Post-Match Report

U21s report: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal

Khayon Edwards celebrates his goal at Old Trafford

Manchester United U21 -

Old Trafford
Premier League 2 - Division One
Premier League 2 - Division One
  Manchester United U21
Manchester United U21
1 1
  Arsenal U21
Arsenal U21


Our under-21s were held to a point in back-to-back away games after a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

We started the brighter of the two sides and went close twice within the first ten minutes - firstly, Mauro Bandeira found Khayon Edwards but his effort was comfortably saved and then moments later magical feet from Charles Sagoe Jr allowed him to find space in the box, but his effort stung the palms of Elyh Harrison.

We got our deserved lead when Edwards capitalised on Harrison’s error to tap into an empty net and notch his first goal since returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

However, the hosts drew level shortly against the run of play through Mateo Mejia’s fine finish.

Mehmet Ali’s side were the better team and had two glorious chances to restore a half-time lead but Bandeira fired over from close range before Sagoe Jr failed to convert his one-on-one.

The second half continued in the same manner and we created our first chance after the restart when Matt Smith’s precise through ball set Sagoe Jr away but his effort bounced off the post.

Smith, who continuously displayed a wonderful range of passes, almost connected with Zach Awe with a delightful left-foot dink but United scrambled the ball away.

Our young Gunners gave it their all and it was one-way traffic throughout most of the second half, but the hosts held on and we left Manchester with a solitary point.



The draw sees us climb two places to sixth in the table with 29 points after 21 games played.


We make the short trip to Fulham on Friday, April 7 to contest a London derby, knowing a win takes us above the Cottagers, who lie in fifth place.

Kick-off at Motspur Park is at 7pm (UK).


Arsenal: Graczyk, Sweet, Monlouis, Awe, Sousa, Smith, Bandeira, Cottrell, Sagoe Jr, Cirjan (Cozier-Duberry, 66), Edwards

Subs not used: Cooper, Jeffcott, Ibrahim, Benjamin


When Wilshere beat Man City in the Youth Cup semis

Jack Wilshere in action for the under-18s against Manchester City in 2009

Next week sees us host Manchester City in the FA Youth Cup semi-final at Emirates Stadium, with Jack Wilshere aiming to inspire his side into the final from the touchline.

On Tuesday, April 4 his mind will fondly rewind back 14 years to when he was playing his part on that same pitch against the same opposition at the same stage of the competition, in the year we last got our hands on the famous trophy.

Get your tickets for our FA Youth Cup semi-final now

Back in the 2008/09 season, we reached the last four by knocking out Aston Villa, Wolves, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a squad that would go on to amass over 3,000 professional appearances including Kyle Bartley, Francis Coquelin, Luke Ayling and Henri Lansbury.

However it was Jack who was the most exciting member of that side, having already debuted for Arsene Wenger’s first-team in a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers in September 2008 and continuing to feature fairly regularly up to the start of the cup run.

Jack Wilshere in action for the under-18s against Manchester City in 2009

And that experience gained at the highest level would stand him - as well as his teammates - in good stead by the time City pitched up in N5 in April 2009, skippered by Kieran Trippier and featuring future internationals Dedryck Boyata and John Guidetti in their ranks.

We had inflicted City’s first defeat all season by beating them 2-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium in the first leg the month before thanks to goals from captain Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Gilles Sunu, but boss Steve Bould didn’t look to send his side out under instruction to protect their advantage - they looked to wrap up a final spot in style.

Arsenal and Manchester City line up ahead of kick-off in 2009

Our stall was set out in just the first minute when Sanchez Watt raced onto a long ball by Emmanuel-Thomas and fired home, and the striker’s pace caused issues again on 20 minutes when he was brought down by visiting keeper Joe Clegg, allowing Wilshere to tuck home our second from the penalty spot.

Relishing playing in front of nearly 10,000 supporters, the hosts were thriving and added a third nine minutes later when Bartley rose highest to head home a corner, and that was swiftly followed up when Watt pounced on some hesitation in the City defence to add a fourth.

Kyle Bartley scores against Manchester City in the 2009 FA Youth Cup

The visitors pulled one back just before half-time through Ahmad Benali, but nothing could prevent Wilshere and co from setting up a final meeting with Liverpool where another emphatic 4-1 success would clinch the cup.

Now 14 years on, Wilshere the coach has helped set the stage for our latest crop of young hopefuls to follow in his footsteps, as they dream of clinching silverware themselves in our colours.

Our team against City: James Shea, Craig Eastmond, Thomas Cruise, Kyle Bartley, Luke Ayling, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere, Gilles Sunu, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt.

Head to Emirates Stadium to see the next step of our cup journey against Manchester City in the semi-finals, with tickets available now priced at just £4 for adults and £2 concessions.

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