We extended our unbeaten run in the Under-18 Premier League South to five games with a commanding win over Southampton at Staplewood.
Our youngsters looked dangerous with every attack and could have taken an early lead when Jack Turner gifted possession to Sam Greenwood. Our young forward picked out Ben Cottrell in the box but his effort was parried away by Oliver Wright.
Cottrell was causing the hosts all sorts of problems and nearly assisted Catalin Cirjan with a clever flick on the edge of the box, but the Romanian struck well over from 10 yards.
We were well on top but then Southampton had a chance to take the lead on the break. Seamus Keogh sprinted forward to pull back to Michael Saunders, who lashed his shot wide inside the box.
But the Saints continued to make errors when playing out from the back and after Matthew Dennis had dispossessed Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo, Alfie Matthews took a touch before hitting an unstoppable strike into the corner.
It was the least we deserved after a dominant first half - and we picked up where we left off after the break, too. Greenwood's corner was flicked on by Mazeed Ogungbo and Luke Plange reacted quickly to double our lead.
We could have scored a third soon after when Joel Lopez combined with Nathan Butler-Oyedeji on the left-hand side, but our Spanish full back struck his half-volley straight at Wright.
Southampton did have a late chance to pull one back when Pascal Kpohomuh set Jayden Smith through on goal, but Alex Kirk recovered well to block his goal-bound effort.
WHAT IT MEANS
Ken Gillard's side host West Ham United at London Colney, hoping to better the 1-1 scoreline in the reverse tie back in August.
Kick-off is at 11am and attendance is by invitation only.
Copyright 2023 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.