(This photograph is from Tottenham Hotspur FC)
After recording a hugely impressive 4-1 win over London rivals West Ham United on the opening day of the Under 18 Premier League South season, Matt Taylor’s Spurs side must now prepare to take on North London rivals Arsenal, at Hotspur Way on Saturday morning (kick off is at 11am). Once again spectators and people reporting on games are not being allowed entry to this game due to the current situation, so I won’t be able to report on this North London Derby however, you can (I will be doing this) follow live updates from Google simply by typing in Tottenham under 18’s. As for the match itself, both teams recorded victories on the opening day of the league season with Spurs beating West Ham comprehensively away, while Ken Gillard’s Arsenal side beat Southampton 4-2 at home. Always a highly competitive fixture, meetings between the two sides in recent seasons have seen very varied results (the last meeting between the two sides finished 2-2), and that reflects the unpredictability and competitiveness of North London Derby’s. Ken Gillard’s Arsenal finished in eighth place in the Under 18 Premier League South last season after picking up 17 points from 16 league games, while Matt Taylor’s Spurs finished nine points above them in fourth place. An exciting and attacking and forward thinking side, Arsenal are a team that move the ball around quickly and with real purpose in the final third as they look to break down the oppositions defence. Despite playing Arsenal’s developments sides first two competitive games of this season, creative and highly skilful attacking midfielder Salah Oulad M’Hand (17) will definitely be a player to watch out for if he turns out for Arsenal’s under 18’s on Saturday. Another attack minded player who has the potential to cause Spurs’ defence problems on Saturday morning is creative England youth international and central midfielder Charlie Patino (16).
While centre forward Luke Plange (17) who scored a goal in Arsenal’s opening day win over Southampton, also scored three under 18 league goals in ten appearances for Arsenal last season, so he could well lead the line for Ken Gillard’s side on Saturday. From a defensive point of view Republic of Ireland under 19 international Mazeed Ogungbo (17) will make life difficult for the Spurs forwards with his commanding defending. This will be I imagine a very difficult, competitive and demanding game of football on Saturday morning in Enfield however, if Spurs lineup with the likes of Alfie Devine and Dane Scarlett (he scored two and assisted two last Saturday) which I imagine that they will, then I think that Spurs have a good chance of making it two wins from two in the league. Absent from last weekend’s win over West Ham was attacking midfielder Max Robson (17), he also missed our under 18’s last friendly of pre-season, so if Robson is missing for Saturday’s North London Derby then that will be a shame for Spurs, as he offers so much from an attacking point of view. Finally, I would just like to wish our under 18’s all the very best of luck for this weekend’s important league game against North London rivals Arsenal.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Lo-Tutala (c), Cesay, Lusala, Muir, Hackett, Devine, Matthew Craig, Whittaker, John, Mathurin, Scarlett.
Subs from: Solberg, Davies, Cassanova, Mundle, Santiago.
Doubtful: Michael Craig.
Previous meeting: 2-2.
My score prediction: Spurs 3-2.
My one to watch: Arsenal’s 17 year old central defender Mazeed Ogungbo (17) who can also fill in at fullback, a position which he played in against Southampton last Saturday. A commanding defender who also reads the game well, I was really impressed by Ogungbo when I saw him play for the Republic of Ireland’s under 19 side last year.