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The Under-23s Thread

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted ⭐
Have we ever had a kid score at this kind of rate for the u18s?

Trying to judge how rare it is.
No, especially not in the last few months. It took him a minute to get used to the level and as soon as he did, it's been curtains ever since. What he's doing is extremely rare. I'm old enough to remember Lupoli and Bendtner destroying the reserves when they were young - even they weren't doing this :lol:.

The U21s are in some PL2 playoffs starting on Friday against Man United's U21s who are having as bad a season as their first team (despite the fact that IMO they have some really good youngsters themselves). There's a conversation to be had about whether it's time to start playing Martin Obi in the U21 team starting from now. It's pretty difficult to argue against it given he's scoring 4+ goals every outing for the U18s - and given Chelsea are already going to win the PL South this year, the U18s have virtually nothing to play for except pride and maintaining the best goal difference. I'd much rather see how he fares than see another barren performance from Butler-Oyedeji. He always does really good work at this level but he's plateaued quite heavily. It's time to start acclimatising Martin Obi
 

db10_therza

🎵 Edu getting rickrolled 🎵
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Country: Bangladesh

Player:White
No, especially not in the last few months. It took him a minute to get used to the level and as soon as he did, it's been curtains ever since. What he's doing is extremely rare. I'm old enough to remember Lupoli and Bendtner destroying the reserves when they were young - even they weren't doing this :lol:.

The U21s are in some PL2 playoffs starting on Friday against Man United's U21s who are having as bad a season as their first team (despite the fact that IMO they have some really good youngsters themselves). There's a conversation to be had about whether it's time to start playing Martin Obi in the U21 team starting from now. It's pretty difficult to argue against it given he's scoring 4+ goals every outing for the U18s - and given Chelsea are already going to win the PL South this year, the U18s have virtually nothing to play for except pride and maintaining the best goal difference. I'd much rather see how he fares than see another barren performance from Butler-Oyedeji. He always does really good work at this level but he's plateaued quite heavily. It's time to start acclimatising Martin Obi

I can’t believe he’s 16 man. Only started watching him recently with all the hype but it’s a bit mind boggling.

It’s not like he’s even using his size anyway he doesn’t try bully defenders or anything it’s all touch, technique, timing of the runs, placed finishes.

Touch 🪵 man if he stays injury free and grows into his frame… 🔥
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted ⭐
I can’t believe he’s 16 man. Only started watching him recently with all the hype but it’s a bit mind boggling.

It’s not like he’s even using his size anyway he doesn’t try bully defenders or anything it’s all touch, technique, timing of the runs, placed finishes.

Touch 🪵 man if he stays injury free and grows into his frame… 🔥
Yeah, same hope. I do think while I understand the apprehension because of his physique, watching him long enough you'll see that even though he's tall, he isn't quite that strong yet for his frame. He's more quick than strong to be honest. He hasn't even begun to use his physical gifts yet other than pace.

He's quite remarkable and I want to see him progress further. I hope he doesn't miss out on the U21 playoffs to be honest, I'm actually kinda bored of seeing him mow over the U18s already. Nothing for him to gain currently except more goals he doesn't even need at this point :lol:. I'm more intrigued to see guys like Zecevic-John acclimatise further and maybe even the likes of Brando Bailey-Joseph get time. Think it's more time to integrate Max Dowman as the main man and try out a new striker there. Obi needs to be riffing off of Nwaneri, Lewis-Skelly, Kamara and Kabia now.
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted ⭐

Still no Chido Martin Obi so he's probably gonna score a double hattrick tomorrow in the U18 NLD.

Monlouis and Ejeheri are back for this. Butler-Oyedeji continues upfront.
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted ⭐

Cozier-Duberry or Saka? 🤔


Rest of the highlights are here. Some really good team goals in here, Nwaneri's involvement in a couple of them were really nice too. Good to see Butler-Oyedeji get some goals aswell, been pretty barren since his return from loan and he looked dangerous.
 

db10_therza

🎵 Edu getting rickrolled 🎵
Trusted ⭐

Country: Bangladesh

Player:White

Cozier-Duberry or Saka? 🤔


Rest of the highlights are here. Some really good team goals in here, Nwaneri's involvement in a couple of them were really nice too. Good to see Butler-Oyedeji get some goals aswell, been pretty barren since his return from loan and he looked dangerous.

Just came on the thread after seeing the highlights.

Incredible from ACD, such a shame it looks like he’s on his way out 😞
 

db10_therza

🎵 Edu getting rickrolled 🎵
Trusted ⭐

Country: Bangladesh

Player:White
1715082124710.png

@MutableEarth :

It is not unusual for the names of academy starlets to gather momentum but, even so, Chido Martin Obi stands apart.

It is not just that the Arsenal youth striker scores goals. It is how many he scores: 10 in one match against Liverpool(a 14-3 win) for the under-16s in November and, more recently, four against Crystal Palace and Fulham, five against West Ham and seven against Norwich City for the under-18s. In total, he has 29 in 17 league games for the under-18s.

