By Max Jones
Arsenal Under-21s produced a dominant second-half performance to beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 at Macron Stadium on Monday.
Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill gave the Gunners the lead inside 10 minutes by finding the bottom corner from the left-hand side, but Jordan Lussey hit back straight away to take the sides into the break level.
Alex Iwobi restored the visitors' lead after half-time with his 10th goal of the season before Serge Gnabry scored a third to secure back-to-back wins.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting made two changes to the side that beat Brighton & Hove Albion at Meadow Park last Monday.
Deyan Iliev returned to replace Matt Macey in goal while George Dobson’s absence saw Julio Pleguezuelo switch into the middle and Renny Smith come in at right back.
Elsewhere Gnabry retained his place in an exciting front line containing Daniel Crowley, Gedion Zelalem and Iwobi as he looked to secure more valuable minutes for the under-21s.
Stefan O’Connor scored as Bolton won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Meadow Park but the Gunners would have approached this game full of confidence after ending their four-game losing streak a week earlier.
Arsenal struggled to break down Brighton & Hove Albion in their last outing but flew into an early lead this time around. Ormonde-Ottewill found a yard of space on the left-hand side and fired into the far corner.
The Gunners’ lead lasted just two minutes, though. Sanmi Odelusi had caused Smith problems in the opening exchanges and beat the right back again to feed Lussey who slammed home from the edge of the box.
Odelusi then sent a low strike inches wide before Arsenal regained control of the game, as Alex Iwobi fed Ainsley Maitland-Niles who rounded Harry Campbell but lost his footing at the crucial moment.
Matija Boben glanced a long ball on to his own crossbar before Gnabry collected in a dangerous position, but the Germany Under-21 forward sent his bobbling shot wide of the far post.
Bolton started the second half with more intent and were nearly rewarded when Niall Maher powered into the box from deep, but his shot was blocked at the last second by a combination of Arsenal bodies.
The hosts looked to be increasing in confidence but then Iwobi burst into life. The forward stung Campbell’s palms before cutting in from the right-hand side and firing underneath the goalkeeper to restore Arsenal’s lead.
Bolton were rattled and the Gunners took advantage when Gnabry led a quick counter-attack, burst into the box and coolly slotted beyond Campbell into the far corner.
Jamie Thomas and Conor Wilkinson did threaten late on for the home side, but Iliev reacted well to deny the midfielders and secure three points for Gatting’s side.
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