Report – Zelalem scores late equaliser and Amaechi impresses as Arsenal U23s draw with Brighton


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Premier League 2

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 (Dreyer 56, 73) Arsenal 2 (Amaechi 43, Zelalem 86)

Gedion Zelalem scored a late equaliser as Arsenal U23s brought a run of four consecutive defeats to an end with a 2-2 draw away to Brighton & Hove Albion last night.

Coach Freddie Ljungberg gave starts to Julio Pleguezuelo, Robbie Burton and Xavier Amaechi, who have all struggled with injuries recently, while Zech Medley and Bukayo Saka, who featured for the first-team against Blackpool, were also involved.

Iliev

Olowu-Pleguezuelo-Medley-Thompson

Gilmour-Sheaf

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John Jules

Subs: Omole (for Pleguezuelo, 51), Coyle (for John-Jules, 60), Zelalem (for Burton, 74). Not used: Okonkwo, Bola.

Arsenal sought to commence to game in impressive fashion and they almost took the lead through Saka, but the winger was thwarted by former Gunners goalkeeper Hugo Keto.

Tyreece John-Jules then had an effort blocked before Keto reacted well to keep out an attempt from the lively Amaechi.

Arsenal eventually managed to take the lead just before half-time, and Amaechi was the scorer as he finished emphatically following typically impressive work from Saka.

It was expected that Brighton would be eager to respond immediately after the restart, and that is what transpired, with Arsenal goalkeeper Deyan Iliev having to be alert to stop James Tilley from scoring.

Soon, though, Brighton were level, with Anders Dreyer cutting inside prior to sending the ball beyond the reach of Iliev.

Arsenal lost Pleguezuelo, who suffered a minor injury and was replaced by Tobi Omole, and they suddenly lacked defensive cohesion.

Dreyer took full advantage as he put Brighton ahead when he capitalised upon confusion between Dominic Thompson and Medley.

Despite that setback, Arsenal pushed forwards as they attempted to salvage a point, and they pulled level when Amaechi found Zelalem, who steered the ball home for just his second ever goal at this level.

Arsenal have still gone seven league games without a win, but their losing streak is at least over, and Amaechi’s return to both form and fitness is a major positive.

Defensively, however, there remain many concerns, although Jordi Osei-Tutu and Daniel Ballard will be back from suspension for next week’s game at home to Manchester City.

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