Spurs under 23’s 1-2 Arsenal: (match report)

Spurs under 23’s 1-2 Arsenal: (match report)

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It was an experience to say the least for our development side on Friday evening when they took on Arsenal at the Emirates stadium. Wayne Burnett’s much changed side to the one that drew with Brighton the following Friday, had to deal with a quality Arsenal side, in what was the first north London derby of the season. Without the experienced trio of Georgiou, Amos and Josh Onomah who went on loan to Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the day, Burnett fielded a young side for the short trip to the Emirates during our 2-1 defeat. This saw Brooklyn Lyons-Foster and Brandon Austin make their first starts of the new season, whilst first year scholar J’Neil Bennett (16) came off the bench to make his debut at this level. It was a very tough evening for Spurs who were second best against a very good Arsenal team which included the likes of Emile Smith-Rowe and Joe Willock. The reigning champions of the division dominated from the offing, controlling the midfield, they were fluent in their passing and Freddie Ljunberg’s side also played with width. Often troubling us out wide, the immensely talented Xavier Amaechi and Emile Smith-Rowe were potent throughout the game. Arsenal started the game well and Burnett’s lads found themselves a goal down after just three minutes, when Joe Willock capped off a good move with a fine finish from inside the six yard box. Burnett’s tepid side struggled during the opening periods of the game against the much livelier Arsenal, and they remained on the back foot for the remainder of the half, as Ljunberg’s side dictated play. Spurs conceded another soft goal early on in the second half when Tyreece John-Jules doubled the Gunners advantage. Burnett’s side were spirited but lacking in creativity. Centre back Japhet Tanganga gave away a penalty later on in the second half, of which was taken by Charlie Gilmour only to see his effort spectacularly stopped by Austin who was our best player on the night. Spurs battled hard throughout the remainder of the game, and after Troy Parrott was sent off for his part in a late melee involving both sets of players, Spurs pulled a goal back deep in stoppage time through Jaden Brown. Nothing more than a consolation goal on the night but it did however, draw a huge cheer from the vocal away end.

At the end of the day Arsenal were far superior to us and despite a spirited performance with plenty of hard work and willingness to create, Spurs lacked the spark needed to trouble a side with the calibre of Arsenal. Burnett lined up with his familiar 4-2-3-1 formation but with a notable amount of changes from the Brighton game. Brandon Austin started in goal for the first time this season following his return from injury whilst a back four of Lyons-Foster, Eyoma, Tanganga and Brown sat in front of him. Oliver Skipp started in the middle of the park alongside the skipper George Marsh, whilst an attacking line of Harrison, Maghoma and Oakley-Boothe lined up in front of them, with young Troy Parrott leading the line for the third successive game. The Gunners got the game underway at the Emirates in front of a particularly vocal crowd (especially in the away end) at the 60,000 seater stadium. Ljunberg’s side looked sharp in the opening moments of the game. Tottenham centre half TJ Eyoma conceded a free kick on the edge of the Tottenham penalty area inside the first minute of the game after fouling John-Jules, who had done well to latch onto a long ball. Thankfully for Spurs, Xavier Amaechi’s resulting free kick was driven straight into the Spurs wall. However, Spurs’ relief was only short lived and Burnett’s side conceded a soft goal a couple of minutes later. Arsenal had looked menacing during the opening moments of the game and Spurs had been caught cold by Ljunberg’s attack minded side, in only the third minute. The move started when the speedy James Olayinka sped past Lyons-Foster down the left hand side before continuing towards the byline where he was met by Tanganga. Olayinka sent a low cross into the penalty area which was met by John-Jules. However, the centre forward failed to connect properly with the ball and it rolled out towards Joe Willock who stabbed the ball past Austin from close range, with a well improvised finish, 0-1

