Arsenal U23 1-0 Everton U23: Smith-Rowe on target again, but Gunners’ £60 million+ backline takes centre stage

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Arsenal’s academy side secured a hard-fought victory over Everton this afternoon, with a number of noteworthy takeaways from the clash having been forthcoming.

Smith-Rowe decides it

Steve Bould’s men welcomed the Toffees to the Emirates a short time ago, for their latest Premier League 2 outing.

The hosts headed into proceedings aiming to build on a morale-boosting win last time out.

On the back of an abysmal opening to the campaign, which had seen the Gunners pick up just 2 points from their opening 7 outings, Arsenal exploded into life two weeks ago, to down Blackburn Rovers by 6 goals to nil.

And, when all was said and done on Friday afternoon, the capital giants made it two wins from two, to continue their ascent away from the bottom of the Premier League 2 table.

A tightly-contested affair in north London eventually saw a solitary goal prove the difference between the sides.

Emile Smith-Rowe was the man on target, slotting home from Ben Cottrell’s delivery inside the opening 10 minutes, to secure all 3 points for a resurgent Arsenal side.

Big-money backline

As outlined above, meanwhile, on the back of proceedings coming to a close at the Emirates, a number of takeaways which will no doubt pique the attentions of the Gunners faithful have since spread in the media.

The first surrounds the form of youngster Emile Smith-Rowe.

Attacking midfielder Smith-Rowe has looked superb at youth level of late, and made it 3 goals in his last 2 appearances for Steve Bould’s U23s with his match-winning strike on Friday.

Having previously impressed during fleeting appearances at senior level, too, a recall to Mikel Arteta’s first-team ranks over the weeks ahead could well be on the cards, with Smith-Rowe a potential answer to the creative woes of the north Londoners in the middle of the park.

Elsewhere, highly-regarded hitman Folarin Balogun, who recently made his senior Arsenal bow during a Europa League meeting with Dundalk, was given his marching orders versus Everton.

After picking up a booking for punching the ball away, the 19-year-old was soon sent for an early bath, having been deemed guilty of simulation.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Flo Balogun celebrates scoring his 2nd goal, Arsenal’s 4th, during the Premier League International Cup match between Arsenal FC and AS Monaco FC at Meadow Park on March 03, 2020 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of Arsenal’s win this afternoon, though, from a personnel standpoint at least, came in the form of the club’s backline.

A trio of high-profile stoppers – William Saliba, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos – took their place in Bould’s defence versus Everton, and went on to play a key role in the Gunners’ clean sheet.

Despite all three, for different reasons, not considered as part of the first-team picture in north London as things stand, it is worth remembering that, in combined transfer fees, Saliba, Chambers and Sokratis set Arsenal back a combined £60 million.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Leicester City FC 8 9 18
2 Tottenham Hotspur FC 8 10 17
3 Liverpool FC 8 2 17
4 Southampton FC 8 4 16
5 Chelsea FC 8 10 15
6 Aston Villa FC 7 9 15
7 Everton FC 8 2 13
8 Crystal Palace FC 8 0 13
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 8 -1 13
10 Manchester City FC 7 1 12
11 Arsenal FC 8 -1 12
12 West Ham United FC 8 4 11
13 Newcastle United FC 8 -3 11
14 Manchester United FC 7 -2 10
15 Leeds United 8 -3 10
16 Brighton & Hove Albion FC 8 -3 6
17 Fulham FC 8 -8 4
18 West Bromwich Albion 8 -11 3
19 Burnley FC 7 -9 2
20 Sheffield United FC 8 -10 1
Player Team Goals
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur FC 8
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 8
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 8
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 8
Kane, Harry Tottenham Hotspur FC 7
Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 7
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United FC 6
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 6
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United FC 5
Zaha, Wilfried Crystal Palace FC 5
Ings, Danny Southampton FC 5
Grealish, Jack Aston Villa FC 4
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 4
Werner, Timo Chelsea FC 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion FC 4
Jimenez, Raul Wolverhampton Wanderers FC 4
Rodriguez, James Everton FC 3
Jorginho Chelsea FC 3
Adams, Che Southampton FC 3
Ward-Prowse, James Southampton FC 3

Source: 101greatgoals.com