Monday 29 October 2012

Barclays U21s: Stoke have Villa in their sights

West Brom and Reading meet at The Hawthorns at 2pm; free entry for Stoke v Aston Villa at Nantwich

  • The Hawthorns opens its doors to West Brom and Reading's Under-21s

Arsenal are aiming to halve West Ham United's Group 1 lead at Blackburn this evening while the Hawthorns opens its doors for West Bromwich Albion's early kick-off against Reading.

Tricky trip for Arsenal

Three fixtures take place in a competitive section with Arsenal aiming to close to within three points of high-flying West Ham when they face Blackburn Rovers at Leigh Sports Village.

"We have got some very talented players but there is more to it than having just talent,"
Gordon Cowans

The Gunners have won their last two matches but will have a young side out tonight with Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna having returned to the first team and certain development players likely to feature in the first-team squad for Tuesday's Capital One Cup fourth-round tie.

Blackburn are looking to make it back-to-back wins after overcoming West Bromwich Albion last time out and supporters are invited to attend, with admission free for season ticket-holders on production of their season ticket card at the turnstiles and general admission prices £4 for adults and £2 for concessions.

Hawthorns welcomes Reading

Should the Gunners slip up West Brom or Reading can edge to within two points of them with victory at The Hawthorns this afternoon.

The hosts, who lost 2-0 at Blackburn last week, will have their work cut out against the free-scoring Royals who beat Norwich 3-0. Home support could work in their favour, however, and the Baggies will welcome season ticket-holders for free, while adults and concessions can watch the 2pm fixture for £5 and £1 respectively.

In the other group match sixth-placed Norwich City take on bottom side Bolton Wanderers at Colney Training Centre at 1pm.

Free-for-all at Nantwich

Tonight first-team players Diego Arismendi and Carlo Nash are in the Stoke City squad looking for improvement after a 5-1 defeat against Newcastle United a week ago.

The Potters, who lie at the foot of Group 2, are in search of only their second victory of the campaign but a triumph at Nantwich Town FC, where admission is free of charge, will take them level with their opponents Aston Villa on six points.

Villa, meanwhile, are looking to respond positively to their first defeat of the season, also against Newcastle, and manager Gordon Cowans has urged his players to roll their sleeves up.

"We have got some very talented players but there is more to it than having just talent," Cowans told the club's official website. "You've got to have that work ethic that the manager demands from everybody."

Villa can at least take heart that their only win this season came against Stoke.

Wolves on the prowl

Wolverhampton Wanderers are looking to maintain their momentum with a home win against Fulham.

The hosts, who overcame Chelsea 3-2 last week with two goals from Liam McAlinden, can reduce Liverpool's lead to three points, while a first away victory of the campaign would lift the Cottagers into third place.

Supporters can get to AFC Telford United's ground, the New Buck's Head for a 7pm kick-off, where admission is free for Wolves season-ticket holders, and tickets are £5 for adults and £1 for concessions and under-16s.

For all Barclays U21 Premier League news, results and tables click here

Monday 29 October fixtures

GROUP 1
Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal, Leigh Sports Village, 7pm
Norwich City v Bolton Wanderers, Colney Training Centre, 1pm
West Bromwich Albion v Reading, The Hawthorns, 2pm

GROUP 2
Stoke City v Aston Villa, Nantwich Town, 7.30pm Free entry

GROUP 3
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham AFC Telford United, 7pm

Results (reports)

GROUP 1
West Ham United 1-0 Everton

GROUP 2
Tottenham 4-2 Manchester United

GROUP 3
Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City

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

  • The Hawthorns opens its doors to West Brom v Reading Under-21 sides this afternoon
  • Arsenal go Blackburn, free admission for Stoke v Aston Villa
  • Wolves aiming to maintain fantastic form against Fulham at Telford AFC