Match report- 10 man Arsenal U21s dominated by Tottenham at White Hart Lane


U21 Premier League- Game 15

Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Coulibaly 28 (pen), Winks (84) Arsenal 0

By Jeorge Bird @ White Hart Lane

After the euphoria of Monday’s impressive win over West Ham United, Arsenal U21s were sent crashing back down to earth tonight as they were beaten 2-0 by a Tottenham Hotspur side who were utterly dominant following the first-half sending off of Isaac Hayden.

Hayden was dismissed after allegedly bringing down the dangerous Ruben Lameiras in the penalty area, and, after Souleymane Coulibaly dispatched the spot-kick, there was no way back for the young Gunners, with Tottenham, after a succession of chances, eventually adding a second late on through the effective Harry Winks.

This result all but ends any distant hopes Arsenal possessed of winning the U21 Premier League title this season. They did start relatively well, with Gedion Zelalem seeing much of the ball and Thomas Eisfeld looking dangerous early on, but the red card sapped them of both their momentum and creativity.

This was still a memorable experience for the youngsters, however, as they played at another Premier League stadium and were cheered on by a sizeable contingent of Arsenal fans.

Coach Steve Gatting was forced to make several changes from the West Ham game, with Chuba Akpom and Kristoffer Olsson missing through injury and illness respectively. Austin Lipman and Glen Kamara came into the side, whilst Matt Macey replaced Deyan Iliev in goal.


Siemann-Hayden-Ajayi-Ormonde Ottewill




subs: Ansah (for Lipman, 62), Jebb (for Iwobi, 80). Not used: Huddart, Mugabo, Smith.

Arsenal started well, with Eisfeld, who has been in impressive form of late, seeing a shot saved, before Lipman put the ball in the back of the net but only after the flag had been correctly raised for offside.

Tottenham gradually began to assert themselves, with Macey having to collect a dangerous cross, but Arsenal continued to threaten, particularly through Eisfeld, whose weak effort was deflected into the grasp of Jordan Archer.

From that point onwards Tottenham upped the ante considerably, with Arsenal’s defence struggling to cope. Macey did well to save a header from point blank range, before centre-backs Semi Ajayi and Hayden made impressive clearances in quick succession.

Hayden’s next act, however, would see him sent from the field and, ultimately, decide the course of the game. Having struggled to keep up with Lameiras, Hayden was deemed to have brought down the Tottenham player in the area, and, despite his lengthy protestations, he was sent off.

Coulibaly, evidently full of confidence, never looked as if he was going to miss the resultant spot-kick, and he dispatched the ball past Macey emphatically.

Arsenal were all at sea defensively for the remainder of the first-half, with Hayden’s dismissal prompting a tactical re-shuffle that saw Kamara move to right-back, with Leander Siemann slotting in alongside Ajayi at centre-back.

Tottenham struck a post, with left-back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill then doing well to clear the danger after yet another chance was created by the home side. Arsenal, in contrast, lacked any attacking momentum whatsoever, with their primary tactic seemingly being to send long balls in the general direction of Lipman, who was without any sort of support up front.

Marshalled by the £8.5 million summer signing Vlad Chiriches, who was making his return to action, Tottenham’s defence proved too difficult for Arsenal to breach, with Eisfeld, Alex Iwobi and Jon Toral, so impressive against West Ham, all struggling to make much of an impact.

Photo by Kieran Clarke

Photo by Kieran Clarke

After the interval Tottenham continued from where they had left off, carving out chances with considerable ease. A shot struck the side-netting, then, after Zelalem carelessly gave the ball away, Macey had to push Coulibaly’s shot away at short notice.

Arsenal brought on Zak Ansah for Lipman and the striker had something of an impact, forcing Archer into a good save, but that was a rare attack in a half that was almost entirely dominated by Tottenham.

Macey was then nearly caught out by a shot from Winks, who was fast becoming the game’s most influential figure. The 18 year old shot over and then, with six minutes remaining, he eventually received his reward when he beat Macey with a well-executed effort.

Tottenham rattled the woodwork late on for good measure, but they had already inflicted enough damage upon Arsenal’s wounded youngsters.

Similarly to the defeat to the same opponents at Underhill last year, there were very few positives to take from this encounter from an Arsenal perspective, although the absences of Olsson and Akpom were perhaps contributing factors to the serious dearth of attacking ingenuity.

Macey, despite conceding twice, made some good interventions, whilst Kamara, although he was forced to play out of position for much of the game, was persistent in his attempts to shackle the Tottenham attack. This will ultimately go down as a disappointment for Arsenal, but there is an instant chance to respond when they travel to face Bolton Wanderers on Monday.

On a side note, the Arsenal fans who attended provided fantastic support, whilst it was also good to see the likes of Serge Gnabry, Hector Bellerin and Akpom sitting amongst the crowd. The latter should only be out for around a week through injury, and he will be hopeful of being ready for Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup double-header against Chelsea.



  1. Shame it worked out like that, but I won’t be reading anything into that one.

    3 certs- Bellerin,Akpom, Olsson -missing, another three who most likely would have taken part away with u17’s, plus O’Connor and Ryo unavailable, then to lose Hayden 30 mins in! No resemblance to strongest side by that point.

    Can’t be many teams in world football refs love giving reds to as much. Gotta laugh or you’d cry at the fact while Akpom seems to be winning pens almost every match for us, without opponents seeing any reds, you just know if we concede one pen it’ll probably be accompanied by a red.

    Hate to see sendings off in senior football where there’s any doubt in last-man situations , and in youth matches they should be that bit more reluctant again. Not here, by sounds of it.

    Anyway, think they’ve got another three cracks at playing in big stadiums, so let’s hope the rest go better.

  2. How do you gooners get to be so paranoid? Is it from listening to Mr Excuses? I was actually at the game tonight and the penalty and red card were totally justified. Pity in footballing terms as it made the conrtest uneven but part of the learning curve is knowing how to defend and tackle without getting a red. The Arsenal support was good incidentally but you wont get away with a chant about a f***ing jew next time.

    1. Not sure about what you mean by the paranoia. Haven’t seen the report state the sending of was unfair, just that the player protested and it also acknowledges we were dominated. Unlike you wasn’t at the game but if the chants were indeed what you said them to be its a damming disgrace and think any clubs supporters would be ashamed to associate themselves with such supporters but they exist in every club and that’s unfortunately reality.

    2. Hey, that was me (the paranoid one), so if in this case it was a justifiable one, fair enough. As a Spurs fan I’d have thought you might agree with my point that refs should be 100% sure in those situations. Think it’s twice this year you’ve lost out because of that and had games killed stone dead when they shouldn’t have been. With the later rescinding of cards only rubbing salt in the wounds.

      Football hasn’t been improved at all in my opinion by the recent tendencies which result in sendings off like Kaboul’s the other day. No understanding whatsoever from refs and lawmakers about how game is actually played, i.e it’s damn hard to stop yourself as a defender from making any contact, attackers throw themselves over these days, and a pen and yellow should be enough.

      But yeah, I might be guilty of being a little paranoid in these things (though I do also wonder if as a club we need to start preaching about pulling out of challenges if you’re the last man, gk’s especially, as it is killing us time and again)

      Just seems to go against law of averages to me, is all. Maybe I’m blinkered but we’ve a first-team who need a few tougher players, have no one I’d class as dirty (ok, maybe Flamini), regularly come up against teams looking to kick us out of our game, yet still manage to get a lot of people sent off and, this season at least, few (none?) reds for opponents. An odd worst of both world’s mix, which I’m guessing you put down to… naivety?

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