Arsenal U23s are still searching for their first win and their first goal of the season after they were beaten 1-0 by their Manchester City counterparts at the Etihad Stadium tonight.
Coach Steve Gatting made just one alteration to his side, with Glen Kamara replacing Gedion Zelalem, which meant that Ben Sheaf was once again deployed at centre-back in a vulnerable back line.
Nelson-Maitland Niles-C. Willock
Subs: McGuane (for Johnson, 75), Malen (for C. Willock, 75). Not used: Keto, T. Bola, Mourgos.
After an even opening Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Macey was pressed into action as he had to react quickly to thwart Javairo Dilrosun and Paolo Fernandes, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles almost found the net for the young Gunners with a fiercely-hit shot.
However, it was City who took the lead, with Rodney Kongolo finding the net following good work from Aaron Nemane.
Arsenal were more impressive as an attacking force in the second period, with captain Ismael Bennacer coming close to scoring with a free-kick before Maitland-Niles was denie by some last-ditch defending from City after Stephy Mavididi had done well to create an opening.
Maitland-Niles, who was at the hub of much of Arsenal’s good play, then struck a post after he was located by Kostas Pileas, but Gatting’s team couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Overall, this was an improved showing from Arsenal even though they were ultimately unable to find the net. However, their lack of assurance at the back could well prove costly as the campaign develops.