After taking the lead Arsenal were even more fluent in their play as they zipped the ball around the park. Struggling to form any sort of real shape, Spurs looked to respond down the other end of the pitch. Jaden Brown’s promising pass to Maghoma just evaded the midfielder inside the Arsenal penalty area. Whilst at the other end Lyons-Foster made an important clearance to get rid of Amaechi’s cross after the winger had gone on a searing run down the right wing. Shortly afterwards Shayon Harrison robbed the ball off of Smith-Rowe before attempting to feed Parrott the ball with a clever through ball, but the 21 year olds pass was snuffed out by an Arsenal defender. After a series of half chances if you could even call them that, Arsenal regained their stranglehold on the game as they attempted to extend their lead. And the Gunners came close to doing just that but for a brilliant header from Tanganga to block Smith-Rowe’s effort from the edge of the six yard box, as he prevented it from troubling Austin in the Spurs goal. Restricted to ambitious passes to the isolated Troy Parrott up top such as Skipp’s lovely lofted pass towards the Irishman which was cleared by the outrushing Martinez. Arsenal were allowed to control the game and they were happy just to play their usual passing game before embarking on the odd jinking run. The lively playmaker Smith-Rowe was continuing to cause problems for the Spurs defence and he was allowed all too easily to thread a pass through to Amaechi down the right side of the penalty area. In time and in space, Amaechi took his effort early and forced a good stop out of Austin who thwarted the wingers powerful low shot on goal. A sloppy pass from Marsh to John-Jules a couple of minutes later allowed the Arsenal forward to drive forwards through the middle.

Continuing unopposed towards the edge of the penalty area, the Arsenal centre forward played a well weighted pass into Willock inside the box. However, the midfielders powerfully struck effort was well saved by Austin who managed to palm the ball to safety. The alert Japhet Tanganga did well to block Charlie Gilmour’s powerful drive at goal a few minutes later as Spurs continued to struggle. Failing to register a single attempt on goal, Burnett’s side were lacking in creativity and their failure to use the wide men was starving Parrott of any sort of support. The potent Smith-Rowe had a goal ruled out for offside for the Gunners and once again he had been allowed far too much space and time. Forced to sit deep inside their own half Burnett’s side were defending well against the ferocious Arsenal attack. Tolaji Bola headed over after getting on the end of Amaechi’s free kick whilst Harrison attempted to play in Parrott at the other end of the pitch with a nice pass. However, the forwards through ball was over hit and Martinez came out to smother the loose ball. Looking to end the first half with a flurry, the dangerous Amaechi managed to latch onto a long ball down the right, beating Brown to the header before continuing into the penalty area before having his shot blocked by Eyoma. And the attacking onslaught from Ljunberg’s side was showing no signs of slowing down. The creative Joe Willock sent a lovely ball over the top of the Tottenham defence which Smith-Rowe was able to latch onto. Beating the outrushing Austin, Smith-Rowe rounded the Spurs goalkeeper before attempting to find John-Jules who found himself in space inside the six yard box. However, his low cross was excellently blocked by the sliding Lyons-Foster, before Tanganga cleared the loose ball, it was the last bit of action from what had a been very difficult half for Spurs.

16 year old J’Neil Bennett could be seen working on his skills during the halftime break, and the pacy winger was duly brought on for the start of the second half, to make his under 23 debut. Burnett’s side got the game back underway but once again they had been caught cold right from the start. A pacy and powerful run through the middle from Smith-Rowe started to open up the Tottenham defence. Oliver Skipp missed Smith-Rowe with his sliding challenge as the forward continued unopposed before shifting the ball out to Amaechi down the right. The speedy forward burst into the penalty area before dragging his shot dangerously across the face of Austin’s goal. Spurs responded at the other end through Maghoma whose dangerous cross into the box was headed away by Ballard. Then, the spritely J’Neil Bennett had his shot blocked by Tolaji Bola on the edge of the box, believe it or not that had been Spurs’ first attempt on goal of the game. The lively start to the second half continued as the ever potent Smith-Rowe hit the frame of Austin’s goal possibly with a touch from the Tottenham keeper, after driving through the middle once again before curling an effort towards the top left hand corner of the goal. Troy Parrott then headed wide at the back post after being picked out by George Marsh inside the penalty area. Tottenham full back Jaden Brown went into the book a couple of minutes later before Burnett’s side were dealt a further blow on 58 minutes when the Gunners doubled their lead. It was a well worked goal from Ljunberg’s side but once again it had been a sloppy one to conceded from Spurs’ point of view. Willock picked apart the Spurs defence all too easily with his nicely weighted through ball to Bola inside the box. Eyoma lunged attempting to trap the ball but the Spurs defender couldn’t clear it as Bola continued inside the area before cutting the ball back to Tyreece John-Jules who clinically guided the ball into the bottom left hand corner of Austin’s goal, from ten yards out, 0-2.

