Pre-Match Report

U21s: Arsenal v Middlesbrough - Preview

Steve Gatting has plenty of clinical finishers at his disposal.

Chuba Akpom has been scoring for fun at under-21 level this season while Daniel Crowley has also found the net six times, including a hat-trick against Anderlecht.

But in the under-21s’ 3-0 win at Stoke City on Saturday, Ainsley Maitland-Niles reminded his coach he could finish just as well as the young Gunners’ top scorers when he found the top corner from 30 yards.

The tricky midfielder is used to playing on the wing but has recently impressed in a central role, and Gatting believes adding more goals to his game will make Maitland-Niles a better all-round player.

"He anticipated the pass and won the ball, then he saw the goalkeeper off his line and finished it very well"

Steve Gatting

“Ainsley is growing in the middle of midfield in every game,” Gatting told “His strike against Stoke was good for two reasons. Firstly he anticipated the pass and won the ball. Then he saw the goalkeeper off his line and finished it very well.

“We created a lot of chances in that game, and that was something we talked about before kick-off. It was something we needed to address because we had a lot of possession in the previous two games without really creating any chances.

“Our aim was to try to move the ball quicker and we also wanted to get get forward at the right times. From that we were able to create a lot more.”

Gatting will be expecting a similar performance from his side when they host Middlesbrough at Meadow Park on Friday at 7pm.

Entry to the match is free and supporters attending the game will be entitled to half-price tickets for Boreham Wood’s next home match against Wealdstone on Saturday, November 8. More information will be available at the stadium.

We will have live updates of the under-21s match on the @Arsenal Twitter feed from 6.55pm (UK time).

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