Arsenal have announced that they will compete in the 2018/19 Checkatrade Trophy to help develop their Academy players.
Last season's Premier League 2 champions are one of 16 Category One Academies invited to enter an Under-21 side in the draw against 48 senior teams from League One and League Two.
"We feel it's important to provide our young players with a variety of experiences in their development and we certainly felt that by entering the Checkatrade Trophy, the players will face different challenges from strong club sides," Arsenal Academy manager Per Mertesacker told the club's official website.
"With many of the players in this age group destined to go on loan soon in their careers, the experiences from this competition can act as a very good link between Academy and first-team football."
Arsenal's team in the competition and in PL2 will be managed by two-time Premier League champion Freddie Ljungberg this season.
Chelsea are also in the 2018/19 competition and were the best-performing Academy side last term.
They missed out on the Wembley Stadium final after a penalty shoot-out defeat by champions Lincoln City in the semi-finals.
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- Academy teams must start at least six players aged 21 or under as at 30 June 2018
- Those teams can only include two players over the age of 21 who have made 40 or more senior appearances prior to 2018/19
- The 16 Academy teams and 48 League One and League Two clubs taking part will be split into 16 groups of four
- Academy sides will play all group matches away from home
- Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw, but in the event of a draw after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will be played for an additional point
- The top two teams qualify for the knockout rounds, which are regionalised until the quarter-finals
- All knockout rounds up to the final are one-off matches decided by penalties if they are level after 90 minutes
- The final will go to extra-time and possibly penalties if level after 90 minutes