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Arsenal young guns beat Middlesbrough 3-2 in FA Youth Cup 5th round at Bishop Auckland

PUBLISHED: 20:53 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 20:53 02 February 2018

Arsenal took on Middlesbrough in the FA Youth Cup 5th round at Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland. Credit @laythy29

Arsenal took on Middlesbrough in the FA Youth Cup 5th round at Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland. Credit @laythy29

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The Arsenal under 18 side took on Middlesbrough under 18s in the FA Youth Cup fifth round at a chilly Heritage Park, Bishop Auckland FC. Read Layth Yousif’s player ratings from County Durham on Friday evening as the young guns beat Boro 3-2 in front of 471 fans.

Joao Virginia – 7: Looked confident in dealing with aerial balls into the box early on but will be unhappy with the two goals he conceded just before half time. Commanded his box early on and wasn’t afraid to punch when required, but faded in terms of dominance. Showed great athleticism in saving a along-range strike from Middlesbrough’s Kian Spence and offered good handling througout. Needs to work on his distribution if he wants to be an effective sweeper keeper however.

Vontae Daley-Campbell – 7: Always willing to supplement attacks while being aware of his defensive duties. Solid.

Dominic Thompson – 6.5: Perhaps needs to work on his distribution but gave his all in a committed performance. Will have benefitted from the experience.

Matthew Smith – 6.5: Unsung as the defensive midfield shield doing the dirty work in the middle of the park but performed his duties well. Good engine and not afraid to get stuck in despite his stature.

Danny Ballard – 7: Handed a difficult challenge in attempting to subdue Boro’s lively forward line but the Arsenal under 18 captain held his line well showing good positioning. Possesses a sharp turn of pace which will stand him in good stead, not to mention a great first touch which will only aid his hopes of becoming a genuine ball-playing centre half. Could perhaps have organised the defensive backline when under attack before half time as Boro deserved pulled back two goals. Led by example in grabbing the third goal 180 seconds after the break.

Zech Medley – 6.5: Showed good anticipation to head a vicious shot off the line midway through the first half. Solid but needs to work on his positional awareness and will be another who will be disappointed with the home side drawing level before the break.

Xavier Amaechi – 7: The recently-turned 17-year-old is a huge prospect. The left-footed attacker looked lively all night and is considered to be the pick of the current crop. Starred in a 6-0 victory over Spurs in November and was influential against Boro. Looked dangerous going forward but perhaps needs to learn more about the defensive side of the game. Will be better for the experience.

Robbie Burton – 6.5: Industrious and gave his all both offensively and defensively but was not as influential as he would have liked.

Tyreece John-Jules – 7: Wonderful piece of skill to showcase his excellent touch and technique which had the crowd here at Heritage Park purring. Showed a predatory instinct on 20 minutes to slot home from close range to double the junior gunners lead. Always looked to play off the shoulder of the last man.

Trae Coyle – 6.5: Quick feet but another who wasn’t as influential as his talent indicated he should have been. Subbed for Bukayo Saka on 79 minutes.

Emile Smith-Rowe – 7: The under 17 World Cup winner is highly-rated and his clinical finish on ten minutes showed just why he is considered a future first team prospect. Has good pace and top notch movement.

Substitutes:

Josh Benson – N/A: Not enough game time to make an impact

Bukayo Saka – N/A: Came on with minutes remaining

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