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Arsenal Reserves Lose But Gnabry Impresses On His Debut

by on December 1, 2011

Arsenal Reserves suffered their second defeat of the season losing 2-0 to Aston Villa Reserves. With former Arsenal youth team player Samir Carruthers scoring the first for Villa and Daniel Johnson getting the sceond.

Damián Martínez came in for Vito Mannone in the Arsenal goal. With Reserve team captain Ignasi Miquel playing the first-team yesterday against Manchester City he was absent for the Reserves and defender Daniel Boateng was suspended. With Gavin Hoyte still injured this meant Martin Angha moved to center-back partnering Elton Monteiro at the heart of the defence. Jernade Meade dropped back to left-back and Sead Hajrović continued at right-back. The midfield trio was Nico Yennaris, Craig Eastmond and Oğuzhan Özyakup who were all unused substitutes against Manchester City yesterday, Özyakup playing in the advanced attacking role.

Zak Ansah started for the Reserves again operating on the right of the front three. Reserve forward Rhys Murphy started for Neil Banfiel’s side after recently returning from injury. Highly rated Arsenal U-18’s midfielder Serge Gnabry was handed his debut for the Reserves and started on the left of the front three. Sean McDermott was Martínez understudy on the bench, with Bihmoutine, Rees and Ebecilio. Also was summer recruit from Barcelona Jon Toral, his first time being in a Reserve squad.

An early Arsenal attack started from good build up play between Gnabry and Özyakup resulting in Yennaris shooting wide of the Villa goal. Good work from Eastmond finding Gnabry on the edge of the Aston Villa box and the German youth international went for the volley, his effort just went wide. Murphy tried to set Gnabry down the left but he was just offside.

Aston Villa’s first shot of the match saw them take the lead, former Arsenal U-16’s player Samir Carruthers curling effort on the edge of the box went past Martínez in the Arsenal goal. Twenty minutes in to the match Arsenal were struggling to find space and retain the ball Reserve team manager Neil Banfield was shouting for them to play a quicker approach. Murphy linking up well with Özyakup and the young Dutch midfielders effort just went over.

Monteiro fouled England U-21’s forward Nathan Delfouneso deep in the Arsenal half, in the resulting free-kick Martínez was forced to punch the ball away for an Aston Villa corner. Seconds later Martínez  was called in to action again tipping the corner away, it was curling directly in. Murphy tried to play in Eastmond through the middle but his pass was intercepted. Gnabry picked up a loose in the Villa half but his cross was cleared.

Yennaris sent a through ball to Gnabry after a brilliant back-heel from the German youth international but Gnabry was unable to make the right cross. Hajrovic worked well to get in to the Villa half but his shot was blocked by Ciaran Clark. Last fifteen minutes of the first-half Arsenal had the majority of the possession but they couldn’t make any real cut chances.

Arsenal’s first chance of the second-half came from Gnabry, striking the ball with power but Siegrist made a good save in the Aston Villa goal. Craig Eastmond and Clark both received yellow cards after having words with each other. Good build up from Neil Banfield’s side which ended in Eastmond trying his luck from distance but Zak Ansah got in the away of it. This time Meade came close for Arsenal after a good through ball from the impressive Gnabry but Siegrist made a good stop to deny the full-back.

Gnabry attempted a chip shot from just outside the box but it was an easy save for Siegrist. Neil Banfield made two changes half way through the second-half Samir Bihmoutine and Jon Toral both coming on for Ansah and Gnabry. Bihmoutine picked up a yellow card shorty after coming on. Arsenal made their final substitution which was Josh Rees coming on for Rhys Murphy on the 77 minute. Martínez  was forced to make a good save from Graham.

Great work from Meade finding Özyakup and tried his luck from range but the Dutchman’s effort went just wide. After all of Arsenal’s hard-work trying to get back in to the match Aston Villa scored a second. With Webb playing an excellent ball to Johnson who scored to double Villa’s lead.

Neil Banfield’s side had a lot of possession throughout the match but couldn’t break down a well-organized Aston Villa’s defence. Despite the lost there are positives to take from Reserves second defeat of the season. It was a fairly young Arsenal Reserve side, with Rhys Murphy making his comeback from injury. Sixteen year old Gnabry impressed on his Reserve debut and Toral made his Reserve debut as well. Arsenal now slip to third in the Reserve League South and next play on the 19th December against Chelsea at London Colney.

You can follow me @AFC_93.

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