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Arsenal U21s 0-1 Spurs

Posted on 22 April 2013  - 21:20

Our Under-21s march on in the Barclays U21 Premier League thanks to a deserved victory in the derby against Arsenal at Barnet's Underhill Stadium on Monday night.

Arsenal U21s 0-1 Spurs

Nabil Bentaleb scored the only goal of the game timed just 12 seconds into the second half to complete the double over the Gunners and stretch our lead to eight points over Manchester United in the Elite Group.

The form the team has showed all season - 16 wins in 25 in both phases of the competition so far, scoring 77 goals - was evident again at Barnet.

No doubt inspired by the huge Spurs contingent in the 2,394 crowd, the team dominated for long periods and could have been out of reach by the midway point of the first half.

We created chance after chance but only had Bentaleb's goal to show when the Gunners started to come alive in the second half. Big frontman Chuba Akpom headed against the crossbar and was denied a late equaliser by Jonathan Miles, but anything less than a Spurs win would have been a travesty.

Playing up the famous slope in the first half, the only mystery was how we failed to go ahead.

The first chance arrived after five minutes when Shaq Coulthirst met Tom Carroll's low cross but could only turn his volley straight at Emiliano Martinez.

Akpom responded with a 25-yarder just wide but the lads dominated from there.

Carroll should really have done better after a fine move - Kenny McEvoy picked out Bentaleb on the edge of the box, he cushioned a pass into Carroll but the midfielder dragged wide from the left angle.

The chances kept coming. Cristian Ceballos whipped in a free-kick that just evaded Grant Hall at the near post and needed a reaction save from Martinez and then Jack Barthram's cross found Ceballos at the far post but his measured finish was too close to Martinez, who saved down to his right.

Ceballos then let fly from 25 yards, his effort dipping just over and the save of the half from Martinez, a brave block as Coulthirst hammered Carroll's clever pass at goal from close range.

All that inside 25 minutes!

The next chance fell to Arsenal on 41 minutes as Serge Gnabry might have done better from Carl Jenkinson's cross but it was no surprise that the final chances of the half fell our way, with Zeki Fryers volleying over and then a quick break led by Coulthirst, who rolled the ball wide right to Ceballos and got in position for the return only to sidefoot straight at Martinez from 12 yards.

The lead came from our first attack of the second half. Kenny McEvoy fired in a cross to the near post that ran loose and Bentaleb reacted quickest to flick home from the left angle.

Ceballos tested Martinez twice more before the first of Arsenal's two best spells in the match, culminating in Akpom looping a header against the crossbar on 66 minutes. Gnabry's follow up missed the target.

Positive news followed seconds later as Jake Nicholson replaced Bentaleb for his first appearance in over a year after being sidelined by injury.

Sanchez Watt fired just over as Arsenal continued to press but we soon took a grip again. Ceballos lashed inches wide on 73 minutes and then Carroll lobbed a pass into Coulthirst, who connected with a first-time volley that Martinez plucked out of the air to his right.

Coulthirst was soon facing the goalkeeper again after getting the better of Nico Yennaris, but having angled his finish across Martinez, he could only watch as the ball cannoned back off the inside of the upright.

Arsenal had one more burst in the final minutes and Miles was there when called upon five minutes from time, out sharply to block at the feet of Akpom.

There was one more chance for the home side as Akpom beat Miles to Francis Coquelin's pass but Fryers was one of three defenders available to hack the ball to safety.

It all means a win in our final match at Southampton on Monday week, April 29, will secure the Elite Group title.

Arsenal Under-21s (4-3-3): Martinez; Jenkinson, Hajrovic, Hayden, Meade; Olsson, Coquelin, Yennaris; Zelalem (Watt, 63), Akpom, Gnabry. Unused subs: Bellerin, Shea, Monteiro, Eastmond.

Spurs Under-21s (4-3-3): Miles; Fredericks, Fryers, Hall, Barthram; Bentaleb (Nicholson, 67), Carroll, Gallifuoco (Dombaxe, 80); Ceballos, Coulthirst, McEvoy. Unused subs: Vigouroux, D McQueen.