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John-Jules nominated for PL2 Player of the Month

John-Jules

Tyreece John-Jules has been nominated for December’s Premier League 2 Player of the Month award.

The 17-year-old forward has impressed Freddie Ljungberg at under-23 level - and as a result, he’s been tasked with leading the line on nine occasions this season.

The England under-18 international featured twice in the PL2 over December, scoring a sublime goal away at an experienced Liverpool side.

The shortlist was chosen by the Premier League's Football Development Panel after PL2 club managers nominated the best performances by opposing players in each of their matches. 

Other contenders for the award are:

Aaron Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion FC)
Joshua Knight (Leicester City FC)
Rabbi Matondo (Manchester City FC)
Moses Makasi (West Ham United)

The winner will be announced at 10am (UK time) on Friday, January 11.

Post-Match Report

Youth Cup: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham - How it happened

Saka

WHAT HAPPENED 

We twice came from behind to secure a dramatic 5-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur and book our place in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup.

Strikes from Ben Cottrell and Bukayo Saka ensured that the tie went to extra time, before three goals inside 15 minutes guaranteed our progress.

Despite starting strong and instantly placing the visitors under pressure, it was Tottenham who opened the scoring.

Troy Parrot found space down the left wing and squared the ball to Armando Shashoua, who was left with the simple task of firing into an empty net - but their lead wouldn’t last long.

Following some slick passing on the edge of the box, Cottrell wriggled free of his marker and fired into the top corner for his third goal in as many matches.

Both sides continued to attack as the half-time whistle edged nearer, but once again, it was the visitors who took took the lead.

Paris Maghoma received the ball 15 yards from goal and picked out J’Neil Bennett, who fired past Arthur Okonkwo at the far post.

Xavier Amaechi then came close to an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, but his powerful left-footed effort was pushed away to safety.

Amaechi continued to threaten after the break and following a darting run into the area, the 18-year-old was brought down by Josh Oluwayemi. The referee was left with no other choice than to point to the spot - and Saka was there to convert from 12 yards. 

Shortly after Mark McGuinness made a stunning last-ditch tackle to deny the visitors a third, before Balogun’s powerful effort was saved.

It was end-to-end football in the closing stages, but with neither side able to carve open one last opportunity, the game went to extra time.

It was here when our attacking intensity and fitness paid off. Amaechi gave us the lead for the first time with a simple finish from close range, before Balogun doubled our advantage from six yards.

In the second half of extra time Saka scored the pick of the goals as he received the ball on the edge of the box and fired a stunning effort into the top corner from 20 yards.

WHAT’S NEXT 

Ken Gillard’s side are in U-18 Premier League action against Leicester City on Thursday, January 24.

The game will take place at Leicester’s training ground with kick-off at 7pm (UK time)

Interview

Saka Why I combine so well with Nketiah

Saka

Bukayo Saka delivered yet another man-of-the-match performance on Monday night as we ran out 5-1 winners over Manchester City.

The 17-year-old winger scored two on the night, meaning he’s now struck seven goals and assisted eight in all competitions this season.

We spoke to Saka after the final whistle - and this is what he said.

on the first-half performance…
We just stuck to the gameplan that Freddie gave us at the start of the game. Recently we’ve tried to do that a lot and I think we did that well today. We scored three very good goals so I’m proud of the first-half performance.

on players returning from injury…
It gives us a lot of confidence that we’ve got top quality players coming back into the squad. It gives us a massive boost, especially as they’re two attacking players (Robbie Burton and Xavier Amaechi). It gives use a lot more creativity up top so we can go and score more goals.

on playing with Nketiah…
I think we both have a lot of pace so it pushes teams back more. Then if teams do play a high line, we can get in behind it. We create so many chances for each other and I feel like we bring the best out of each other.

on conceding so soon after the break…
Freddie told us to start sharp and we didn’t! We managed to get going after but we need to just focus at the start and go long if we have to, as long as we don’t make silly mistakes like that.

on his two goals…
I’m happy with the first one on the weak foot. I’ve just cut in and thought that I’m going to put it far post, and it’s gone there, so I’m proud of that. For the second one I’ve taken it well with my left foot and it was a good pass from Joe, so I’m happy with both of my goals.

on Ljungberg barking orders at him after his second goal…
He was proud of me, he was just talking about an incident before where I pressed and almost got the ball, which would have given us a counter-attack. But we managed to score anyway so we’re happy.

on which first-team players are helping him to develop most…
When we do finishing drills with Lacazette, Aubameyang and Iwobi you can just see the finishing and the quality that they have. I just want to be like them so every time I’m there I just try to learn from the best, especially in my position because I can take a lot from them.

