Report – Marquinhos excels and Tomiyasu features as Arsenal U21s start season with win against Manchester United

Premier League 2

Arsenal 3 (Edwards 41, Marquinhos 46, Azeez 50) Manchester United 1 (Wellens 14)

By Jeorge Bird @ LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park

It remains to be seen what Arsenal’s plan is for Marquinhos, but on this evidence he will not be playing for the U21s for long.

The 19-year-old, who signed from São Paulo this summer, was the star of the show as Arsenal U21s commenced their Premier League 2 campaign with a 3-1 victory at home to Manchester United today.

Deployed on the right flank, Marquinhos produced an excellent display during which he scored his first goal for the club and also provided a breathtaking assist for Miguel Azeez with an outside of the boot pass.

In front of the watching Mikel Arteta, there were further positives to take from proceedings for Arsenal, with Takehiro Tomiyasu completing 45 minutes on his return from injury while Khayon Edwards was also on the scoresheet.

Arsenal named a strong side for Mehmet Ali’s first competitive game in charge, with Tomiyasu, Matt Smith and James Olayinka all featuring as overage players.

There were a host of absentees including Salah-Eddine and Kido Taylor-Hart, but it was still an impressive Arsenal lineup.

Hubert Graczyk, who travelled with the first-team to Selhurst Park last night, started in goal.

Graczyk

Tomiyasu-Monlouis-Awe-Sousa

Azeez

Olayinka-M. Smith

Marquinhos-Edwards-Sagoe Jr

Subs: Sweet (for Tomiyasu, 46), Foran (for Monlouis, 76), Butler-Oyedeji (for Sagoe Jr, 77), Bandeira (for M. Smith, 88). Not used: Hillson.

Graczyk was called into action early on as he made a save to deny Omari Forson.

Arsenal then responded with an effort of their own as Charles Sagoe Jr’s attempt was deflected wide following impressive build-up play which involved Tomiyasu.

It was United, who took the lead, though, with Charlie Wellens sending a superb free-kick beyond the reach of Graczyk.

Arsenal sought to respond, with Tomiyasu finding Sagoe Jr, who shot wide. Matt Smith then sent an effort off target before Marquinhos had a powerful effort saved.

After much attacking intent, Arsenal managed to equalise just before half time with Edwards steering the ball into the back of the net after Marquinhos’ effort was saved.

James Sweet replaced Tomiyasu at half time in a pre-planned change, with the defender making his Premier League 2 debut.

Tomiyasu didn’t have much to do defensively but looked assured overall as he had a useful runout.

Arsenal flew out of the traps at the start of the second half as they took the game to United, with Marquinhos to the fore.

Early in the second period the Brazilian put Arsenal ahead as he scored with a composed finish after his initial effort had hit Edwards.

Marquinhos then played in Olayinka, whose shot was saved.

Then came another moment of magic from Marquinhos as he found Azeez with a pass with the outside of his boot. The midfielder finished well but the assist was simply incredible.

Arsenal were now in front and in control, with centre-backs Zane Monlouis and Zach Awe, who possess plenty of experience at this level, providing the foundation for an impressive display.

Graczyk had to make a save but Arsenal continued to threaten, with Edwards shooting wide after capitalising on some slack defending.

Nathan Butler-Oyedeji and Taylor Foran then entered the fray in place of Monlouis and Sagoe Jr.

United grew in confidence a little, with Isak Hansen-Aaroen threatening.

However, Arsenal’s attacking threat still remained as Butler-Oyedeji and Marquinhos both had efforts saved.

Mauro Bandeira came on for Matt Smith late on, with U21 team now permitted to make more than three substitutions.

Graczyk saved from a free-kick in the closing stages and then the final whistle blew to confirm Arsenal’s victory.

This was an encouraging display and we got a glimpse of how Ali wants his team to play, with lots of build-up play and the full-backs drifting into midfield.

A deeper role at the base of the midfield brought the best out of Azeez, who played some excellent passes.

The majority of the post-match talk, though, will be about Marquinhos, who still has some developing to do but showed that he possesses much in the way of quality.

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4 comments

    1. Who knows what Mikel has on his mind?
      RW is an extremely crowded position in the first team. Behind Saka we have Pepe, Nelson and Marquinhos. And even if one of them is sold in the course of August (without a replacement), that would still make Marq the third choice at the right wing. Which could be enough for a bench place in cup games and EL group stage fixtures. However unless an injury happens I don’t see him playing in the PL, but could come off the bench bench and inject energy against lesser opposition.

      I’m known to be pessimistic about youngster’s playtime under Arteta, but as far as Flores and Patino were concerned, my skepticism was proven right. 🙂
      I would rather see Nelson or Marquinhos going on loan, but I always preferred development through game time over bench size.

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