Ljungberg pleased to see his youngsters sticking to their principles in pre-season win
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Freddie Ljungberg was pleased to see his Arsenal under-23 side stick to their principles as they ran out 3-0 winners in their latest pre-season friendly against non-league Hornchurch.
Charlie Gilmour volleyed the young Gunners in front during the first half, following a smart short corner move between Robbie Burton and Stephy Mavididi.
And as they continued to dominate possession against the Bostik Premier Division outfit, late goals from substitutes Tyreece John-Jules and Danny Ballard sealed victory, after Deyan Ilyev had saved George Purcell’s penalty.
Two-time Premier League winner Ljungberg, who took over as head coach earlier this year, said: “It’s great for us to be able to come out in the community, with so many people showing up.
“It’s great for the boys to see real football. For me this is what I remember as a kid, what I’m used to.
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“They stuck to our principle. I want to play football, we keep the ball, move it in different pockets, we did really well.”
Xavier Amaechi caught the eye early on, while Joe Willock looked to pull the strings from central midfield on his return from the first-team tour of Singapore.
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But the hosts went close to the first goal from a corner, only for Nathan Cooper’s scuffed effort to be saved by Ilyev.
Burton then hit a post after Gilmour’s goal, but Arsenal had a let-off after the break when Ilyev clipped Connor Hogan in the box to concede a penalty, then kicked away the spot-kick from Gunners fan George Purcell.
Arsenal made a total of 10 substitutions in the second half, with John-Jules slotting home after a neat passing move and Ballard pouncing at a corner.
And Ljungberg felt his young charges coped well with the challenges faced, adding: “It’s a different environment, when you’re used to everything being served to you, perfect. They coped with everything.
“They kept on playing, against men, which they’re not used to, so I think that’s very important for them. We kept playing the football I want to play, moving the ball, and in the end I think we broke the record for how many shots we had on target!
“Of course we would like to score some more but the longer pre-season goes, those will go in the net. They played really well.”