Report: John-Jules impresses as Arsenal XI draw with Boreham Wood

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Boreham Wood 3 Arsenal XI 3

Arsenal U23s commenced their pre-season fixtures with a 3-3 draw against Boreham Wood today, with Tyreece John-Jules hitting a brace.

The striker, who finished last season in superb form, scored a penalty having earlier found the net from close range, while midfielder Matt Smith was also on the scoresheet in Steve Bould’s first game in charge.

Arsenal were without a host of players who were either with the first-team or not yet back in training, with Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah amongst the high-profile absentees.

That enabled Bould to give runouts to lots of other prospects, with Sam Greenwood, Alfie Matthews, Ryan Alebiosu, Miguel Azeez and Matthew Dennis all receiving their first runouts at this level.

Arsenal were woeful in the first half as they lacked cohesion and were frequently caught out defensively, while goalkeeper Karl Hein wasn’t at his best.

Zech Medley has featured in the first-team but was frequently caught out on this occasion and his central-defensive partner Mark McGuinness didn’t fare much better.

Boreham Wood took an early lead and eventually added a second as they took advantage of some slack Arsenal defending.

Only Smith and winger Nathan Tormey, who frequently sought to cut in from the right flank, offered any real threat for Arsenal in the opening period, with the likes of Trae Coyle and Folarin Balogun looking off the pace.

Smith managed to steer the ball into the back of the net from close range to reduce the deficit, but Boreham Wood got a third goal as Arsenal conspired to lose the ball again.

Arsenal improved significantly in the second half following the introduction of many players including John-Jules and Xavier Amaechi.

The young Gunners were a much more cohesive and John-Jules got on the scoresheet with a neat finish before eventually making it 3-3 from the penalty spot, with the spot-kick having been awarded after McGuinness was fouled.

Arsenal pushed forwards in search of a winner, but couldn’t find it, despite a teasing cross from Ryan Alebiosu, which John-Jules narrowly failed to connect with.

This was a somewhat chaotic game, which was perhaps to be expected given that it is very early in pre-season.

Nonetheless, it was very useful for some of the U18 players to get experience of playing against senior opposition, something which should stand them in good stead for when they feature in the Checkatrade Trophy this season.

Arsenal have further U23 friendlies to come against Hitchin Town and Barnet, with Bould certainly having much work to do to improve the defence at this level. The attacking options, though, are very exciting, and John-Jules in particular is full of confidence at present.

Arsenal: Hein, Swanson, McGuinness, Medley, Thompson, M. Smith, Burton, Tormey, Olayinka, John-Jules

Subs: Hillson, Dennis, Clarke, Ogungbo, Olowu, Azeez, Cottrell, John-Jules, Greenwood, Alebiosu, Ogungbo, Matthews.

Jeorge Bird is the author of www.arsenalyouth.wordpress.com Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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N10
N10

Not surprised, he’s been doing so well this past year. Well done lad.

CHIBS
CHIBS

I’m down for UNAI signing Lucas Vasquez

Jack4343
Jack4343

Great comeback!

Alex
Alex

But we still bought a 18 years old striker… Money wasting.

Leemillion
Leemillion

Money wasting? So if we see a player with potential we shouldn’t sign him because we already have one? Great logic.

Tungor_Adams
Tungor_Adams

He is probably a great talent, he has to be since we spent a considerable amount of our war heat on him

TeeCee
TeeCee

(Rubs hands over our war heat)

Matovu Deus

I like those young players on the door here we should give some chances and we see

Q3 Technique
Q3 Technique

I think Azeez and Smith looked like exciting prospects for our midfield. Thompson didn’t do to badly either.

Henkamp
Henkamp

“And were frequently caught out defensively”.

Is this the first team in disguise?

Mike1
Mike1

Arsenal were woeful …….. lacked cohesion and were frequently caught out defensively.
Isn’t this part of our DNA?

Badaab
Badaab

Pre-season fixture with lots of new faces, a new manager, and not every first choice player back into the side leads to a draw…
Lets remember that the (supposed) point of pre-season is to build fitness, not to necessarily win the match.

Q3 Technique
Q3 Technique

I think a little calm and perspective is needed! This was the first pre-season game involving Arsenal youth versus Boreham Wood. Why are you so negative?

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Some people live for negativity..unfortunately they happen to be Arsenal fans as well.

Jack4343
Jack4343

Some of us are a little bit harsh. Our youngsters came back from a 2 goal deficit not once but twice and were pushing for a winner at the end. The squad was heavily subbed to get match fitness for a lot of our squad. Exactly what was needed. Some real positives our there and many of our star youngsters weren’t even there.

daniel
daniel

It was literally men against boys, the boys did pretty well

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Exactly!

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Not sure why you got so many downvotes…the average age of a lot of our players is about 17-18 and they were playing men…but hey if we can knock our team let’s do that.