Spurs under 18’s 9-0 Arsenal: (match report)
Our under 18’s final league game of the season was also their most memorable one, as Scott Parker’s side recorded an astonishing 9-0 victory over arch rivals Arsenal at Hotspur Way, on Tuesday morning. It was a remarkable and hugely satisfying performance from Parker’s side, who dominated the game from the minute go. Kwame Ampadu’s Arsenal side were by no means at their strongest, with the 1st leg of the FA youth cup final against Chelsea coming up on Saturday, unsurprisingly he opted to field a team consisting mainly on fringe first year scholars, alongside a couple of under 16’s and one under 15. But take nothing away from Spurs who just like they managed to do last week against Chelsea, were able to play the opposition off the park. With the panache of a peak Pep Guardiola Barcelona side, Spurs tore the young gunners apart over the course of 90 minutes, outdoing them in every department. Whilst Arsenal opted to field a weakened side which included former Spurs schoolboy Bayli Spencer-Adams, Spurs decided to field their strongest possible 11. With the experienced trio of Skipp, Dinzeyi and Eyoma all starting. There was a good turnout as always with these games, some noticeable attendees included scouts from the FAI, Clive Allen, Pochettino, David Howells, Pat Jennings and David Pleat. It was a game in which Spurs’ top scorer Reo Griffiths won’t forget in a hurry, the centre forward netted four of Spurs’ goals as well as laying off three for his teammates. The other five goals came from a Markanday brace, a brace for the electric Richards and an own goal scored by Arsenal’s Mazeed Ogungo.
Parker’s side got game the underway and it wasn’t long before they made their first meaningful attack of the game. Less than 40 seconds into proceedings, Spurs managed to counter attack Arsenal through Markanday who charged forwards through the middle. His promising through ball towards Griffiths was well snuffed out by Arsenal defender Spencer-Adams. After enjoying the brunt of possession in the opening stages Spurs came close to opening the scoring through the lively Griffiths who almost outwitted the gunners goalkeeper. An excellent pass from Markanday set the Tottenham striker through on goal with only Barden to beat, his clever scooped effort almost came off but for the chest of the Arsenal goalkeeper who managed to thwart his effort. Spurs had shown some really good, fluent passing in the opening stages of the game. The lively Rodel Richards had an effort deflected out for a corner soon afterwards, as Spurs piled the pressure on Ampadu’s side. The excellent movement of left winger Richards was providing Spurs with an outlet, shortly after winning a corner the forward almost found the back of the net with a well improvised header. Tainio’s looping cross had managed to pick out the Spurs forward at the back post, but despite a decent attempt Richards couldn’t keep the ball down, and it went narrowly over the Arsenal goal. Spurs’ impressive start continued, the wide men were causing multiple problems for an out of their depth Arsenal defence. The potent Markanday forced a good save out of Barden with a low drive from range, as tensions rose in the Arsenal camp with gunners defenders shouting angrily at one another as Spurs continued to carve them open. Despite their dominance, Parker’s side needed to make their possession count.
Unable to threaten De Bie’s goal Arsenal were caged in their own half as Spurs continued to run rings around them. It was such a shame for Spurs that they had a spectacular Reo Griffiths volley ruled out for offside around the 20 minute mark. It was such a superb move and finish, Markanday had pinged the ball out to Hinds on the left wing. His excellent first time delivery was met beautifully by Griffiths inside the six yard box as he volleyed emphatically into the left hand corner. In what was a rare bit of defending for the Spurs backline, TJ Eyoma managed to make up for Dinzeyi’s misplaced pass into the feet of Okoflex, as Eyoma won the ball back just as the forward was sprinting towards goal. Then came a superb and much deserved opener for Spurs on 28 minutes after another sumptuous attacking move from the lilywhites. Griffiths laid the ball off to Richards on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. The confident wide man calmly curled a beauty of an effort inside the top right hand corner of Barden’s goal with a first time strike, to put Spurs 1-0 ahead, Griffiths was impressed with his team mate as he remarked ”excellent finish”. Spurs were all over the gunners and just a matter of minutes later we doubled our lead courtesy of an instinctive strike from Richards. Spurs had extended their lead from a corner kick, Dinzeyi rose the highest to power an effort towards the Arsenal goal. His header was blocked by an Arsenal man but the lively Richards was on hand to poach home the loose ball as he smashed it past Barden to make it 2-0 to Spurs.
