Post-Match Report

U21 report: Stoke City 2-2 Arsenal

Nathan Butler-Oyedeji

Stoke City U21 -

St George's Park
Premier League Cup
Premier League Cup
  Stoke City U21
Stoke City U21
2 2
  Arsenal U21
Arsenal U21

Our Young Gunners came from a goal behind to record a draw with Stoke City and ultimately book their place in the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup

What happened

Mehmet Ali's side took to the field at St George's Park only a few hours before the World Cup Final kicked off, looking to improve upon our last meeting with Stoke City which ended 1-1. 

Our Gunners didn't take long to threaten the hosts' goal. In an early chance, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji made a fine dribble down the right wing and crossed the ball to Kido Taylor-Hart waiting in the box, but his header just flashed past the post.

Later in the half, Butler-Oyedeji came close to opening the scoring himself but his one-on-one chance was saved by the Stoke keeper Tommy Jackson. Shortly after, Charles Sagoe Jr even put the ball in Stoke's net following a tight team move but our winger was deemed offside by the linesman. 

Just before the break, the hosts took the lead against the run of play through a Liam McCarron cross which was headed past Hubert Graczyk by Douglas James-Taylor.

In the second half, Ben Cottrell made a triumphant return to the side, following almost a year spent on the sidelines with an injury. A glorious diagonal ball from Mauro Bandeira unlocked our midfielder just outside the area and he wriggled through the Stoke backline to get a shot away and score. 

Capitalising on our momentum, Joel Ideho made an immediate impact from the subs bench. Our Gunners stormed up the pitch on the counter, with Cottrell once again instrumental in the move, and Ideho high lob hit the underside of the crossbar and went in. 

Minutes from time, the hosts rescued a point as James-Taylor ran through on goal and tackled Graczyk, with Emre Tezgel tapping the loose ball into the empty net.

What it means

With our point against Stoke, we have secured the top spot in Group F in the Premier League Cup with one game still to play. Our final group stage game against Burnley is scheduled for January 18 at Meadow Park. 

Our Under 21s are now wrapped up for 2022 and will be back in action on January 8 against Manchester City.

Team news

Arsenal: Graczyk (GK), Bandeira, Foran, Awe, Ismail, Smith (C), Cirjan (Cottrell, 45'), Henry-Francis (Ideho, 76'), Sagoe Jr, Butler-Oyedeji

Unused substitutes: Hillson, Heaven, Vigar

Stoke City: Jackson (GK), Reddin (Redfern, 54'), McCarron, Roney, Baker (C), Okagbue, Malone, Adebambo (Singh, 39'), Tezgel, Kershaw, James-Taylor

Unused substitutes: Simkin, Holland-Wilkinson, McGuinness

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