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FA Youth Cup Semi-Final vs West Brom (14th May 18:00)


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2 hours ago, OutByEaster? said:

We invite the Albion to Villa Park on Friday evening for the FA Youth Cup Semi Final in what should be a heck of a game. 

Unlike at senior level, the FA Youth Cup remains the biggest competition for young players in England and it comes with massive prestige. The game will be broadcast on BT Sport live on Friday but sadly won't be available through AVTV as BT have bought exclusivity.

This is the furthest we've been in the competition since 2010-11 when a team featuring Callum Robinson, Samir Carruthers and Daniel Johnson lost a two legged fixture against a Sheffield United side captained by Harry Maguire.

Friday should see some of the youth players that we've got used to being excited by this season playing at their natural level. Most of the players that will feature play regularly for our U23 side and it really shows when they go back to U18 football. 

For me, the three stars from our squad we'll see on Friday are:

Carney Chukwuemeka; tall, playmaking midfielder with the ability to glide through teams and an eye for goal, he's been compared to Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira in style and was the player Christian Purslow described as the best sixteen year old in the country at the start of the season. He's got the potential to dominate and he's still young enough to be eligible to play in this tournament next season!

Louie Barry; stolen from the Hawthorns by Barcelona, who still refuse to pay the fee they agreed for him, he was rescued by Villa last summer and bought home to the club he supports. He'll play as a wide striker on the left and he's sharper than a Chef's knife. Quick, busy and with eighteen goals to his name this season, Jurgen Klopp called him a 'little Vardy'. 

Kaine Kesler; a swashbuckling full back with incredible energy and great ability who you can expect to see spend most of his time in the Albion half. Confident, combative and quick, he'll Captain us on the night.

Hopefully we might also see Aaron Ramsey, younger brother of Jacob and a playyer who has been exceptional this season in creating and scoring goals as a number ten - he's been out injured for a little while and it looks like he might struggle to make this one, but if he's available he'll be a real asset to us.

That quartet are ably assisted by a really talented group that at the back will include growing goalkeeper Filip Marschll, Lamar Bogarde, a centre half with real quality on the ball, Seb Revan at left back who has captained the U18's and either young prospect Sil Swinkels or the powerful Paul Appiah next to Bogarde.

In midfield we'll see Arjan Raikhy, who for me is our most improved young player of the season, his ability to steal a ball off the opposition with his harrying and his range of passing are huge strengths for the team, if the other midfield position doesn't go to Ramsey, it'll be quite open with Hayden Linley having played in the quarter final.

Up top we'll include our other eighteen goal man, Brad Young, a battling centre forward with plenty of talent who gives us a focal point and has masses of energy.

Between them they've scored an incredible 22 goals in four Youth Cup games so far with our journey to the semi-final looking like this:

  • 3rd Rnd - Reading 3 - Aston Villa 4 (Chukwuemeka 22, Young 37, 68, Barry 90+3)
  • 4th Rnd - Aston Villa 3 - Brighton 0 (Kesler 72, Ramsey 76, 82)
  • 5th Rnd - Aston Villa 9 - Burton Albion 0 (Redfern OG 7, Ramsey 10, Barry 11, 44, 80, Chukwuemeka, 32, 45, Young 61, Revan 87)
  • Qtr Final - Newcastle 1 - Aston Villa 6 (Appiah 1, Young 8, Chukwuemeka 28, 61, 64, Reddin 75)


Albion are no mugs, and they'll be the toughest opposition we've faced in the tournament so far. They've beaten Tottenham and Everton along the way to the semi final and they'll be confident coming in to this one.

Over the last couple of seasons we've taken their academy director Mark Harrison and some of their top staff to Bodymoor Heath as we've looked to re-assert ourselves as the top academy in the region after a few years where Albion had stolen a march on us and there will be plenty of chat this week between two sets of staff that know each other very well.

Our last league meeting was something of a thriller with Brad Young scoring four in a 6-4 victory - a victory that was made all the more remarkable because we were down to ten men with centre back Swinkels in goal for most of the second half and we were 4-3 down with 25 minutes to go! 

There will be plenty on this game and it should give us a real indication as to whether we've regained that place as the Midlands best academy.

The other semi final will be contested between Ipswich Town and Liverpool and if we can allow ourselves to dream a little, we'd be the home team for the Final which would be played at Villa Park at the end of May, potentially in front of a few thousand fans.

So yeah, it's a massive one, a real test for this crop of youngsters which is as talented as any I've seen coming through in the last fifteen or twenty years, it should be a really good game with goals galore and the chance to see some brilliant individuals tested on a big stage, it's a chance to see players who could be the future of the football club and a chance to see us put one over the Albion and reach the final of the country's biggest youth competition - what's not to like?

Watch it.

BT Sport 18:00 Friday 14th May.


I’ve got to be honest I’ve enjoyed watching the under 18s probably more than the first team this season. They play which such honesty and skill. Long will it continue. The only shame about Friday is that Tony Daly and Rego will not be commentating

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I think for the most part the team picks itself, maybe a few question marks over who plays in central-defence, if Ramsey is out then presumably Lindley will play as DM with Raikhy pushing further forward. What is less obvious though is who plays on the right-wing, so far in this competition we've tried Raikhy, Tommi O'Reilly, Afoka, Kesler and Reddin, basically a different player in each round and a different player in each half against Newcastle.

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1 hour ago, useless said:

What is less obvious though is who plays on the right-wing, so far in this competition we've tried Raikhy, Tommi O'Reilly, Afoka, Kesler and Reddin, basically a different player in each round and a different player in each half against Newcastle.

I'd fearlessly avoided that one completely as I haven't got a scooby. 

I don't think having Kesler there really worked, Reddin was good against a Newcastle that were already beaten when he came on, I think we lose something putting Raikhy out there and I'm not convinced by O'Reilly at this stage. I'd also have to confess I don't remember Afoka's performance. Right wing is a mystery to me.

The other one I forgot is Chrisene - if he's back, there's a chance he starts at left back and Revan goes inside to partner Bogarde.


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If Ramsey was fit I’d be tempted to play him slightly out of position on the right wing. Partly to solve the right wing issue and partly because I thought the midfield looked better balanced against Newcastle with Chukwueka and Raikhy playing in front of Lindley compared to other matches I have seen. That was certainly the best I have seen Chukwuemeka play and I would switch things around to keep him in the same position. I think he and Ramsey might both be competing for the no.10 position.

Another alternative could be to replace Lindley with Chisene (if he is fit again) as Lindley wasn’t as dominant as the rest of the Villa midfield against Newcastle. Alternatively we could move Bogarde into that slot and have Appiah play alongside Swinkels in central defence. 
So while it is pretty clear who our best players are, there are a few options. 

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I think it will probably be one of Afoka or Reddin, although Afoka hasn't been involved recently not sure if that's because he's injured or he's being kept aside for this game.

Raikhy was also with Albion originally.

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Talking of our right wing I noticed Ajani Burchall a right winger that we were linked with a few weeks back, commenting on our players instagram after the win today.

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Ipswich take the lead in stoppage time of the first half. Hard to know what to make of it, Liverpool look the better team but for that haven't created many chances, and Ipswich look dangerous at times as well on the break, they've just been unfortunate at times to mistakes at vital moments which has led to threatening opportunites disappearing.


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Liverpool 2-1 up now.

Both sides are organised and move the ball well, but I don't think either team have special individuals on this showing.

Quansah at the back for Liverpool looks the best of them for me.


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