FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Swansea City 1 Arsenal 3 (Malen, Reine-Adelaide, Mavididi)
Arsenal survived a scare away to Swansea City this evening as they progressed to the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup despite playing the entire second half with ten men.
The young Gunners established a two goal lead after Donyell Malen and Jeff Reine-Adelaide found the net in quick succession midway through the first half. However, Swansea reduced the deficit and Arsenal then found themselves at a numerical disadvantage when Tyrell Robinson was dismissed.
Arsenal were required to produce some doughty defending in the second period, but they eventually added to their tally through Stephy Mavididi and will now face Coventry City or Charlton Athletic away in the next round.
Arsenal ran out 5-2 victors when these sides met in the league just six days ago but none of the players who started for the young Gunners in that game were involved from the outset on this occasion.
Kaylen Hinds and Chiori Johnson missed out through injury, with Reine-Adelaide, Ismael Bennacer, Chris Willock, Krystian Bielik and Ben Sheaf all named in a strong starting line-up.
Reine Adelaide-Mavididi-C. Willock
Subs: Da Graca (for Malen, 46), Nelson (for Sheaf, 64), Mourgos (for C. Willock, 90+7)
Not used: Phillips, Eyoma.
For all the talent in Arsenal’s ranks it was Swansea who started the brighter of the two sides, with Robinson having to make an important intervention to cut out the danger in the early stages.
Arsenal goalkeeper Hugo Keto then had to be alert to make a good save to deny Liam Edwards.
Arsenal struggled to muster any sort of attacking momentum in the opening exchanges, with neither side helped by the weather conditions and a less than perfect playing surface.
Swansea continued to dominate, with Ben Sheaf having to clear under pressure and Keto forced into another save after Bielik was dispossessed.
Matters looked rather difficult for Arsenal at this point, but two quick-fire goals put the young Gunners in the ascendancy and ultimately dictated the outcome of the game.
Firstly, Sheaf’s accurately delivered corner was turned in by Malen from close range, with the prodigious Dutch forward wheeling away in delight after scoring his ninth goal of the campaign in all competitions.
Shortly after the restart the ball was in the back of the net again, and this time Reine-Adelaide was the scorer, with the Frenchman bursting downfield before finishing adroitly to make it 2-0.
Mavididi then dragged a shot wide of the post as Arsenal sought to rubberstamp their lead.
However, Swansea provided a reminder of their own attributes when Liam Cullen finished well past Keto to reduce the deficit.
Sheaf came close to extending Arsenal’s advantage but their lead suddenly became rather less secure when Robinson received a straight red card for his involvement in an off the ball confrontation.
Arsenal went into the break with their lead still intact, but Robinson’s dismissal gave them much to think about prior to the second-half.
Centre-back Kristopher Da Graca replaced Malen at the start of the second half as Arsenal were forced into a reshuffle as a consequence of Robinson being sent off.
Swansea looked to take advantage of the confusion in the Arsenal back-line, but Cullen could only shoot over the crossbar.
Arsenal, perhaps as was to be expected given the circumstances, had much defensive work to attend to early in the second half, with Bielik making an important interception.
Da Graca, who featured in the victory over West Bromwich Albion in the previous round, was then called into action as he made a vital clearance.
There were some frantic moments for Arsenal, with Da Graca missing his kick and Keto having to gather the danger in one instance.
Arsenal attempted to swing the momentum back in their favour by introducing Reiss Nelson, but Swansea continued to create chances with regularity, with centre-back Joe Rodon heading over.
For much of the second half Swansea seemed far more likely to score the next goal, but ultimately it was Arsenal who would find the net through Mavididi in the 84th minute and confirm their place in the next round of the competition.
There were ten minutes of additional time after Swansea goalkeeper Lewis Thomas required medical attention, with an outfield player having to go in goal as the Welsh side had used all of their substitutions.