U21 Royals impress despite defeat
Arsenal u21s 2 (Gnabry 41, Akpom 58)
Reading u21s 0
Reading’s under 21s benefitted from a useful workout against an Arsenal side blessed with a number of international stars.
Chances were aplenty for both sides throughout the match but ultimately it was the Gunners who prevailed thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom.
Jason Roberts, Adam Le Fondre, Danny Guthrie and Sean Morrison provided the first team experience for the Royals as they took on an Arsenal side bolstered by the likes of Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong.
Both sides looked sharp early on - Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom going close for the Gunners, while Danny Guthrie was inches wide for the Royals.
Sean Morrison produced an excellent clearance as the game began to slow down – both sides patient in creating an opening.
But it was Arsenal who took the lead just before half time. On the break, winger Gnabry found space down the left, cut inside before scoring past Stuart Taylor.
It was a tad harsh on Reading, who had more or less matched the North Londoners during the first half.
Adam Le Fondre created the opening chance after the break – his fantastic solo run presented himself with an opportunity, but his chip was comfortably saved by Gunners ‘keeper James Shea.
Minutes later, and Arsenal were two up. From a corner, Ignasi Miquel flicked a header backwards and the ball fell right onto the head of Chuba Akpom to double their lead.
The Royals fought back immediately – Roberts using his strength and shooting just wide before Jake Taylor fired agonisingly over the bar from close range.
Roberts probably should have reduced the deficit after firing over a one-on-one chance, before Wilshere blazed over for Arsenal.
Taylor produced an excellent save to deny Andre Santos from a free kick in the last meaningful piece of action.
2-0 was how it finished – plenty of positives could be taken from a solid performance against an array of international stars. Bolton are up next for the u21s – next Monday night.
Reading: Taylor; Partridge, Keown, Morrison, Arnold; Tshibola, Guthrie, D'Ath, J Taylor, Le Fondre, Roberts (Samuel 76).
Subs: Webb, Henly, Losasso, Long, Samuel
Arsenal: Shea, Sagna (Bellerin, 61) Hajrovic, Miquel, Santos, Eisfed, Coquelin, Wilshere (Yennaris 74), Frimpong, Gnabry (Meade 83), Akpom.
Subs: Meade, Charles-Cook, Yennaris, Olsson, Bellerin