Academy

Post-Match Report

U21s Report: Arsenal 4-1 Chelsea

Charles Sagoe Jr celebrates goal

Chelsea U21 -

Premier League 2 - Division One
Premier League 2 - Division One
  Arsenal U21
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Arsenal U21
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  Chelsea U21
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Chelsea U21

WHAT HAPPENED

We made it three wins out of three in the opening stages of our Premier League 2 season, with an impressive 4-1 win against Chelsea at Meadow Park. 

Mehmet Ali's line-up was largely unchanged from the side who beat West Ham last weekend; the only change coming between the sticks with Hubert Graczyk stepping in as keeper.

Both sides started brightly but it was Chelsea who had large spells of possession in the opening 10 minutes, forcing Graczyk to make an early stunning save and tip a powerful shot over the bar.

The Gunners also came close several times through some fluid, counter-pressing football and both Sagoe Jr and Marquinhos looked incredibly dangerous down the wings. 

The deadlock was broken just before the half-hour mark thanks to a beautiful curling shot from James Olayinka. We didn't wait long to double our lead as centre-forward Khayon Edwards joined Olayinka on the scoresheet five minutes later. 

Charlie Webster did get a goal back for the visitors just before half-time, with a shot that Graczyk was unlucky not to keep out, but we remained on top at the break.

Chelsea came out strong in the second half, upping the intensity in their attempts to find an equaliser. Our resilient back line was able to soak up the pressure and with every counter-attack, we looked likely to score again.

Skipper Matt Smith came very close to scoring after his lovely chip grazed the post, but it was Charles Sagoe Jr who made it 3-1 to the Gunners. He was rewarded for all his hard work 78 minutes in, with a very well-taken goal after a 1v1 with the Chelsea keeper.

Butler-Oyedeji came off the bench to get our fourth, consolidating an intelligent and mature display from the team.


WHAT'S NEXT

Next up is a trip to the seaside for an away game at Brighton on Friday, August 26. 

Kick off is at 7:30pm (UK time)

TEAM NEWS

Starting XI: Graczyk, Sweet, Awe, Monlouis, Sousa, Azeez, Smith, Olayinka, Marquinhos, Sagoe Jr, Edwards

Substitutes: Hillson, Foran, Cozier-Duberry, Bandeira, Butler-Oyedeji

News

Academy Action: All the weekend highlights

Seb Ferdinand against Spurs

A new challenge for our U21s and the first North London derby of the season: check out all the goals, highlights, and interviews from this weekend’s academy action.

U18s: Arsenal 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur

There was plenty to smile about on Saturday as our Under 18s registered their first win of the season and Jack Wilshere got his first victory as head coach.

Omari Benjamin ensured the North London derby kicked off the right way with a sumptuous strike into the top corner, giving us the lead only four minutes in. Less than half an hour later, Benjamin had a first-half hat-trick to his name thanks to two more superbly taken goals.

Things then went from bad to worse for Spurs, who were reduced to 10 men before half-time. Our rivals did manage to get back into the game through a corner, but it proved only to be a consolation goal as Ethan Nwaneri made it 4-1 shortly after.

Highlights | Arsenal 4-1 Tottenham U-18s (H)

Jack Wilshere was thrilled by more than just the three points, as he singled out the strength of character on display: “It makes me really proud when you ask the boys to do something and bring a certain energy and attitude, and they go out there and do that.

"That, for me, is the biggest thing today: the way they approached the game. As long as you can see that there’s a hunger, and I looked at the players in their eyes before the game and I saw it. I just said to them now, that is the level.”

07:02

U-18s: Tottenham Hotspur (H) | Jack Wilshere interview

Omari Benjamin, match ball in hand, spoke after the game about his impressive start to life in the Under 18s: “As a first year coming up, my main objective was to start getting minutes and start getting game time, and then scoring goals is a bonus. So, if I can keep doing that, it’ll be a good season.”

“It feels that much better because it was against Tottenham. It felt brilliant to get that quick start because, in the previous two games, we’ve gone a goal down. So, to be on the front foot, it’s changed the game and we were able to dominate throughout.”

02:22

U-18s: Tottenham Hotspur (H) | Omari Benjamin interview


U21s: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Arsenal

Our flying start to the Premier League 2 season hit a slight snag on Friday night after a draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion, though we remain unbeaten and at the top of the table.

Brighton took a very early lead, but it took us less than four minutes to find the equaliser. Amario Cozier-Duberry took the opportunity to get his first goal for the U21s and level the score simultaneously, with a well-drilled shot in the bottom corner.

Charles Sagoe Jr and James Olayinka continued their great runs of form as they linked up down the left wing to make it 2-1 just after the break. Matt Smith and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji came close to increasing our lead in the second half, but it was not enough to keep Brighton at bay, and the hosts equalised in the 73rd minute.

04:00

Highlights | Brighton 2-2 Arsenal U-21s (A)

Skipper Matt Smith reflected on the team’s disappointment after the draw: “I feel like it was frustrating going 2-1 up and then conceding the equaliser. But we’ll dust ourselves off and go again on Tuesday.”

Smith also spoke of his pride in wearing the armband – “It’s a massive honour to captain Arsenal, whatever the level and whatever the age group” – and playing alongside top prospects including Amario Cozier-Duberry: “He’s got a really bright future ahead of him. He’s got a lot of ability and he works hard as well.”

01:19

U-21s: Brighton (A) | Matt Smith interview

Overall, Mehmet Ali was pleased with the team’s performance: “I thought we edged the second half and we were better. It’s just a shame we didn’t get that other goal to kill them off, but I thought a draw was probably the fair result tonight.”

Ali and co are already looking ahead to our cup tie against Cambridge United on Tuesday: “The Papa Johns Trophy is brilliant for these boys to play in front of a crowd. To play against men will be a real difficult challenge but it’s one that we’re up for, and again, it’s going to help these guys with another layer for their development.”

01:41

U-21s: Brighton (A) | Mehmet Ali interview

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