Match Report: Arsenal U21 vs Crystal Palace U21
By William Paradise
A composed finish from Mauro Bandeira extends Arsenal’s unbeaten record in the league to 10 games.
Malcolm Ebiowei calmly finessed the ball into the far corner to open the score line.
Bandeira’s skill and composure on the ball allowed him to accurately find the bottom right-hand corner just before half time.
Arsenal’s draw continues an impressive start for Mehmet Ali in his first Premier League 2 campaign as Arsenal U21 head coach.
It was a toughly contested start to the game with several crunching tackles as the rain started to pour down heavily at Meadow Park.
Amario Cozier-Duberry’s pace and skill was tormenting the Crystal Palace defence early in the match, which resulted in many chances hitting the side-netting.
After a spell of dominance from Arsenal, the visitors started to control possession. Malcolm Ebiowei was causing the Arsenal back line some problems with his close-range effort forcing Hubert Graczyk to a superb close-range fingertip save.
Ebiowei’s efforts throughout the first half paid dividends after his first-time finish inside the box opened the scoring for the Eagles.
Crystal Palace looked to double their lead with a quick counter-attack but the defensive pairing of Taylor Foran and Zach Awe stood strong to withstand a talented Palace front line.
The Young Gunners responded well after going a goal down with left-back Elian Quesada-Thorn’s driven strike forcing a good save from Goodman.
Arsenal’s persistence paid off shortly before half-time, as Mauro Bandeira found the equaliser. The midfielder received the ball from Jack Henry-Francis just inside the 18-yard box and precisely placed his shot into the corner to make it 1-1.
The second half continued just like the first, with both sides posing a threat in their attacking play. Referee, Nagamine Koki, continued to let many hard challenges slide, allowing for the match to be a free-flowing and physical affair which Arsenal dealt with well throughout the second half.
Charles Sagoe Jr replaced Marquinhos in the 61st minute and immediately made his stamp on the game, coming incredibly close to netting a winner on two occasions. His attacking flair and pace made it a tough night for left-back Omotayo Adaramola.
In the dying moments of the game Bandeira nearly won the game for Arsenal, however, his looped cross struck the crossbar which left the fans with their hearts in their mouth.
This result means that Arsenal remains unbeaten and are top of Premier League 2, whilst Crystal Palace sit just one place behind in second.