Arsenal u23s are looking to follow up their opening day win over Blackburn Rovers with another against Brighton on Friday night.

Trae Coyle (Photo via Instagram / TraeCoyle7)
Trae Coyle (Photo via Instagram / TraeCoyle7)

Arsenal u23s are playing their first home match of the new PL2 campaign on Friday, after defeating Blackburn Rovers 3-1 earlier in the week.

Folarin Balogun was the star man that day, scoring a hat-trick. Though all three of his goals came from penalties – two scored directly and one turned in via a rebound – Balogun did win two of the penalties, so he’s still within his rights to take the credit.

Emile Smith Rowe and Rob Holding continued their injury comebacks with starts in the match, and they’ll likely get another run out against Brighton.

The match is at 19:00 on Friday, August 16th at Meadow Park, and is free to attend. The game is unlikely to be streamed, but the highlights will be on Arsenal Player a day or two after the game.

Let’s have a look at our predicted team for the match.

Predicted Lineup (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper

James Hillson appears to be the first-choice goalkeeper whilst Arthur Okonkwo is out with injury, so he should keep his place for this one. Tom Smith will be available on the bench.

Defence

Rob Holding played 64 minutes on Monday, and he’s likely to get another run-out on Friday.

Zech Medley was missing from Monday’s squad, though there hasn’t been any confirmation of an injury at this stage. Nonetheless, we’ll assume he’s missing this one until we hear otherwise.

Harry Clarke has been the main beneficiary of Medley’s absence, after stepping up from the u18s this summer. He should start alongside Holding.

Tolaji Bola and Zak Swanson are likely to keep their places in the full-back positions.

Midfield

Smith Rowe managed 45 minutes on Monday, and assuming there were no complications in that match he should get another half against Brighton. James Olayinka and Robbie Burton impressed on tour and should continue to start for the u23s now they’re back.

Matt Smith and Jordan McEneff are two alternative options in midfield. McEneff played the second half of Monday’s match, and if Smith Rowe is out he’s the most likely to start in the 19-year-old’s place.

Forwards

Saka travelled with the first team over the weekend as their 19th man in the squad, and it seems pretty likely he’ll be held back for Saturday’s match against Burnley.

Nathan Tormey started in the front three on Monday, but that was partly due to a knock Tyreece John-Jules picked up in his final pre-season game against Watford.

John-Jules made a substitute appearance against Blackburn, and he should be available to start alongside Trae Coyle and Folarin Balogun this time.

Full Team

Hillson; Swanson, Holding, Clarke, Bola; Olayinka, Smith Rowe, Burton; Coyle, Balogun, John-Jules

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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.