Match preview

Match preview: Arsenal U-23s v Leicester City

We’ll be looking to progress into the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup when we face Leicester City at Meadow Park on Friday evening.

THE STORY SO FAR

We made the perfect start to our campaign by recording back-to-back victories against Villarreal and Dinamo Zagreb.

Against the Yellow Submarine, Nathan Tormey scored his fifth goal of the season when he reacted quickly to head home from close range, and second-half strikes from Emile Smith Rowe and Trae Coyle secured a 3-0 victory at Meadow Park.

The following match against Zagreb was far less routine, as we found ourselves a goal down inside seven minutes. Tyreece John-Jules levelled 10 minutes before half-time and we took the lead shortly after the break, thanks to James Olayinka’s strike.

The match was finely poised going into the closing stages after Roko Baturina had equalised for the visitors, but with the final kick of the match, John-Jules calmly slotted home Folarin Balogun’s cut-back to seal all three points.

We currently sit top of group A, above the Foxes, on six points.

THE OPPOSITION

Leicester opened their Premier League International Cup campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Villarreal.

George Hirst opened the scoring inside 24 minutes and Josh Eppiah doubled the Foxes’ advantage two minutes later.  Alex Millian pulled a goal back for the visitors shortly before half-time, but the hosts held on to secure all three points.

Ahead of the match this evening, our head coach Steve Bould said, “It’ll be another tough game against Leicester. We’re not sure about our numbers, it will possible be another young side again on Friday, but again, that’s part of the challenge and something we’re looking forward to.”

ONE TO WATCH

Olayinka has impressed in recent weeks with mature and commanding performances in midfield.  

The versatile midfielder can operate in either central midfield or in a more advanced position, giving Bould a variety of options.

He scored his first league goal of the season against Everton on Monday night when he collected the ball with his back to goal, spun his marker and curled a neat effort into the bottom corner.  

FOLLOW THE ACTION  

You can receive live updates by following our Twitter account @ArsenalAcademy

Stay close to Arsenal.com for our match report and post-match reaction from Steve Bould.

By Sam Cox

 

 

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