Arsenal U19s played their first game in the UEFA Youth League since 2016 yesterday as they took on their PSV counterparts at Meadow Park.
PSV prevailed with a 2-1 victory and in truth it wasn’t the best display from Arsenal, who lacked cohesion despite having a lot of talented creative and attacking players in their side.
Ethan Nwaneri scored Arsenal’s goal with a composed finish but the 16-year-old didn’t dictate play in his usual manner.
There were some glimpses of quality from Myles Lewis-Skelly, who looked to push forward at every opportunity, but Arsenal didn’t make the most of the chances that they created.
Despite losing it was still a hugely beneficial experience for Mehmet Ali’s side, who were able to test themselves against a different opponent who play in a manner that is somewhat removed to what they usually face.
PSV were very intense in the way in which they closed Arsenal down, which meant that the young Gunners weren’t able to play with much dynamism.
Arsenal gave an opportunity to 16-year-old Ayden Heaven, who was largely impressive at centre-back alongside captain Reuell Walters.
Heaven, who is also capable of playing in midfield, was preferred to Maldini Kacurri despite the latter being older and more experienced.
Arsenal have plenty of time to turn their Youth League campaign around and qualify for the knockout stages and they will be determined to perform significantly better than they did against PSV.