Things got even better for the dominant Spurs side after we made it 3-0 only a couple of minutes after getting our second. The Arsenal players were moaning and groaning as Spurs continued to run all over them. The third came courtesy of another fine Spurs strike, this time from Dilan Markanday. After Griffiths had been brought down by an Arsenal player on the edge of the box as he burst forward, the referee allowed Spurs to play on and it was a good job he did as Griffiths managed to shift the ball out to Markanday on the periphery of the six yard box. The skilful forward took his chance early and managed to finish it off incredibly well, as he finessed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the Arsenal goal, 3-0. And Parker’s side almost made it 4-0 soon afterwards, Bowden’s pass managed to pick out Griffiths inside the danger zone. Tottenham’s talisman peeled off his marker before trying to send a delicate chip over the Arsenal keeper, but Barden managed to read what Griffiths was trying to do and was able to get a vital hand on the ball to keep it out. It had been like a training session for Spurs, their intricate passing and constant rotation amongst players and regrouping, had played Arsenal played off the park in the opening 35 minutes. The intelligent Shashoua saw his low cross snuffed out by McGuinness just as it was about to fall to Griffiths in front of the centre of the goal. Despite our dominance we still had to have our wits about ourselves. Matthew Smith’s low curling free kick on the stroke of half time could easily have caught De Bie out with the wall blocking his view. But the Belgian managed to get down at the vital moment to superbly push the ball away just as it was about to creep into the bottom left. That was to be the last piece of action from what had been an exceptional first half from Spurs’ perspective.
Spurs got the second half back underway and within a matter of minutes it was back to business as usual for the lilywhites. Arsenal hadn’t learnt their lesson and less than four minutes after the restart we bagged our fourth of the game, one Arsenal parent/agent was going ballistic beside me as the gunners defence had succumbed to Spurs once more. It was another excellent goal from Spurs’ point of view, Bowden had curled a beautiful pass to the unmarked Griffiths inside the box, he all too easily peeled off the shoulder of his man before taking the ball down and calmly clipping it past Barden and into the bottom left hand corner of the goal, 4-0! Arsenal responded with another long range attempt from Smith who sliced the ball narrowly wide of the angle, after Dinzeyi had given the ball away to the Arsenal man. Soon afterwards De Bie was forced into making a terrific save with his feet to stop Okoflex’s one on one effort even though the linesman had already flagged for offside. The Arsenal defence were in bother every time Spurs ran at them, another fine example of this came a couple of minutes after Okoflex’s effort had been saved by De Bie, as Spurs made it 5-0. In what had been yet another fluent move from Spurs, the eager Shashoua had managed to pick the ball up on the left hand side and decided to charge forwards. He eventually squared it for Griffiths who quickly slipped the ball through to Markanday inside the box. The Spurs forward kept his composure to slot the ball home, the possession for Spurs in this game must have been well in the 70’s. The much more attacking Jamie Bowden lashed over from range shortly afterwards as Spurs looked to extend their lead.
I spotted a comical conversation between the referee and Arsenal’s Zak Swanson a couple of moments later. The ref was explaining to Swanson that football was a contact sport, after the Arsenal winger had continued to moan about the slightest bit of contact. It was quite noticeable from whatever attacks Arsenal made that there were never any red shirts in the box to convert a chance. Though in saying that, Ampadu’s side would go onto would enjoy a bright and creative spell in the game. Dinzeyi was forced into making a crucial challenge a couple of moments before the Arsenal players made an absurd claim that Skipp had handled inside the area whilst heading away a corner. Swanson then saw his ambitious cross land on to the roof of De Bie’s net, before the same player managed to find substitute Stan Flaherty at the back post, but Flaherty’s effort was deflected wide. Harrison Clarke headed a looping effort at goal from the resulting corner kick, which was easily dealt with by De Bie. Before Spurs went straight at Arsenal at the other end with a sublime counter attack. Markanday passed the ball to Griffiths who then managed to work it out to Bowden on the right. The 16 year old sent in a peach of a cross towards the unmarked Shashoua at the back post, the smallest man on the pitch sent a looping, dipping header over Barden and onto the frame of the cross bar. The rebound came out to Bowden inside the box but the midfielder was brought down from behind by an Arsenal player, giving the referee no other option but to point to the spot. Griffiths stood up confidently to smash a low effort to the left of Barden to make it 6-0 to the lilywhites, the same scoreline which saw Arsenal defeat us in the reverse league fixture back in November.
