Premier League 2
Sunderland 2 Arsenal 1 (Malen)
Arsenal U23s suffered late frustration today as they were beaten 2-1 away to Sunderland in their penultimate game of the campaign.
The young Gunners took the lead through Donyell Malen but Sunderland worked their way back into the game, with Lynden Gooch equalising before Luke Molyneux hit an 87th minute winner.
Arsenal have named some very strong lineups at this level recently, but there weren’t any first-team players involved on this occasion, while injuries to Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah depleted resources further.
Joe Willock was brought in for his debut at this level and played alongside his brother Chris, while Chiori Johnson and Joseph Olowu returned to the starting line-up.
Dasilva-J. Willock-C. Willock
Subs: Dragomir (for J. Willock, 81), Fortune (for Malen, 81). Not used: Virginia, Medley.
Sunderland started well, with Olowu pressed into action early on, and goalkeeper Hugo Keto then had to be alert to thwart both Joel Asoro and Ethan Robson.
Arsenal didn’t create as many opportunities in the first half as they usually do, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles still managed to come close with a fierce strike that was saved.
It was goalless at the break, but only after Keto made a fine stop to keep out Gooch’s effort.
Rather out of sync with the pattern of the game Malen put Arsenal in the lead after the break with a neat finish following good work from Maitland-Niles.
Soon, however, Sunderland managed to make their dominance count as firstly Gooch, who featured in the Premier League earlier in the campaign, equalised before substitute Molyneux scored what proved to be the winner shortly after his introduction.
Arsenal conclude their campaign with a home game against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium next month.