All Guns Blazing: Arsenal youngsters are capable of retrieving FA Youth Cup deficit against Manchester City
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Arsenal Under-18s face an uphill battle to reach the final of this season’s FA Youth Cup after being beaten 2-1 by their Manchester City counterparts in the first leg of their semi-final tie.
This is a talented group of Arsenal players, including prospects such as Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Krystian Bielik and Chris Willock.
But City, who are doing much work to improve their academy, showed that they also have some impressive starlets at their disposal.
Arsenal have much attacking firepower in their ranks, and they provided an indication of their prowess in that regard by taking an early lead through Reine-Adelaide.
However, City gradually started to assert themselves on proceedings, having a goal ruled out for offside before they went 2-1 up, and they could have increased that advantage further still.
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However, the young Gunners are still in with a feasible chance of turning the tie around and they have a good record at Emirates Stadium. Nonetheless, they will be fully aware of the sizeable task that awaits them in the second leg.
Arsenal will certainly have to adopt an attacking approach when they face City for the second time, and they have options to make changes to the side, with Donyell Malen and Reiss Nelson having been named among the substitutes for the first leg.
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The Gunners overcame City at the semi-final stage en route to winning this competition in 2009, but on that occasion they ran out 2-1 winners in the first leg before then triumphing 4-1 at the Emirates.
The current crop have given themselves a difficult task going into the second leg, but it isn’t an objective that is beyond them.
They may be vulnerable defensively – as shown by the fact that they are yet to keep a clean sheet in the Youth Cup this season.
But going forward Arsenal are more than capable of making a significant impact – which is something they will certainly have to do in the second leg if they are to keep their dreams of glory alive.
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n The second leg of the semi-final takes place at Emirates Stadium on Monday April 4, kick-off 7.45pm.