Akpom hits impressive brace but U21 clash with Man. Utd ends honours even

U21 Premier League Elite Round

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 2

Altrincham FC

Chuba Akpom scored twice for Arsenal U21s away to Manchester United this evening, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the hosts from sharing the spoils, with Nick Powell and Jesse Lingard finding the net for the Red Devils as Steve Gatting took charge of the U21 side for the first time following Terry Burton’s appointment as Arsenal’s new head of youth development.

Lukasz Fabianski started his first game of the season at any level in goal, whilst there were also starts for Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Isaac Hayden.


Angha-Hajrovic-Miquel-Ormonde Ottewill




subs not used: Shea, Wynter, Bihmoutine, Rees, Neita.

Following a quiet opening five minutes in which neither side carved out a clear-cut opportunity, Akpom seized the initiative to put Arsenal ahead by performing a wonderful piece of skill to work space for himself in the area before firing confidently past Ben Amos to open the scoring.

The lead didn’t last long, however, with Nick Powell, who was operating as a makeshift centre-forward, taking advantage of slack marking to send a powerful header beyond the reach of Fabianski. It could have been 2-1 almost instantly but Isaac Hayden was alert to clear Tom Thorpe’s header off the line, then United did take the lead when Powell shoved off Ignasi Miquel and the ball eventually found its way out to Jesse Lingard, who finished emphatically.

Thorpe was denied by Fabianski and an effort from Ryan Tunnicliffe clipped the crossbar following a good cross from Marnick Vermijl as United took the ascendancy, but Arsenal soon restored parity in what was developing into an enthralling encounter.

Serge Gnabry cut inside to find Conor Henderson, who launched a typically ferocious effort from distance which swerved and was unable to be held by Amos, who parried it straight into the path of Akpom. The striker, who has been accused of lacking calmness in front of goal, made no such mistake on this occasion as he swiftly levelled proceedings with a firm effort.

Thorpe had another header stopped by Fabianski, and Gnabry and Henderson both came close to putting Arsenal back in front prior to the interval.

The second half, by contrast, was a much more scrappier affair, with neither side succeeding in gaining a stranglehold on proceedings. Henderson, who impressed with his diligent passing, saw a free-kick deflected just wide, before Amos received a yellow card after rushing out of his goal and catching Akpom with his stray elbow.

Eisfeld wasted the resultant free-kick, with Tunnicliffe responding with a scuffed shot wide at the other end. Akpom could have made it 3-2 but directed his header just wide following good work from Ormonde-Ottewill down the left flank, but Adnan Januzaj continued to pose a threat for United, seeing a deflected effort go wide.

Fabianski was then almost caught out by a cross-cum-shot from substitute Sean McGinty, but thankfully the defender’s effort landed on the roof of the Arsenal net, before the Polish stopper had to be alert to smother an effort from Jesse Lingard soon afterwards. Gnabry and Isaac Hayden both came close in the dying embers in front of a watching Alex Ferguson, but in the end a draw was perhaps the right outcome of a game in which both sides had provided maximum effort.



  1. May i know wheather Miyake has return frm his injury ? Akpom shd start traininp with the first team d’vt faster as 1st striker frm the acadamy. Eisfield n Gnabry must be part of FA CUP squad. Thanks 4 the match report.

      1. lol Mr. Miyagi is from Karate Kid movie – classic, but the Arsenal player is actually spelled Ryo Miyachi, but true he should be playing for Wigan anytime soon again.

      2. I’m pretty sure it’s Ryo Miyagi. He’s been injured after a bizarre incident where he was painting his garden fence but slipped on freshly waxed wooden decking.

  2. Akpom playing really mature, more than Eisfeld and Gnabry who made too many unsuccessful passes, okay the pitch was also awful. Was surprised to see that Ottewill has surpassed Bihmoutine now in the pecking order. Hayden played well imo. I have always liked something with Henderson, can he still make it, time is running out for him 😦

    Anyway can understand that Watt, Meade, Jeffrey and Toral are out injured, but what about Ebecilio, Monteiro, Bellerin and Olsson are they also out injured atm ? Cause I would believe they are better prospects than those warming the bench last night. Does anybody know injury status on those ?

    1. Maybe Bellerin will feature with the first team against Blackburn, he’s trained with the first team squad before. The others couls I suppose but in my opinion Bellerin would be the most likely to feature this weekend.

      1. He just trained with them recently, yes, but he was injured 10 days ago when the U18 won 1-0 over Newcastle, so he is probably not in the squad for the weekend, although it could be interesting to see him at that level soon.

    2. Olsson and Bellerin were with their international sides, and it’s possible Ebicilio and Monteiro were also on international duty. The English youth club schedule seems to clash often with the continental youth national schedule.

      1. Cool, that would be better than all 4 is out injured. Are you sure about Bellerin, because then his injury is already history and that would be good news?

      2. I’m not 100% on Bellerin come to think of it. Olsson said himself on twitter he was away with Sweden so I’m certain about him. Maybe I just imagined Hector was on international duty seeing as I hadn’t heard about him being injured…

  3. My concern with Akpom has been his finishing but he scored two for England u19s last week and took the two last night well. Let’s hope he can keep up the good work.

  4. Akpom is something special, 17 years old and he’s already shining for Arsenal U21s and England U19s. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a chance in pre-season and go on to make some debuts next as Gnabry did this term. With Campbell beginning to mature (he impressed for Betis again last night) we have two very promising forwards coming through. It’s a shame for Afobe who might have to leave the club to continue his development, I’ve always thought he will bloom into a top Premier League striker once he gets into his mid-20s.

    1. Totally agree, Campbell and Akpom seriously looks like breaking through and must be included in the 1st team from next season while Afobe probably have to look elsewhere for a career.

      1. I feel quite sorry for Afobe, he seems like a very nice guy who loves the club. He doesn’t have the raw ability with a football that Akpom and Campbell do but he’s smart, quick, strong, and has great movement. At the right club I can see him making the sort of steady progress Theo has made. Both of them have a technical level that was slightly ‘behind the curve’ for their age but they have the intelligence and desire to catch up.

  5. Sorry special is doing an Anelka at 17 and scoring in the EPL. Akpom isnt clinical enough or good enough on a consistent basis to merit getting a 1st team chance yet. Assess him after a few Championship loans. Currently last week apart hes a non scoring striker eg Welbeck. He hasnt hit double figures this season in club matches and will be fortunate to do so.
    Afobe is the better prospect and has a more consistent track record despite his poor return at Bolton. Campbell is probably ahead of them both.
    They have both been fed by Aneke and Jebb for ages and are going to have difficulty
    getting the type of assists they were used to as they progress.

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