Post-Match Report

U-21s: Brighton 1-2 Arsenal - Report

15/16: Brighton 1-2 Under-21s - Ben Sheaf

Brighton U23 -

Amex Stadium
Barclays U21 Premier League
Barclays U21 Premier League
  Brighton U23
      
              Connor Goldson (13)
               Ben Sheaf (48)
          
   crest
Brighton U23
Connor Goldson (13) Ben Sheaf (48)
1 2
  Arsenal U23
      
                  Donyell Malen (60)
            
   crest
Arsenal U23
Donyell Malen (60)

By Lloyd Webb at The Amex

Summary

Donyell Malen scored a second-half winner as Arsenal Under-21s came from a goal behind to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at The Amex on Monday. Connor Goldson’s header gave the hosts an early lead and the young Gunners spurned a number of chances to level before the break. However, Steve Gatting’s side continued to press in the second half and found an equaliser minutes after the restart thanks to Ben Sheaf’s terrific free-kick. With the visitors mounting the pressure on Brighton, Malen then produced a moment of brilliance to complete Arsenal’s comeback, beating his man before chipping the onrushing Niki Maenpaa. The Gunners remained in control throughout the second half and claimed a vital three points to climb up to third in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.

Setting the scene

Gatting made three changes to the side that suffered their first defeat of the season, against Stoke City 10 days ago. Calum Chambers started in central midfield, hoping to gain more experience in the role ahead of Arsenal’s busy Christmas period, while recent first-team squad member Jeff Reine-Adelaide was also named in the starting lineup. Elsewhere, Malen was preferred to lead the line ahead of Stephy Mavididi, who scored Arsenal Under-19s’ late consolation against Dinamo Zagreb in the Youth League six days ago.

First half

Arsenal started strongly and gave the hosts an early warning when Malen cut inside and rattled the bar with a fierce strike. However, it was Brighton who took the lead when Goldson rose well to head past the outstretched Matt Macey after just 13 minutes. Sheaf had an opportunity to level the scores when he was found inside the box, but he fired into the side netting on the half-hour mark. Alex Iwobi was next to threaten, curling his 18-yard strike inches wide and, despite their best efforts, the Gunners went into the interval a goal down.

Second half

Arsenal were on the front foot again after the restart and their pressure soon paid off when Ben Sheaf curled his free-kick into the bottom corner to equalise. Malen then produced a moment of brilliance to race past his marker and apply a composed chip over Maenpaa to give the visitors a deserved lead. Elvis Manu almost levelled the scores 10 minutes later when he held off Krystian Bielik’s challenge, but could only smash into the side netting.

There was one final chance for the hosts to snatch a late point when Danny Holla’s deflected free-kick brushed Macey’s near post, but Arsenal held out to secure a hard-fought win.

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