While the first team were in action against Southampton on Friday night, the Arsenal u21s took on Fulham at Meadow Park.

James Sweet with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)
James Sweet with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via Arsenal Academy on Twitter)

In a Friday night kick-off clash, the Arsenal academy were in action at the same time as the first team, with the u21s taking on Fulham at Meadow Park.

With the FA Youth Cup final coming up on Tuesday, many of the u18s expected to take part in that match featured in the u21 clash, with Bradley Ibrahim, Amario Cozier-Duberry, and Lino Sousa starting the match.

Myles Lewis-Skelly, Ethan Nwaneri, Noah Cooper, and Josh Robinson were all on the bench as well. You’d expect all seven players to start for the u18s on Tuesday.

Reuell Walters was unavailable, however, as he was on the bench for the first team.

Reuell Walters duels with Gabriel Jesus in training (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Reuell Walters duels with Gabriel Jesus in training (Photo via Arsenal.com)

In a tight first half, Arsenal edged the possession statistics but Fulham had more chances than their opponents, with Hubert Graczyk called into action on a couple of occasions.

Fulham then capitalised on their momentum midway through the second period, pouncing on a Graczyk mistake to score for 1-0.

Arsenal brought on u18 duo Lewis-Skelly and Nwaneri for the final 20 or so minutes, with Nwaneri quickly forcing Fulham’s George Wickens into a save.

But it was two of the starters who eventually brought the Gunners level, with James Sweet heading in a Ben Cottrell corner for an injury-time equaliser.

Though the final whistle meant Arsenal’s long run without a win continued, the draw gave Mehmet Ali’s side the point they needed to secure their Premier League 2 future.

13th-placed relegation-threatened Tottenham Hotspur are now 10 points behind the Gunners with just three games to play, so they can’t catch up.

Arsenal u21 lineup vs Fulham

Graczyk, Sweet, Ibrahim, Monlouis, Sousa, Henry-Francis, Cottrell, Cozier-Duberry, Cirjan, Sagoe Jr, Edwards


Lewis-Skelly (for Henry-Francis, 68), Nwaneri (for Ibrahim, 73), Cooper, Bandeira, Robinson

What’s next?

As mentioned, it’s likely seven players from Friday’s u21 squad will drop down to the u18s for the FA Youth Cup final against West Ham on Tuesday. Jack Wilshere’s side will play the final at the Emirates Stadium, with tickets available here.

The u21s only have two games remaining, away to Everton on Friday, April 28th at 19:00 BST, and at home to the likely league champions Manchester City on Saturday, May 6th at 13:00.

City have already secured a finish above second-place Chelsea, who are seven points behind with two games remaining. But they haven’t mathematically won the league yet, as third-place Crystal Palace are eight points behind them with three games left.