Report & Reaction: Youthful U18s fall to Arsenal defeat

West Ham United U18s 1-8 Arsenal U18s
U18 Premier League South Division, Little Heath training ground, Sat 13 April 11am BST

West Ham United U18s fell to a heavy defeat by Arsenal in a top-of-the-table U18 Premier League South Division clash on Saturday lunchtime.

A youthful Hammers side, missing a number of the U18 squad playing in our U21s' 2-0 win over Norwich City on Friday evening, ultimately came up short following an impressive performance from the visiting north Londoners.

Arsenal, sat third in the league, started well with striker Chidozie Obi completing his hat-trick inside 26 minutes before the 16-year-old added his - and the Gunners’ - fourth of a disappointing afternoon for Kevin Keen’s outfit on 40 minutes.

The young Irons made a similarly slow start to the second half as the Gunners' fifth and sixth goals arrived through Osman Kamara, before Obi added his fifth of the game from the penalty spot to make it 7-0 with an hour played.


West Ham did pull a goal back through an own-goal from Khari Ranson, although Arsenal added an eighth via Dan Casey late on.

A difficult afternoon for the Hammers clearly, but such a result says little about how the U18s, who remain second in the league table - five points ahead of the Gunners in third - have performed this season.

Knowing the levels they have reached this campaign, the task will be to bounce back quickly, with three more league fixtures to play this season to secure second place in the table.

Trips to Leicester City and Crystal Palace are next up before a season finale at home to Tottenham Hotspur concludes the 2023/24 campaign.

West Ham United U18s: Awesu, Medine, Adiele (Halim 46), Nwosu, Briggs, Brown, Dike (Caliste 46), Akpata, Ajala, Rigge, Sowunmi (Hargan 69)
Subs not used: Hooper (GK)

Goals: Ranson og 71

Booked: Adiele, Sowunmi, Akpata, Caliste

Coggin disappointed with showing against Arsenal

Assistant coach Lauris Coggin challenged his side to learn from costly mistakes in the defeat by Arsenal.

Airidas Golambeckis, Ezra Mayers, Dan Rigge, Josh Ajala, and Emeka Adiele all featured at Carrow Road on Friday evening as, a day later, a younger-than-usual U18s were well-beaten by their capital rivals.

Speaking after the defeat, Coggin explained: "We’ve had some good days this season and find ourselves in a strong league position because of that. Today was a bad one, especially given how positively we started the game.

"We're disappointed with the performance because we failed to perform in both boxes and we are extremely disappointed with how we defended relatively comfortable situations against Arsenal. 

"We have three games left this season and the group are eager to show our character in our next game at Leicester."

Up next

Our U18s return to action away to Leicester City on Saturday 20 April.

Kick-off at the Foxes' training ground is set for 12pm.