Arsenal and Newcastle’s second strings met on Friday night.
With the match played at the Emirates it was hoped it would give the young Newcastle players a boost, after what has been a dispiriting season of results.
There was surprise news from both camps beforehand, with Newcastle including Henri Saivet and Sylvain Marveaux, while Arsenal gave starts to Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.
A decent crowd of 2,831 filled one small corner of the 60,000 capacity Emirates and within nine minutes the home fans had seen their side go two up – Daniel Crowley and Stephy Mavididi scoring within 60 seconds of each other.
Arsenal threatened at that point to take the visitors apart but Nathan Harker was in great form once again in the United goal. His series of saves looked as though they had helped Newcastle get a foothold in the game, when just before the half hour point, Gallacher crossed from the left hand side and Bielik managed to knock the ball past his own keeper as he tried to clear.
Liam Gibson then went close to giving Newcastle a surprise equaliser, only for Serge Gnabry to then go up the other end and restore Arsenal’s two goal advantage.
The second half faded away to very little, with the Gunners withdrawing Rosicky at half-time and then Wilshere midway through the second period.
As for Newcastle’s ‘name’ players, Sylvain Marveaux did absolutely nothing to suggest he is capable of playing any part at all in the first team’s survival fight, before his contract at last runs out this summer – his 13 Premier League starts in almost five long years is a depressing statistic and just one example of United’s failed transfer policy.
Which then brings us to Henri Saivet.
After his January signing, Saivet started in both defeats at Everton and Watford, plus made two sub appearances – the last time he was on the pitch for the first team was 6 February for the last few minutes against West Brom.
With Newcastle desperate for survival, it beggars belief that yet another midfielder was brought in when United were desperate for a central defender, left-back and striker. It appeared a strange but typical Carr/Ashley signing at the time and the fact that both Steve McClaren and Rafa Bebitez don’t see him as good enough for the team and not even the bench now (along with Seydou Doumbia)…no wonder even Graham Carr felt compelled to offer Mike Ashley his resignation.
Henri Saivet captained the reserves last night but the same as Marveaux, showed nothing to suggest he will be bothering the first team again, any time soon.
Saivet did see a free-kick deflected over the bar in that second period but that was pretty much it from the former Bordeaux midfielder.
Arsenal Under 21s 3 Newcastle Under 21s 1
Newcastle United Under 21s:
Harker, Kitchen, Gibson, Saivet, Williams, Good (Adu-Prepah 46), Roberts, Barlaser, Charman, Marveaux (Hunter 78), Gallacher (Longstaff 37)
Arsenal Under 21s:
Macey, Sheaf, Bielik, Pleguezuelo, M.Bola, Wilshere (Da Silva 65), McGuane (Reine-Adelaide 25), Rosicky (Willock 46), Crowley, Gnabry, Mavididi