Mavididi strikes and Reine-Adelaide debuts as Arsenal XI beat Bristol Rovers

Pre-season friendly

Bristol Rovers 0 Arsenal XI 1 (Mavididi)

Stephy Mavididi scored the only goal as a new-look Arsenal U21 team continued their pre-season preparations with a 1-0 victory away to a strong Bristol Rovers side this afternoon.

This fixture was arranged two years ago as part of the deal which brought goalkeeper Matt Macey to North London, and the 20-year-old, who was named on the bench for the Arsenal first-team last season, had to make several good stops to keep his former side at bay.

The headline team news saw summer arrival Jeff Reine-Adelaide, a late withdrawal from the first-team’s Asia trip, make his debut for the club on the right flank. The majority of the starting players were second years, with a smidgeon of experience provided by the inclusions of Glen Kamara and Julio Pleguezuelo.

Two of the new scholars, Vlad Dragomir and Kostas Pileas, were named amongst the substitutes, whilst Harry Donovan also received a call-up.

There were some notable omissions from the Arsenal squad. Wellington and Isaac Hayden remained at London Colney for fitness training, whilst Tafari Moore, Stefan O’Connor and Chiori Johnson also missed out. George Dobson, meanwhile, remains an Arsenal player for now with a move elsewhere having so far failed to materialise.


Eyoma-Da Graca-Pleguezuelo-M. Bola


Reine Adelaide-Hinds-Robinson


Subs: Iliev, Mourgos, Pileas, Donovan, Chatzitheodoridis, Dragomir. 

Rovers, who earned promotion to League Two for the forthcoming campaign, created the first chance of note, with Danny Greenslade shooting over, but Arsenal soon started to assert themselves on proceedings.

They were rewarded with a goal when the eager Mavididi, who recently signed his first professional contract, capitalised on a defensive mix-up and slotted the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall.

Arsenal, who drew 1-1 with Bournemouth in their opening friendly last week, came close to doubling their advantage shortly afterwards, but Bristol Rovers started to create chances of their own, with Ellis Harrison shooting wide before Macey had to be alert to deny Chris Lines.

Billy Bodin and Chris Gosling also failed to find the net when well placed, meaning that Arsenal went into the break in the ascendancy.

Macey was called into action again almost immediately after the restart as he made a good save to deny Ollie Clarke. Matty Taylor, meanwhile, was becoming increasingly influential for the hosts, but Arsenal managed to withstand the pressure.

There was a nice moment for Macey midway through the second-half as he received a standing ovation from the Bristol Rovers supporters when he was replaced by Deyan Iliev.

Iliev himself had to make a smart stop shortly after his introduction before at the other end Mavididi was unable to double both his and Arsenal’s tallies.

His first-half goal was sufficient, though, for the U21s to secure their first victory of pre-season.

Arsenal face Boreham Wood in their next friendly on Friday, after which they will travel to South Africa to participate in a tournament.

Meanwhile, Chuba Akpom was introduced as a late substitute as the Arsenal first-team beat Everton 3-1 in Sinagpore to win the Barclays Asia Trophy. Akpom, who scored a hat-trick against a Singapore Select XI in midweek, had a shot saved by Joel.

Alex Iwobi was an un-used substitute, whilst the other youngsters- Gedion Zelalem, Dan Crowley, Jon Toral and Chris Willock- were left out of the squad, but all received winners’ medals.



  1. I was at the match tonight and for those fans that want to see the spectacle of what the experience of going to an actual match will be like in the future this was truly it.

    For me I am old school, it was just to nicey nicey, people cheering both teams?? Wearing scarves with both names, No queuing, hundreds of eating and drinking venues in the ground, kids playing on their ipads rather than watching the match, no proper rivalry, loads of pre match entertainment including a fifa 15 or is it 16? Match of the two finalists, played on the big screen, everyone getting away from the stadium in a matter of minutes, Mexican waves, dance cam and even more bizarrely bongo cam!!!!

    As for the football, it was evident to see that arsenal are and bloody should be head and shoulders above Everton and Stoke, who I’m sorry to say will be playing for a top 8 finish at best.

    Unfortunately we also saw that our two main competitors for the main striking role are still wayward and that if we are to rely on giroud Walcott Welbeck and a little bit of akpom as our main man, we will have to be patient once again as they will miss a host of chances.

    That said aside of the 3 contenders giroud Walcott welbeck for the no.9 role we have an abundance of talent fighting for the 5 positions behind, ozil, cazorla, alexis, Ramsey, wilshire, coquelin, chamberlain will be the main men. It is difficult to see the front 6 coming from anyone else other than those 10 players. That said I am sure the likes of arteta, flamini, rosicky, gnabry, akpom, (Wellington, campbell may be) zelalem, bielik, crowley, iwobi, toral and willock will not.let us down if called upon.

    Defensively, we look a better unit, I was particularly impressed with chambers, he looked taller, bigger physically and I can see him pushing the main 3 all the way.

    But the biggest smirk on my face come the end of the night was finally witnessing again a world class keeper between the sticks. Cech looks like he has been at the club for years barking orders easing the likes of chambers and bellerin through, commanding his box, dealing with all the crosses on particular double handed fist out stands out, plus pulling off a world class save, not a bad debut capped off with a trophy. Shame about their goal, but if Szczesney, ospina, Martinez, Macey, iliev, Huddart and Keto are serious about their careers firstly they should ask to stay until January, to learn from one of the best. Then in January one or two may be more might want to go off and showed what they learned.

    I still think we are a world class striker away from being contenders for the premier league and if we are to compete for the champions league I think upgrades on flamini and mertesacker are required, whilst relying on the injury proved bodies of arteta and rosicky is taking up too many places in the squad.

    The squad currently sits at 25 players born 1993 or before, so bang on the money. Personally I would rather see arteta, rosicky and flamini sold or released as a goodwill gesture then bring in 3 commanding players CF, DM and a left sided CB to replace them, even just as squad players. Then I think the squad will be at its strongest possible, with campbell and Wellington retained, to add a bit of the element of surprise out wide.

    1. I didn’t see the game, but according to somebody who was there he did very well and got past the left-back on many occasions.

      On Sun, Jul 19, 2015 at 2:56 PM, Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth wrote:


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