Much was made of the fact that Arsenal U18s ended last season in disastrous fashion, finishing bottom of the lowest tier of the Premier League’s academy system.
This season matters have improved considerably however, helped by the fact that the team is no longer primarily made up of first-year scholars, but also contains several players who already possess much experience of this level of football.
Some of the new recruits from abroad have also adapted very well. French youngster Yassin Fortune for example has hit the ground running and has been particularly impressive when deployed on the left flank, whilst Dutch striker Donyell Malen and midfielder Vlad Dragomir have already provided some promising glimpses of their undoubted potential.
Encouragingly, some of the home-grown talents have also fared rather well. Midfielder Marcus Agyei-Tabi has made a stellar start to the campaign, to the extent that he has already trained with the first-team on several occasions, whilst Reiss Nelson, despite still technically being a schoolboy, has been a regular at U18 level this season.
Striker Edward Nketiah and winger Tyrell Robinson have also been impressive, with the U18s, like the club’s U21 team this season, possessing much firepower in an attacking sense.
Defensively however, there are still some longstanding concerns, with Kristopher Da Graca struggling to convince and left-back Ilias Chatzitheodoridis also getting caught out on several occasions.
With Arsenal continuing to make several defensive errors they have often had to rely on goalkeeper Ryan Huddart, who has been playing at this level as an over-age player, to get them out of danger.
Overall though, matters seem rather more positive for Arsenal’s youngsters this season in comparison to the previous campaign, with the hope being that several members of this crop will be able to push on and feature at U21 level as the season progresses.