Premier League 2
Leicester City 2 (Moore 18, Ndukwu 52) Arsenal 1 (Sheaf 87)
Danny Welbeck played 70 minutes but wasn’t able to prevent Arsenal U23s from falling to their second successive defeat with a 2-1 loss away to Leicester City today.
Arsenal made the decision to include Welbeck in the squad for today’s game as they didn’t want to risk the England international, who is just back from a serious knee injury, on Sutton United’s 3G pitch in the FA Cup fifth round tie tomorrow night.
Leicester may be bottom of the table but they gave an impressive account of themselves on this occasion, with goals from Elliott Moore and Layton Ndukwu putting them in the ascendancy before Ben Sheaf scored what proved to be a late consolation for Arsenal.
Welbeck came in for Savvas Mourgos, with the other changes to the Arsenal starting line-up from the defeat to Everton seeing Hugo Keto and Chiori Johnson regain their places as Emiliano Martinez and Carl Jenkinson were back with the first-team squad. Eddie Nketiah recovered from injury to make the bench where he was joined by Ryan Huddart and Glen Kamara, who recently returned from frustrating loan spells.
Subs: Nketiah (for Welbeck, 70). Not used: Huddart, Kamara, Mourgos, Da Graca.
Leicester started impressively, with Ndukwu causing all manner of problems for the Arsenal defence with his incisive runs.
It was the 18-year-old who would tee up the first goal, with Ndukwu’s corner being headed in emphatically by Moore.
Arsenal improved a little thereafter, with Moore having to make a precisely-timed interception to thwart Welbeck before Vlad Dragomir shot over from Reiss Nelson’s corner.
January signing Cohen Bramall then made an encouraging burst down the left flank but Josh Knight cut out his cross before it could reach the waiting Welbeck.
Arsenal had an inviting chance to equalise just after the break with Donyell Malen, deployed on the right flank, skipping past a couple of challenges, but the Dutchman’s subsequent effort was saved by Daniel Iversen.
Leicester would double their advantage, however, and it came as little surprise that the scorer was Ndukwu, who sent a fine effort beyond the reach of Keto.
Keto then had to make a stop from Admiral Muskwe to prevent Leicester from inflicting further damage upon a vulnerable Arsenal side.
Raul Uche was the next to test Keto but the Finnish goalkeeper was on hand to respond to the task.
Welbeck was then replaced by Nketiah, and the prolific young forward very nearly had an instant impact but saw his effort kept out by the alert Iversen.
Arsenal continued to battle on and eventually managed to reduce the deficit through a rare goal from Sheaf but Steve Gatting’s side were unable to find a second strike.
Next up for Arsenal is a home game against Chelsea on Friday.