Last night saw a very strong Arsenal U21 side defeat Reading 2-0 at Barnet, Underhill. With Sagna returning from injury and Wilshere and Frimpong continuing their path back to the first team Arsenal had enough talent to see off Reading fairly comfortably.
Subs: Charles-Cook, Meade,Yennaris, Olsson, Bellerin
With the 3 aforementioned players getting game time to add in their recovery and Santos and Coquelin dropping down for game time, Terry Burton had named a strong and experienced second string team. Reading’s team included Jason Roberts, Adam le Fondre and an ex-Arsenal keeper Stuart Taylor, so not the weakest.
Both teams started brightly with neat passing but Reading had the first real chance as Roberts set up Guthrie to curl the ball around Shea but fortunately for Arsenal round the post as well. Wilshere and Frimpong grew in to the game and set up 2 Arsenal chances, first Frimpong fed Akpom on the left to curl his shot wide of the post and then Wilshere sent Eisfield scampering down the right only to see the German’s drive go wide.
With most eyes on the returning players it was actually Gnabry who stood out the most and after going close at the start of the game he put Arsenal ahead. Wilshere and Frimpong played a part as Frimpong showed his usual tenacity in chasing a ball down on the right and passing to Wilshere who got the ball to Gnabry via Eisfield. Gnabry cut in from the right and finished with aplomb into the left corner. Gnabry has rightly been receiving a lot of attention recently and made the squad and almost the bench for Olympiacos last week and I’m sure it won’t be too long before he gets in a Premier League Squad.
Arsenal defence almost gifted Reading a way back into the match as Harjovic’s mistake allowed Le Fondre in who eased past Miquel but Shea thwarted the attempted chip.
Frimpong missed a glorious chance to put Arsenal 2-0 up and admitted on twitter afterwards his shooting needed practice. Coquelin had pounced upon a poor clearance and got the ball to Frimpong in the area only for Frimpong to show why he is a defensive midfield player and scuff his shot wide.
Arsenal where 2-0 up soon after as Miquel flicked on a Wilshere corner, similar to what Mertesacker has been trying to do for the first team, and Akpom headed home from close range. Arsenal eased up slightly and Reading had 3 strong chances that they should have scored 1 of but you felt if Reading had got one back Arsenal would have stepped up a gear again.
Sagna had a fairly uneventful game and lasted 60 minutes, I doubt he will make it back for Norwich as needs more game time but bar an injury we should see him in the squad for the game after. Wilshere played 74 minutes and a highlight was a backheeled through ball in the first half for Eisfield. His first touch is not as good as it used to be but I’m sure that will return with game time.
Finally Frimpong, he played the full 90 minutes but there has been chatter this week of a return to Wolves on the cards. Wenger said he needed “ competitive game time soon to aid his return from injury and development” and Frimpong on twitter said “ If I’m going anywhere I’m coming back” misspelt but that was the gist of the message. With Frimpong unlikely to get too much game time with Arteta, Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey, Coquelin ahead of him in the queue and he desperately needing some a loan deal to Wolves would be beneficial to everyone. I have a feeling Wenger may wait until after the next Carling Cup game which is also against Reading and then maybe send him on a 1 month loan deal so then he can maybe go on a longer loan deal to a Premier League club at Christmas.
With so much competition ahead of Frimpong in the Arsenal squad I’m not sure if he will ever truly make it in the first 11 but one thing is for sure that there are few people who bleed Arsenal more than Frimpong at the moment. He has said he will give his all at Arsenal to make the first team but if needs be he would leave with a heavy heart to play elsewhere. Only time will tell……
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