Arsenal u23s got their new season off to a poor start, losing 2-0 to Reading on Friday night.

In what is a newly revamped league, Arsenal had been hopeful of showing that many of the frailties we’ve seen over recent seasons were a thing of the past, but that was not the case.

Deploying Ben Sheaf at centreback due to the defensive crisis in the first team and the departure of Stefan O’Connor and Julio Pleguezuelo on loan, the midfielder did not look overly comfortable in that position, but at 18 he has plenty of time to retrain, if that’s the long term goal of the club.

The side featured Gedion Zelalaem and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, as well Chris Willock and Stephy Mavididi, but it was Reading who left with all three points thanks to goals from Andy Rinomhota and Harry Caldwell in the 70th and 80th minutes respectively.

It was, perhaps notable, that the goals came after Zelalem and Willock were subbed (61).

Next up for the u23s (the Premier League 2 competition is an u23 one although Arsenal are still listing their team as u21), is a trip to Manchester City on Friday, 19th August.