U-23s: Everton v Arsenal - Preview

The story so far

Our under-23s will be keen to continue their strong start to the season by picking up another three points against Everton, the visitors to Meadow Park on Monday night.

Steve Gatting’s side have begun the campaign with promise, securing victory in our last fixture against Leicester City. We saw off a physical Foxes side courtesy of an own goal from Darnell Johnson, and briefly joined Liverpool at the top of the Premier League 2 table. However, the Reds now lead us by three points after beating West Ham 2-0.

The opposition

Everton have also enjoyed an encouraging start to the season and sit just two points behind us in third place. Having started the season with a draw and a loss, the Blues are now on a three-match winning streak and will be hoping to continue their good form.

The Toffees edged out Derby County 1-0 in their last game through a first-half goal from Harry Charsley, and David Unsworth’s side are not one to be taken lightly, having beaten Chelsea 3-0 and Tottenham 4-1, keeping out Eden Hazard in the former fixture.

One to watch

A key member of the under-23s squad, Joe Willock has been rewarded for his strong performances with a substitute's appearance in our Carabao Cup tie against Doncaster Rovers on Wednesday. The 18-year-old also featured in the Emirates Cup for Arsene Wenger’s side, and travelled with the squad for the pre-season tour of Australia and China.

Willock has been with the club since joining the under-nines, along with Josh Dasilva, Marcus McGuane and Tolaji Bola, and broke into Gatting’s side at the tail-end of last season.

“It means a lot,” he told Arsenal Player after the victory against Leicester. “I know it’s still early, but we mean to go on [like that] so we’re just going to carry on fighting and hopefully get something out of the season.

“We know it’s going to be another hard game [against Everton]. They like to go direct and we’re just going to have to prepare for it at the weekend and go again.”

Last time we met

We were beaten 1-0 at Haig Avenue against Everton, with Nathan Broadhead beating Emi Martinez down low late on.

Reiss Nelson came closest for us, when he forced a save out of Mateusz Hewelt, and Vlad Dragomir also tested the goalkeeper with a powerful effort from range.

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There will be a full match report following the game on

Kick-off is at 7pm (UK time)

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