Swanson forced a good save out of De Bie at his near post straight from the restart, before Spurs caught Arsenal on the break once again and with devastating consequences. Oliver Skipp went on a rare attacking foray after picking up the ball in the centre of the park, he drove forwards before trying to play Griffiths through with a creative through ball. However, he failed to pick out Griffiths and Ogungo intercepted before running back into his own box. But Griffiths applied pressure on the Arsenal defender and he lost his cool just as he was about to pass back to the goalkeeper, Ogungo put far too much power on the back pass and it ended up totally deceiving Barden as it rolled past him and into the back of the net to make it 7-0 to Spurs. Arsenal had barely caught their breath back when Spurs went at them again and with similar consequences. Bowden turned creator once again, this time picking out Griffiths at the back post with a sublime lofted pass. Griffiths attacked the ball well and did excellently to just flick the ball over Barden and into the back of the net on the volley, it was all too easy for Parker’s side. Shortly after netting his hat-trick Griffiths urged his teammates to keep their tempo ahead of the final stages of the game. The gunners would have almost certainly pulled a goal back through Swanson’s effort but for a heroic diving block by Dinzeyi. From the resulting corner Armstrong Okoflex had an effort tipped over by De Bie. And in what was a late flurry of action for the gunners, Bowden had to be alert to clear Mceneff’s looping header at the back post. With the game well and truly out of sight Parker made a double substitution, bringing on Maghoma and Thorpe for the final 15 minutes of the game.
In search of his fourth goal, Griffiths went close to further extending our lead when substitute Rayan Clarke whipped a pacy ball into the danger zone which was only a matter of centre meters away from the boot of Griffiths to tap home. Arsenal had a goal ruled out for offside as Parker’s side fought desperately hard to maintain their clean sheet for the remaining minutes. Despite such dominance on the field Spurs weren’t going to rest on their laurels, they were hungry for more goals. Markanday did ever so well when he brought Maghoma’s pass down at the back post showing great technique, before volleying across the face of Barden’s goal. The newly introduced Maghoma fired an effort wide a couple of moments later, roaring in frustration as it flew wide of the mark. And the tricky midfielder was involved in the thick of the action once again after being brought down in the box by an Arsenal player, despite it being a clear penalty (in my eyes) the referee waived away Maghoma’s protest. By this point in the game, Arsenal were down to nine men due to injuries sustained by players. This allowed Parker’s side to knock the ball around the pitch with much more ease. However, it was never a case of winding down the clock for Parker’s side who made it an incredible 9-0 in the 88th minute. Rayan Clarke’s cross came to Hinds inside the six yard box, the defender took a sloppy first touch but luckily enough the ball rolled out to Griffiths who cooly slotted past Barden from five yards out, 9-0! Jonathan Dinzeyi made a crunching challenge to thwart a late Arsenal attack as Spurs held on to record a remarkable 9-0 victory over their north London neighbors, to ensure that they finish the season in fourth place. Every player in lilywhite was exceptional from start to finish, I just hope that they’ll savour every moment of what was one of our highest ever wins at this level in the history of the club! COYS
Player reviews: -Jonathan De Bie: Despite being a spectator for the majority of the game, De Bie was impressive whenever he was called into action. He was cool under pressure and was alert to danger, making a couple of decent stops. Including an excellent save to prevent Matthew Smith’s free kick from going in on the stroke of halftime.
– Maximus Tainio: Very assured performance from the young Finn albeit against a not very threatening Zak Swanson. Tainio maintained good positioning throughout.
