Although the Gunners qualifying for this season’s Europa League will create opportunities for youngsters to stake their claim to Mikel Arteta, breaking into that group of players could prove to be hard for most of Steve Bould’s Under-23s this year.
Currently, Konstantinos Mavropanos [Stuttgart], Zech Medley [Gillingham], Trae Coyle [Gillingham], Zak Swanson [MVV Maastricht], Matt Smith [Swindon Town], Jordi Osei-Tutu [Cardiff City], Ben Sheaf [Coventry] and Tyreece John-Jules [Doncaster Rovers] are the players who have been sent away from north London on loan.
football.london round up how Arsenal’s loanees fared this weekend.
After two games on the bench at Gillingham, Zech Medley returned to the starting XI, helping his side to a 2-0 win over Blackpool, pushing The Gills up to seventh in League One.
With Gillingham scoring with the first five minutes of each half, they were forced to protect their lead for the majority of the game. As a result, most of the chances fell Blackpool’s way, with the visitors ending the game having taken 13 shots compared to the hosts’ six.
Playing as the left-sided centre-back in a back four, Medley rose to the challenge, winning two aerial duels, making five clearances and an interception to secure his first clean sheet in League One football.
“Both those young men [Medley and Jack Tucker – his centre-back partner] are top class young players who are learning more every day. They have very solid competition in Christian Maghoma for a starting spot and they will have more from tomorrow if the formalities for a new squad addition are completed.” Gillingham boss Steve Evans said after the game.
After impressing in his first few weeks at the club, Trae Coyle was an unused substitute in Gillingham’s 2-0 win over Blackpool.
He scored his first league goal for the club last week against Wigan Athletic which followed his winning penalty in the Carabao Cup second round meeting with Coventry City.
The 19-year-old did feature in their midweek Carabao Cup third round loss to Stoke City, however. Playing off the left wing again, he had a quieter game than Evans has come to expect from him.
The Gills’ next game comes on Saturday [October 3] when they travel to Shrewsbury Town, who are still looking for their first League One win of the season.
After suffering a 2-0 loss to Den Bosch, MVV Maastricht bounced back with a 3-0 win over FC Oss to lift them to eighth in the Eerste Divisie.
This was without the help of Zak Swanson, however, as the right-back wasn’t involved in the matchday squad. On September 22, the club’s official twitter account tweeted : “In a few minutes we will start FC Den Bosch-MVV Maastricht in De Vliert. Zak Swanson is missing from the selection of our Star Bearers. He’s injured”.
MVV Maastricht have not provided any clarity on the type of injury or how long Swanson will be out.
On his League One debut, it was the interception seconds before Matt Smith’s goal that stood out and that was the case again as he was crucial to Swindon Town’s 4-2 win over Burton Albion.
The 19-year-old was once again used as one of the two double-pivots [left-sided] and game-high four interceptions.
One was made after the ball bounced off a Burton block, which he took in his stride and played into Jack Payne who assisted the second Robins goal of the game. In the second half, his anticipation proved vital again as read the play extremely well to steal the ball on an opponent’s first touch before shrugging off a challenge on the edge of the box and sliding in Jonny Smith to claim an assist for himself.
Swindon are now up to sixth in League One and travel to Peterborough on Saturday to try and build on this momentum.
Continuing to play at right-back, Jordi Osei-Tutu had an improved individual performance but wasn’t able to help his side enough to avoid losing 2-1 to Reading.
Although the 21-year-old was a bigger presence going forward, this ending up having an adverse effect as he was caught to high up the pitch in the build-up for the Royals’ second goal, which proved to be the winner.
Cardiff travel to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday [October 3] where they look for their second win of the season to climb from their current 16th place position in the Championship.
After two substitute appearances in the league to start the 2020/21 season, Ben Sheaf made his first Championship start for Coventry City as they drew 0-0 with Barnsley.
Off the back of his development at Doncaster Rovers last season, the 22-year-old has continued to play in midfield, which he where he started against Barnsley. From there, he played his part in Coventry’s best move of the game, in which he lifted the ball down the left wing before receiving the return ball to see his shots from the edge of the box blocked.
Shielding the back four as a deeper midfielder, Sheaf handled this task fairly well, making two tackles, three interceptions and one clearance but did have a moment in which he wasn’t quick enough to the ball which led to a Barnsley chance.
He was brought off after 69 minutes and will be hoping he made a big enough impression to start when Coventry host Bournemouth on Friday [October 6].
Among Arsenal’s current young strikers, it’s Tyreece John-Jules general play aside from scoring goals that sets him apart. Last season, it wasn’t uncommon to see him drop off to play as a No.10. under Steve Bould whilst remaining a goal threat for the Under-23s.
Despite not scoring in Doncaster Rovers’ 4-1 win over Bristol Rovers’ the 19-year-old proved just how effective he can be when he doesn’t score yet again with involvement in two of the side’s goals.
Although he is playing as a lone striker, he isn’t scared to move in relation to the ball to create a platform for the attack. This was evident in the build-up for their third goal as he pulled out to the right to link play with Jon Taylor seconds before Taylor Richards found the bottom corner.
For Rovers’ fourth goal, when an attack built down the left, he made a run from in to out to receive the ball in the box, knowing his second touch would be to slide the ball across the six-yard box. There, he found Richards who was on hand to tap home and secure his assist for the day.
To hammer home John-Jules’ influence, despite not getting on the scoresheet, he was voted man of the match by Rovers fans. Their next game comes against Wigan on Saturday [October 3] where the youngster will look to continue impressing manager, Darren Moore.
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The 22-year-old had suffered a groin injury and despite returning to training, as per Stuttgart’s official website, ahead of the opening game of the season and is yet to feature in a matchday squad.
He has been pictured training since Stuttgart’s 4-1 win over Mainz on Saturday [September 26]. Their next game comes on October 3.