Post-Match Report

Under-21s: Middlesbrough 3-2 Arsenal

14/15 Academy: Middlesbrough 3-2 Arsenal - Dan Crowley

Middlesbrough U23 -

Riverside Stadium
Barclays U21 Premier League
Barclays U21 Premier League
  Middlesbrough U23
              Emmanuel Ledesma (16 pen)
               0 (36)
               Yanic Wildschut (41)
               Dan Crowley (72)
Middlesbrough U23
Emmanuel Ledesma (16 pen) 0 (36) Yanic Wildschut (41) Dan Crowley (72)
3 2
  Arsenal U23
                  Iwobi (31)
Arsenal U23
Iwobi (31)

By Max Jones at Riverside Stadium


A battling performance from 10-man Arsenal Under-21s proved to be in vain as they lost 3-2 against Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium on Monday.

Deyan Iliev was sent off for a professional foul within 15 minutes as Emmanuel Ledesma gave Boro an early lead from the penalty spot.

Alex Iwobi then equalised with his sixth goal in four games but the hosts made their numerical advantage count with two screamers from Lewis Maloney and Yanic Wildschut before half-time.

Daniel Crowley pulled one back on the hour mark but Arsenal’s resurgence came too late as Middlesbrough reinforced their position at the top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Division Two.


Steve Gatting made six changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Reading at Emirates Stadium last Monday.

The manager continued to rotate his goalkeepers as Iliev replaced Matt Macey, while George Dobson and Renny Smith also came in as injury and unavailability ruled out Krystian Bielik and Julio Pleguezuelo.

Jack Wilshere’s return to first-team duty saw Gedion Zelalem reinstated as Arsenal’s No 10, while Glen Kamara and Stephy Mavididi replaced the absent Abou Diaby and Serge Gnabry.

Daniel Crowley scored a last-minute winner to separate the sides in October’s reverse fixture and the league leaders would be seeking revenge with first-team forward Ledesma leading an experienced front line.


Despite an encouraging start, Arsenal soon found themselves a goal and a man down. Iliev was sent off for chopping down Harry Chapman having failed to clear Dobson’s backpass, and Ledesma gratefully dispatched the resulting penalty beyond substitute goalkeeper Macey.

The Gunners showed character to battle back into the game, though, and Zelalem started to control proceedings. The playmaker slipped through Iwobi and the in-form forward twisted and turned to rifle beyond Connor Ripley.

Zelalem then smashed a bouncing ball wide before Maloney restored Middlesbrough’s lead with a piece of individual brilliance. Breaking into Arsenal’s half, the midfielder took a touch to set himself before thundering an unstoppable strike into the top corner.

Not one to be outdone, Netherlands Under-21 forward Wildschut - who boasts two first-team goals this season - powered forward from deep and smashed into the bottom corner to give the Gunners a mountain to climb in the second half.


Arsenal looked for a way back into the game but, with all their players on the attack, Wildschut pounced on the counter-attack. The forward glided past three defenders and pulled back to Maloney who forced Macey into a spectacular save with another long-range strike.

The goalkeeper was tested two minutes later when Chapman created a yard of space on the edge of the box and sent a dipping drive towards the bottom corner, but Macey pushed his effort to safety.

Middlesbrough eased up on the hour mark and Arsenal were allowed time to play their best football. Kamara and Zelalem combined to release Crowley in the box, who passed into the far corner.

The Gunners continued to push for a deserved equaliser as they mounted an assault on Middlesbrough’s area, but Zelalem and Maitland-Niles were thwarted at the last second by a well-drilled home defence.



Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles



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