Our under-21s will be fighting for their place in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night when they face Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn.
THE STORY SO FAR
We kicked off our campaign in the finest of fashions with a comprehensive 3-0 win over League One side Coventry City.
Emile Smith Rowe broke the deadlock with a low drive, before Eddie Nketiah doubled our advantage with a curling finish. Joe Willock rounded off the scoring with a dinked effort from close range, but our second outing in the competition didn’t quite go to plan.
We started bravely against Cheltenham Town and showed real desire to play out from the back, but when Robbie Burton was dispossessed on the edge of the box and hacked down Jacob Maddox, we went down to 10 men. Tyreece John-Jules and Charlie Gilmour found the back of the net for Freddie Ljungberg’s side, but it couldn’t prevent us from falling to a 6-2 defeat.
Forest Green Rovers ran out 4-0 winners over Cheltenham in their opening clash, before being held to a 1-1 draw with Coventry in 90 minutes.
The game went to penalties and Coventry ran out 4-2 winners, meaning they left the Ricoh Arena with a single point. Rovers are currently first in Group E, with a goal difference of +4.
Meanwhile in League Two, Mark Cooper’s side are eighth in the table after 17 fixtures, having been beaten just twice all season.
Our backline may also be handed the tough task of stopping Reuben Reid on Wednesday night, who’s scored five goals and assisted once in 18 appearances this season.
THE MANAGER’S NOTES
“It’s a big game,” Ljungberg told Arsenal.com. “We entered it to help the older boys get a feel for first-team football and obviously we will see how it goes in the week, but I hope it’s going to be a good game.
“We played against Coventry and did really well and the next time we played well but made mistakes and were naive, whereas the pro football players were a little more savvy again. If we cut out the things we show to the players in our videos and play the same way then we’ll win football games.”
ONE TO WATCH
Nketiah comes into this fixture off the back of a fine performance against Chelsea in the Premier League 2, despite being on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline.
The young forward was a constant threat in behind the Blues defence on Saturday and capped off his lively showing with two composed finishes. The 19-year-old has now scored seven goals across all competitions this season.
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