Player Ratings: Arsenal U21 4-1 Leicester City
Arsenal hosted Leicester City at Meadow Park in Premier League 2 on Friday evening – find out who impressed.
A hattrick from the hugely promising Ethan Nwaneri, supplemented by a James Sweet second half strike saw the Young Guns come from behind to win 4-1 at Meadow Park on Friday evening in Premier League 2.
Against the run of play the Young Foxes had gone ahead through Tom Wilson Brown, but the lead lasted fewer than four minutes. The second half saw the visitors struggle still further after captain Paul Appiah was sent off on 49 minutes.
To emphasise such strength in depth Premier League starlet Nwaneri started, as did Myles Lewis-Skelly, Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Lino Sousa, Reuell Walters and Charles Sagoe Jnr to name but a few young guns who featured in the impressive 3-0 win over West Ham U21s last week.
Missing from Mehmet Ali’s squad was Amario Cozier-Duberry, as the hugely talented young attacker has been training with the first team squad this week - possibly with a view to being included in Monday evening’s Premier League trip to south London when Mikel Arteta’s side take on Crystal Palace.
It would be the least the exciting 18-year-old would deserve, following his excellent performance during the U21s 3-0 victory over a strong West Ham side to kick-off the Premier League 2 season.
Former Gunner Amani Richards started for the Young Foxes, but it was the home side that dominated throughout.
Nwaneri and Lewis-Skelly went close early on, as did Sweet, who also started against the Young Irons last time out, prior to Sagoe Jnr thudding the post with a powerful low drive, as the visitors struggling to maintain parity.
Credit must go to the visitors who absorbed the intense pressure, to score on 41 minutes. Foxes No6 Wilson Brown slotting home from close range past keeper Ovie Ejeheri to make the score 1-0.
After dominating for so long, stung, the home side replied moments later. The impressive Nwaneri showing excellent technique to fire past the increasingly beleaguered Young for 1-1, during the ridiculous seven minutes additional time added onto the end of the first half.
As the drizzle started to fall at the start of the second half, referee Sam Mulhall was left with had no option but to issue a straight red card. The man in black sending off Foxes captain Appiah on 49 minutes, after the defender brought down No9 Khayon Edwards as last man on the edge of the area.
The home side’s pressure against ten men eventually told, when 16-year-old Lewis-Skelly squared for Nwaneri to steer the ball into the net to make it 2-1.
Right-back Sweet made it 3-1 moments later as the tiring Foxes failed to close down the Wales U19 defender. The strength in depth of Ali’s side was underlined when Jimi Gower and full Mexican international Marcelo Flores were introduced late on.
There was still time for Nwaneri to grab his third of a productive evening in front of a watching Arteta, as the clock ticked down
Read our Player Ratings to find out who impressed at Meadow Park
Ovie Ejeheri: 7/10 - Had very little to do in the first half yet found himself picking the ball out of the net moments before half time.
James Sweet: 8/10 - Happy to supplement colleagues further forward at times. Good to see the No2 cut inside from the right-flank and onto his left foot, as witnessed by an early drive that Foxes keeper Young turned past the post. Slotted home with aplomb late on to cap an excellent display.
Lino Sousa: 7/10 - Silky skills but not afraid to go long when required in a bid to relieve pressure.
Reuell Walters: 7/10 - Solid
Zane Monlouis (c): 7.5/10 - The Young Guns captain displayed an outstanding touch, even when under pressure.
Bradley Ibrahim: 7.5/10 - Comfortable bringing the ball out of defence.
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji: 6.5/10 - Lively but not as influential as he would have liked – wasn’t for the lack of effort, however.
Myles Lewis-Skelly: 7.5/10 - Early chance but foiled by Foxes keeper Brad Young. Excellent ball across for Nwaneri’s second half strike as the No8 deservedly claimed an assist. Incredible to think he is still only 16 years old. Earned his round of applause when replaced late on
Khayon Edwards: 7/10 - Brought down by Foxes captain Paul Appiah as last man on the edge of the area – leaving referee Sam Mulhall no option but to issue a straight red car to the young defender.
Ethan Nwaneri: 9/10 - Absolutely outstanding. Improves by the week, will surely be in with a shout of inclusion into Mikel Arteta’s Carabao Cup third round squad later next month. Lovely touch and vision as he glided around the action with such excellent balance. Subject of agricultural challenges at times as the Foxes backline attempted to quieten his influence but his treble provided the home side with the perfect answer
Charles Sagoe Jnr: 7.5/10 - Showed excellent technique during his duel with Foxes right-back Jayden Joseph. Good to see the No11’s ability to play with his back to goal, while holding up the ball effectively. Thudded Young’s right-hand post during the first half
Jimi Gower: N/A - On for Lewis-Skelly late on to underline the talent in Mehmet Ali’s U21 squad this term.
Marcelo Flores: N/A - The full Mexican international replaced Butler-Oyedeji at the same time.
Michal Rosiak: N/A - On for Sweet late on