With one game to go, the Arsenal u23s still have work to do to secure their status in the top division of English youth football.
After a defeat to West Ham at the weekend, Arsenal’s hopes of staying in the Premier League 2 first division took a bit of a hit. Fortunately, Liverpool gave them a bit of help on Monday.
Liverpool were facing Leicester City, one of the two teams that would need to overtake Arsenal in order to relegate them (the other being West Ham). Despite picking up two red cards, Liverpool managed to cling onto a 2-2 draw.
That draw means Leicester are now three points behind Arsenal with one game to go. Their goal difference is also six goals worse, though they do have the advantage on goals scored.
The final weekend is a reverse of the last one, as Arsenal face West Ham away on Friday, and Leicester City play Liverpool at home on Monday.
What this means is that Arsenal only need to pick up one point to stay up, regardless of other results. Any win or any draw will be enough.
However, Steve Bould’s side could still be relegated if they lose to West Ham and Leicester beat Liverpool – though it would require a goal difference swing of six goals between the two games.
That doesn’t sound too bad, except that Leicester beat Southampton 7-1 last month. Another result like that and any Arsenal defeat would send them down.
The good news is that Miguel Azeez and Kido Taylor-Hart should both be free to feature for the u23s this time. They were held back for FA Youth Cup duty last week, which undoubtedly had an impact.
Folarin Balogun may also drop down for one final game if he doesn’t play for the first-team on Thursday. With the three of them in the team, a draw or win against West Ham seems a lot more achievable.
After that, we can start asking questions about how Arsenal have let the relegation battle go down to the final game of the season.