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Arsenal Reserves 1 Chelsea Reserves 1

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The reserves did not complete an Easter hat-trick of wins for the club over Arsenal but there were similarities to the first team as they recovered from going a goal down.

Franco Di Santo was again on the scoresheet, the 18-year-old Argentine's third reserve goal since his January signing. It came shortly before the hour-mark after Arsenal had taken a first-half lead from a set-piece.

Chelsea had lined-up with a team of reserve team regulars plus in Jeffrey Bruma (pictured), one schoolboy who has been a youth team fixture this season, and Daniel Philliskirk, a first year who scored on his reserve debut the previous week.

Arsenal put Chelsea under early pressure with three corners in the first five minutes, the first after a good block on Gunners striker Rhys Murphy by Carl Magnay, back from injury.

Having coped with those set-pieces, Stuart Searle in the Chelsea goal dealt comfortably with a tame shot from Rui Fonte.

On 12 minutes, the home side's keeper was stretching to tip away a Sergio Tejera free-kick curled into the box from far out on the right touchline. From the corner that followed, Di Santo pulled away well at the near post but his glanced header was saved by Vito Mannone.

Chelsea began to enjoy the greater possession. A strong Di Santo run almost laid the ball through to Phil Younghusband but the Arsenal defence cleared.

There was little at that point to suggest Arsenal would take the lead but that is what occurred on 20 minutes from a cunning set-play routine.

The free-kick had been awarded wide on the left but with most minds focused on the expected ball high into the box, James Dunne played it back to the centrally positioned Alex Song. The Cameroon international found the bottom corner with a perfectly-placed 30-yard curler.

Chelsea, attacking up Barnet FC's significant slope, tried to strike back immediately through first Daniel Philliskirk and then Tejera but both shots were saved.

On 27 minutes, Younghusband caught an effort well from the edge of the area but it was straight at Mannone.


Ten minutes later, Younghusband played a well-weighted pass inside the Arsenal left-back to Di Santo but as he was closed down, the Argentine shot off-target. Chelsea had competed well in good quality half of football and before the break, Justin Hoyte advanced from full-back for Arsenal but his shot was saved by Searle.

Chelsea coach Brendan Rodgers made a change at half time, Adam Phillip, who has made a habit of scoring off the bench in the FA Youth Cup run, coming on for Fabio Ferreira.

However the best early attacking moves in the second half were Arsenal's - Fonte just before the hour turning and racing dangerously into the box without finding a way past Searle.

A moment later with 58 minutes on the block, Chelsea equalised and Phillip again made an impact, dashing down the inside right channel before playing the ball out to Di Santo. From a wide angle, the striker cracked a low shot across Mannone that the keeper failed to keep out.

Chelsea were looking comfortable. Bruma, a 16-year-old making his first reserve start in defence looked comfortable throughout and lasted the full game.

On 72 minutes, swift passing by Di Santo and Jimmy Smith drew a foul from Rene Steer on Phillip that was punished with a booking. Di Santo was also cautioned for gesturing for the card.

The free-kick from 20-yards out was fired over by Smith. A late tackle on the taker by Dunne would soon earn Arsenal their second booking before in three minutes of stoppage time, there was a flurry from each side in a late attempt to win it.

Substitute Ricardo Fernandes half caught an overhead kick but Di Santo was beaten by Mannone to the follow-up. Then Song curled in a shot from the edge of the area but failing to put any power into it, Searle caught easily.

It was a third game unbeaten for Chelsea's young second string.

Chelsea Stuart Searle; Shaun Cummings, Jeffrey Bruma, Carl Magnay, Patrick van Aanholt; Sergio Tejera (Nana Ofori-Twumasi 78), Jimmy Smith ©, Phil Younghusband; Fabio Ferreira (Adam Phillip h-t), Franco Di Santo, Daniel Philliskirk (Ricardo Fernandes 67).

Arsenal Vito Mannone, Gavin Hoyte, Justin Hoyte, Johan Djourou, Armand Traore, Rene Steer, Havard Nordtveit, Alexandre Song, James Dunne, Rui Fonte (Abu Ogogo 77), Rhys Murphy (Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 68).

Source: Chelsea FC

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You would have to say that a draw was more likely a fair result from this game. It wasn't by any means a classic game with the game getting very scrappy at times but it was still a very good performance from Chelsea. A reorganised defence saw Shaun Cummings playing in right where he is now becomming a regular feature, Patrick Van Aanholt moving to left back once again and a debut for Jeffrey Bruma to play alongside Carl Magnay.

Sergio Tejera returned to the reserves in this game playing in the attacking midfield role that suits him so well and joining him in the middle of the park was Jimmy Smith and Phil Younghusband. Playing on the wings was Fabio Ferreira looking to continue a fairly decent spell and Daniel Philliskirk playing out of position of the left wing. Franco Di Santo was once again given the responsibility of being the lone striker.

Player Ratings:

Stuart Searle: Continuing in goal because Rhys Taylor is away with the Wales U21's. Did well and was commanding and strong, pulled off some good saves and was unlucky with their goal. 7

Shaun Cummings: Probably the best player on the pitch on the night, was very very quick and gave his man nothing. A perfect right back performance. Will be interesting to see how much he can progress now. 8

Carl Magnay: Again another solid performance from Magnay who is still looking good and solid. Not afraid to get stuck in at all and also looks very comfortable on the ball and happy to bring the ball out from defence. 7

Jeffrey Bruma: A debut for Bruma and he did himself justice, has been impressing for the youth team and he has now brought that through into the reserves. He looked comfortable throughout and looked to have a very similar style to Ricardo Carvalho. 7

Patrick Van Aanholt: Even though i feel he is best at centre back Van Aanholt did very well at left back. He was solid with his defending and strong at times too but he was also quick to support the forward play whenever he could and got some decent crosses in. 7

Jimmy Smith: Took him a while to get involved with the game but once he did and especially in the second half really started to influence our play. Worked very hard as you would expect and did well overall. 7

Phil Younghusband: A good performance, still lost the ball too much for my likeing but he worked himself hard and put himself about on the pitch, had a decent shot or 2 as well. 7

Fabio Ferreira: A fairly poor performance from him, no strength and a complete lack of ability to beat his man which is for me becomming a real problem for a player who wants to be a tricky winger. 6

Daniel Philliskirk: Played out of position and it showed a lot. Still worked hard and created some good movements. The ability is definately there with him and would hope that next season he can really grow into a role at the club. 6

Franco Di Santo: Not as good as last week where he was immense with a perfect display. This week he once again was working very very hard and showing some great skills. He seemed to be dropping a lot deeper this time for some reason. Took his goal very very well, when this lad kicks the ball it flys off his feet like a rocket! 8


Adam Phillip: Came on at half time for Fabio Ferreira and just didn't look comfortbale playing on the wing. It was either that or just not comfortable at this level. He worked hard though and did OK overall. 7

Ricardo Fernandes: Did well when he came on, got himself in some good advanced positions to try and influence the play. Still more from him to come i feel. 7

Nana Ofori: Came on at right back and did OK overall. Strong in stopping his man from beating him. Wasn't much time for much else.. 7

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I've been really impressed by di Santo so far, I'm sure he will be in the first team next season.

Yeah i agree, he has looked very good. Ideal for that lone striker role, he works himself very hard too - plus doing something that we have not seen someone do in the reserves for a long while and that is to score regulary.

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