Arsenal Under-21s maintain unbeaten start with victory over Wolves
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Arsenal Under-21s continued their unbeaten start to the season with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Under-21 Premier League at Emirates Stadium last night.
Ryo Miyaichi gave the Gunners an early advantage but they were pegged back by Tim Jakobsson’s equaliser in first-half stoppage-time. Substitute Austin Lipman scored the winner for the hosts with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Nico Yennaris made his return from injury and captained Arsenal in midfield alongside Glen Kamara, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Anthony Jeffery provided width with Thomas Eisfeld playing just behind Miyaichi in attack. Wales international David Edwards featured for Wolves.
After a low-key start, the visitors had the ball in the net in the sixth minute but Edwards’ effort was disallowed for offside.
That seemed to wake Arsenal up and they had a great chance to take the lead when Eisfeld’s wonderful pass split the Wolves defence, but Jeffery could only fire wide when clean through.
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They weren’t to be denied for long, though, and opened the scoring a few minutes later. Wolves goalkeeper Jon Flatt sliced a backpass behind and failed to deal with the resulting corner, which allowed Miyaichi to bundle the ball home from close range.
That goal allowed the hosts to settle and, just after the half-hour mark, they were denied a second twice in quick succession by good defending from the visitors.
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First, Maitland-Niles had a goalbound shot well blocked before Eisfeld’s 12-yard effort was deflected inches wide with Flatt stranded.
Steve Gatting’s side were well on top but Wolves still looked dangerous going forward and Arsenal goalkeeper Damien Martinez did well to deny Edwards when he found space in the box 10 minutes before the break.
The Gunners seemed content to see out the half with their one-goal advantage but they were stunned in stoppage-time when Jakobsson met Kristian Kostrna’s cross with a powerful diving header which gave Martinez no chance.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with a slow tempo and few chances. Edwards tried his luck from the edge of the box in the 50th minute but sliced his shot well over.
Just before the hour, Hector Bellerin’s trickery and pace down the right flank got the crowd excited but his low cross was well dealt with by the Wolves defence.
The next goal in such a close game was always going to be crucial and it went Arsenal’s way with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Miyaichi did well to make space for himself inside the box before playing the ball to Lipman, and the 18-year-old took a touch before angling a powerful shot past Flatt into the top corner from just inside the box.
That gave Arsenal the momentum and they had several chances to put the game to bed. Miyaichi and Eisfeld both shot over from range before a quick counter-attack involving the German and Bellerin gave Lipman an opportunity, but his shot was well saved by Flatt.
Wolves had one final chance to salvage a point in the dying minutes but James Kellerman could only head over when well placed in the box, and the hosts held on to secure their third win of the season.