Burnett’s side had allowed Arsenal too much time and space to play their brand of football, and it had cost them dearly. After doubling their advantage Arsenal continued to control the game, dominating possession in the process. Burnett made an offensive substitution when he introduced Jack Roles for the skipper George Marsh on the hour mark in an attempt to freshen things up. And the attack minded midfielder almost managed to find Parrott at the back post with a teasing cross shortly after coming on however, it just evaded the Dubliner. Arsenal continued to threaten us, Amaechi’s run into the penalty area resulted in the 17 year old cutting the ball back to John-Jules on the edge of the box. The Arsenal forwards sliced effort went well wide of the mark as Spurs avoided further upset. Then, a couple of moments later Olayinka lobbed the ball over the Tottenham defence and into the feet of Bola whose first time effort was comfortably saved by Austin. Things got even worse for Burnett’s lads when Japhet Tanganga gave away a needless penalty after taking out Bukayo Saka inside the danger zone. After the flying wide man had burst in to the penalty area after being played in by Bola, Saka continued towards the byline with Tanganga preventing him from cutting inside. But for some reason Tanganga decided to go sliding in on Saka without winning the ball to give away a stonewall penalty. Scotsman Charlie Gilmour stood up to take the penalty for the Gunners, but Gimour’s powerful low drive was excellently stopped to his right by penalty saving specialist Brandon Austin, who had managed to collapse his body at the right time to save Spurs. Following the penalty Burnett brought on Jonathan Dinzeyi for Lyons-Foster for the last ten or so minutes of the game. Tolaji Bola headed over after going to meet a corner kick inside the Spurs box, whilst Tanganga made an important block when he thwarted Julio Pleguezuelo’s cross a couple of minutes later. Then came the main talking point of the game, the late melee involving both sets of players.

It had all come about after Bola had committed a nasty looking challenge on Roles down the right wing. Roles reacted angrily to the fullbacks crunching challenge and before you knew it, both sets of players were squaring up to one another. It was mostly handbags but young Troy Parrott took it a step further by marching over to the Arsenal skipper Julio Pleguezuelo and pushing him to the floor, right in front of the referee! Parrott’s teammate Paris Maghoma was having none of the nonsense and he smartly pushed Parrott away from the scene to avoid him getting himself in any further trouble. A difficult four minutes of normal time remained for Spurs and the home team were continuing to pile the pressure on our depleted team. Ljunberg’s side almost made it 3-0 after Maghoma lost the ball to Willock on the edge of the penalty area, the midfielder traveled into the box before Tanganga out muscled him. However, the defenders back pass was over hit and left Austin scrambling to get back, fortunately it trickled narrowly wide. The unmarked John-Jules then headed wide after going to meet Bukayo Saka’s cross at the back post ,and the Arsenal onslaught didn’t stop there. The menacing Saka sent another ball into the danger zone a couple of minutes later, this time picking out Amaechi at the back post. The wingers well struck volley forced Austin into making a good diving save to deny the tricky Amaechi from getting on the scoresheet. Maghoma almost managed to pick out Harrison on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area shortly afterwards with a lovely searching pass. And there was to be one final unexpected twist in the game, in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Burnett’s side had managed to pull a goal back and in some style, after Skipp picked up Jack Roles’s pass on the edge of the penalty area. Skipp laid the ball off to Harrison who spotted the run of Brown down the left side of the penalty area. Harrison played a clever pass through to Brown who took a touch inside the box before rifling the ball into the bottom right hand corner of Martinez’s goal, 2-1. It was all too little too late from Burnett’s side who ended up losing 2-1 to their arch rivals on the night.

