Arsenal U23s were involved in an enthralling contest with Derby County at Meadow Park last night.
The young Gunners ended up losing 5-3 as a defence containing several players who were being played out of position was torn apart by Derby.
One positive to emerge from proceedings was the performance of Folarin Balogun, with the prolific striker continuing to impress as he scored a hat-trick.
Balogun’s third goal was of a particularly high standard as he demonstrated his excellent close control before finishing superbly.
The striker is clearly above playing at U23 level and really needs to test himself on the senior stage in the near future.
As alluded to, Arsenal were again vulnerable defensively, with coach Kevin Betsy’s selection decisions not helping matters.
Omar Rekik and Joel Lopez, two players who of fundamental important to how this team plays, were both absent due to injury.
Betsy deployed James Olayinka, who is usually a midfielder, at right wing-back, while Ryan Alebiosu (a wing-back) was used as a centre-back in a three-man defence. Most bizarrely of all, winger Kido Taylor-Hart played as a left wing-back despite never having been particularly strong defensively.
Arsenal improved a little after Tim Akinola and Henry Jeffcott were brought on midway through the second half but the damage had already been done.