U21 Premier League
Stoke City 0 Arsenal 3 (Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Gnabry)
Serge Gnabry was amongst the scorers as Arsenal U21s returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory over their Stoke City counterparts at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.
Gnabry, who played the whole 90 minutes as he stepped up his return from injury, found the net with a powerful effort to add to earlier goals from Alex Iwobi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Coach Steve Gatting made several alterations to the team that was held by Blackburn Rovers last week, with Matt Macey, Semi Ajayi, Marc Bola, Iwobi and Gedion Zelalem all coming into the starting line-up. Bola was making his competitive debut at this level in the absence of regular left-back Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill.
subs: Kamara (for Crowley, 70), Mavididi (for Zelalem, 87). Not used: Vickers, Johnson, Smith.
Chuba Akpom, who was subdued against Blackburn, was heavily involved from the offset here, with the striker sending an effort over the crossbar with just ten seconds on the clock.
Akpom later shot wide after impressive work from Iwobi, but it was the latter, with his first goal at this level, who would open the scoring. Iwobi did well to work space for himself in the area and proceeded to life the ball over goalkeeper Dale Eve to make it 1-0.
Stoke mounted something of a response, with George Waring striking a post, but Arsenal were then denied an opportunity to double their advantage when Eve made a good save to deny Akpom from close range.
Stoke had a claim for a penalty turned down and came close to equalising before the interval when Waring headed wide.
Arsenal effectively secured all three points early in the second-half when Maitland-Niles made it 2-0 with a spectacular strike from 25 yards out that left Eve stranded.
Macey was forced into a good save at the other end, but the victory was secured when Gnabry finished adroitly to make it 3-0.
Arsenal’s next U21 fixture is against Middlesbrough on Friday.