Nathan Butler-Oyedeji scored again for the Arsenal u21s on Tuesday night, but a late equaliser denied them three points against Feyenoord.
Mehmet Ali’s Arsenal u21 side kicked off their Premier League International Cup campaign on Tuesday, with Feyenoord’s u21s visiting Meadow Park.
Arsenal were without a few players, either through injury or because they were held back to train with the first team ahead of the Europa League group stage.
Matt Smith is likely to remain with the senior squad whilst multiple first-team midfielders are injured, and Zane Monlouis, Catalin Cirjan, and Amario Cozier-Duberry were also missing for the u21 clash.
Yet despite all the changes, Arsenal took the lead through Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, pouncing on hesitance from the Feyenoord goalkeeper.
Butler-Oyedeji hadn’t scored a goal for the Arsenal u21s (or u23s) before this season, despite making over 10 appearances for the side. Yet he’s now scored four goals in his last five appearances, seemingly finding his feet in front of the net.
That’s good news for Arsenal, who are somewhat short on centre-forward options with so many going on loan. Mika Biereth, Nikolaj Moller, and Tyreece John-Jules have all found temporary opportunities in senior football elsewhere for this season.
Having said all that, Arsenal spent much of Tuesday’s game on the back foot, with Feyenoord having the better chances as the game went on and Gunners goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk called on regularly in the second half.
James Sweet also had to clear a chance off the line, and Feyenoord eventually got their goal in the dying minutes of the game.
Arsenal will be frustrated they didn’t close out the win, particularly as the assistant initially seemed to disallow the goal, only for the referee to overrule him. But perhaps a point was a fairer result on the day.
In a short group stage of just four games and only two teams qualifying from each eight-team group (plus the two best third-placed finishers), the pressure is on to pick up points fast. Arsenal will hope to secure a win when they face Monaco in November.
Arsenal u21 lineup vs Feyenoord
Graczyk, Sweet, Foran, Awe, Jeffcott, Ibrahim, Henry-Francis, Taylor-Hart, Bandeira, Ideho, Butler-Oyedeji
Sagoe Jr (for Taylor-Hart, 68), Lewis (for Ideho, 75), Nwaneri (for Henry-Francis, 75), Robinson (for Jeffcott, 87), Hillson, Brown
The Arsenal u21s travel to Fulham on Sunday at 12:00 for a Premier League 2 clash at Motspur Park, looking to defend their position at the top of the table.