Ali satisfied with a point against Palace


Ali satisfied with a point against Palace

Mehmet Ali reflected that our under-21s' 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace was probably a fair result, as we extended our Premier League 2 unbeaten run to 10 games. 

After Malcolm Ebiowei broke the deadlock for the visitors on the half-hour mark with a first-time finish in the box, our Young Gunners responded well and shortly before the break, Mauro Bandeira found the equaliser with a delicately placed shot from just inside the area. 

Despite several near-misses during the second 45 - including a last-minute effort from our Gunners that was denied by the crossbar - the well-matched sides settled for a point, but Ali felt it was what both teams deserved.

"A real tough fixture for us this evening and a lot of credit goes to the Crystal Palace coaching staff," he said post-match. "We've watched a lot of their games; they've been going really well in PL 2, in Papa Johns Trophy as well.

"I was really proud of our boys. First half, I thought we were excellent. We managed regains well, we got after the opponents, we made them kick it a little bit longer. And we had some good chances: we just weren't deadly in the final third and I think that's what cost us first half.

"We showed a lot of character to make it 1-1 and some great composure from Mauro. Second half, it became a little bit like basketball: they attack, then we attack. A few heavy challenges from them and we had to keep our composure in those moments. I thought we could have done that better in the second half, but a good learning experience for all of us."

Not one to dwell on league standings so early in the season, Mehmet reiterated his primary focus, as well as sharing why he believes our Young Gunners are still unbeaten. 

"The most important thing is the first team being top of the league. That's number one. For us, it's about taking each game as it comes. Wherever players are playing, they've given everything and that's what we want. We want to keep pushing them, keep improving them.

"There is a reason why this group of players are unbeaten and I think that's what because of what they do every single day in training."

Elian Quesada-Thorn, a marauding left back who recently made the jump from under-18s to regular starts with our under-21s, also gave his assessment on the match.

"It was a tough game overall but the boys dug deep," he said. "We played against a very good Palace side. First half, I thought we were a bit stronger than the second half but yeah, it's good to keep that unbeaten record.

"It's a big step up [to the under-21s] but I feel like I'm taking my chances as well and proving myself. We're looking forward to Sunday."

"We've got a great group. They're brilliant players, and I've just taken every experience to learn from them as well," he added.

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

UEFA Champions League
Ticket Info