Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur 3 (Harrison 10, Shashoua 11, Edwards 60 (pen) Arsenal 2 (John-Jules 15, Gilmour (pen) 24)
Tyreece John-Jules and Charlie Gilmour scored their first goals for Arsenal U23s but it wasn’t sufficient to prevent a heavily depleted team from losing 3-2 away to rivals Tottenham Hotspur today.
With a host of players in contention to feature for the first-team against Norwich City in the Carabao Cup at Emirates Stadium tomorrow night, coach Steve Gatting named several U18 players in his squad and, although Arsenal showed some encouraging signs at times, they were ultimately unable to get the better of an impressive Tottenham side.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Chuba Akpom, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Ben Sheaf, Josh Dasilva, Marcus McGuane, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Joe Willock and Matt Macey all trained with the first-team today and could be included in the squad against Norwich.
Gatting gave first competitive starts at this level to Joao Virginia, John-Jules and Folarin Balogun, while Julio Pleguezuelo captained the team on his return from injury. Tafari Moore and Aaron Eyoma, who appear to only feature when there are few other options available, both started.
Scholars Zak Swanson and Harry Clarke made the bench for the first time.
Subs: Omole (for John-Jules, 74). Not used: Keto, Benson, Swanson, Clarke.
It was Tottenham who started in the ascendancy and the hosts took the lead in the tenth minute when the prodigious Marcus Edwards found Shayon Harrison, whose effort got the better of Virginia.
Just a minute later Tottenham doubled their advantage, with Samuel Shashoua capitalising upon some disappointing defending to make it 2-0.
Arsenal, to their credit, staged an impressive response, with Gilmour’s effort rattling the crossbar and Zech Medley seeing his shot parried for a corner, from which John-Jules steered the ball home.
In an enthralling encounter Arsenal were level in the 24th minute as Gilmour scored from the spot after Japhet Tanganga was adjudged to have handled the ball in the penalty box.
Arsenal had chances to take the lead just after the break, but John-Jules and Balogun were unable to find the net.
Instead it was Tottenham who would get the next goal as Marcus Edwards scored a penalty, which was awarded after Joseph Olowu brought down speedy substitute Kazaiah Sterling.
Tottenham almost inflicted more misery upon Arsenal in the closing stages but Tolaji Bola made an impressive challenge to thwart Oliver Skipp.
There was a positive moment for Arsenal in the second half as Tobi Omole made his U23 debut when he was brought on for John-Jules.
Arsenal can be pleased with the spirit that they showed at times in this game, although they were very vulnerable defensively.
Next up for Gatting’s team is an away game against Chelsea but before that the focus is on what is likely to be a youthful side against Norwich.