U18 Premier League- Game 10
Manchester City 2 (Nitcham 45, Byrne 83) Arsenal 0
Despite fielding a considerably more experienced side than usual, Arsenal U18s suffered their third consecutive defeat today as they lost 2-0 to a determined Manchester City side.
City were inspired by Denzeil Boadu, the talented midfielder who left Arsenal last year amidst a dispute over his contract, with the England U17 international setting up goals for Olivier Nitcham and Jack Byrne.
With the majority of the club’s schoolboys away at the U16 Premier League Cup, coach Carl Laraman was forced to call upon several second-years for this fixture, including striker Austin Lipman, who yesterday joined Boreham Wood on a short-term loan but is still eligible to play for Arsenal when required.
Alex Iwobi and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill were also included, whilst goalkeeper Matt Macey made his first appearance since completing his transfer from Bristol Rovers. Alfred Mugabo was absent after suffering a recurrence of his injury last weekend, whilst winger Jamaal Raage, who has made an impressive start to the season, also missed out because of a problem sustained in the defeat to Reading last week.
subs: Moore (for Dawkins, 60). Not used: O’Connor.
City were the dominant side from the offset, with Nitcham and Brandon Barker coming close in quick succession, before another Nitcham shot provoked an excellent reflex save from Macey.
Arsenal weren’t able to keep the hosts at bay for much longer, however, as, just when the referee was poised to blow the whistle for half-time, Boadu delivered an inch-perfect cross into the area that Nitcham latched onto to beat Macey and open the scoring.
Arsenal found it extremely difficult to create any clear-cut chances for the majority of the game, aside from when Lipman came close with a free-kick with twenty minutes remaining. City confirmed their victory when Boadu played through Byrne to make it 2-0, and, although Arsenal did come close to finding the net in the closing stages, there were very few positives to be taken from today’s encounter.
One bright sign, however, was the return of Tafari Moore, who made his first appearance since August when he replaced Tarum Dawkins on the hour mark. Arsenal, though, are still without a win since the opening day success over Liverpool, and return to action against Southampton in a fortnight.