Despite Marcus McGuane scoring a brace, Arsenal u23s lost 4-2 to Everton on Monday night, with a number of enforced changes playing a factor in the outcome.

Only Marcus McGuane and Jordi Osei-Tutu kept their place from the last match against Leicester City, as players like Chuba Akpom, Matt Macey, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Josh Dasilva were all seemingly rested for Arsenal’s Europa League match on Thursday.

Julio Pleguezuelo and Jeff Reine-Adelaide unfortunately missed out with injury, so it ended up being very much a new-look side on the night. Zech Medley unsurprisingly started after the u18 captain was left out of the u18 match at the weekend. This was his u23 debut, and defensive midfielder Charlie Gilmour made his first start for the team as well.

In fact, such was the problem with absentees that Folarin Balogun, who scored two for the u18s a couple of days earlier, as well as Josh Benson who also played that day, both ended up coming off the bench for this one as well. Both appearances were u23 debuts for the pair.

Onto the actual action, Arsenal started well, perhaps as a result of so many new players and fringe players wanting to prove themselves. McGuane scored in the 10th minute, but the Gunners then had to hold out until half-time as Everton started to pick up the pace.

Unfortunately their resistance was broken at the start of the second half, conceding to substitute Anton Donkor. Then Everton’s Gethin Jones suffered a serious injury that disrupted the play, and when play resumed Everton took the lead for the first time.

Arsenal got back into it after McGuane scored from the penalty spot, but in the final 10 minutes the Gunners finally fell apart, conceding two goals and having debutant Charlie Gilmour sent off for a second yellow.

A disappointing result in the end but under the circumstances there are still positives to be taken from all their players getting their first taste of u23 action.

Arsenal’s Line up: Huddart; Osei Tutu-Medley-Olowu; Moore-McGuane-Gilmour-T. Bola; Eyoma-Smith Rowe; Dragomir

Subs: Balogun (for Moore, 88), Benson (for McGuane, 92).

Not used: Virginia, Olayinka, Omole.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.