U21 Premier League- Game 12
Arsenal 0 Southampton 0
Yaya Sanogo completed 61 minutes on his first appearance since August as Arsenal U21s drew 0-0 with Southampton at London Colney today. The French striker failed to make a substantial impact on proceedings, but will be delighted to have finally received some match action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
This was not exactly a memorable encounter, with neither side possessing much in the way of attacking verve. Ryo intermittently threatened for Arsenal, but couldn’t find the net, whilst, at the other end, Matt Macey made a couple of good interventions to keep the scores level.
Coach Carl Laraman made three changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Norwich City last week, with Sanogo, Stefan O’Connor and Jon Toral all coming into the team.
subs: Lipman (for Sanogo, 61). Not used: Iliev, Fagan, Kamara, Maitland-Niles.
Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes, but, once the game did get underway Arsenal wasted no time in asserting their authority, with Semi Ajayi coming close to opening the scoring when the tall centre-back connected with Kristoffer Olsson’s corner, but his header was narrowly wide.
Sanogo was then found by a perceptive pass by Thomas Eisfeld, but Jack Stephens stole the ball with the French striker racing down on goal.
Arsenal’s dominance continued with Ryo beating three opponents before shooting just wide. It has been a difficult week for the Japanese winger, who was left out of the club’s updated Champions League squad, but he appeared determined to impress here. Eisfeld then did well to find Olsson, but the latter’s effort was pushed away by goalkeeper Cody Cropper.
The start to the second-half was rather uneventful with both sides enjoying sustained spells of possession without being able to create any clear-cut chances. With an hour on the clock Southampton eventually carved out an opening, with Jake Sinclair forcing Macey into a good save after combining well with Sam McQueen.
Sanogo was then withdrawn as had been pre-planned, with Austin Lipman, seemingly back from a loan spell at Boreham Wood, entering the fray. Ryo then shot wide when well placed before Lipman had a shot blocked from close range after he was located by Toral.
Southampton had several half-chances in the closing stages, but Macey was alert to keep his clean sheet intact. This was not a game that will be remembered too fondly, but, on the positive side, the Gunners managed to avoid conceding a goal in a match for the first time since September.