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Tuesday 09 April 2013

Barclays U21s: Tottenham draw closer to Elite Group win

Spurs close to Elite Group win after draw at West Ham; Liverpool second after beating Arsenal 3-2

Tottenham's Nabil Bentaleb takes on West Ham's Sebastian Lletget (left) during their 1-1 draw

Tottenham Hotspur inched closer to winning the Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group after earning a point at West Ham United, while Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester United into second place by winning a five-goal thriller against Arsenal.

West Ham United 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur are nine points clear of their nearest challenger with three matches remaining after sharing a 1-1 draw with West Ham United at Upton Park.

The visitors welcomed back defender Younes Kaboul for his first run-out since sustaining a knee injury against Newcastle United on the opening match of the Barclays Premier League season, and the Frenchman played for an hour at the heart of the Spurs defence.

Kaboul could not prevent West Ham from taking the lead, however, as Wellington Paulista broke the deadlock after 15 minutes, glancing in George Moncur’s corner for his fifth goal for the club in the competition. The Brazilian might have scored again when his downward volley was tipped on to the crossbar by Lawrence Vigouroux, but Spurs levelled on 38 minutes when Tom Carroll played Kenny McEvoy in to finish expertly.

There were chances for both sides after the break but the scores remained level, which leaves Spurs nine points clear of Liverpool, who have a game in hand, and Manchester United, who have played two matches fewer than the leaders. West Ham are 16 points adrift of the summit in fifth place.

West Ham report | Tottenham report

Liverpool 3-2 Arsenal

Adam Morgan’s brace helped Liverpool complete an enthralling victory against Arsenal at Anfield to move up to second place in the Elite Group.

The home side started strongly, with Morgan forcing Wojciech Szczesny into a smart save and full-back Ryan McLaughlin drilling a shot wide inside the opening 10 minutes, and they took the lead on 24 minutes when Jonjo Shelvey played in the impressive Jordon Ibe, whose pull-back was deftly finished by Morgan.

Arsenal, who gave highly rated German 16-year-old Gedion Zelalem his debut in midfield, were level within two minutes when Chuba Akpom pounced on a loose ball in the area to score his 10th goal of the campaign. The Gunners improved after their goal with Hector Bellerin denied by goalkeeper Danny Ward and Thomas Eisfeld hitting a post early in the second half.

But Liverpool restored their advantage when Krisztian Adorjan powered through the Arsenal rearguard before sending a crashing shot into Szczesny’s top corner on 61 minutes. Again Arsenal rallied quickly thanks to an exquisite 25-yard shot by Serge Gnabry three minutes later.

However, with 15 minutes remaining Morgan won the match when he finished off a sweeping move involving Suso and Adorjan. Defeat leaves Arsenal level with West Ham with 10 points from as many matches.

Liverpool report | Arsenal report

Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Aston Villa

Aston Villa moved to within a point of Group 1 leaders Everton after a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Leigh Sports Village.

Gordan Cowans’ side earned their third consecutive victory in the competition in the space of a week. After having the better of the first half, Villa’s pressure was rewarded six minutes before the break when Callum Robinson latched on to a long ball over the top of the Rovers defence and scored with a powerful low finish.

The visitors secured the three points when Jack Grealish cut in from the left and curled the ball into the far corner on 66 minutes. The victory leaves Villa a point behind Everton, having played a game more. Blackburn are sixth in the group with nine points.

Blackburn report | Aston Villa report 

Everton 1-1  Fulham

Experienced full-back Tony Hibbert made a return from a four-month injury absence as Group 1 leaders Everton were held to a 1-1 draw by Fulham at Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Hibbert had been out of action since the first team’s draw with Manchester City in early December and played 67 minutes.

The hosts had taken the lead through Shane Duffy, who headed in Matthew Kennedy’s cross midway through the first half. But the visitors shared the spoils 11 minutes from time when substitute Muamer Tankovic curled in a fine strike from outside the box after neat interplay.

The Toffees are a point ahead of Aston Villa with a match in hand on the rest of the teams in their group. Fulham are fourth, six points behind Everton.

Everton report | Fulham report

Sunderland 0 Chelsea 1

Chelsea won their fourth Group 1 match with a hard-fought victory over Sunderland at the Black Cats’ Academy centre.

The Blues, whose first team beat Sunderland 2-1 a day earlier in the Barclays Premier League, did the double over their Wearside opponents thanks to Connor Hunte’s first-half strike.

England Under-17 international Hunte broke the deadlock towards the end of the opening period as his powerful low shot beat Sunderland goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

Scott Harrison and Mikael Mandron went close for the hosts in the second half, but Chelsea held on against a side who have yet to register a victory in the second phase of the competition.

Sunderland reaction | Chelsea report

Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester City

Micah Richards and Maicon both played 90 minutes as Manchester City drew with Bolton Wanderers in Group 2.

City’s experienced side fell behind on 35 minutes after a brilliant strike from 18-year-old Zach Clough

City responded well to falling behind with Jose Pozo La Rosa and John Guidetti going close before the break. City's equaliser arrived when Marcos Lopes found Pozo La Rosa in the box to finish the move with a composed strike.

Neither side could find a winner in the second half and both are three points behind second-placed Norwich City on 10 points. Fourth-placed Bolton have games in hand on all those teams above them.

Bolton report | Man City report

Newcastle United 2-0 Norwich City

Newcastle United stretched their unbeaten run in Group 2 to seven matches with victory over Norwich City at Whitley Park.

The visitors, with John Ruddy returning from injury to start, went behind on 36 minutes when Brandon Miele rounded the England goalkeeper to score after a clever one-two with Alex Gilliead.

Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley’s side had the better of the match throughout, and they doubled their lead 10 minutes after the interval. Michael Richardson evaded two challenges on a fine solo run before slotting past Ruddy to ensure victory for the Magpies.

Newcastle report | Norwich report

Crystal Palace 1-2 Stoke City

Stoke City earned their second victory in Group 2 with a narrow victory at Crystal Palace.

The Potters, who are bottom of the group after six points in 10 matches, drew level on points with the hosts after a blistering start in Monday night’s match.

They went 2-0 up inside 11 minutes with strikes from Adam Thomas and Jordan Richardson and, despite a goal from Aruna Dindane, who played in the Premier League for Portsmouth, Stoke held on to take the three points back to Staffordshire.

Palace are sixth in the group, ahead of Stoke on goal difference, but having played three matches fewer.

Crystal Palace report N/A | Stoke report

Barclays Under-21 Premier League results  

8 April
Elite Group

West Ham (Paulista) 1-1 Tottenham (McEvoy)
Liverpool (Morgan 2, Adorjan) 3-2 Arsenal (Akpom, Gnabry)

Group 1
Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Aston Villa (Robinson, Grealish)
Everton (Duffy) 1-1 Fulham (Tankovic)
Sunderland 0 Chelsea 1 (Hunte)

Group 2
Bolton Wanderers (Clough) 1-1 Manchester City (Pozo La Rosa)
Crystal Palace (Dindane) 1-2 Stoke City (Thomas, Richardson)
Newcastle United (Miele, Richardson) 2-0 Norwich City

Download full fixture list here  | For full results click here

To view the league tables after the qualificaton stage, click here

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

Key Points

  • Tottenham Hotspur nine points clear in Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group after 1-1 draw at West Ham United
  • Liverpool up to second in Elite Group after 3-2 defeat of Arsenal
  • Aston Villa close on leaders Everton in Group 1 after 2-0 win at Blackburn Rovers

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