Arsenal’s u23s have beaten Watford 6-1 in their final pre-season match before the real action gets underway.

A fair few of the Arsenal u23s have spent pre-season with the first team, but some are now returning to academy action, at least for now, and their senior experience is proving helpful as they again match up against their age group.

Arsenal gave senior debuts to a variety of young forwards in pre-season, Eddie Nketiah and Donyell Malen included, and the pair were both involved in the match against Watford to great effect. Malen scored two according to Jeorge Bird’s match report, whilst Nketiah scored one and added two assists.

Both players featured heavily for the u18s last season with 24 goals and seven assists in 34 appearances between the two of them at this level. They also made more limited appearances for the u23s, with Eddie getting six goals in 14, and Donyell scoring three in 11.

However, it seems that this year both are hoping to make the step up to playing with the u23s more regularly, and maybe getting involved in some League Cup action if possible.

The other players who made it onto the scoresheet were Aaron Eyoma, Ismael Bennacer and Chiori Johnson. Ismael spent last year on loan with Ligue 2 side Tours, making 14 appearances and scoring a free-kick. He’s rumoured to be looking for a similar loan move this season.

Meanwhile Deyan Iliev, the academy goalkeeper who has spent two years sidelined as a result of his injury, also made an appearance, and kept the Hornets to just one goal.

If the u23s can carry this form into the season it can only be a good thing to help push the Arsenal first-team forward and to be ready to cover any injuries as the year goes on.