Friday 13 September 2013
Arsenal moved up to fifth in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League table with a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. Two more matches will take place this evening at professional stadia as the U21 calendar resumes after the international break.
Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start as Serge Gnabry’s volley in the 34th minute was enough to see off West Bromwich Albion before 2,651 people at Emirates Stadium.
The home side dominated the early period with Ryo Miyaichi missing a good chance to open the scoring in the fourth minute. Gnabry converted the pressure into a goal with a first-time volley from Iassac Hayden’s pass.
West Brom, for whom first-team midfielder Zoltan Gera played 60 minutes as he recovers from injury, had their best chance to equalise in the 85th minute when substitute Alex Jones headed wide from six yards.
David Oldfield, the West Brom professional development coach, while disappointed with the result, said Gera’s presence had a good influence on the younger team-mates.
"It was a big positive to have Zoltan Gera playing," Oldfield said. "He did well during the hour he played.
"His passing was great and he linked us all together and really helped the young lads. It's great for the development of the players to have someone of his quality playing for us."
Chelsea's Under-21s have been preparing for their match with Norwich City on Friday, by training with Jose Mourinho’s first-team squad during September’s round of international fixtures.
"They could see how the first team players treated every session, with respect and professionalism. It was fantastic for them"
Those youth players not involved with their countries trained with World Cup-winning duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, club captain John Terry and a host of other senior squad members in the build-up to their match at Brentford.
Under-21s manager Dermot Drummy, who was given the opportunity to oversee coaching sessions with the first-team by Mourinho during that period, told the club’s website: “The boys were excited because it gives them a chance to see the level they’re aspiring to, and also to have Jose and his staff watching.”
“The first-team players that remain here during the international break need to be stimulated and they were fantastic with the boys, talking to them and passing on information.
“They have to get into the session, so when you’re marking Torres or shutting down Mata it’s tough. If you don’t keep the ball, and then the first team turn up the gas, you don’t get the ball back and you get tired, so my lads will have learnt a lot of important lessons. They could see how the first-team players treated every session, with respect and professionalism. It was fantastic for them.”
Chelsea and Norwich kick off at 7:05pm at Aldershot Town’s Electrical Services Stadium. Tickets are available on arrival, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.
In Friday’s other Barclays U21 Premier League match, West Ham United who are fourth on nine points, take on Manchester City at the Boleyn Ground. Manchester City will look for their first away win of the campaign and add to their one victory so far this season. Goals are likely in this tie, with both sides an average of four in their matches this season.
The match kicks off at 7pm and season ticket holders can watch for free, while tickets are £3 for adults and £1 for kids at the turnstiles.
There will also be a further seven Barclays U21 Premier League fixtures on Monday 16 September, while Liverpool face Sunderland on Tuesday 17 September at Anfield.
Thursday 12 September
Arsenal (Gnabry) 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
Friday 13 September
Chelsea v Norwich City, Aldershot Town FC, 7.05pm
West Ham United v Manchester City, Boleyn Ground, 7pm
Monday 16 September
Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur, Pirelli Stadium, 7pm
Blackburn Rovers v Stoke City, Leigh Sports Village, 7pm
Leicester City v Southampton, Leicester City FC Training Ground, 2pm
Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers, Salford City Stadium, 7pm
Middlesbrough v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hartlepool United FC, 7pm
Newcastle United v Everton, St James' Park, 7pm
Reading v Fulham, Reading FC Training Ground, 7pm
Tuesday 17 September
Liverpool v Sunderland, Anfield, 7pm
Download full fixture list here.