Premier League 2
Manchester United 3 (Neville 23, Hugill 60, Shoretire 89 (pen.) Arsenal 0
Arsenal U23s saw their seven-game unbeaten run come to an end away to Manchester United, with Steve Bould’s side forced to play the majority of the game with ten men.
Daniel Oyegoke, who was making his first start at this level since October, was dismissed in the eighth minute and United seized control of the game thereafter.
Bould had made three alterations to his side from the team that drew with Chelsea last time out. Arthur Okonkwo replaced Karl Hein in goal, while Oyegoke was brought in for Jonathan Dinzeyi at centre-back. Kido Taylor-Hart was also given a start, with Reiss Nelson back in training with the first-team.
Arsenal were eager to make an instant impact but their task was made considerably harder in the early stages as Oyegoke was dismissed for a challenge on Hannibal Mejbri.
Oyegoke was furious with the decision, which was certainly a contentious choice, and Arsenal then had to sacrifice a creative player, with Charlie Patino being withdrawn so that Jonathan Dinzeyi could fill the void at centre-back.
Joe Hugill stepped up to take the penalty for United but Okonkwo was able to keep it out with an impressive save.
Eventually United managed to make the most of their numerical advantage, with Phil Neville’s son Harvey opening the scoring in the 23rd minute with an effort that Okonkwo perhaps should have dealt better with.
United looked to add to their lead before the break with Shola Shoretire and Ethan Galbraith trying their luck with free-kicks but Arsenal stood firm and Okonkwo made some impressive saves.
Folarin Balogun and Tim Akinola had opportunities to score for Arsenal early in the second period but were unable to take them, with United eventually making it 2-0 when Hugill scored as Okonkwo conceded in uncharacteristically calamitous fashion.
Arsenal, somewhat belatedly, made further changes, with Catalin Cirjan and Mazeed Ogungbo entering the fray, but United remained very much in control of proceedings and went on to get a third, with Shoretire scoring from the penalty spot after the forward was brought down by Ryan Alebiosu.
Overall it was a frustrating night for Arsenal as their unbeaten run came to an end, although the early red card certainly played a major part in proceedings.
The young Gunners will be determined to bounce back when they host Manchester City in their next game.
Arsenal: Okonkwo; Alebiosu, Oyegoke, Kirk, Lopez (Ogungbo, 83); Akinola (Cirjan, 82); Moller, Patino (Dinzeyi, 12), Cottrell, Taylor-Hart; Balogun. Subs not used: T. Smith, Lewis.