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Tuesday 25 March 2014

Barclays U21s: Big wins for Arsenal and Man City

Jordy Hiwula hits four as City rout Rovers; Chuba Akpom hat-trick sinks West Ham

  • Chuba Akpom scores the first goal of his hat-trick against West Ham

Arsenal 5-3 West Ham

Chuba Akpom struck a hat-trick as Arsenal claimed their first Barclays Under-21 Premier League win of 2014 with a home win over West Ham 5-3 at London Colney on Monday.

West Ham equalised three times as Jordan Brown, twice, and Dan Potts replied to Akpom’s brace, either side of Kristoffer Olsson’s strike, but substitute Zak Ansah restored Arsenal’s lead before Akpom completed his treble.

Arsenal’s first league win since 12 November lifts them to 16th place and in with a chance of finishing in the top half of the table, which would keep them in the top tier next season when the league splits into two, as they have three matches in hand over a number of their rivals. West Ham, who were the early season pacesetters, remain eighth.

Blackburn Rovers 0-6 Manchester City

Jordy Hiwula scored four times as Manchester City went one goal better than their senior counterparts at the weekend by hitting six unanswered goals past Blackburn Rovers at Leigh Sports Village.

Man City had been beaten for the first time in 12 games at under-21 level when they last took to the field in the league, losing in the last minute to Southampton, but they responded in style, going two goals up inside the opening quarter of an hour through Seko Fofana and Hiwula.

After the break, a Marcos Lopes penalty extended the visitors’ advantage before Hiwula took centre-stage with three goals in six minutes. The win takes Patrick Vieira’s side, who are four points behind leaders Liverpool with a match in hand, back into the play-off places.

Leicester City 4-1 Reading

Jacob Blyth also scored four goals as Leicester City overwhelmed Reading at the Ricoh Arena on Monday night

The 21-year-old striker gave the hosts the lead with a bullet header from Callum Elder’s cross, and came into his own after Harry Cardwell levelled just before the break, with a trio of instinctive first-time finishes inside the Royals’ penalty area. 

The victory lifts the Foxes up to ninth place in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League, while Reading lie in 17th place.

Sunderland 1-0 Fulham

Sunderland boosted their hopes of finishing in the play-off places with a slender victory over the joint leaders at the Stadium of Light.

Despite recent defeats by Manchester United and Norwich, the Black cats bounced back thanks to Jordan Laidler's solitary goal as Kevin Ball’s charges moved up to fifth place in the standings, level on points with Manchester City, who have a match in hand.

Fulham remain top, level on 35 points with Liverpool, but having played two matches more than the Merseysiders.

Southampton 1-1 Norwich City

Southampton missed out on the chance to move level at the top of the league with Liverpool and Fulham after being held to a 1-1 draw by Norwich City at Staplewood.

The hosts fell behind to a spectacular 30-yard free-kick by Josh Murphy before Sam McQueen levelled the scores with a curling shot into the top corner in the 56th minute. Although Saints pressed forward in the second half, with McQueen rattling the post and Omar Rowe hitting the bar, the Canaries held on for their point.

Middlesbrough 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur

A late header by Giancarlo Gallifuoco earned Tottenham Hotspur a narrow victory over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

Gallifuoco had a productive match, helping his side keep a clean sheet with early clearances off the line to deny both Ryan Brobbel and Lewis Maloney, and popping up in the right place at the right time to head Nathan Oduwa’s free-kick past Jayson Leutwiler with nine minutes remaining. The win revives Spurs’ hopes of finishing in the top 11, with the north Londoners just a point off that mark.

Stoke City 1-3 Aston Villa

Aston Villa remain a place above Spurs after completing a 3-1 away victory over Stoke City at the Weaver Stadium.

A brace from Calum Robinson in the opening 12 minutes enabled the visitors to surge into a comfortable lead, and although Derice Richards pulled a goal back for the Potters, Graham Burke settled the contest in the final moments.

Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers came out on top in an exciting encounter at the County Ground.

Despite a bright start from the home side, Wolves went two goals ahead in the first half through Anthony Forde and Eusebio Bancessi. Georg Iliev reduced the arrears shortly after the interval, before Bradley Reid added to Wolves’ tally from close range and although Zach Clough gave Bolton hope with 13 minutes left, the visitors held on for the win that puts them level on points with fourth-from bottom Stoke City, two points behind the Trotters.

Top of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table

CLUB

P

W

D

L

GF

GA

GD

PTS

Liverpool

17

11

2

4

48

26

22

35

Fulham

19

10

5

4

35

27

8

35

Southampton

19

10

3

6

31

25

6

33

Man City

16

10

5

2

37

19

18

31

Sunderland

17

9

5

2

32

23

9

31

Chelsea

15

8

5

2

35

20

15

29

Find out the full Barclays U21 Premier League fixture list here and view the table here.

Barclays Under-21 Premier League results

25 March
Arsenal (Akpom 3, Olsson, Ansah) 5-3 West Ham United (Brown 2, Potts)
Blackburn Rovers 0-6 Manchester City (Fofana, Lopes, Hiwula)
Bolton Wanderers (Iliev, Clough) 2-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers (Forde, Bancessi, Reid)
Leicester City (Blyth 4) 4-1 Reading (Cardwell)
Middlesbrough 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (Gallifuoco)
Southampton (McQueen) 1-1 Norwich City (Jacob Murphy)
Stoke City (Richards) 1-3 Aston Villa (Robinson, Burke)
Sunderland (Laidler) 1-0 Fulham

Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures

24 March
12pm Sunderland v Fulham, Academy of Light
2pm Arsenal v West Ham United, London Colney
2pm Stoke City v Aston Villa, Nantwich Town
2.30pm Southampton v Norwich City
7pm Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City, Leigh Sports Village
7pm Bolton Wanderers v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Lancashire FA
7pm Leicester City v Reading, Ricoh Arena
7pm Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur, Riverside Stadium

26 March
7pm Newcastle United v Manchester United, Northumberland FA

28 March
7.05pm Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers, Cobham Training Ground
7pm Manchester City v Sunderland, Etihad Stadium
7pm Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, White Hart Lane
7pm West Ham United v Middlesbrough, The Boleyn Ground

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

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