Arsenal under-23s bank point at Blackburn

Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Freddie Ljungberg of Arsenal (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Arsenal under-23s were held to a goalless draw by their Blackburn Rovers rivals at Ewood Park on Monday.

The hosts, however, were the better side in the match, missing a number of chances through poor finishing and good goalkeeping by Deyan Iliev, whilst the Gunners struggled to really test Andy Fisher.

Both sides also ended the game with 10 men as Arsenal’s Charlie Gilmour saw red just after half time, before Hayden Carter was handed his marching orders late on.

Within 60 seconds, Rovers almost took the lead as a lovely ball from Willem Tomlinson found Jack Evans in space and his cross found the head of Steven Mols, who was denied by a superb Iliev stop.

Jack Rodwell produced a well-timed tackle on Joe Willock as he tried to break forward on eight minutes as Arsenal were very much playing on the counter attack hoping to utilise their pace.

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On 13 minutes Arsenal were lucky not to find themselves behind as Rovers wasted an excellent chance when Daniel Butterworth drove forward at the defence but his pass to Lewis Travis was overhit and allowed Iliev to claim.

After a spell of the ball being played about in midfield it was Rovers and Joe Nuttall who created the next opening as the striker tested Iliev with a powerful effort from inside the box after being played in by Butterworth.

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Freddie Ljungberg then saw his side reduced to 10 men minutes into the second half as Gilmour was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with Travis.

The Gunners came close to scoring on 66 minutes when Robbie Burton fired just past the post after a slick counter attack when Joe Willock picked up the ball from deep and drove forward before playing Burton in on goal.

Willock then fired wide from 25 yards, before Tomlinson’s effort from the edge of the box was saved once again down low to his left by the impressive Iliev.

Blackburn were reduced to 10 men on 85 minutes as Carter saw red for bringing down Willock on the edge of the box, with Willock denied by a fantastic save by Fisher in the closing stages.

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