U18 Premier League- Game 11
Southampton 2 (Sims, Seager) Arsenal 2 (Smith, Iwobi)
Arsenal U18s recovered from an atrocious start to salvage a point away to Southampton this morning.
Coach Carl Laraman made six changes from the side that lost to Manchester City a fortnight ago, with Ryan Huddart, Tafari Moore, Jack Jebb, Dan Crowley, Alex Iwobi and Kaylen Hinds all receiving re-calls.
subs: Willock, Mavididi.
Southampton raced into a two-goal lead after just two minutes, with Josh Sims evading several challenges to score before Ryan Seager seized upon a loose ball to fire emphatically past Huddart and double the home side’s advantage.
Southampton then almost found the net again, but Arsenal responded with a chance of their own when Crowley did well to find Tarum Dawkins, but the winger couldn’t direct his effort on target. Crowley then went for goal himself and came close with an audacious effort, before Jebb saw his well-struck free-kick saved by the Southampton goalkeeper.
Arsenal were starting to find their way back into the game and thought that they had reduced the deficit when Dawkins found the net, but the strike was ruled out for offside. Arsenal’s persistence eventually prevailed, though, with Hinds doing well to find Renny Smith, who finished adroitly.
Crowley then almost equalised after embarking upon a mazy run, but Arsenal’s second eventually came just after the break when Iwobi scored with the help of a deflection.
Southampton were disheartened at squandering their lead, but seemed desperate to restore it, with Huddart forced to make a last-ditch save. Arsenal could have won it late on, however, with substitute Stephy Mavididi seeing his effort palmed onto the crossbar.
Arsenal, despite fighting back to earn a point, have now not won at this level in their last ten attempts. They host Chelsea at London Colney next Saturday.
With thanks to @AlexUCannon
Schoolboy Chris Toonga, meanwhile, has completed a move to Southampton. The midfielder, who is a product of the club’s Hale End Academy, made one appearance for Arsenal U18s last season but wasn’t called upon this campaign.
Nico Yennaris and Isaac Hayden trained with the first-team at London Colney this morning as Arsene Wenger’s side made their final preparations for tomorrow’s trip to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Mathieu Flamini and Jack Wilshere both came through the training session unscathed, but it remains to be seen whether the pair will travel to Manchester. Abou Diaby, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo, Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski are all still unavailable.
Players involved in training today: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Rosicky, Giroud, Cazorla, Fabianski, Vermaelen, Hayden, Jenkinson, Monreal, Bendtner, Gnabry, Flamini, Wilshere, Ryo, Frimpong, Park, Yennaris, Viviano.