By Isaac Moore at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal Under-21s continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win over Wolves at Emirates Stadium on Monday.
Ryo gave the hosts the lead in the 19th minute before Tim Jakobsson eqaulised for the Midlands side right on half-time. Substitute Austin Lipman sealed the points for Steve Gatting’s side with 14 minutes remaining and, on the balance of play, Arsenal deserved it.
Gatting made four changes to the side that battled to a goalless draw against Fulham last time out. Nico Yennaris made his first appearance since pre-season and Thomas Eisfeld partnered Ryo up front. Hector Bellerin replaced Danny Boateng at right back.
The game got off to a relatively cagey start. In the seventh minute the visitors had the ball in the net via a David Moli effort but the linesman had already raised his flag. Jakobsson had a free-kick deflected just wide a minute later.
But after a sluggish first 10 minutes, Arsenal started to find their groove. In the 17th minute Eisfeld played a slide-rule pass through to Anthony Jeffrey but the winger rushed his shot and toe-poked the ball wide.
Arsenal took the lead two minutes later. Wolves failed to clear Eisfeld’s inswinging corner and Ryo was on hand to divert the ball past Jon Flatt. It was the forward’s first goal for the under-21s.
The contest remained pretty even after the Gunners’ opener. On 27 minutes David Edwards unleashed a drive from 25 yards but it never threatened Damian Martinez’s goal and flew over.
Gatting’s side were looking dangerous on the counter-attack, particularly on the right with the pace and trickery of Ryo and Maitland-Niles.
In the 34th minute, Bellerin found space on the right edge of the box and pulled the ball back to Maitland-Niles but his shot was blocked on the line by Jamie Tank.
Arsenal went even closer two minutes later. This time it was Ryo who found room on the right and his cross found the onrushing Eisfeld, whose shot was deflected, leaving Flatt stranded, but the ball rolled agonisingly past the post.
Wolves’ leveller came against the run of play on the stroke of half-time. Kristian Kostrna’s cross found the unmarked Jakobsson in the box and the midfielder powered a header past the helpless Martinez.
Unsurprisingly, the game became more stretched in the second half. Edwards swivelled on the edge of the box before blasting a shot over in the 50th minute and Yennaris headed wide from Eisfeld’s cross four minutes later.
In the 64th minute Jeffrey cut inside from the right but his left-foot shot was weak and straight at Flatt.
Gatting made a double change midway through the second half. Alex Iwobi and Lipman replaced Yennaris and Jeffrey. And it worked.
With 17 minutes remaining Ryo picked the ball up down the left channel before picking out Lipman in space, and the substitute took one touch before firing a swerving shot past Flatt in a flash. It was the 18-year-old’s third goal in two games after his brace in the Youth League against Napoli.
Lipman could have had another in the 83rd minute but couldn’t quite steer the ball past Flatt from Bellerin’s cut-back.
The Gunners held out to claim their second win at the Emirates this season and they now have 11 points from five league games.
- Kamara Yellow Card
- Yennaris 66
- Jeffrey 66
- Miyaichi Goal!
- Iwobi 66
- Lipman 66 Goal!
- Ihiekwe Yellow Card
- Bancessi 76
- Jakobsson Goal!
- Parry 66
- Moli 57
- Kellerman 66
- O'Hanlon 76
- Keita 57