We were second best on the night and can have no complaints about the scoreline, however it was a spirited performance from our lads against an extremely talented Arsenal side. We were decent on the night but just like in the game against Brighton the previous Friday, we lacked in creativity and that has cost us so far this season. Up next for Burnett’s development side is a visit to the appropriately named Checkatrade stadium to face Crawley Town on Friday evening. As Spurs play their first group game of this seasons Checkatrade trophy, it will be a great opportunity for his side to bounce back from Fridays disappointment defeat.

Player reviews: – Brandon Austin: My motm, see below.
– Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: The 17 year old defender made his first start of the domestic season on Friday night, as he filled in for the injured Tariq Hinds at right back. And although he is far more comfortable these days at playing as a centre half, I thought the teenager did a good job at defending against Smith-Rowe down that right hand side. Lyons-Foster read the game well and did well to keep up with the tricky Smith-Rowe, he made a superb sliding block to deny the Arsenal playmaker from picking out John-Jules in the box, during the first half.
– Japhet Tanganga: Tanganga returned from suspension to put in a decent performance against the Gunners at centre half. Generally solid in his defending, the 19 year old made some good blocks and challenges and was dominant in the air. He did however, give away a needless penalty later on in the game.
– TJ Eyoma: Like Tanganga I thought that Eyoma did a decent job in the heart of the Tottenham defence. Like Tanganga, he read the game well and was good in the air. Eyoma also made a string of impressive interceptions inside the danger zone. I do however, think that he would have been far more effective for Spurs if he had been playing at right back.
– Jaden Brown: Brown had the tough task of trying to thwart the threat of the electric Xavier Amaechi down the left flank. I thought Brown did a decent job up against the highly skilful Arsenal forward. Amaechi did get the better of Brown on quite a few occasions during the game but I felt that Brown did alright against him. Brown’s main contribution to the game was his finely executed finish in stoppage time of the second half, after making a good run into the box to meet Harrison’s pass.
– George Marsh: We effectively had two holding midfielders playing in the middle of the park for the game against Arsenal. Marsh and Skipp (the latter in particular) put in good defensive performances e.g: breaking up play. However, this effected our attack and after a decent performance in that role, the skipper George Marsh was brought off around the hour mark for the more offensive Jack Roles.
– Oliver Skipp: By far and out our best outfield player on the night, 17 year old Oliver Skipp impressed in the centre of the park with a typically assured performance. He never overplayed anything, or took too many touches in the middle of the park, he was incisive and effective. Breaking up play and recycling possession, Skippy was ubiquitous and could be seen all over the pitch as he covered for players who were out of position. His range of passing was equality impressive and he made a string of ambitious passes over the top of the Arsenal defence.
– Shayon Harrison: It was another game where Harrison worked extremely hard out on the right wing, making good runs and tracking back after him. Harrison used the ball well but he saw it far too infrequently. Burnett’s side didn’t use the tricky wide man enough and he often found himself isolated out wide for large periods of the game. Following Parrott’s dismissal towards the end of the game, Harrison played up top where he looked lively. And the 21 year did especially well to set up Jaden Brown’s goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. I really hope that Harrison starts the Crawley game as a centre forward.
– Paris Maghoma: The talented 17 year old linked defence with attack during the north London derby. Playing as a number ten on what was only his second appearance at this level, Maghoma was one of the few outfield players who caught my eye. Due to the pressure Spurs were under Maghoma wasn’t able to play with the attacking license he would have wanted, much like in the Liverpool game when we had to play with ten men. Forced to play quite deep for periods of the game, Maghoma still made some promising runs through the middle and some clever passes to the forwards. Linking up particularly well with Harrison throughout the game out on the left wing, Maghoma showed a real attacking nous about his game, it’s just a massive shame that Spurs found themselves in the position that they did. During the late melee involving both sets of players, I spotted a moment of real leadership from the 17 year old. After Parrott had shoved Pleguezuelo to the ground, Maghoma rushed over to Parrott and to avoid him from getting himself in any more trouble, he smartly pushed the 16 year old away from the scene.
– Tashan Oakley-Boothe: It was good to see Oakley-Boothe start his first under 23 game of the season, but frustratingly for the 18 year old midfielder he was limited as to what he could do. Surprisingly playing out on the right wing, Oakley-Boothe must have made the fewest touches out of all the Spurs players during the first half. Isolated on the wing just like Harrison was on the opposite flank, Oakley-Boothe was replaced on halftime for the much younger J’Neil Bennett.
– Troy Parrott: Starved of any real support up top, Parrott’s hard work wasn’t rewarded on the night and he was left living off scraps for the entirety of the game. Still only 16, the Irishman pressed the defenders well and would often look to make a run into the penalty area but it was to little avail. He did however, manage one attempt on goal during the first half. His performance however, will be remembered for his shove on Pleguezuelo during the melee which resulted in him getting sent off. Parrott will miss our under 23’s next PL2 game against Manchester City.
– J’Neil Bennett: The former QPR schoolboys excellent start to the season for our under 18’s was rewarded with a place on the bench for the north London derby. Coming on at half time to make his debut at this level, Bennett impressed down the left wing. Direct and positive, his trickery and willingness to take on Arsenal fullback Josep Olowu was great to see. Bennett also tracked back well and worked hard for the team.
– Jack Roles: Like Bennett, Roles had a positive impact off the bench, much more of a creative force than the man he replaced. Roles put some nice deliveries into the danger zone and created good pockets of space for himself in and around the six yard box.
– Jonathan Dinzeyi: N/A.

