The Arsenal u21s kept their unbeaten league campaign going on Saturday, but they required a Hubert Graczyk penalty save to avoid defeat to Liverpool.

Hubert Graczyk
Hubert Graczyk playing for the Arsenal academy (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Instagram)

Starting the day level on points with Crystal Palace at the top of the Premier League 2 table, Arsenal needed to win away to Liverpool to keep it that way, with Palace edging past 10-man West Ham United 1-0.

But an away trip to Liverpool is never easy, particularly with Arsenal u21 star striker Khayon Edwards still absent after his recent struggles with a hamstring injury.

Nathan Butler-Oyedeji continued his run in the team in Edwards’ place, flanked by Amario Cozier-Duberry and Joel Ideho. But it was Liverpool with the early chances, and Hubert Graczyk had to be alert to make a close-range save in the early minutes.

Arsenal grew into the half, and Butler-Oyedeji almost converted directly from a corner. But it was Ideho who gave the young Gunners the lead in the 41st minute, handing them a deserved 1-0 advantage at half-time.

Though he’d scored three good goals in the Premier League Cup this season, that was Ideho’s first Premier League 2 goals – on his first league start of the campaign.

Whilst Arsenal had the better of the first half, Liverpool were certainly on top in the second. Barring one good chance for Butler-Oyedeji, well saved by the experienced Caoimhin Kelleher, the hosts put the pressure on throughout the second half.

That pressure told in the 71st minute, with Harvey Blair supplying their equaliser, and Liverpool had a fantastic chance to take the lead from the penalty spot in the 79th.

Yet Graczyk stood up to the task and saved the spot-kick to ensure Arsenal took a point back home to London, even if that means slipping two points behind Palace at the top of the table.

Arsenal u21 lineup vs Liverpool

Graczyk, Walters, Foran, Awe, Quesada-Thorn, Smith, Henry-Francis, Cirjan, Cozier-Duberry, Ideho, Butler-Oyedeji


Bandeira (for Cirjan, 73), Sagoe Jr (for Ideho, 84), Hillson, Ibrahim, Sousa

What’s next?

After a win in the women’s north London derby and a win in the men’s north London derby, it’s up to the u21s to complete the trio of results with a trip away to Spurs on Saturday, October 8th at 12:00 BST.