by Andrew Crawshaw
One of the requirements of the Premier League 2 competition is that some matches must be played at the clubs main stadium rather than at a training ground or secondary stadium. The match between Arsenal and Manchester City played on Monday night (13th March) was held at the Emirates with the lower tier of the East Stand opened for spectators.
The two stand-out teams so far this year in the top division of the PL2 have been Everton and Manchester City. Arsenal are in a three way battle with Chelsea and Liverpool for the places between third and fifth although Liverpool must be favourites to win that battle as they have a game in hand over both Chelsea and ourselves.
On Monday evening Manager Mike Gatting once again started with a strong side, Ryan Huddart was in goal following his return from loan, and we fielded two over-age players – Carl Jenkinson was at right back continuing his effort to return to full match fitness and Yaya Sanogo at Centre Forward. The full line-ups for both teams were :-
|1||Ryan Huddart (GK)||1||Arijanet Muric (GK)|
|2||Carl Jenkinson||2||Cameron Humphreys|
|3||Cohen Bramall||3||Tosin Adarabioyo|
|4||Ainsley Maitland-Niles||4||Ed Francis|
|5||Rob Holding||5||Matt Smith|
|6||Ben Sheaf (c)||6||Rodney Kongolo (c)|
|7||Donyell Malen||7||Brahim Diaz|
|8||Jeff Reine-Adelaide||8||Paolo Fernandes|
|9||Yaya Sanogo||9||Thierry Ambrose|
|10||Reiss Nelson||10||Denzeil Boadu|
|11||Chris Willock||11||Jadon Sancho|
|12||Eddie Nketiah||12||Demeaco Duhaney|
|13||Hugo Keto (GK)||13||Kjetil Haug (GH)|
|14||Chiori Johnson||14||Sadou Diallo|
|15||Marcus McGuane||15||Isaac Buckley-Ricketts|
|16||Josh Da Silva||16||Lucan Nmecha|
Please note that these are the numbers from the official team sheet and corresponded with the numbers on the player’s backs, the listing in the report on Arsenal.com is different, confusing and wrong.
The Referee was Anthony Coggins and he was assisted by Chris Wicks and Aaron Moody with Andy Williams as fourth official.
City made the brighter start and had the ball in our net in the second minute, fortunately the offside flag had already been raised. The opening five minutes or so was characterised by some sloppy play on our part with a number of misplaced passes. We got things more under control though and had a good spell when we were on top but our play in and around the City penalty area was poor and we never really threatened to score.
City were dangerous on the break and we were somewhat lucky to only concede a corner following a quick break in Min 11. A City goal was coming and it duly arrived in Min 16 when the right side of our defence was split wide open by an excellent through ball and No 9 Thierry Ambrose slotted the ball into our net.
From the restart we very nearly equalised but City then came back upfield and it could easily have been two nil to then – real end to end stuff.
In the 28th Minute City did make it two nil following another quick break through our right hand side again. The City No 9 on hand to make it two goals from two shots on target. Again nothing that Huddart could do but pick the ball out from the back of the net.
Our response was again almost immediate but Reiss Nelson shot over the bar. This time the pressure from Arsenal was more sustained and it took a terrific block to stop what looked to be a certain goal. The Jeff was then judged to be offside when he looked to be through on goal. Our first goal came in the 42nd minute courtesy of Donyell Malen. Great pressure from Arsenal forced an error from Cameron Humphreys in the City half and Donyell profited to slot home. It was so nearly two all before half time when Bramall made a great run down the left wing but his cross was just too near the City keeper with Arsenal forwards waiting to head the ball in the net.
My thoughts on the first half were that Jenkinson had been off the pace most of the time, and The Jeff wanted more time on the ball than he was being allowed. Cohen Bramall looked promising going forwards but was turned too easily on a few occasions by his attacker. Sanogo still has no control over his legs, he was in a great position to score on two or three occasions but never got a shot on target (I was wondering if he is actually a few inches too tall and the messages from his brain to his feet just don’t arrive on time). Grade A for positioning, E for results.
The second half started with no changes by either manager.
I really don’t know what was said at halftime but we played the first 20 minutes of the second half like a different team. We were in the City players space immediately they got the ball, snapping into tackles and forcing the pace of the game. This was the first time I have ever seen this group of players perform like they did and they really looked like footballers. If they take this intensity back to their match preparation that they will become a real force at this level and quite a few of them will make first teams somewhere.
The Jeff won the ball deep in our half and ran with it 70 yards beating two or three City players for pace (yes he ran straight past them with the ball), unfortunately he delayed his pass to Donyell Malen just too long and the City defence was just able to get in a block. Arsenal well on the front foot. Great recovery work by Ainsley to get in a block of and prevent a City shot on goal. In Min 55 it was all square following a great finish by Reiss Nelson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-gUfw_Lwjg (video courtesy of our friends at FFDTV Online (FuriousFootballDiaries@hotmail.co.uk). We need to remember that Reiss Nelson is only 17 years old and has been fast tracked through the age groups at Arsenal.
The equaliser prompted City to make a change with 15 Buckley-Ricketts replacing 8 Fernandes.
City were visibly rattled at this point and really couldn’t cope with Arsenal’s intensity. Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the next to have a shot but it was straight at the keeper who could easily cope with it. Arsenal over-committed and City should have dome much better with a 4 v 2 counter attack but a dreadful shot was nowhere near our goal.
A Second City substitution followed, Goalscorer Ambrose being replaced by Nmecha. In the 68th minute City regained the lead when a misjudged tackle by Bramall resulted in a penalty which was duly dispatched by Nmecha. This somewhat took the wind out of Arsenal’s sails and although they continued to press the intensity had gone.
Arsenal then made a substitution with Eddie Nketiah coming on for Donyell Malen, Duhaney came on for City replacing Boadu and the ineffective Sanogo was replaced by Marcus McGuane. Nketiah going into the CF position.
Arsenal continued to press for the equaliser, Nketiah looked to me to be pulled back when through on goal but Mr Coggins didn’t see it that way. Full time was indicated and we were well into injury time when we mounted a final attack, Jenkinson managed to get control of the ball on the right hand corner of the 18 yard box and expertly placed a shot into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Three all at the death.
An excellent game of football, both teams playing their part and a draw probably the right result.
Here are some other relevant video clips from FFDTV Online.
“Here are some of the Reiss Nelson’s other goals for the U23 side:
Jadon Sancho also put in another solid, creative display for Manchester City as he continues his impressive development as well, he has also been linked to Arsenal in recent weeks, below is one of his recent goals for the U23 side:
The match saw two of the most highly rated young players go up against each other, the pair’s ability and potential has long been apparent as indicated by our compilation videos with them when the players came and participated in the same session with us two years ago:
Reiss Nelson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqcKa4Dkve8
Jadon Sancho – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpUaTdiJaWk
If you wanted to share the YouTube link/s on your site please link to our YouTube channel where more of our content with exciting and highly rated young players can be found.