Pre-Match Report

U-23s: West Ham v Arsenal The Brief

Emile Smith Rowe

Our under-23s face West Ham United at London Stadium on Friday night, as they hope to record their first win of the season.

THE STORY SO FAR

We come into this fixture off the back of a 1-1 draw with an experienced Brighton & Hove Albion side, who fielded a number of first-team squad members. 

Freddie Ljungberg’s side looked set to leave Emirates Stadium with all three points after Reiss Nelson broke the deadlock in the 88th minute, but deep into stoppage time substitute Aaron Connolly equalised.

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Under-23s: Brighton (h) - Highlights

Prior to that, we fired five goals past Manchester City on the opening day of the season - with Emile Smith Rowe recording a brace - but the home side scored six as we finished an entertaining game empty handed.

A win on Friday could see us climb as high as second in the Premier League 2 table.

THE OPPOSITION

 

West Ham are currently third in the table, having tasted victory on the opening day of the season against Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs took the lead inside the the opening 10 minutes, but a five minute hat-trick from Alexandre Silva either side of half-time helped the Hammers to secure all three points.  

However, they come into this fixture having just been beaten 6-4 by Manchester City.

ONE TO WATCH

Bukayo Saka may have started on the bench against Brighton, but it was his pace and trickery that changed the game and allowed us to open the scoring.

Still only 16, the young forward proved his worth for the under-18s last season as a schoolboy, and he now appears to be a useful asset to Ljungberg, who deployed him on the left wing in our last outing. 

Bukayo Saka

With bags of pace, an eye for goal and the confidence to run at defenders, Saka could play a vital role in unlocking the Hammers defence on Friday night.

Patience is key as he only made his debut for the under-23s on the opening day of the season, but already he’s shown great promise, recording two assists in two substitute appearances.

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