An Arsenal XI fought back from two goals down to draw 3-3 in the club’s first pre-season friendly, with Tyreece John-Jules inspiring the comeback.
Arsenal kicked off pre-season with an academy side taking on Boreham Wood at Meadow Park on Saturday. There were no senior players involved in the match, with the squad instead composed of a mix of u23 and u18 players.
The starting team struggled to get a hold on the game, particularly in midfield, and a couple of defensive errors left them 3-1 down at half-time.
For Arsenal’s goal, Matt Smith combined well with Zech Medley on the edge of the box before running in behind and showing good composure to finish the chance.
Folarin Balogun, such a prolific goalscorer at youth level last season, found it difficult to get into the game in the opening 45 minutes. He had limited support from those behind him, both in terms of link-up play or quality balls over the top.
In the second half, Tyreece John-Jules took Balogun’s place up front, and Xavier Amaechi and Ben Cottrell came on to support the striker.
The difference was immediately notable, with better balls coming into John-Jules, and a very well taken goal from the edge of the box. He then had the chance to level the scores from the penalty spot after Mark McGuinness was fouled, which he did.
El 3-3 y el 2do de John-Jules!! pic.twitter.com/3UjKEqcieh
— Pablo. (@PabloM1O) July 6, 2019
Centre-back McGuinness had an excellent game before his substitution, winning countless aerial duels, but his supporting cast of Zech Medley and Zak Swanson didn’t look as confident on the day. Left-back Dominic Thompson was one of the better performers though.
The game was a good opportunity for a number of younger players to get an opportunity with u23 teammates against senior opposition. The likes of Alfie Matthews and Ryan Alebiosu got chances in the second half and did well.
Sam Greenwood also had some nice touches in his first u23 outing, though he’ll be a little disappointed not to have come on earlier after his excellent first campaign with the u18s in 2018/19.
The academy don’t have another scheduled fixture until 24th July against Barnet, so the first team are next up with their USA friendly against Colorado Rapids on 16th July.