Marquinhos made his mark with the Arsenal u21s once again on Friday night, scoring a brace in a win over West Ham United.

Marquinhos celebrating a goal for the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Marquinhos celebrating a goal for the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

After his goal and assist against Manchester United last week, Marquinhos remained with the Arsenal u21s to play against West Ham United on Friday.

There were only a couple of Arsenal changes from that Manchester United match, with Takehiro Tomiyasu being replaced by James Sweet and goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk dropping out for Tom Smith.

First half

The game started slowly, perhaps with the sweltering heat playing a part. James Olayinka went down injured before the 10-minute mark, but thankfully he was okay to continue after receiving treatment.

Not long after that, West Ham took the lead. A long ball caused some confusion as Tom Smith came out of goal before Zach Awe tried and failed to control the ball, giving it to West Ham’s Simon-Swyer to score.

The goal sparked Arsenal into life, however, and Charles Sagoe Jr played James Olayinka in behind on the left, before the midfielder beat his man and chipped a cross to Marquinhos to head in for 1-1.

Matt Smith went close with a shot after a nice linkup with Khayon Edwards, before Edwards was involved again, getting in on goal before seeing his unselfish square pass cut out by a defender.

Just as the half looked to be drawing to a close at 1-1, Marquinhos scored another header, and a better one than the first. Sagoe Jr was involved again, crossing for the Brazilian winger to guide it home impressively.

Second half

Arsenal continued to dominate the chances after the break, with Miguel Azeez and Awe both hitting the same post and Sagoe Jr having a penalty claim waved away.

The Gunners made the pressure count from a subsequent corner, with Matt Smith playing a clever reverse pass to put Olayinka in to score.

The comfort of a two-goal lead didn’t last long, as West Ham again capitalised on a defensive error to make it 3-2.

But if anything, Arsenal were more likely to score a fourth than concede an equaliser.

Edwards headed one chance over and had another cleared off the line by a defender, and substitute Salah-Eddine Oulad M’hand had a couple of efforts saved.

That’s not to say West Ham didn’t have openings though, with a couple of long balls testing Tom Smith’s speed off his goalline and a late header going a yard wide of the post. But ultimately it wasn’t enough, and Arsenal won the match 3-2.

Final thoughts

Marquinhos playing for the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
Marquinhos playing for the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

Arsenal need to ensure there’s space for Marquinhos in the Europa League squad, as he doesn’t qualify for the unlimited u21 list given he hasn’t been at the club for two years.

The winger’s two performances for the u21s have been very good so far, with three goals and an assist, but he’ll hardly see a single senior minute of action this year if he’s not involved in Europe.

James Olayinka’s appearance was a good representation of his year so far, with a goal and an assist to cap a strong display, but also an injury scare.

The midfielder hasn’t been fit half as often as he would’ve liked, but he’s playing some of his best football when he’s available.

Defensively, however, Arsenal need some work. They escaped with a win on this occasion, but they won’t be so lucky if they defend and play out in a similar way next weekend against Chelsea.

Arsenal u21 lineup vs West Ham

T. Smith, Sweet, Awe, Monlouis, Sousa, Azeez, Smith, Olayinka, Sagoe Jr, Marquinhos, Edwards


S. Oulad M’hand (for Sagoe Jr, 68), Akinola (for Edwards, 88), Butler-Oyedeji (for Olayinka, 88), Hillson, Foran

What’s next?

As mentioned, the Arsenal u21s play Chelsea next weekend, but the game has been rescheduled for Saturday at 14:00 BST, meaning the u18s, u21s, and the first team all play on the same day.

The reason for the fixture alteration is that the Arsenal u21s play Swansea City in their first Premier League Cup game in midweek, on Wednesday at 19:00 BST.