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Monday, 15 October 2012

Pat Holland departs from his role as Arsenal U18 manager

Just seven games into his tenure as manager of Arsenal U18s, Pat Holland has left his role at the club due to "personal reasons", according to the official website.

However one must presume the management of the academy were not satisfied with the way the season was progressing for Holland's side, and thought the players were not fulfilling their potential.

At U18 level the results are not the be all and end all - it is more about developing the youngsters by providing them with experience and quality training. Liam Brady, the director of Arsenal's academy, may have been unconvinced by Holland's methods at London Colney, or thought his management skills were outdated.

Holland's style on the touchline was criticised for being unconstructive, shouting traditional cliches like 'cross it in' and 'get tight' (via @deanafc1989). Some of the players at Arsenal's disposal may not respond to such instructions and this could perhaps be seen in the side's poor form and failure to improve it with any consistency.

Holland began his season with the U18s with a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Bolton, and ended it with a 3-0 home defeat to Reading. The results in between were more encouraging, however, with two convincing 3-0 wins over Norwich and West Ham, and also a 2-1 dispatch of Everton. These wins were sandwiched by draws to Blackburn and West Brom, so it was certainly a mixed bag for Holland.

In truth one would only be speculating to explain his departure at this moment in time. One thing is for certain though: his replacement will be former U16 manager Steve Gatting, who has been working as the U18 assistant manager this year. He has coached at Arsenal for five years and played for the Gunners 76 times in the late 1970s, so has a wealth of experience with the club.

In other news, Sanchez Watt scored the winner last weekend for Colchester with a well taken strike, while Chuks Aneke played the full 90 minutes for Crewe and by all accounts was one of their most influential players, despite losing.

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