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Post-Match Report

U-23s: Manchester City 0-1 Arsenal - Report

Manchester City U23 -

City Football Academy
Premier League 2 - Division One
Premier League 2 - Division One
  Manchester City U23
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Manchester City U23
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  Arsenal U23
      
                  Osei-Tutu (47')
            
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Arsenal U23
Osei-Tutu (47')

WHAT HAPPENED

We rose to second in the Premier League 2 table following a 1-0 win at Manchester City on Sunday, courtesy of Jordi Osei-Tutu’s second-half strike.

We very nearly raced into an early lead through the returning Jeff Reine-Adelaide, who picked up a loose ball from City’s Arijanet Muric on the edge of the area, but saw his effort tipped over the bar.

Soon after, Joe Willock had the chance to open the scoring from close range, only to ping the ball off the crossbar, after we had done well to work our way behind the hosts’ backline.

We kept up the pressure and once again carved open City’s defence, with Willock this time glancing the ball just wide after meeting Eddie Nketiah’s cross.

Having been unable to break the deadlock before the break, we started the second half keen to make amends and did so in quick fashion.

Fresh from signing his new contract with the club, Osei-Tutu was played through excellently by Reine-Adelaide and fired the ball in at the near post.

Shortly after, City had their first big chance of the match when Lukas Nmecha broke through on goal, but saw his shot saved by Deyan Iliev.

With full-time nearing, Willock and Reiss Nelson had a pair of quick-fire opportunities, as the former struck the woodwork once again, while the latter blasted the rebound straight at Muric.

WHAT IT MEANS

The win sees us rise to second in the table, trailing leaders Liverpool by eight points and ahead of third-place Leicester City, who have a game in hand, by one.

WHAT’S NEXT

Steve Gatting’s side host Derby County in their next fixture at Meadow Park. When we faced the Rams earlier in the season, we were 3-2 winners, having come back from a two-goal deficit to snatch the win late on.

Post-Match Report

U-23s: Arsenal 3-3 Derby County - Report

HOW IT HAPPENED

Our under-23s secured a dramatic draw against Derby County on Friday, thanks to late strikes from Jordi Osei-Tutu and Julio Pleguezuelo, with the latter scoring deep into injury time at Meadow Park.

We began the game with fervour and very nearly took an early lead five minutes in, when Derby’s Jason Shackell almost turned the ball into his own net after blocking Yassin Fortune’s low delivery.

A few minutes later, the visitors called Matt Macey into action, forcing the goalkeeper into making a low save from Mason Bennett. Despite this, Charles Vernam fired the ball home from the edge of the penalty area following the resulting corner to put the visitors ahead.

Keen to get back into the game, we found an equaliser 10 minutes later when Akpom followed up Ben Sheaf’s effort to poke the ball past Josh Barnes from close range.

With the interval nearing, we were dominating possession, but failing to make our chances count. It was the Rams who took the lead once more, this time through Bennett, who coolly buried the ball after having raced in behind our back line.

Following the break, Bennett looked to double up and stretch Derby’s lead, but saw his powerful effort from outside the box blocked.

On the hour mark, the Rams did add a third, when Alex Babos blasted the ball in on the rebound after Offrande Zanzala had cannoned a shot off the woodwork following a misplaced pass from Macey.

In search of a way back into the game, Marcus McGuane looked to reduce the deficit, linking up well as he burst into the penalty area, but saw his low shot scooped up by Barnes.

With just 12 minutes left on the clock, we were handed a lifeline with a driven strike into the far corner by Osei-Tutu.

Knowing a point was within touching distance, we pushed to equalise and very nearly did so through Krystian Bielik, whose effort was blocked after a goal-line scramble.

But then deep into injury time, we eventually found the goal we were searching for through an unlikely source in Julio Pleguezuelo, who fired home to bring us level.

WHAT IT MEANS

A draw sees us remain in third place, while fourth-placed Everton sit just three points behind us with a game in hand.

WHAT’S NEXT

Our under-23s travel to Liverpool in their next fixture as they take on the league leaders at Prenton Park in the New Year.

News

U-18s: Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday - Report

By Tatiana Bellometti

WHAT HAPPENED

Xavier Amaechi scored twice as our under-18s started their FA Youth Cup campaign with a 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night.

We piled on the pressure early on as Tyreece John-Jules fired a low shot into the Owls goalkeeper’s arms and then Amaechi scuffed a chance not long afterwards.

Just after the quarter-hour mark, Amaechi put us into the lead when he got on the end of an excellent through ball by Robbie Burton to slot home.

Amaechi then struck again to put us two goals to the good at the break with an impressive finish.

In the second half, Walker made a brilliant save to deny us in the opening moments before his opposite number, Joao Virginia was called on to make a sharp save.

The home side came close again as Trae Coyle threaded a ball through to Saka but he could not take his chance.

Wednesday pulled one back though at the end as Liam Smith headed in, but we held on to reach the fourth round.

WHAT IT MEANS

The win means we have sealed our progress into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

WHAT'S NEXT

We travel to Aston Villa on January 6. The last time the two sides met in August, it provided us with our first victory of the season, courtesy of a James Olayinka’s first-half strike.

