Wednesday 13 November 2013
Arsenal continued their charge up the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table thanks to an impressive first-half performance at Boreham Wood.
Although Aston Villa had rattled off six goals against Newcastle United last time out, they struggled to contend with a Gunners side playing their first league match in over a month and featuring Benik Afobe in the starting line-up for the first time in eight months after a knee injury.
Arsenal's players, who were watched by first-team manager Arsene Wenger, started well and took the lead on 16 minutes when Serge Gnabry finished off from six yards a sweeping move involving Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Jon Toral.
Nine minutes later, Thomas Eisfeld found Gnabry on the right, who crossed for Toral to beat Benjamin Siegrist. On 36 minutes it was 3-0, Afobe lobbing the onrushing Siegrist for Toral to pounce again.
Arsenal were not finshed yet and, with half-time approaching, Emmanuel Frimpong headed in Gnabry's corner to the delight of the home crowd at Meadow Park.
Villa showed greater resolve in the second half, taking advantage of a defensive error to score through Michael Drennan eight minutes after the interval, while Graham Burke made it 4-2 after a goalmouth scramble with a quarter of an hour remaining, but the hosts held firm to move up to 14 points and sixth place, six behind leaders West Ham United with three matches in hand.
Arsenal (Gnabry, Toral 2, Frimpong) 4-2 Aston Villa (Drennan, Burke)