Arsenal play their first Checkatrade Trophy game tonight – Who could feature?

The Gunners U21 side are off to Coventry this evening for their first ever Checkatrade Trophy match, which could end up with a Final at Wembley if they go all the way. If you can make it to the Ricoh Arena this evening you can get in for just 11 GBP and you could see many of our future stars on show.

Our new Academy manager, Per Mertesacker, agreed to join this competition for the first time ever to give our youngsters much needed experience against Lower League clubs. Mertesacker said: “We’re pleased to be entering our Under-21s in the Checkatrade Trophy this forthcoming season.

“We feel it’s important to provide our young players with a variety of experiences in their development and we certainly felt that by entering the Checkatrade Trophy, the players will face different challenges from strong club sides.

“With many of the players in this age group destined to go on loan soon in their careers, the experiences from this competition can act as a very good link between academy and first team football.”

Arsenal can only name two players over the age of 21, and one of them is likely to be between the sticks as our usual U23 keepers are Emiliano Martinez (26) or Deyan Iliev (23).

If this was the Final we could field a really strong team with Maitland-Niles, Mavropanos, Nketiah, Willock, Smith-Rowe and Guendouzi all eligible, but for tonight we are only likely to see Nketiah, Willock and Smith-Rowe featuring this evening. And maybe even Gedion Zelalem as he continues to recover from his injury troubles. In defence we could have some Under 23 stalwarts like Jordi Osei-Tutu, Julio Pleguezuelo and Ben Sheaf, who have all been knocking on the door of the first team squad.

All in all, it could be an interesting game, and with Freddie running up and down the touchline it could be entertaining too!



  1. barryglik says:

    Maybe 200 youngsters
    have passed through our
    academies these last 10 years.
    How many are now established PL players?
    3-4 may be.
    So either the academies are a crap waste of time
    or we don’t give them enough opportunities
    and spend mega millions on foreign talent.
    Of the 5 players brought in this summer
    Leno is German, Socritis is Greek, Lichtsteiner is swiss
    Torreira is Uruguayan and Guendouzi is French.
    Yet there’s a big sign on the Emirates wall proclaiming
    “We don’t buy stars we make them”.
    There should be another sign which reads
    “We tell big fat lies”…

    1. D says:

      And how many players from other team academies have made it into the PL then? Do you even realise how good a player has to be in order to be in a team that’s even fighting for relegation in the PL? Let alone one that is fighting for a top 4 place? There’s at least 3 players in our current squad that came up through our academy, so for you to suggest that we have only had 3 over the last 10 years is extremely disingenuous. Leave it to Arsenal “fans” to devalue the merits of their own club…

      As far as Arsenal are concerned, we produce some of the highest numbers of players that actually make it (at least in the top 6), so you, as a supposed Arsenal fan, saying that Arsenals academy is a waste of time is a complete joke. Are you even an Arsenal fan? Serious question, because every single one of your comments is you attacking or insulting Arsenal.

      ” spend mega millions on foreign talent.” No mate, you’ve got it completely the wrong way round. Foreign talent is cheaper than English talent (and not to mention usually better), so that’s why there’s so many in the PL. You really don’t know what you’re talking about, do you (at least when it comes to football)?

    2. D says:

      Not to mention I bet you would be the first person to complain if Arsenal only brought in youth prospects, yet here you are complaining about buying ready-made talent. What a joke of a “supporter” you are. Who needs rivals when you have idiots like this attacking everything that our club does?

      1. Red and white says:

        True, which top 6 club would sign guendozi or koscielny from league 2 or torrera from sampdoria? There should be a fine balance between experience and youth and we are doing fine.Only mustafi, xhaka are a let down, Ozil was good but is going through a rough patch, we made Ramsey, Wilshire, Walcot, ox etc. Under 21 squad looks good wish them the best and hope to se them in Wembley

  2. Declan says:

    Anyway, back to the game tonight, I think it’s a good opportunity for our young stars to shine, particularly Smith-Rowe and Osei-Tutu who I have been very impressed with so far. Good to see Zelalem back after his long injury lay off.

  3. Nakul says:

    Can mertesacker just stop with all this moaning. I mean the guy earned more in a week then most earned in a year. Such weak mentality… and Wenger persisted with such players? We all have issues bro but cmmon it’s not like ur fighting for food and clean water in the poorest parts of the world.

    1. Declan says:

      Where exactly is he moaning @Nakul? If you’re sliding to the article days ago about his mental state last season then you way out of order for a start and late to the party!

      1. ken1945 says:

        Declan, here we have another “alpha male” supporter, who doesn’t realise it takes more than a male body to make you a man.
        We should only admire these guys who have the gumption to talk about their problems and thereby making it easier for others to talk about their own problems.
        Once again Wenger is mentioned as part of the issue, geez is that really in the least bit relevant? Of course not, just another excuse for a bit more Wenger bashing.
        Just remember the last cup final Per played in, his performance, his commitment and his leadership.

        Why we have so called fans like Nakul at our club is a complete mystery to me.
        So the solution is for Per to go live in a poor nation, fight for his food and water, give up the lifestyle his personal talents have given him is that what you are saying?
        Methinks there is a little bit of the green eyed monster coming through here Nakul, so go out and use your own talents to earn the same lifestyle, don’t begrudge others if you can’t.

        1. Declan says:

          Very well said ken

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