Interview

Ljungberg That was exactly how we want to play

Ljungberg

Freddie Ljungberg was a happy man on Monday night as we ran out 5-1 winners over Manchester City in the Premier League 2. 

Heading into this fixture we found ourselves without a win in seven, but it was the way we secured victory that pleased our head coach most. 

We spoke to Ljungberg after the final whistle - and this is what he said 

on our dominant first-half performance...
I’m so pleased. It was exactly what we worked on in the week and how we want to play football. We’re starting to get some boys back from injury and stuff, so that helps and we were playing against a very good City side, who play some very good football. Of course as a coach when you see a performance like this, you’re very happy.

on Nketiah bringing out the best in those around him…
Of course he does. He has experience and sometimes we play some really good football, but it goes up and down when we have some experience in the side. It helps to have someone that you can look up to a bit and see how they need to work. All 23 of our players work really hard and players like Eddie and Joe set the standard for everybody else. That’s the level you have to be at.

on our fluidity in attack…
It’s so nice. It’s similar to when we started the season and were showing how we want to play football. We had amazing rotations and amazing movement, and when we didn’t have the ball we were locking onto them and making life difficult for City, so as a coach you smile.

on conceding so soon after the break…
We spoke about this at half-time and of course we did it against Brighton, so we said don’t be silly when we start the second half, be solid and be tactical. We need to do that and I don’t care what the score is, I don’t want us to concede. But we reacted and went on to dominate in the second half.

on Mavropanos’ performance…
He’s been injured since the summer and he came through well I thought. He was very happy that he could play some football again after being out for six months, so we’re all happy for him. He had minutes on him that we agreed from the beginning, so there were no injuries or anything, we just took him off.

on whether he’s desperate for our next game to come…
Yes, of course it would be nice to play again, but that’s how the league works. There’s gaps and sometimes you play five games in 17 days, and then you have a gap for a few weeks, but the main thing for us is that you see progress, the way we want to play with energy and good rotations. I’m really, really happy.

Post-Match Report

U-23s: Arsenal 5-1 Man City: How it happened

Saka

WHAT HAPPENED

We returned to winning ways in the Premier League 2 on Monday night with a dominant 5-1 win over Manchester City.

Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Xavier Amaechi formed a thrilling attack, while Dinos Mavropanos made his return from injury.

For the first time since November, Freddie Ljungberg had a full strength frontline to choose from - and it certainly showed on the night.

After receiving the ball on the left wing early on, Saka beat his marker and fired into the far corner for his sixth goal in all competitions this season.

City’s defence were struggling to handle our runs in behind, and shortly after we doubled our advantage.

Amaechi stormed into the box and forced Jayden Bruff into a late tackle, leaving the referee with no other choice than to point to the penalty spot. Robbie Burton stepped up and made no mistake with the finish. 

Amaechi then fired a curling free-kick narrowly wide, before Deyan Iliev was called into action for the first time on the half-hour mark. 

We dominated the first half from start to finish and with less than a minute remaining, Joe Willock made it three. Nketiah’s effort was saved and dropped ag the midfielder’s feet inside the box and he was left with the simple task of firing into an empty net.

However, it was the visitors who struck next after the restart through Luke Bolton, who converted from close range following two stunning saves from Iliev.

Less than five minutes later, we provided an instant response through Saka, who scored with a first-time finish from a loose ball inside the area.

City’s defence continued to face attack after attack, and in the 67th minute Amaechi grabbed his reward for a fine performance.

Nketiah beat his marker on the right wing and picked out Amaechi, who fired home from close range. The 18-year-old winger has now scored in his last two PL2 outings.

WHAT IT MEANS

PL2 table

WHAT’S NEXT

Our next PL2 fixture is against West Ham United on Monday, February 4.

The game will take place at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).

Fixtures

Premier League
Ticket Info
The Emirates FA Cup
Ticket Info

Results

Premier League
The Emirates FA Cup