Arsenal under-21 manager Steve Gatting has publicly praised his side's spirited display, where they overcame the odds to prevail against league leaders Derby County yesterday evening. Despite going down to ten men, and having to play a full 45 minutes with a player less, the visitors were excellent in possession and made good use of their chances to score at the iPro Stadium.
Goals from Stephy Mavididi and Kaylen Hinds either side of the half-time interval helped to close the gap at the top of the table to two points, despite the notable absence of Ben Sheaf following his trivial dismissal - two bookings for kicking the ball away, and a disagreement with the referee.
Gatting, who has been a youth team coach at the club since 2007, said the team’s hard-working display ensured they were worthy winners at the iPro Stadium.
Speaking to Arsenal Player, Gatting said he was “very proud” of the youngsters, who “deserve a lot of credit”.
Having lost Sheaf in surprising fashion, Gatting said it’s always difficult, but the Young Guns’ mindset changed in a positive way as they “went out to get the goal that won the game.
"I thought some of the referee’s decisions went against the boys, but they kept going and showed a lot of character at the end."
With Swansea still to play on Thursday this week, as well as West Brom next Monday, but the table looks encouraging as it stands near the top.
The 2-1 victory was Derby’s final fixture of the campaign, so they’ll be nervously waiting to see whether they’ve done enough to avoid a potential play-off to secure their place in Division 1 ahead of next season.
The win will certainly boost spirits within the team, who beat Newcastle on Friday afternoon at the Emirates. Having narrowly lost twice against Aston Villa and Blackburn in recent weeks, who are both in contention for play-off places, the win was a big one and there's definitely plenty still to play for.