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Northampton v Arsenal tonight in the EFL Trophy. All the details.

by Tony Attwood

For those of us living in the East Midlands the EFL trophy can be a welcome chance to take a look at Arsenal’s under 21s.  I recall a rather fun evening out at Coventry City last season where we met both Tony Adams and Per Mertesaker (pictures all round).

And we’re off again tonight with Northampton Town v Arsenal under 21s.   My pal Ian, and his son, and I will be making the half hour trip to the ground (noticeably less than the three hours or more that it takes to get to home games).

Other matches in the group for Arsenal are 1 October for Peterborough v Arsenal under 21s and 5 November with Cambridge United v Under 21s.  In all 48 League One and Two sides are playing (although fewer if either or both of Bury and Bolton drop out of the league) and there are 16 academy sides.

For Arsenal the rules are that a minimum of six players in the starting line-up must be players who were qualified to play at under-21 level on 30 June 2019.  A maximum of two players can be included who are over 21 and who have made 40 or more appearances in the first team up to 30 June 2019 (non-playing sub appearances don’t count).

So for us that could well mean that this is another game for Holding to play in – and a good one in fact since some of these lower league defenders do enjoy a slightly more agricultural approach to their trade.

So far this season our under 23 results have been

Date Home team Score Away team
12/08/2019 Blackburn Rovers U23 1 – 3 Arsenal U23
16/08/2019 Arsenal U23 2 – 1 Brighton U23
23/08/2019 Arsenal U23 2 – 2 Everton U23

Here is the under 23 league table thus far

P W D L F A GD Pts
Chelsea 3 2 1 0 6 2 4 7
Arsenal 3 2 1 0 7 4 3 7
Tottenham Hotspur 3 2 0 1 8 3 5 6
Brighton and Hove Albion 3 2 0 1 6 2 4 6
Derby County 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 1 1 1 2 3 -1 4
Everton 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Southampton 3 1 0 2 6 8 -2 3
Liverpool 3 1 0 2 4 9 -5 3
Leicester City 3 0 2 1 1 4 -3 2
Manchester City 3 0 1 2 6 9 -3 1
Blackburn Rovers 3 0 1 2 3 6 -3 1

Interesting to see Man City lurking in the depths.  Last season Arsenal won this league, with Manchester United bottom of the table.  Tottenham were ninth.

As for ourselves against Northampton we’ve only played them four times competitively, twice in the cup and twice in their season in Division One.  However because of Herbert Chapman’s association with the club, we did play a series of post-season friendlies against them in the 1930s, in aid of the development of Northampton Hospital.

Here are those games…

  • 5 May 1930: Northampton Town 0 Arsenal 7.   Arsenal had just won the cup for the first time
  • 4 May 1931: Northampton 0 Arsenal 1.   Arsenal had just won the league for the first time.  Indeed Arsenal put out pretty much their first team… Harper, Parker, Hapgood, Diaper, Roberts, John Hulme, Jack, Lambert, Bastin Jones
  • 10 May 1932: Northampton 2 Arsenal 3.   Arsenal had finished the season as runners’ up in the cup and the league.

More details of those games are given on the Arsenal history site in the “Arsenal v Northampton: the Forgotten Friendlies” article.

Here are the league and cup games against Northampton

27 Jan 1951 Arsenal v Northampton Town W 3-2 FA Cup
04 Jan 1958 Northampton Town v Arsenal L 3-1 FA Cup
25 Aug 1965 Northampton Town v Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
28 Sep 1965 Arsenal v Northampton Town D 1-1 League Division One

The game is being played at the PTS Academy Stadium – which most of us know as “Sixfields” just off the ring road, a mile or so towards Northamton from the M1 junction.  But if travelling north beware – the M1 from junction 14 north is an utter nightmare because of the “upgrade” (try saying that without screaming when stuck there).

I don’t have enough knowledge of comings and goings in the world of the under 23s to give a possible line up, but here is the team that was used for the last game, against Everton


Swanson, Holding, Clarke, Bola;

Burton, Smith Rowe;

Coyle, John-Jules, Saka;


Subs: Hillson, Olowu, McEneff, Olayinka, Tormey.

One of the stands at Northampton is, or at least was, last time I was there, named after an Arsenal player.   The full details of this are in: Remembering Dave Bowen who played for Arsenal and created miracles at Northampton.

And that is about it.  I’m hoping for a rather jolly evening out.

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