Konstantinos Mavropanos topped off an impressive u23 debut with a clean sheet, as Arsenal hammered Manchester United 4-0.
Stepping out onto the pitch, the Greek defender dwarfed his opponents. United don’t have the tallest u23 side, and Mavropanos stands at 6’4″, so he certainly had the physical advantage.
The 20-year-old started the match at left centre-back in a back three. He used his extra height and strength well in the first half, holding players off comfortably. Mavropanos showed some nice technique pulling off a few long passes to teammates, and setting Vlad Dragomir away down the left-hand side on a couple of occasions.
The United attackers didn’t put him under too much pressure in the opening period. They’ve only scored 11 goals in 13 games all season, so they aren’t the strongest team offensively. Still, bar giving away a free-kick or two, Mavropanos looked comfortable and Arsenal went in 1-0 up at half-time.
Eight minutes into the second half, the debutant did have some defensive work to do. First, he blocked a United shot away for a corner, then he powerfully headed that corner away.
Over the next 20 minutes, the former PAS Giannina man made a few more interceptions, but generally Arsenal were in control, 2-0 up by that point. Every time the ball did come towards him in the air, Mavropanos won it without fail.
The new signing’s choice of pass was also impressive throughout the match. He consistently played positive and accurate balls without taking any unnecessary risks.
Towards the end, the Gunners really turned on the style, and Eddie Nketiah got a couple of goals to make it 4-0. Mavropanos finished the match with a first Arsenal clean sheet under his belt. Hopefully there are many more to come.