The Arsenal under-23s are on a great run of form right now.
After a disappointing 6-1 defeat to West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League 2 season, Kevin Betsy’s side have bounced back to go six games unbeaten, scoring 20 goals along the way.
This excellent generation of Gunners youngsters features the likes of Mika Biereth, Anass Salah-Eddine and Charlie Patino, who could all be next to follow Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe off the conveyor belt.
However, it creates a problem for Mikel Arteta.
With so many players playing so well and just three competitions at senior level this season, Arsenal are struggling to get much senior game time for their youngsters.
As a result, there is a chance that several of them could head out on loan in January.
Here football.london takes a look at the ones most likely to leave.
After being included in the Europa League squad for a few of Arsenal’s knockout matches last season, Joel Lopez has continued his impressive form this season.
The left-back has been getting forward plenty as a wing-back in Kevin Betsy’s 5-3-2 system and grabbed a goal against PL2 title rivals Manchester City.
Having followed the path from Barcelona to North London well-trodden by the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin, big things are expected of the 19-year-old.
He is still a little lightweight though and could do with some more experience of senior football at a lower level so that he’s able to make the step up to the Arsenal first team one day.
football.london understands that Alebiosu came close to joining Sunderland on loan in the dying days of the summer transfer window, only for the move to fall through.
The fact that the right-back – who can also play right wing – was attracting attention from the League One side shows the level he’s already at.
He’s another who has thrived as a wing-back in Betsy’s system and could use a chance to impress at senior level.
The 19-year-old may well head out on loan in January, with Takehiro Tomiyasu, Cedric, Calum Chambers and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all blocking his way to the first team at the moment.
After arriving in North London last summer following his release from Huddersfield, Akinola initially struggled with the transition.
The midfielder has really gone up a level this year, though, and has been a standout in the number eight position alongside Charlie Patino and Salah-Eddine.
He was considered for a loan this summer, but having shown that he’s capable of thriving for the under-23s, now may be a good time for him to step up.
Jack Henry-Francis, who was given his senior debut in the pre-season friendly against Hibernian, is also pushing for a spot having signed his professional contract recently, so Arsenal would be well covered in the midfield positions if Akinola were to depart.
Probably the biggest name on this list is Flo Balogun.
The 20-year-old is evidently too good for under-23s football, and with an outrageous piece of skill to win a penalty against Brighton, he is showing that he’s outgrown this level.
He was involved in the opening two Premier League fixtures against Brentford and Chelsea, but with no Europa League football, and limited Carabao Cup matches, his chances to get back into the first team will be limited.
With this in mind, surely a January loan seems like the smartest option for the forward who recently committed his long-term future to the club.
With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah set to leave at the end of this season, it could be a chance to test drive Balogun to see if he’s ready for elite senior football.
Source by Football London