A few Arsenal players made a positive impression in the u21 win on Tuesday night, including a couple of long-term absentees returning to the side.

Joel Lopez with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Lopez on Instagram)
Joel Lopez with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Lopez on Instagram)

Arsenal beat Crawley Town 2-1 on Tuesday, winning their second consecutive EFL Trophy match despite their dire PL2 form. Miguel Azeez was undoubtedly the star, and we’ve done a write up on him here if you want to read it.

But he wasn’t the only one to catch the eye on the night. Among those impressing those watching were Joel Lopez and Arthur Okonkwo.

This was Lopez’s first appearance since he picked up an injury in February, and it was Okonkwo’s first game in goal since April 2019.

So for all that time out, it was great to see the two youngsters doing well. Playing at left-back, Lopez’s driving runs forward were one of the key factors in Arsenal’s attacking play. He won quite a few free-kicks and carried the ball into the final third regularly.

The defender came off after 70 minutes, but it was clear that was for fitness reasons after so long out. He was still playing well right up until his substitution.

As for Okonkwo, he didn’t get a clean sheet, but he did really well all the same. His five saves were surely a big factor in the three points, and he was always keen to get the game moving again after making one.

It’s good to have the two of them back, as they certainly improve the side when they’re available.

Ryan Alebiosu also deserves a mention. Unlike the other two, he’s been a regular for Arsenal’s youth teams this season, but this was the best performance I’ve seen from him so far. He made some great tackles and kept possession well throughout.

Steve Bould’s side next play Manchester United on Saturday.