Pre-Match Report

Match preview: Cambridge United v Arsenal U-21

Ben Cottrell

Our under-21s will be aiming to finish their Leasing.com Trophy campaign in style on Tuesday night when they face Cambridge United at Abbey Stadium.

THE STORY SO FAR 

Despite showing plenty of promise in the competition, Steve Bould’s side will ultimately be playing for pride against the Us after securing just one point from their opening two fixtures.

James Olayinka handed us a 1-0 lead in the 78th minute on the opening day against Northampton Town, but Sam Hawkinsequalised late on, before the Cobblers ran out 4-3 winners on penalties to secure an extra point. 

We then went on to deliver a spirited defensive performance against Peterborough United, only to be undone by a unfortunate deflected strike from Joe Ward.


THE OPPOSITION 

Cambridge United are currently bottom of Group H on zero points - but with two games still to play, a win on Tuesday night would see them move up to third and edge one step closer to last-32.

Colin Calderwood’s side faced Northampton on the road in their opening Leasing.com Trophy fixture, with Harry Smith’s late strike proving to be the difference. It was the Cobblers’ only shot on target over 90 minutes. 

Meanwhile in League Two, the Us are currently 12th in the table on 23 points, winning six and drawing five of their 17 fixtures.

Sam Smith will be their biggest goalscoring threat, having scored six and assisted once in just 17 league appearances. The 21-year-old striker is currently on loan from Reading.

Smith

ONE TO WATCH 

Matt Smith will need to be at his very best on Tuesday night if we want to dictate play against experienced opposition.

With an impressive passing range and a commendable work-rate, the 19-year-old is capable of making the difference in the final third, in addition to protecting our backline.

He also remains one of our only fully-fit central midfielders, making him all the more important if we want to secure the victory.

Matt Smith

FOLLOW THE ACTION 

Follow our Twitter account @ArsenalAcademy for updates throughout the game.

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