Youth round-up: Zelalem and Dragomir impress


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Arsenal U23s were hugely impressive as they beat their Derby County counterparts 3-1 away on Friday night, with Gedion Zelalem helping to dictate the tempo with some neat passes.

The midfielder blotted his copybook a little by conceding a late penalty, but his overall performance was excellent as the youngster pushes for involvement in the first-team’s EFL Cup fixture against Nottingham Forest.

His central-midfield partner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, also caught the eye, as did Stephy Mavididi, who demonstrated his intelligent link-up play in the number ten position.

Chuba Akpom led the line brilliantly, with the striker hitting a brace, while he also set up the opening goal for Chris Willock. On the right flank, meanwhile, Ben Sheaf delivered an encouraging performance as he kept the ball well.

This was a much-needed victory for Arsenal, who produced their best display of the campaign so far after suffering three defeats in their first three games.

The U18s also ran out comfortable winners as they thrashed Southampton 3-0 at home. The prolific Edward Nketiah showed his strength, speed and finishing ability once more, and substitute Donyell Malen also found the net, but the standout goal was scored by Vlad Dragomir, who struck a stunning long-range effort.

Josh DaSilva and Emile Smith-Rowe also made a major impact for Kwame Ampadu’s side, who have started the season extremely well.

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