Manchester United U23 1-0 Arsenal U23
Scorer(s): Ro-Shaun Williams, ‘7
#mufc XI: Johnstone, Williams, Poole, Tuanzebe, Riley, Harrop, Willock (Scott, ’86), Redmond, El Fitouri, Olosunde, Mitchell (Kehinde, ’67).
#afc XI: Keto; Johnson, Da Silva, Bennacer (c), Da Graca, Pileas, Dragomir, McGuane, Nketiah, Hinds (Robinson, ’78), Mourgos (Eyoma, ’78).
A first Manchester United goal for defender Ro-Shaun Williams gave Warren Joyce’s side three points for the first time since a September win against Derby County, moving up to 6th in the Premier League 2 table.
Arsenal field a fairly young side, no player’s age exceeding 19. It showed, although the Gunners did challenge Sam Johnstone’s goal on occasions.
Williams, who returned from injury in the last couple of weeks, headed United in front after only seven minutes. A Josh Harrop corner was deflected into the path of Williams by Arsenal’s Mourgos Savvas and the English centre-back powered through the ball, and the ball powered through into the back of the net.
Edward Nketiah, one of the most clinical young strikers in the 2015/16 U18 Premier League for Arsenal, caused problems for United. Axel Tuanzebe appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area in attempts to stop Nketiah while Regan Poole challenged the striker with fine precision to deny him a shot on goal.
Despite Arsenal dominating the first-half possession, United had the best chance for the second goal of the game as Matthew Olosunde was fed through by Demetri Mitchell. The American, formerly of New York Red Bulls, put his shot straight into the legs of the goalkeeper.
Joe Riley impressed many, and was seen as Man of the Match come the end of the game by many, with powerful, quick runs on the left flank. Playing at left-back, Riley is growing into the role since being moved there from further up the field, previously a winger.
Joyce’s team now travel to North London to play Arsenal’s rivals Tottenham Hotspur at lunchtime on Friday at Spurs’ Hotspur Way training ground.