Arsenal continued their superb start to The Premier Reserves League season with a 3-0 win over Blackpool at Underhill. After a poor first half, strikes from Chuks Aneke and Benik Afobe plus a penalty from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas sealed the win.
Neil Banfield welcomed back Havard Nordtveit and Conor Henderson from injury and both started. Gilles Sunu was also back from surgery, but he was only fit enough for a place on the bench.
Nordtveit – Hoyte – Miquel – Meade
Eastmond – Henderson
Afobe – Aneke – Deacon
Subs: McDermott (GK), Boateng, Evina, Ozyakup, Sunu.
Arsenal struggled to get their passing game going in the early stages and Ishmel Demontagnac caused havoc in the backline right from the off. Miquel’s header back to Shea appeared to be a little short and Demontagnac chased the ball down, only for Shea to win the race.
The Gunners lacked work rate but Emmanuel-Thomas always proved to be a threat in attack. His powerful run down the right allowed him to set up Deacon, but the England winger was just offside. Emmanuel-Thomas found himself in an identical situation moments later, but this time cut inside and drilled just over.
Banfield was animated throughout the half and he had work to do at half time, with the scores level.
Half Time – Arsenal 0-0 Blackpool
Arsenal snapped out of the traps in the second period and worked arguably the best move of the game. Afobe and Aneke each combined with the latter shaping and firing a low shot. Kingson did well to save.
Sunu and Evina came off the bench with Meade moving into midfield, and instantly it payed dividends. Meade was involved in the move which saw Eastmond roll the ball in for Aneke who shifted his feet and finished well for 1-0.
After finally breaking the deadlock, the Gunners stepped on the gas and quickly got themselves a second. Meade showed some delightful touches and played in Sunu in the box. He was clipped down and a spot kick awarded. Emmanuel-Thomas proved spot on from 12 yards, 2-0.
There was just time for Emmanuel-Thomas to tee up Afobe, he rounded the goalkeeper and made it 3-0 on the cusp of full time. Three goals, three points, and three very impressive performances from three youngsters to watch out for.