My man of the match: Brandon Austin. First of all I’d just like to say how happy I was, to see that the talented and charismatic goalkeeper had returned from his injury to make his first appearance of the season on Friday evening. Austin saved us on countless occasions against the Gunners. Making at least half a dozen saves, including a couple of excellent stops. The teenager from Hemel Hempstead dealt well with set pieces and was commanding inside the box. The two saves which particularly stick out is the one he made to deny Amaechi’s volley in the second half, and of course his excellent save to deny Gilmour from the penalty spot. Austin was superb against Arsenal!

Arsenal: Martinez, Olowu (Sheaf 51), Bola, Gilmour, Ballard, Pleguezuelo (c), Amaechi, Willock (Burton 87), John-Jules, Olayinka, Smith-Rowe (Saka 62). Substitutes (not used): Okonkwo, Balogun.

Spurs: Austin, Lyons-Foster (Dinzeyi 79), Brown, Skipp, Tanganga, Eyoma, Maghoma, Marsh (c, Roles 62), Parrott, Harrison, Oakley-Boothe (Bennett 46). Substitutes (not used): Freeman, Duncan.

Goals: Arsenal – Willock 3, John-Jules 58; Spurs – Brown 90+4.

Yellow cards: Arsenal – Bola 84, Pleguezuelo 84, Burton 90+6; Spurs – Brown 56, Roles 73.

Red card: Spurs – Parrott 84.

Referee: Adrian Quelch.

Venue: Emirates Stadium.

Attendance: 1,422.

Spurs under 21/23’s statistics 2018/19:

Goals scored: Samuel Shashoua – 1
Marcus Edwards – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1
Jaden Brown – 1

Assists: Troy Parrott – 1
Jaden Brown – 1
Shayon Harrison – 1

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