Mika Biereth scored yet another goal in a friendly on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a heavy beating by Leyton Orient.
A Leyton Orient XI took on an Arsenal XI in a friendly match on Wednesday, behind closed doors. Leyton Orient’s team was essentially a rotated senior side, whilst Arsenal’s was an u23 lineup.
With the competitive u23 season over, this was a chance to keep the youngsters ticking over, as some of them may be needed for first-team action in the coming weeks.
But on that subject, there were a few key players missing from the match.
The likes of Zak Swanson, Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand, Alex Kirk, and Charlie Patino were all absent as they presumably joined Arsenal’s first-team training session. Swanson, Salah-Eddine, and Kirk were all in Mikel Arteta’s last Premier League squad.
Arsenal also didn’t start their strongest side, with the deadly attacking trio of Omari Hutchinson, Marcelo Flores, and Mika Biereth on the bench alongside midfield starter Jack Henry-Francis.
All the same, with the likes of Omar Rekik, Miguel Azeez, and Kido Taylor-Hart in the lineup, it was disappointing to see Leyton Orient totally dominate the first half.
Ovie Ejeheri had to make a couple of strong saves just to keep things level in the first 10 minutes, and Orient soon raced into a 3-0 lead – capitalising on mistakes from the Arsenal defence and goalkeeper.
Arsenal pushed to get back into the game after the half-time interval, with Taylor-Hart and Azeez going close with the help of substitute Biereth. But Orient killed the game with a free-kick from distance in the 75th minute.
There was still time for Biereth to get on the scoresheet, seizing on a defensive error for another goal to make it 4-1.
Biereth ended his first Arsenal u23 season with 14 goals and nine assists, a very strong debut season in u23 football with a new club.
Perhaps the game would have gone differently if the Denmark u19 international had been involved from the start, but his limited minutes will allow him to remain fresh in case he’s needed for this weekend’s first-team squad.
Arsenal u23 lineup vs Leyton Orient
Ejeheri, Foran, Rekik, Dinzeyi, Walters, Azeez, Taylor-Hart, Olayinka, Butler-Oyedeji, Ideho, Lewis
Hutchinson, Hillson, Henry-Francis, Flores, Biereth, Sagoe Jr, Jeffcott, Roberts