Our youngsters round off their domestic campaign with a trip to the Gunners’ London Colney training base, kick-off 11am.
We came out on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline when we visited Arsenal back in September but then stormed to a 4-0 home victory in the return match in February, although Under-18s Coach Kieran doesn’t expect either of those results to have a bearing on this weekend’s game – our last in the merit group stage of the league.
“Obviously it’s an exciting game to finish on,” he said. “The North London derby is always a very competitive game – we’ve played them twice this year, obviously they had the upper hand once and we had a really strong performance at home in the last game so both teams will be looking to play well and come out with the edge.
“To be honest those past results probably won’t have much relevance on the game itself, though. Our team could have five or six different players and I’d imagine there’s a possibility that Arsenal would do the same so the results don’t tend to carry over so much at this level and it’ll be a new game. We’ll have to approach it in the way that we did the last one and it’ll have to be a top performance if we’re to get a good result.”
It might be the end of the league campaign this weekend but our youngsters’ season is far from over, with the NextGen and Terborg tournaments still to come in the Netherlands next month. With that in mind, Kieran believes the players will be keen to make their mark against the Gunners in a bid to carry some momentum into what promises to be a testing series of matches.
“We’ve got a lot of football left this year,” he added. “We’ve got two top-class international tournaments in Holland which are very much at the forefront of our minds so firstly a good performance this weekend would give the boys a good boost going into those and also, with it being a younger side at this stage of the year, the players will want to stand themselves in good stead going into the next league season as well.”
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