Abou Diaby, Serge Gnabry and Jack Wilshere all started for the u21’s against Reading at the Emirates on Monday night.

Krystian Bielik was also in the side, playing as a centreback as the side lost 0-1.

With Wilshere handed the armband for the evening, the game was not a great watch in the first half with Reading scoring early on from a corner due to some woeful defending by the Gunners, the goal scored by Martin Keown’s son.

In what was a balanced first 45, Arsenal struggled to create much, producing a number of wild long-range efforts but with the senior players not really making the impact you would perhaps expect.

With Wenger in the stands watching, the trio will no doubt have been hoping to show that they are ready to be included in the senior squad but by halftime it was hard to think that any of them had made a very strong case and the side were perhaps fortunate to only be a goal down.

The most notable, and probably best, thing of the half was watching Diaby not afraid to put his foot in while Gnabry looked the most dangerous although not much came off for him. In the final minute of the half, Wilshere did spring to life with a driving run into the box and as the Reading defence just stood and watched him, he was able to get a shot off forcing a decent save.

Arsenal started the second half a lot more brightly than they had the first, forcing a save in the opening minutes before a dynamic run from Wilshere almost set Alex Iwobi up for an equaliser with a delightful flick to put the forward through only to see the shot parried away.

Arsenal’s injury jinx struck not long into the half when Bielik went down in what seemed to be some significant pain with a thigh problem. Trying to play through it, he was subbed off after 54 minutes and just a minute later Diaby was taken off.

Wilshere was certainly significantly more lively in the second half along with Dan Crowley who really started to shine after being moved into the middle as Arsenal pressed the matter but could not find a way through.

Jack was, however, taken off after 88 minutes after being slow to get up from a heavy challenge although it didn’t seem to be anything to be concerned about and he was probably more knackered than anything else.

In the end, it’s hard to make any judgements from a game which was not played with any sort of intensity but it did give the three players some much needed minutes and Arsenal can consider themselves unlucky to have lost the game after being the much better side in the second half.