Post-Match Report

U-21s: Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal - Report

Aston Villa U23 -

Villa Park
Barclays U21 Premier League
Barclays U21 Premier League
  Aston Villa U23
Aston Villa U23
0 2
  Arsenal U23
                  Chuba Akpom (28
Arsenal U23
Chuba Akpom (28

By Max Jones at Villa Park


Arsenal Under-21s continued their fantastic start to the season with a 2-0 win against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Thursday night.

Chuba Akpom opened the scoring with his fourth goal in two games, firing home from six yards, before doubling his side’s lead five minutes before the end.

There was little to separate the teams throughout the 90 minutes on a cold evening in the west Midlands, but the Gunners were clinical and played with the extra bit of quality they needed to extend their unbeaten run.


Steve Gatting made three changes to the side that beat West Brom 4-2 at the end of August. Emiliano Martinez replaced Deyan Iliev while Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ inclusion saw a reshuffle as Isaac Hayden moved to centre back and Semi Ajayi dropped to the bench. Gedion Zelalem came in for Joel Campbell.

The young Gunners were unbeaten before kick-off and were flying high at the top of the Under-21 Premier League Division Two. Aston Villa sat in ninth having drawn both of their opening games.

This was a big chance for the youngsters to impress at another Premier League stadium and in front of the live television cameras.


Arsenal raced out of the blocks and carved out the first chance in the fifth minute. Akpom broke from a Villa corner and found Maitland-Niles, who curled his effort onto the crossbar.

Villa threatened in the 20th minute but Martinez was equal to Sellars’ effort. Then the Gunners broke and Akpom rounded Craig Hill before his low finish was blocked on the line by Kevin Toner.

But the striker didn’t disappoint from his next chance. The 18-year-old capitalised on a defensive error before evading Hill and firing into the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Akpom went through one-on-one again but this time Hill came out on top, smothering the ball just before half-time as Arsenal went into the break leading in front of 377 fans.


Villa were rejuvenated after the interval and Callum Robinson nearly levelled when he fired just wide of the far post.

But Arsenal hit back immediately, with Maitland-Niles heading Hector Bellerin’s floated cross inches wide at the back post.

Bellerin then caused all kinds of confusion as he burst into the box and found Akpom, who was tackled by Hill before Crowley’s shot was smothered by Villa bodies.

And it took until the 85th minute for Arsenal to breach the home defence for a second time. Akpom charged through and found the far corner, sealing another three points in a fantastic season so far for the Gunners.

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