U18 Premier League
Blackburn Rovers 1 Arsenal 5 (Nelson (3), Malen (2))
Reiss Nelson scored a 19-minute hat-trick and Donyell Malen hit a brace as a very strong Arsenal U18 side thrashed their Blackburn Rovers counterparts 5-1 away today.
With the U23s not in action next week, coach Kwame Ampadu named a starting line-up containing seven second years, while the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Vlad Dragomir and Charlie Gilmour were on the bench.
Osei Tutu-Olowu-Medley-T. Bola
Subs: Nketiah (for Fortune, 62), Gilmour (for McGuane, 62), Dragomir (for Nelson, 62). Not used: Crean, Omole.
Arsenal have produced some encouraging performances at this level of late and started brightly on this occasion, with Nelson opening the scoring in the eighth minute after he was teed up by Tolaji Bola.
Nelson, who has mainly featured at U23 level this season and is widely seen as Arsenal’s standout prospect for the future, doubled his tally in the tenth minute before completing his hat-trick just nine minutes later.
Blackburn proved that they weren’t out of the game just yet, with Bradley Lynch reducing the deficit, but Malen, another player who has impressed for Arsenal U23s, soon restored Arsenal’s three-goal lead to make it 4-1.
Ampadu made a triple substitution just after the hour mark, with Nketiah, Gilmour and Dragomir all entering the fray, and the latter proceeded to play in Malen to complete the rout in the 73rd minute.
Arsenal, who have a good chance of being crowned U18 champions, face Manchester United away on Wednesday in their next fixture.