Interview

Willock - Our aim is to win the title 

Joe Willock says our under-23s are targeting the Premier League 2 title after their victory at Manchester City. 

The 18-year-old was in fine form in Sunday’s win, which has taken us to third in the table.

Here is what Willock had to say afterwards:

on the win…
It was a good win. I thought we dug deep at the end, we played better in the first half but we dug deep and got the win.

on dominating them in the first half…
We did [dominate them], we pressed high and put out the game plan that the boss gave us, which we did well, so in the first half it was brilliant.

on scoring early in the second half…
It was good, that’s what we aimed to do and the boss said keep on going and we’ll get a goal. We came out and scored and we’re just delighted, it was good.

on not picking up a goal despite chances…
I hit the crossbar a few times, but sometimes it’s like that and I’m just happy we got the win really, I thought the boys did well.

on possibly winning the league title…
That’s our aim really, obviously it’s hard because a lot of us are with the first-team in the Europa League and cup, but as a collective group we’re really good, so that’s the aim.

on getting in the first-team squad…
This season has been big for me and the other boys as well. The boss has given us chances and believes in us, so that’s what the club is all about, giving youngsters the chance.

News

Osei-Tutu and Olowu commit their futures

Jordi Osei-Tutu and Joseph Olowu have committed their futures to the club.

Full back Jordi has signed a contract extension while defender Joseph has signed his first professional contract.

Jordi, who joined us from Reading in 2015, has featured prominently for our under-23s. The 19-year-old also been named as a substitute for the first team in both the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

Joseph, 18, has played for our under-23s and under-18s this season.

We would like to congratulate both youngsters on their new contracts, and look forward to their continued development at the club.

News

Nketiah, Macey and Sheaf sign new deals

Young professionals Eddie Nketiah, Matt Macey and Ben Sheaf have all signed new contracts with the club.

All three players have been rewarded with contract extensions after making their first-team debuts this season.

Eddie has played in four first-team matches so far this season. The 18-year-old striker has featured in three Europa League matches and in one Carabao Cup tie, where he came off the bench to help us seal a dramatic 2-1 extra-time win over Norwich City with two goals.

Matt has appeared in two first-team fixtures this season. The 23-year-old goalkeeper kept a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League and featured in that memorable win over the Canaries in the Carabao Cup.

Ben has also made a European appearance this season. The 19-year-old midfielder was a late substitute in the away win over Red Star Belgrade in October.

This news comes on the back of another exciting young talent, Joe Willock, also signing a new long-term contract earlier this month.

We would like to congratulate all players on their new contracts and wish them every success as they continue their development with the club.

Interview

Nketiah - What we’re learning in the cup

Although he’s been involved with the first team this season, Eddie Nketiah’s eyes are still firmly focused making the most of his opportunities with the under-23s.

We beat Porto 1-0 in our opening game of the Premier League International Cup and then drew 0-0 with Reading on Thursday night, ahead of our final group game against Bayern Munich.

Following the draw with the Royals, here is what Nketiah had to say:

on the performance…
I think in the first half we were maybe a but slow with it, the tempo was a bit slow and we didn’t play to our best, but in the second half we grew into the game and created more chances. There were a couple of offside calls that were 50:50 and unfortunately didn’t go our way, but I thought it was a better performance in the second half.

on whether we lacked cutting edge…
Maybe, I though that when I went up front I could contribute a bit better and I was in my natural position playing better, so I felt like I created more chances, but it unfortunately wasn’t our day today and we’ll move on to the next one.

on remaining unbeaten in the Premier League International Cup…
That’s a good thing, to keep going and getting the points in and I’m not sure who we’re playing next, but we’ll go there with the same mentality and try and break them down to win the match.

on playing against foreign opposition…
It’s different because we don’t really know too much about them, so it’s a good challenge and something different that we can adapt to. We’ll go into it like any other game and try and give our best and get a good result.

on his time with the first-team…
It’s been brilliant to get involved with the first-team and I’m hoping for a few more appearances and a few more goals. There’s a game coming up next Thursday and hopefully I’ll be involved, so I will try to do my best if I’m given the opportunity.

on how being with the first-team has helped him…
I feel like I have a bit more experience, I feel like I’m improving every time I train and play there, so it’s just allowed me to play better for the under-23s, so hopefully I can kick on and do well for both age groups.

Interview

How first-team training has improved Ben Sheaf

After returning from injury this season, Ben Sheaf has slotted seamlessly back into Steve Gatting’s under-23 side.

The defender has impressed in first-team training too, and was rewarded with his debut in the Europa League fixture away at Red Star Belgrade.

“It’s good for me to be in and around the first team, the next step for me is actually getting in the starting XI,” Sheaf told Arsenal.com.

“I’m in and around it, training with them regularly, so it’s obviously good for me, but now I want to take the next step and start playing some games.

“I’m definitely more comfortable on the ball, training with the first team is a lot faster than with the under-23s, so it has certainly helped me with the speed of the game and so coming down I’m a bit more controlled and good in possession.

“I just need to continue to do the right things in training and hopefully catch the boss’ eye and that way hopefully he can trust me and sticks me in one day.

“I’ve just got to keep doing the right things on a daily basis and I think that if you do it consistently it will definitely help you push and maybe get there in the end.”

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