by Andrew Crawshaw
Arsenal and Reading start the newly named Premier league 2 with a game at Meadow Park Borehamwood at 19:00 tonight.
The first bit of good news is that entry to the ground is absolutely free and there is no need to download tickets or anything – just turn up.
The second bit of good news is that the catering at the ground is not at all bad, queues can be a tad on the long side but get there ten minutes earlier than you would at the Emirates and you should be fine. If you don’t want to eat at the ground then Borehamwood High Street will cater for virtually all tastes with a good mix of chain food outlets and local restuarants.
With the changes to the competition this year – moving from the old U21 to an U23 format and still allowing an over-age keeper and up to three outfield players per game it is difficult to know what to expect from Arsenal . The season also sees Arsenal returning to the first division at this level after a few years in the second tier. We will therefore be playing against better opposition than last season.
The manager Steve Gatting stated :-
“It’ll be a challenge for us this year,” he told Arsenal.com. “Last year we found the games difficult but it was a different sort of game.
It’s a learning curve for us all and for the players it’s a step up from last year.
“We played teams that were stronger and more powerful than us but this year we expect the teams we play against to be more technical. In that way, it’ll be a good challenge for us to see how we compete with teams who can play the ball really well.
“It works both ways. How do we defend against sides who are technically very good and how do we beat them? It’s a learning curve for us all and for the players it’s a step up from last year.
“It’s nice to be in the top division and playing against the so-called bigger clubs, so we’re looking forward to it.”
(Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1617/pre/under-21/u-23s-arsenal-v-reading-preview#UXTE2AXLiFpVCGDj.99)
The U19s only got back from their successful tournament in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday and many of the older players have been training with the senior squad prior to the Liverpool game on Sunday so the squad as a whole haven’t had much opportunity to practice together. It will be interesting to see what sort of team Steve will be able to put out.
I would expect the squad to contain some or all of these players
GK – Deyan Iliev or Hugo Keto (Macey is being linked with a loan move and may not be available)
RB – Chiori Johnson, Aaron Eyoma
CB – Kristopher da Graca, Marc Bola, Tolaji Bola
LB – Kostas Pileas
MF – Marcus McGuane, Ismael Bennacer, Ben Sheaf, Vlad Dragomir, Tyrell Robinson
Attack – Stephy Mavididi, Chris Willock, Yassin Fortune, Edward Nketiah and Donnyell Malen
Doubtless there will be some I’ve missed.
According to transfermarkt.co.uk the Reading U23 squad is
GK – Stuart Moore
RB – Tennai Watson, Robert Dickie
CB – Zak Jules, Dominic Hyam
LB – Shane Griffin
MF – Aaron Kuhl, Andy Rinomhota, Liam Kelly, Jake Stoppard, Josh Barrett
Attack – Seid Behram, Lisandro Semedo, Harry Cardwell and Andrija Novakovich
I wouldn’t be surprised if they are better drilled than we are bearing in mind our somewhat disruptive pre-season. I hope our players will gell quickly and produce the kind of results that gained them promotion last season.
Im expecting to be there and will put up a first hand report on Saturday (I’m sorry but I’m not as quick as Walter)!
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