Premier League 2 Arsenal 1 (Ballard) Tottenham 3
Arsenal U23s’ hopes of winning the Premier League 2 title suffered another blow today as they were beaten 3-1 at home by rivals Tottenham Hotspur despite Danny Ballard scoring on his first appearance at this level.
Going into the game Arsenal knew that if they were to win all their remaining fixtures this season then they would be crowned champions.
However, they now find themselves four points behind leaders Leicester City with a game in hand.
Arsenal were without the star quartet of Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Konstantinos Mavropanos, who all trained with the first-team today, while Tyreece John-Jules missed out through suspension.
Macey; Osei-Tutu, Ballard, Medley, T. Bola; DaSilva, Gilmour (Balogun 81), Coyle (Eyoma), Smith Rowe, Amaechi; Dragomir.
Subs not used: Keto, Olowu, M. Smith.
In the early stages Macey had to react well to keep out Joe Pritchard’s effort before Vlad Dragomir, who was deployed up front, had an effort blocked at the other end.
After a even start, Arsenal took the lead in the 18th minute as Ballard headed home from a free-kick and celebrated jubilantly.
The defender was initially told he wouldn’t be offered a scholarship deal by Arsenal but he has turned matters around to captain the club in the FA Youth Cup and break into the U23 side.
In the 25th minute, however, Tottenham levelled, with Timothy Eyoma, the brother of Arsenal substitute Aaron, heading the ball beyond the reach of Macey.
There was further disappointment for Arsenal to endure before the break as Oliver Skipp skipped forwards and sent an excellent effort into the top corner.
Tottenham were by now full of confidence and they added a third goal in the second half courtesy of a sweetly struck free-kick from Keanan Bennetts.
There could back been more goals for the visitors, and Jack Roles rattled the crossbar late on but the damage has already been done.
Arsenal’s fate is no longer in their own hands as they look to win the title.