By Max Jones at Meadow Park
Serge Gnabry starred as Arsenal Under-21s ended their season in style by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 at Meadow Park on Monday.
The Germany Under-21 forward masterminded the victory, scoring his third goal for the young Gunners before setting up another two on a dominant evening in Borehamwood.
Alex Iwobi opened the scoring and Gnabry blasted in a second from close range as Arsenal cruised into the break with a comfortable two-goal lead.
Julio Pleguezuelo then headed a third from Gnabry’s free-kick and Regan Upton flicked the German’s next set-piece beyond his own goalkeeper as the Gunners finished their Under-21 Premier League campaign on a high.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting made five changes to the side that beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 at Macron Stadium as Isaac Hayden returned from injury to make his first start since December.
The goalkeeper rotation continued as Matt Macey came in for Deyan Iliev, while Chiori Johnson - also returning from a spell on the sidelines - and Marc Bola replaced Renny Smith and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill in the full-back positions.
Daniel Crowley and Gedion Zelalem missed the game through injury and international duties respectively, so Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Tyrell Robison started either side of Alex Iwobi in a pacy front line.
As they did in January’s reverse fixture Arsenal started strongly and had the first chance, Pleguezuelo’s header from Gnabry’s free-kick was saved comfortably by Harry Burgoyne.
Arsenal were soon ahead. Hayden drove forward and Burgoyne could only parry his powerful strike as far as Iwobi, who slotted in from close range for his 10th goal of the season.
Iwobi could have doubled his tally for the night but Burgoyne reacted brilliantly to beat away his half-volley, before Connor Hunte’s free-kick forced Macey into an equally fine save at the other end.
Arsenal looked compact in defence and dangerous on the break, and the Gunners’ second came from a perfectly-executed counter-attack. Ainsley Maitland-Niles reached the byline and pulled back for Gnabry to smash home his second goal in as many games.
Wolves looked more lively after half-time and nearly pulled one back within two minutes of the restart, but Macey produced a superb diving save to keep out Bright Enobakhare’s dipping effort.
The Gunners let a two-goal lead slip in the reverse fixture and Wolves looked to be getting a foothold in the game, but Pleguezuelo soon took the wind out of their sails. Gnabry’s free-kick was flicked onto the crossbar and the Spanish defender rose highest to power the rebound in.
Gnabry was at the heart of Arsenal’s next goal too. From an almost identical position, the Germany Under-21 forward whipped in another dangerous free-kick and Upton flicked beyond his own goalkeeper under pressure from Krystian Bielik.
Wolves did threaten twice late on but Macey tipped Declan Weeks’ driven half-volley over from 25 yards before Aaron Hayden headed harmlessly wide under pressure from Stefan O’Connor.
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