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Academy News

Match preview: Norwich City U18s v Arsenal U18s

12 March 2021

Back in action after two weeks away and looking to put an old result right, Norwich City host Arsenal at the Lotus Training Centre on Saturday (12pm KO).

The young Canaries are ninth in the U18 Premier League table going into the fixture against the Gunners, just two points behind eighth-placed West Brom.

Meanwhile, Arsenal find themselves seventh in the table with 23 points, just four ahead of the Canaries before their clash.

A win over the north London side could see City take eighth-place over West Brom and put them a point behind this weekend's visitors.

Last time out, the U18s took on another London club as they hosted Chelsea at the Lotus Training Centre, the Blues taking a 2-1 win over City thanks to a Joe Haigh stunner and Jude Soonsup-Bell free-kick.

The visitors found the back of the net as early as the sixth minute after Haigh's far-out effort dipped past Sam Blair, with Soonsup-Bell's thunderbolt free-kick also nestling into the top corner before half time.

Despite Abu Kamara's neat finish in the second half, the Canaries would be held to just one goal in a dominant 45 minutes, finishing the game with the 2-1 loss.

Whereas the last time they faced Arsenal, the young Canaries took a heavy 5-1 loss, which is a result Under-18s goalkeeper Sam Blair says the team is looking to put right this weekend.

“Last time wasn’t the best game, we did take a bit of a beating away to them in some horrible conditions, so everyone will be looking to bounce back and put it right this time.

“We go into every game with a level-head as normal, but if you look at results and other things it might give you a little bit of motivation as a player to push that extra mile. I guess that’s what you need in tough games every week.”

But the time away from the pitch isn’t so bad according to Blair, the goalkeeper adding that it gives him and the team extra time to work on their physical development elsewhere ahead of this tough fixture.

“We didn’t have a game for a week or so, so we’ve had about a week and a half to prepare for this.

“We had the Under-17s games, so some people have been getting minutes and getting ready, but everyone is really physically prepared and had a lot of time to get ready for the game.

“Having no game at the weekend can be a good break, it gives me the opportunity to work on my physical side.

“At the moment, I’m doing a lot of gym work, so there’s days where I don’t have to necessarily be out on the grass as much. It gives me time to get in some extra gym sessions and get ready for this game on the weekend.”

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