Match preview

U21s preview: Exeter City v Arsenal

match preview

In our second EFL Trophy group match, Mehmet Ali’s youthful Arsenal side head to St James Park to take on League One outfit Exeter City. 

This competition is a fantastic opportunity for our under-21 squad to test their mettle against professional league opponents and experience the lively atmosphere of a real stadium.

The match is set for a 7.15pm (UK) kick-off on Tuesday.

How the competition works

The EFL Trophy comprises 16 regional groups, each with four teams (8 northern and 8 southern). A single academy team is included in each group. After three games each, the top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stages.

In the group phase, if a match ends in a tie, immediate penalties decide the winner, awarding 2 points to the winning team and 1 point to the losing team. In the knockout phase (except the final), ties are settled by penalties. In the final, if the scores are level after 90 minutes, an extra 30 minutes are played, and if still tied, the winner is determined by penalties.

A recap of our EFL Trophy journey so far

We find ourselves in Group O alongside Reading, Exeter City, and Swindon Town for the current EFL Trophy. Currently holding the second spot, we've garnered two points and are eager to secure our first victory in the tournament.

Our journey kicked off with an exhilarating 2-2 draw against Swindon Town in the opening match, with Lino Sousa and Jimi Gower scoring our goals. A thrilling penalty shootout ensued, and we emerged triumphant with a 5-4 score, securing an additional bonus point.

Now, about our opponents, Exeter City

Exeter City finds themselves at the bottom of the group with no points, having suffered a heavy 9-0 defeat to Reading in their first group match.

In the previous season, they exited at the group stages, winning just one out of three games.

In the current League One standings, the Grecians are placed 11th, having faced three consecutive losses in recent games.

How to keep up with the action

For those eager to follow the game, we will be providing live updates on our Arsenal Academy Twitter page

After the match, a comprehensive match report will be available on Additionally, we'll be sharing post-match interviews with Mehmet Ali and one of the young Gunners, offering insights into the match and their experiences. Stay tuned for an exciting showdown and follow us as we strive for victory in this EFL Trophy clash.

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