– Tariq Hinds: Like Tainio, Hinds didn’t have a lot to deal with down the flank. What he did do he did well and decisively, played an instrumental part in creating our ninth goal of the game. Caps of an excellent season, one which has seen him play as an LB (like he did yesterday,) RB, CB and CDM.
– Oliver Skipp: Skipp and Bowden bossed the midfield with ease against a weak looking Arsenal midfield. He mopped up superbly well and more often than not was only ever in third gear, such was the ease of his task. His excellent surging run through the middle singlehandedly created our seventh goal of the game. His maturity knows no bounds!
– TJ Eyoma: It was a terrific performance from TJ Eyoma against the gunners, he was flawless throughout. His timing and anticipation were perfect, he knew when to step in front of his man and to make the interception. He was excellent in the air and tenacious on the ball, but never rash in the challenge!
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: Dinzeyi is a player who I’ve really grown to like over the course of the season, after a tricky and injury disrupted first few months to the campaign Dinzeyi has put in some masterful performances for both the U18’s and U23’s. Dinzeyi was terrific once again for the visit of Arsenal to Hotspur Way although he wasn’t called into action an awful lot, Dinzeyi was excellent at what he had to do. Made some excellent crunching challenges, made himself dominant in the air (assisting Richards second) and played it out from the back well. He is an exciting centre half who isn’t afraid to take risks.
– Dilan Markanday: Markanday put in yet another superb display out on the right wing, mesmeric with the ball at his feet. Markanday provided Spurs with a creative spark from early on, with a tendency to cut in on to his left and run through the Arsenal defence, feeding in some superb Lamela-esque through balls to Griffiths. His excellent, tricky attacking forays caused so many problems for the Arsenal defence. His fine movement in and around the six yard box resulted in Markanday dispatching two lovely finishes.
– Jamie Bowden: Tidy and dominant during the first half, Bowden upped his game during the second and really utilised his excellent passing range. A lot more attacking during that half, Bowden whipped some sublime deliveries in to the danger zone, resulting in two classy assists. He also won Spurs’ penalty after being first to Shashoua’s header.
– Reo Griffiths: My motm, see below.
– Armando Shashoua: It was a very good performance from the lively attacking midfielder on Tuesday. He linked up excellently with Griffiths and the wide men, used the ball resourcefully and went on some lovely runs down the left hand side whipping in some decent crosses in the process. His chasing down of opposition players was top class as was his movement across the park. Shashoua was desperately unlucky not to score with a header late on.
– Rodel Richards: Exceptional stuff from the sharp and pacy left winger who terrorised Harrison Clarke down the left wing. Showed tremendous close ball control and proved to be a real nuisance, running at the Arsenal defence and wrong footing their defenders. His ‘fox in the box’ style resulted in him scoring a well deserved brace. The first being a terrific curler with the second being a real poachers finish inside the six yard box.
– Elliot Thorpe: Looked neat and tidy during his 15 minute cameo, made some nice passes.
– Paris Maghoma: Maghoma really got involved in the action during his late cameo, linking up well with the forwards and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
– Rayan Clarke: Fleeting cameo which saw him play a big part in Spurs’ ninth of the game with a well timed cross.
My man of the match: Reo Griffiths. It was just the four goals and three assists for Griffiths against Arsenal on Tuesday morning. Capping off a remarkable season for the u18’s which has seen him score 33 goals and assisted 12. His movement, hold up play and prowess in and around the danger zone made him impossible to defend against. He was too strong, quick and astute for the Arsenal defenders as he has been for the majority of teams who he has faced this season. All four of his goals were excellently despatched.
Spurs U18s: De Bie (c), Tainio, Hinds, Skipp (Thorpe 76), Eyoma (P Maghoma 76), Dinzeyi, Markanday, Bowden, Griffiths, A Shashoua, Richards (Clarke 68). Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Mukendi.
The end of season statistics for you all to enjoy.👇🏻
Under 18 Goals scored this season: Reo Griffiths-33
Phoenix Patterson -8
Dilan Markanday- 9
Jamie Bowden- 1
Assists: Phoenix Patterson-9
Matt Lock- 2
Maurizio Pochettino -1