Swansea City Arsenal Under-21s Premier League Division Two
22nd January 2016
Swansea City Under-21s opened 2016 by securing a point in a goalless draw at Arsenal in Premier League Division Two on Friday afternoon.
Both sides played with pace and intensity during both halves in an end-to-end game.
The Swansea created some of the better chances in the final third with midfielders Jay Fulton, Adam King and Daniel James all failing to convert in front of goal.
U21s coaches Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack named a strong starting XI, making four change to the team that lost away at West Brom in December.
Midfielders Jay Fulton, Adam King, Josh Sheehan and striker Oliver McBurnie - who have all recently returned from loan spells - returned to the starting line-up.
There was also a place on the bench for winger Alex Bray, who returned from a 15-month knee ligament injury.
ARSENAL U21s: Macey, Moore, Da Graca, Pleguezuelo, M. Bola, Bennacer, Rosicky (McGuane, 46), Reine-Adelaide (Mavididi, 63), Crowley, Willock, Malen.
SUBS NOT USED: Keto, T. Bola, Dasilva.
SWANS U21s: Gregor Zabret, Liam Shephard (capt), Raheem Hanley, Jay Fulton, Joe Rodon, Stephen Kingsley (Keston Davies, 46), Daniel James, Adam King, Oliver McBurnie, Josh Sheehan, Ryan Hedges (Alex Bray, 64).
SUBS NOT USED: Oliver Davies, Adnan Maric, Botti Biabi.
Both sides were intent on playing an attractive passing style in the wet conditions at Arsenal Training Centre, but neither created few clear cut chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Czech Republic international Tomas Rosicky brought first-team experience to Arsenal's young side in the centre of the park.
The Swans kept plugging away with returning midfielder Josh Sheehan teeing up Jay Fulton, but his 20-yard effort was well held by Matt Macey.
The Gunners' best chance came on the stroke of half-time as pacey winger Chris Willock curled a shot onto the post from just outside the area.
HALF-TIME: Arsenal U21s 0 Swans U21s 0
Both sides started the game with intensity as they looked for the first goal.
The Swans could have taken the lead on 57 minutes when a cut back from Daniel James found Fulton, but he was denied by a fine reflex save from Macey.
At the other end, Gregor Zabret saved a Daniel Crowley free-kick before the visitors could have broken the deadlock when Adam King curled his shot inches wide of the post.
Gunners winger Willock continued to trouble the defence from the left flank as his deflected effort forced Zabret into a fine save ten minutes from time.
Late on, James went close to snatching a dramatic victory but he could fire his shot wide from inside the area.