Pre-Match Report

U-21s: Portsmouth v Arsenal - The Brief

Tyreece John-Jules and Freddie Ljungberg

Our under-21s will be aiming to book their place in the last 16 of the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night when they face Portsmouth at Fratton Park.


We finished second in the group stage of the competition on six points, behind group winners Cheltenham Town on goal difference.

Freddie Ljungberg guided his side to a comprehensive 3-0 win over Coventry City in their first-ever outing in the competition, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.

Robbie Burton received an early red card in our following fixture against Cheltenham Town - and the League One side made no mistake in punishing us, as they ran out 6-2 winners at Whaddon Road. 

However, knowing that a single win would guarantee our place in the last 32, our youngsters rose to the challenge against Forest Green Rovers and secured a 3-1 win on the road. 

Joe Willock remains our top goalscorer in the Checkatrade Trophy with three goals from three games, while 17-year-old forward Tyreece John-Jules has scored twice from three starts. 

Joe Willock


Portsmouth head into this fixture off the back of six consecutive victories in all competitions, as well as picking up three wins from three in the Checkatrade Trophy.

They kicked off their campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over Gillingham at Fratton Park, before edging a 1-0 away win over Crawley Town.

Their final group stage outing came against Tottenham U-21s, but despite going behind first and conceding twice, strikes from Andre Green, Gareth Evans and Oliver Hawkins helped them to secure all three points. 

Impressively, each of Portsmouth’s eight goals in the competition so far have all been scored by different players.


After making his first-team debut in our 3-0 win over FC Vorskla on Thursday, Bukayo Saka will be desperate to continue impressing under Ljungberg’s guidance.

We’ve got plenty of goalscorers in the squad with Eddie Nketiah and John-Jules leading the line, but with Reiss Nelson out on loan and Xavier Amaechi recovering from injury, Saka will be tasked with making us tick in the final third. 

Blessed with pace and power, Saka has been a constant threat to opposing defences this season, coming off the left-hand side to devastating effect.

The 17-year-old has scored four goals and assisted seven times at all academy levels this season.

Bukayo Saka


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