Pre-Match Report

U-23s: Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers - The Brief

Arsenal U-23 - Saka and John-Jules

We will be aiming to return to winning ways on Monday night as we host Blackburn Rovers at Meadow Park in the Premier League 2.

THE STORY SO FAR

Despite consistently delivering an attacking brand of football, we head into this fixture off the back of three consecutive defeats in all competitions.

The most recent of which, a 4-1 loss to Liverpool, proved to be a frustrating afternoon for our youngsters.

Despite dominating the first half and placing the Reds’ defence under great pressure, Tyreece John-Jules’ equaliser was cancelled out by a clinical second-half performance.

Prior to that we were beaten 5-0 by Derby County following wholesale changes, before slipping to a narrow 2-1 defeat to Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy. Seventeen-year-olds Bukayo Saka and John-Jules troubled the League One defence all evening, but ultimately experience prevailed.

We’re currently eighth in the PL2 table, meaning a win on Monday could see us climb as high as sixth.

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka


THE OPPOSITION

Blackburn are currently second bottom of the PL2 table on seven points, having picked up just two wins from 12 outings.

They’ve scored the fewest goals in the league so far this season, averaging just 1.0 goals per game - in addition to having a goal difference of -14, the worst in the league.

However, Rovers will be desperate to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season on Monday night, after defeating Swansea City 3-1 in their last PL2 outing. Three fixtures prior to that they recorded their first win of the season, a 2-1 home win over Liverpool.

Daniel Butterworth would have been the visitors’ greatest threat, but the 19-year-old forward is unavailable for selection after being sent off in their last PL2 fixture.

ONE TO WATCH

Despite impressing against Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday night, Eddie Nketiah cut a frustrated figure after seeing his fine headed finish ruled out for offside.

The 19-year-old forward is as clinical as they come at youth level and, if available, will treat Monday night’s clash the same as any other.

The England under-21 international has scored six goals and assisted once in seven PL2 appearances this season.

Eddie Nketiah

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