Report – Sousa impresses, Hein excels as nine academy players feature in Arsenal win against Lyon

Dubai Super Cup

Arsenal 3 (Gabriel 19, Nketiah 33, Vieira 39) Lyon 0

Arsenal won 2-1 in penalty shootout

A host of Arsenal youngsters gained valuable first-team experience in the Dubai Super Cup today as Mikel Arteta’s side beat Lyon 3-0, with Gabriel, Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira scoring.

Arsenal started with a team comprised entirely of first-team players but nine youngsters were brought on in the 66th minute.

The Gunners gained a bonus point after winning the penalty shootout, in which Karl Hein made four saves.

Matt Smith, Reuell Walters, Taylor Foran, Lino Sousa, Ethan Nwaneri, Myles Lewis-Skelly, Catalin Cirjan, Amario Cozier-Duberry and Nathan Butler-Oyedeji all featured as substitutes.

James Hillson and Charles Sagoe Jr were unused substitutes while Hubert Graczyk and Zane Monlouis weren’t involved in the matchday squad.

It was a composed first half display from Arsenal, who signalled their intent early on when Reiss Nelson struck the post.

Arsenal took the lead through a header from Gabriel following Martin Odegaard’s corner.

It was then 2-0 following a break downfield with Vieira playing the ball into the path of Nketiah, who found the back of the net.

An impressive finish from Vieira made it 3-0 as he scored from outside the box.

Lyon called upon ex-Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette but didn’t pose much of an attacking threat.

In the second half Marquinhos had an effort tipped onto the crossbar and Mohamed Elneny shot just wide.

With around 25 minutes remaining Arteta gave many of the youngsters an opportunity.

There appeared to be some initial tactical confusion as Lino Sousa operated at centre-back but he then moved to left-back with Matt Smith, who captained the team, operating in the opposite full-back berth.

Sousa was probably the standout performer out of the youngsters as he defended diligently when needed and also supported the attack.

There were some encouraging moments from schoolboys Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri, who certainly didn’t seem fazed by the occasion.

Cozier-Duberry was also bright, while Cirjan hit the post and Butler-Oyedeji missed a couple of opportunities.

Then came what was a rather bizarre penalty shootout.

Marquinhos scored for Arsenal before Hein saved from former Gunner Jeff Reine-Adelaide.

Smith netted for Arsenal before Thiago Mendes did likewise for Lyon.

Cirjan then attempted a Panenka but missed and Hein denied Tete.

Cozier-Duberry missed for Arsenal but Hein came to the rescue again with a save from Bradley Barcola.

Walters missed and then came a terrible penalty from Rayan Cherki, which Hein saved.

This was certainly a memorable experience for the youngsters involved and they will hope for further minutes against AC Milan next week.

Arsenal: Hein, Cedric (M. Smith, 67), Holding (Lewis-Skelly, 67), Gabriel (Foran, 67), Tierney (Nwaneri, 67), Elneny (Walters, 67), Odegaard (Cirjan, 67), Lokonga (Sousa, 67), Vieira (Marquinhos, 46), Nketiah (Butler-Oyedeji, 67), Nelson (Cozier-Duberry, 67).

Subs not used: Hillson, Sagoe Jr.


One comment

  1. I feel for Matt Smith. He waited a long time for his first team debut and when it finally happens, he’s played completely out of position. Probably going on loan in Jan and then leaving at the end of the season is the best way out for him.

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