Colchester United take on mighty Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup
PUBLISHED: 06:15 06 March 2018
Arsenal are the glamorous visitors to the West Homes Community Stadium this evening, as Colchester United Under-18s take on their Gunners counterparts in an FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie (kick-off 7pm).
The U’s were given a reprieve in the competition in the previous round, when their 4-1 home defeat to Reading was over-turned due to the Royals fielding an under-aged player. The Championship side were removed from the tournament after an FA hearing.
This will be the sixth successive occasion that the U’s have enjoyed home advantage in the competition this term, from six starts.
Their previous victories have been over Cheshunt (5-4 in round one), Bishop’s Stortford (5-0 in second round), Crewe Alexandra (third round 2-0 success) and MK Dons (fourth round 2-0 win), all on home turf, before that defeat to Reading a month ago.
Obviously the U’s will be up against it, and will start as rank outsiders against their Premier League visitors.
The Gunners won 3-2 away at Middlesbrough in the previous round, and beat Liverpool away by the same scoreline after extra time in the fourth round, having defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at home at the third round stage.
U’s Academy manager Jon De Souza enthused: “This is a chance to host one of the best young sides in the country at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, and it’s another fantastic chance for our young players to test themselves in a pressurised match under the floodlights.
“The players have enjoyed a fantastic cup run so far and we would urge the club’s supporters to come along to the game to give them your support.”
The other fixtures in the quarter-finals see Fulham entertain Chelsea in a west London derby, Norwich City play host to Birmingham City, and Blackburn take on Blackpool in an all-Lancashire clash.
If the U’s were to produce a major shock, and beat Arsenal, then their reward would be a two-legged semi-final against the winners of the Blackburn versus Blackpool fixture, with the first leg away from home.
Tickets for tonight’s match are priced at £7 for adults, £5 for concessions, £3 for under-14s and £1 for under-eights. Car parking for the game is free.