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Monday 19 November 2012

Barclays U21s: Norwich gunning for Arsenal

A preview of Monday night's action in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League

Sunderland and Newcastle battled out a 2-2 draw when they met earlier in the season

There are five matches taking place in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League on Monday night, with Carrow Road the venue for Norwich City v Arsenal.

Group 1

Arsenal can move to the brink of Elite Group Stage qualification in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League if they overcome Norwich City at Carrow Road on Monday night.

The Gunners, eight points behind leaders West Ham United having played a match fewer, will look to return to winning ways after losing to the Hammers last time out.

Fourth-placed Norwich can leapfrog Reading into the final Elite Group Stage qualification place should they secure their third victory in four matches. The Jarrold Stand only will be open for the match and tickets are priced at £3 for all supporters.

Blackburn Rovers can claim their second successive win against bottom club Bolton Wanderers at the Lancashire FA headquarters in Leyland. Admission to the County Ground is £3 for adults, £1 for concessions and free for season-ticket holders.

Group 2

Manchester United can close the gap on leaders Tottenham Hotspur with victory against Aston Villa as second plays fourth at Moss Lane, home of Altrincham FC.

United have two matches in hand over Spurs and are five points behind while a win for Villa could move them up to second, from which qualification tot he Elite Group Stage is guaranteed.

"These are the sort of games you look forward to," Villa's U21 coach Gordon Cowans told the club's official website. "You want to go and play against the big sides like Manchester United and I'm sure the lads will lift themselves for that. You have to get up for it and go there and see what we can do."

Adults can watch for £5, juniors and OAPs pay £2 and United members and season-ticket holders can get in free.

Newcastle United also have the chance to move into second place if they can overcome Sunderland in the Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light.

The Magpies, who lost 2-1 to Manchester United last time out, are in third place, seven points behind Tottenham. The two sides battled out a 2-2 draw when they met in September before 1,776 fans at St James' Park.

Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. Sunderland season-card holders can enter free on production of their season card.

Group 3

Wolverhampton Wanderers can close the gap on leaders Liverpool to three points should they beat bottom club Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Wolves are without a win in three matches while Palace go into the contest off the back of defeats against Middlesbrough and Chelsea. Admission is £8 for adults and £1 concessions.

The knockout stage

The sides who finish in the top three places in Group 1 qualify for the Elite Group stage, along with the top two teams and the best third-placed finisher from Groups 2 and 3.

The remaining third-placed team from Groups 2 and 3 and clubs who finish fourth, fifth and sixth in the three sections go through to Qualification Group Tier 1, while the seventh-placed clubs plus the side to finish eighth in Group 1 go to Qualification Group Tier 2.

The two teams who top the Qualification Groups will compete in a play-off to reach the first semi-final, where they will meet the team that finishes top of the Elite Group Stage. The teams that finish second and third in the Elite Group Stage play in the other semi-final .

Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures

Monday 19 November

Bolton Wanderers v Blackburn Rovers, Lancashire FA, 7pm
Norwich City v Arsenal, Carrow Road, 7pm

Manchester United v Aston Villa, Altrincham FC, 7pm
Sunderland v Newcastle United, Stadium of Light, 7pm

Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Selhurst Park, 7pm

For all the fixtures and the latest league tables, click here

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

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Key Points

  • Five Barclays U21 Premier League matches are taking place on Monday
  • Arsenal travel to Norwich City and Aston Villa take on Manchester United
  • Bolton host Blackburn, Sunderland play Newcastle and Wolves visit Crystal Palace