U21s: Arsenal v United

Friday 03 May 2024 21:29

Manchester United Under-21s have been eliminated from the Premier League 2 play-offs after falling to a 6-2 defeat at Arsenal on Friday.

The Gunners raced into a four-goal lead in the first half, thanks to a Nathan Butler-Oyedeji brace and goals from Jack Henry-Francis and Amario Cozier Duberry, but the second half was more closely fought.

Ethan Nwaneri scored from the penalty spot for the hosts shortly after the restart, before Sam Mather beat Arsenal keeper Ovie Ejeheri with an impressive free-kick.

Cozier-Duberry reinstated the Gunners' five-goal advantage in injury time and, with the final kick of the match, substitute Gabriele Biancheri got another back for the young Reds on an evening where plenty of lessons will have been learned.

United started the game on the front foot, as Ethan Williams tested Ejeheri from outside the box.

But it was Arsenal who took the lead with 14 minutes on the clock, as Butler-Oyedeji took aim after being found by Cozier-Duberry inside the box. The attacker's initial shot was blocked but he turned home at the second attempt.

Henry-Francis doubled the Gunners' lead with a right-footed shot, after being set up by Reuell Walters's cross.

Cozier-Duberry and Butler-Oyedeji combined again after 30 minutes, with the former finishing to put the hosts 3-0 up.

On the stroke of half-time, Butler-Oyedeji got his second of the match after receiving a pass from James Sweet, rounding United keeper Dermot Mee and slotting the ball into an empty net.

Ethan Williams had gone close early on, before Arsenal struck four times in the first half.

The hosts didn't let up after the break, with Nwaneri striking the post shortly after the restart.

The Arsenal winger then won a penalty after a foul by United midfielder Toby Collyer, and converted from the spot to put the Gunners five up.

Reds forward Mather cut the deficit to four just after the hour mark, winning a free-kick on the edge of the box before stepping up and beating Ejeheri from the resulting set-piece.

Sam Mather's free-kick got one back for United in the second half.

Butler-Oyedeji tested Mee once more as the match entered the closing stages, with the United keeper forced to make a smart stop to deny the Arsenal attacker.

Mather went close for United, who looked to cut the deficit further but, in injury time, Cozier-Duberry raced clear and hit the ball high into the net to make it 6-1 to the hosts.

Biancheri, who was introduced off the bench in the second half, grabbed another consolation for United deep into the additional period.

This result means a campaign of development has now ended for our Under-21s. Our young players must now look ahead to developing further in the 2024/25 campaign.


United XI: Mee; Kingdon, Bennett, Aljofree, Murray; Collyer (Devaney 58), Oyedele; Scanlon (Biancheri 58), Mather, Williams (Kamason 76); McNeill (Curley 75)

Subs not used: Huddlestone.

Goal: Butler-Oyedeji 14, 42, Henry-Francis 27, Cozier-Duberry 30, 90+1, Nwaneri 54 | Mather 66, Biancheri 90+6