Vontae Daley-Campbell

Narrow PL2 Reverse For Young Foxes At Arsenal

Leicester City's Development Squad were consigned to a 2-1 Premier League 2 Division 1 defeat at the hands of Arsenal Under-23s on Friday evening.

There were four changes made from the defeat at Southampton as Vontae Daley-Campbell, Darragh O'Connor, Khanya Leshabela and Islam Slimani came in for Adam Leathers, Callum Hulme, Ali Reghba and Thanawat Suengchitthawon.

The Foxes began in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Demarai Gray playing behind Slimani and Admiral Muskwe, but were under the cosh in the opening stages as Miguel Azeez sliced wide when the ball fell to him from a corner.

City fashioned their first opening thanks to good work down the right from Gray, who whipped in a dangerous cross that Calum Chambers had to turn behind, preventing Slimani getting a tap in.

Arsenal threatened when the ball fell kindly for Ben Cottrell, but Jakub Stolarczyk produced a brilliant diving save to tip his effort behind.

However, the hosts went ahead from the resulting corner after a quarter of an hour as Chambers picked out the far corner after Stolarczyk had initially kept out Folarin Balogun.

The Gunners took confidence from the goal and there looked to be no stopping Brooke Norton-Cuffy as he charged into the area, but fired well wide.

The visitors almost regained parity via a wicked free-kick from Gray, who tested Arthur Okonkno from all of 35 yards out, forcing the 'keeper to tip the fierce strike over the bar.

Meanwhile, back at the other end, Balogun tried to pick out the far corner but was unable to hit the target. Azeez's attempt also went close after some neat play from Cottrell, but this time a deflection took it wide.

The away side got back on level terms two minutes before the interval. Gray's pinpoint free-kick was met by the head of Darragh O'Connor at the far post, who headed home.

Gray then sent in another dangerous ball as the visitors looked to go in front, but no one was able to get on the end of the cross.

Arsenal came out of the blocks quickly and immediately had a shot on goal, but Azeez sent it wide of target, before Balogun tricked his way into the box and Daley-Campbell had to be alert to deflect his low strike out for a corner.

Balogun again found his way into a shooting position inside the area and Stolarczyk was equal to his effort. Nikolaj Möller then thought he had put Arsenal back in front when he tapped in Azeez's cross, but the forward was flagged offside.

A minute later, he headed inches wide of the post, as the hosts continued to press. 

They continued to miss the target after the hour-mark, this time Balogun raced through but wasn't able to test Stolarczyk, before finally forcing the 'keeper into a save after he weaved his way into the area. Möller's half volley was then fired over the bar as City looked to frustrate a dominant Arsenal.

Chances were limited for City, though when Slimani collected the loose ball and laid off Leshabela, he curled a shot narrowly wide of goal.

And just two minutes later, Arsenal went back in front with Balogun finally finding the net, turning home Ryan Alebiosu's low centre.

The Foxes tried to respond through Gray and Slimani, who combined well before the attack was cut out, while Alebiosu fired high and wide back at the other end.

O'Connor came close to a second when he rose highest from Shane Flynn's corner, but couldn't find the target and City went home empty handed.

Major moment

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Admiral Muskwe
Admiral Muskwe

Admiral Muskwe was unlucky with several chances on Friday evening.

City looked set for a well earned point on the road before Folarin Balogun's neat finish regained Arsenal's advantage.

Who impressed?

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Jakub Stolarczyk
Jakub Stolarczyk

Jakub Stolarczyk made some assured saves for the Foxes.

City shot-stopper Jakub Stolarczyk made some smart saves to keep Arsenal at bay but was ultimately unable to help City take anything away from Meadow Park.

Where do we stand?

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Shane Flynn
Shane Flynn

Defender Shane Flynn was impressive for the Foxes once more.

The Foxes are now 11th in the Premier League 2 Division 1 table, on 12 points after 11 matches.

Coming up…

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Callum Wright
Callum Wright

Callum Wright wore the captain's armband for City's youngsters.

After a Christmas break, City's Development Squad return to Premier League 2 Division 1 action on Monday 11 January, 2021 when they will host Liverpool Under-23s (7pm GMT kick-off). 

The details…

City: Stolarczyk, O'Connor, Wakely, Nelson, Daley-Campbell, Leshabela, Wright (c), Flynn, Gray (Wakeling 83'), Muskwe (Leathers 76'), Slimani (Reghba 83').

Subs not used: Odunze, Suengchitthawon.

Goal: O'Connor 43'

Images: Arsenal FC

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