Pre-Match Report

Preview: Arsenal U-23s v Blackburn Rovers

We’ll look to emulate our impressive opening-day victory when we face Blackburn Rovers in the reverse fixture on Friday night.


Folarin Balogun’s hat-trick of penalties secured all three points against Rovers on matchday one, and we’ve only lost once in the league since then.

Back-to-back victories against Tottenham and Southampton has revived our chances of lifting the title at the end of the season.

Trae Coyle scored his first goal of the campaign at the Lamex Stadium as we claimed north London bragging rights. Robbie Burton and Nathan Tormey were also on the scoresheet as we recorded a 3-1 victory.

Two weeks later, Tyreece John-Jules scored the only goal of the game as we narrowly beat the Saints at Meadow Park.  

We are also making good progress in the Premier League International Cup after winning our first game in the competition, against Villarreal. Tormey gave us an early lead when he headed home from close range and Emile Smith Rowe and Coyle’s second-half strikes secured a 3-0 victory.  

We currently sit third in the PL2 table behind Chelsea and Derby County.


Blackburn have recorded one win in the past five games and will be desperate to pick up three points to pull away from a relegation battle.

They currently sit fourth from bottom in the table - and are only one point above Manchester City, who occupy the second relegation spot above Southampton.

Despite their position in the table, Blackburn still have a lot of quality, which is reflected in their victories against Spurs and Southampton.

Dominic Samuel scored a hat-trick as they beat our north London neighbours 4-0 at home, before travelling to Southampton and recording a 3-1 victory.


Karl Hein has asserted himself as our number one goalkeeper in recent weeks after a string of impressive performances.

Steve Bould’s side have recorded back-to-back clean sheets in all competitions with Hein between the sticks for both matches.

A commanding figure who’s not afraid to come off his line, the 17-year-old joined the club in 2018 from Nomme United, and after featuring prominently for our under-18s, he’s adapted well to life in our under-23s. 


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

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

By Sam Cox

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