Keys Park

Monday 26th February 2024 -  19:00
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A photo of Kevin Mfuamba in the 2023/24 home kit

Kevin Mfuamba wants Albion’s academy hopefuls to be aggressive in their duels when they host Arsenal at Keys Park on Monday night (ko 7pm).

There’s been much to ponder for the young midfielder and his teammates since their derby defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers last time around and although three defeats has provided plenty for Richard Beale’s charges to work on, improvements were shown in their recent loss.

One of which, as Mfuamba highlights, was the aggression shown by the young Baggies to forge positive openings against their Black Country counterparts, and the 17-year-old believes similar levels will be required if they’re to get the better of the Gunners in Staffordshire.

A photo of Albion's U21s lining up under the lights at AFC Telford's New Bucks Head ground
Albion are under the lights again on Monday night. Photo Credit | GEvans Photography

“What we hope to do is turn things around quickly now, show a positive reaction and use the Arsenal game to start a run,” said Kevin.

“The Wolves game was frustrating because we started the game positively, created many chances but unfortunately didn’t take them.

“At PL2 level, and especially as you work up to first team level in your career, if you don’t take your opportunities, that’s when you get punished.

“Being aggressive is something we did in the Wolves game and it was nice to see an an improvement on that front, but we have to continue to show that side of our game to show our opponents they won’t be in for an easy game.

“Seeing a lot of the academy players involved in the Aldershot FA Cup was an eye-opener for the whole academy and people outside of the club.

A photo of Kevin Mfuamba putting his thumbs up to the camera after arriving at The Hawthorns
Kevin signed professional terms on his 17th birthday earlier this season

“It showed everyone that there’s opportunities here and being on the bench for that game only made me want to work even harder to continue getting those experiences, get closer to senior football and hopefully make an appearance myself in the near future.

“I’ve been able to see to senior players up close this year. Hopefully, by learning how they play, seeing what they do to get them in the starting XI every week and adapt it into my game will not only better prepare me, but also improve my overall game.

“There’s been lots of ups and downs but that’s the professional level and football can be such an unpredictable sport. It’s about how you manage the setbacks and be the best you can be off the back of those difficult moments.

“Being in between different teams allows me to better my game, gain confidence and new experiences. It’s about finding solutions and working hard every day to be the best player I can be.

“Arsenal are a big team who everyone wants to beat due to their resources but we don’t look at the badge. We want to play our game and better ourselves, but this match is definitely a motivation for us to do well in and we’re raring to go.”

How to follow the match 

Tickets will be available on the gate at Keys Park for Albion's PL2 clash against Arsenal on Monday night.

They are priced at £5 adults and £1 concessions, while Albion season ticket holders are able to watch the game for free.

An image of Albion's PL2 players celebrating a goal against Arsenal

Albion’s youngsters recorded a hard-earned 3-0 win against Arsenal on Monday evening.

Reece Hall’s 32nd-minute individual effort handed the Baggies a one-goal advantage at the break.

And Eseosa Sule’s late brace ensured the hosts would claim an impressive Premier League 2 triumph in Hednesford.

An image of Eseosa Sule scoring against Arsenal

Despite the visitors enjoying more of the ball during the early stages, it was Albion who threatened twice inside the opening 20 minutes - Layton Love seeing a free-kick deflected wide and Fenton Heard hitting narrowly off-target.

And they broke the deadlock just after the half-hour stage via Hall’s wonderful solo goal, the defender breaching Arsenal’s defence from deep and finishing superbly to fire them one-up before half-time.

An image of Albion's PL2 players celebrating a goal against Arsenal

Albion went close to doubling their advantage after the restart, with Heard having a good strike saved by James Hillson and Oli Bostock also smashing over.

The third-placed Gunners did eventually test Ben Cisse, but the goalkeeper did well to keep out Jack Henry-Francis and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji shots.

The points were then secured down the other end of the pitch, though, as Sule scrambled home a second in the 90th minute.

He added another deep into stoppage time, too - rounding Hillson and converting confidently to top-off an excellent showing.

An image of Eseosa Sule scoring against Arsenal

Albion: Cisse, Williams, Hall, Harper-Bailey, Shaw (Phillips 46), Nelson, Mfuamba (Richards 77), Whitwell, Heard, Love (Higgins 74), Bostock (Sule 74).

Substitutes: Foster.