For all the attention that comes with these goals, context is key.

Martin Obi, who is eligible for England and Nigeria as well as Denmark, did not turn 16 until November, at which point he had three goals in four games for the under-18s (a hat-trick against Southampton), and had already played for the under-19s and under-21s. Measuring 6ft 2in (1.87m) at 16, Martin Obi has always been more physically developed than his age-mates and has regularly played in older age groups since his time with his boyhood club, FC Copenhagen.

“He was a very tall, physical and mature young boy early on,” Anders Lange, FC Copenhagen’s head of children’s football, tells The Athletic. “He started playing one and two years up when he was 10 or 11 because he was very good and very physically mature.

GettyImages-2147610417-scaled.jpg

Chido Martin Obi trains with Declan Rice in Arsenal’s senior squad (Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
“We had a team in the age group above him who didn’t always win their games. We took Chido up to play for them when he was 12 and in his first game in the group above, they won 10-0 and he scored seven goals.

“He always wanted to score goals, win and use his power. Sometimes it could be hard for him to play in his own age group and use that power in the right way because he was so big compared to the other guys. But playing up is not good for every boy. If they are smaller dribblers, having positive actions may not be as possible in older age groups.”

Lange tends to cycle into the Copenhagen academy, and would regularly see Martin Obi on a five-minute walk from his house to the complex. He was on the books of the Danish giants from the age of six, and was known as a “lovely child” across the club, whose employees knew his family well as he has a younger brother who also plays football.

Copenhagen were sad to see the Martin Obis leave — their mother was moving to London to study nursing — but understood. Arsenal were the benefactors, and this season, the young striker has been used across five age groups with varied levels of exposure.

Most of his football has come with the under-18s, but he has made two substitute appearances for the under-21s, three cameos for the under-19s in the UEFA Youth League and was part of the under-17s who travelled to Brazil in December for the Flamengo Adidas Cup.

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Chido Obi Martin has physicality and quality (David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal refer to this as a mixed programme and Martin Obi, described as a shy and quiet boy off the pitch but who transforms on it, has fared well but goals are not all that matter.

“He’s an under-16 who had some time in under-19s football in the UEFA Youth League and suffered a bit,” Mehmet Ali, Arsenal Under-21s head coach, tells The Athletic. “The reason we have a mixed programme is because we want him to have joy, confidence and success and find it easy at times, but also be challenged at others.


“It’s about exposing them to a lot and giving them an opportunity to reflect, look at where they are at and then go away and work. You do get early developers who shine when they’re in their own age group and then, when everyone catches them up physically or they play against someone bigger and stronger, they have no other coping strategy to survive in those moments. By giving players who are early developers a mixed programme, it really does support their growth.”

The approach has been vindicated. Martin Obi has scored 25 goals in his last eight games for the under-18s, but those who watch him regularly are most impressed by his all-round improvement in general play in that period. Still in his formative years, his drastic improvements should not be too surprising.

While the 16-year-old’s physical attributes help set him apart, he still has a solid base level of technical ability. The different types of finishes he has produced this season are evidence of that, from dinks over the goalkeeper, shots from tight angles, long range, those into the far corner and from the penalty spot. He has also shown good feet in tighter spaces despite being more comfortable with more room to exploit.

GettyImages-2089290848-scaled.jpg

Chido Martin Obi curls in against Crystal Palace (Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
This ability comes from his upbringing with FC Copenhagen.

“We have something called ‘alternative sports’ every Monday where we do a different sport — it could be street or beach soccer, basketball or hockey,” Lange says. “It’s good for their coordination to do other sports and Chido was good at most of them. With him, if you look at his fine technique, it might not be the greatest, but he’s always had a good shot and been a good dribbler.”

There is an understanding from Martin Obi that talent alone will not determine his future. He often does extra training on his own at Arsenal while balancing his studies. This month, for instance, he will travel to the European Under-17 Championships in Cyprus with Denmark while also studying for his GCSE exams in the summer. Part of a big family, he wants to be an example for his younger brother.

Where his long-term future lies is not clear. In England, he will not be eligible for his first professional contract until his 17th birthday in November, but 16-year-olds can sign professional terms in Europe. Contract negotiations with Arsenal are ongoing for Martin Obi, who has not signed his scholarship contract with the club and recently joined Elite Project Group, an agency with a strong track record with career planning for young Arsenal players such as Bukayo Saka and Folarin Balogun, as well as Jadon Sancho.


Whatever happens, patience is needed. Every young player progresses differently. Ethan Nwaneri (17) and Myles Lewis-Skelly (17) both signed professional contracts with Arsenal and have developed well in their first full season of under-21s football.

Omari Hutchinson (20) provides a different perspective, leaving Arsenal for Chelsea in 2022 before getting his break at first-team level by playing a vital role in Ipswich Town’s promotion to the Premier League this season.

For Martin Obi, focus must stay on the journey as opposed to the destination. Arsenal will hope to represent both.
 

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