Premier League 2 Arsenal U23 5-1 Manchester City U23: Bukayo Saka grabs a brace as Freddie Ljungberg’s young guns shine
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Arsenal U23s hosted Manchester City U23s in Premier League 2. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report from a chilly evening at Meadow Park.
Freddie Ljungberg’s young guns raced into a two-goal lead after only eight minutes with an excellent strike through Bukayo Saka and a calmly taken penalty from Robbie Burton.
Joe Willock grabbed the third moments before the break as Ljungberg’s side dominated the match.
City’s Luke Bolton pulled a goal back just after the break before Saka hit his second of the match minutes later before Xavier Amaechi made it five.
The Swede fielded a strong line-up with Eddie Nketiah and Saka starting alongside Willock - fresh from his FA cup brace at Bloomfield Road after the first team’s 3-0 victory over Blackpool earlier this month.
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Dinos Mavropanos also appeared in the starting XI for his first appearance in red and white for 163 days – since August 5 to be precise.
The most notable of Ljungberg’s starlets was of course the hugely-talented 17-year-old Saka. Yet it was Ben Sheaf who also shone in the heart of defence as he dovetailed well with Mavropanos after a niggling injury before Christmas robbed him of valuable playing time.
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The cultured centre-half shone alongside the more abrasive Mavropanos as he looked to bring the ball out of defence and prompt attacks.
With Pep Guardiola’s senior squad hosting Wolves in the Premier League the majority of supporters would have been focussing on the clash. But that would have been to miss a number of talented youngsters on both sides here at Boreham Wood on a chilly midwinter’s evening.
Saka opened the scoring with only four minutes gone when he cut in from the left to fire emphatically past City keeper Curtis Anderson to put the Gunners 1-0 ahead.
Four minutes later Burton slotted past Anderson after Amaechi was fouled in the box.
The whole Arsenal side showed impressive movement on and off the ball as they pinned their visitors back for long spells in the opening first half.
Willock slotted home in a crowded box with seconds remaining in the first half.
City pulled a goal back just after the break through Bolton before Saka grabbed his second just after the break to make it 4-1
Amaechi made it five following excellent work from Nketiah as the home side turned the scoreline into a rout.