City’s youngsters secured a point last night in an enjoyable encounter with their North London counterparts at Ewen fields. The match was shown live on the official City website and gave a taster of what we can expect from the next batch of youngsters attempting to break into the first team.
City took the lead in the first half through 18 year old, John Guidetti. Guidetti raced onto a Kelvin Etuhu through ball and used his power to edge past the desperate Arsenal defender. He then showed great composure to sweep the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. Guidetti was one of three players, I personally thought shone for the side last night. The Swedish striker played upfront as the lone striker and did brilliantly to constantly stretch the Arsenal defence and caused them plenty of problems during his time on the pitch. He showed he has good pace on a few occasions in the first half and looked very confident whenever he had the ball at his feet. I will be interested to see if he can break into the first team squad in the near future and whether he can prove himself to be the next big talent ready for the first team from our illustrious academy.
Arsenal dominated possession for most of the 1st half, similar to their first team with patient, short passing moves and struck the woodwork twice towards the end of the half. Despite going into the half time break, a goal down, Arsenal could of been winning had it not been for the brilliant performance from captain, Ben Mee, at centre half. On two occasions, when it looked like Arsenal would score, Mee would appear out of nowhere and throw himself into the challenge to ensure the Arsenal players were kept frustrated. The 20 year old inserted his authority in the game throughout the night, but despite this promising performance, I think he will struggle to break into our first team squad at the age of 20, especially as he would have to get past established first teamers like Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure.
Early in the 2nd half, Abdi Ibrahim had the chance to extend City’s half time lead after Kelvin Etuhu’s dangerous cross was cleared to Ibrahim on the edge of the Arsenal box. He smashed the ball goalwards only to see his effort crash against the post and leave the Arsenal goalkeeper relieved it didn’t hit the back of the net. John Guidetti’s promising performance was ended on the 55th minute when he was replaced by striker starlet, Harry Bunn, who has impressed in the under-18s already this season with six goals in four games.
The most impressive Arsenal player was the imposing, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, who has recently had a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers. He constantly provided a threat to the City defence as he skipped past challenges with ease and always looked to unlock the defence with his passing. He gained his rewards in the 62ndminute with a brilliant curling shot from just outside the City box to bring the scores level.
The third and most promising performance of the night came from Donal McDermott. The Irish winger dazzled the crowd with his pace and trickery all night, in particular in the 2nd half when he charged towards the Arsenal right back, completed his step overs, shifted the ball onto his right foot and fired a powerful shot which was deflected for a corner. The one concern during the night was the lack of quality with his final ball, but I was very impressed with my first viewings of the 20 year olds talent.
The City goalkeeper, Gonzalez had to produce a quality save in the last minute to deny Arsenal all three points, But a point apiece was a fair result and it looked like both sides had some very promising prospects for the future. Was there any more players that caught your eye during the game?
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