Match preview

Match preview: Arsenal U-23s v Manchester City

Harry Clarke

We’re aiming to get back to winning ways in the Premier League 2 on Friday night when we host Manchester City at Emirates Stadium.

THE STORY SO FAR

Steve Bould’s side made an unbeaten start to 2020, producing fine comebacks against Derby County and Everton to claim two draws, before beating Leicester City 3-0 in the PL International Cup.

But a youthful side containing a number of under-18s were then beaten 3-0 away to Liverpool on a frustrating afternoon on Merseyside.

In the following game we pushed league leaders Chelsea all the way, but unfortunately left Meadow Park empty handed as we suffered a second consecutive defeat. 

Folarin Balogun gave us the lead inside 16 minutes when his cross-cum-shot looped into the back of the net, but the visitors then turned the match on its head before half-time when Armando Broja headed home from a corner and Billy Gilmour squeezed an effort past Karl Hein on the stroke of half-time.

Despite our best efforts in the second half, the Blues recorded a 2-1 away victory, meaning we currently sit in sixth place in the PL 2 table.  

THE OPPOSITION

After making a stop-start opening to the season, ninth-placed Manchester City have picked up in form after winning three of their last five matches.

The Citizens comprehensively beat Everton 4-1 thanks to goals from Felix Nmecha, Jayden Braaf and Adrian Bernabe, before falling to defeat against Brighton a week later.

But there is some good news for our young gunners as Ian Poveda, who scored the opening goal in the reverse fixture in October, won’t feature after signing for Leeds United in January.  

ONE TO WATCH

Zak Swanson has returned to action after a spell on the sidelines and looks to be back to his best.

The versatile defender can play across the backline or in central midfield and has adapted well to under-23 football after making the step up from our under-18s.

He played the full 90 minutes against Chelsea and earlier in the season, Bould was full of praise for Swanson.

“Zak’s one of those players that plays at 7/10 every week and you know what you’re going to get from him,” our head coach said. “Step by step he’s becoming a more polished player week in, week out.”


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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