Jack Wilshere was back and Cedric Evina came on as a substitute and played up-front, showing his versatility. Several key players were rested for the Reserves game with Reading on Thursday.
subs: Cruise (for Frimpong 75), Evina (for Freeman 75)
Goal: Barazite (25)
Sent off: Kyle Bartley