It was a tiring evening for the under-21s at White Hart Lane on Friday. That 2-0 defeat against Tottenham ensured the momentum gained from their 5-3 victory over West Ham last week came to an abrupt halt.
Isaac Hayden's 27th-minute dismissal meant Arsenal were forced to play over an hour trailing by a goal and a man. Despite their battling defensive performance, Spurs' numerical advantage eventually told when Harry Winks slammed home to seal the three points.
One positive note from an otherwise difficult evening was the sight of Zak Ansah continuing his recovery after spending seven months out with a knee injury. The forward marked his first game back with a goal in the win against West Ham and was impressive in his 30-minute cameo on Friday.
It was a dream to score in my first game, it made all the hard work worthwhileZak Ansah
"It was a tough night for us but I thought we started the game well," Ansah told Arsenal.com. "We got a foothold in the game and had a couple of shots but then the penalty and sending off changed the game for us.
"They [Tottenham] pinned us back and played good football, we had to sit deep and it was a bit of an onslaught from then on. We battled hard but it was aways going to be difficult with 10 men."
"It was tough coming on when we were down to 10 men because I had to play up front on my own and that's always difficult. There were a couple of occasions where I managed to manoeuvre the ball into shooting positions but couldn't quite hit the target. It was hard on the team going down to 10 men in a north London derby but I thought the boys defended really well.
"It's a learning curve for us at the end of the day. I thought we contained them well for long periods."
Ansah made 10 appearances for Steve Gatting's side last season and was all set to accelerate this season when his "nightmare" injury struck right at the start of pre-season.
"I damaged my anterior cruciate ligament again in the third training session of pre-season which was a nightmare for me," he said. "But the club have supported me and the boys have been great with me. It took time to get fit again but I'm delighted to be back.
"It was a dream to score in my first game, it made all the hard work worthwhile and I just want to push on now and get as many minutes under my belt as possible, and then hopefully have a full pre-season in the summer."
Ansah could make his first start against Bolton this evening with Chuba Akpom still out injured. The trip to the County Ground is the first of two games to the North West this week with Everton to come on Thursday.
"We're still a couple games behind so if we can get two wins this week then we'll be right up there in the table," Ansah said. "We need to get this out of our system and we've got a chance to do that with these games. We've got two long trips but if we get a win on Monday then we can get our confidence back and move on from there."
We will bring you all the key moments from tonight's clash at the County Ground from the @Arsenal account.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 31 Mar 2014