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Joe Cole will use tonight's away reserve fixture to boost his match fitness in a game that can be viewed on Chelsea TV.While the international programme ahead has taken away Chelseaplayers at first team, reserve and youth level, the England midfielderwho returned to first team action against QPR a fortnight ago, beginsin a side that also gives its first game to Nemanja Matic.

The tall Serb midfielder has overcome a foot injury that he was carrying when he signed back in August.

Elsewhere in the team selected by Steve Holland to take on Arsenal,Sam Hutchinson who impressed in the QPR game will partner Jeffrey Brumain central defence and there is a second reserve game for goalkeeper Ross Turnbull. The summer signing will be looking for a happier game than the 4-0 season-opening defeat against Aston Villa.

Fabio Borini, another fresh from a first taste of first team action, will lead the attack.

Having lost the Villa game, the reserves then recorded consecutivevictories and are third in the Barclays Premier Reserve League South.Conor Clifford, scorer of a stunning winner last week away at Wolves isagain in midfield.

Tonight's side has more experience than that one but three of thebench played in the youth team's win over Fulham on Saturday. Schoolboycentral defender Danny Mills is also among the subs.

Arsenal, second in the table, have a 100 per cent record from theirthree games and have yet to concede a goal, scoring eight along the way.

Last year in the corresponding fixture, Chelsea scored a notable 3-2victory against many of the young Arsenal players who gained plauditsin the Carling Cup. Didier Drogba on the way back from injury was an experienced head amongst a youthful Blues team, many of whom are currently out on loan.

Two others who played that night, Nana Ofori-Twumasi and MichaelWoods, have been away with England Under 20s at the World Cup in Egypt.Both remained on the bench during Friday's 1-1 draw against Uzbekistan,a result that means England are coming home after the group stage.

The Chelsea team tonight is: Ross Turnbull, Nikki Ahamed, JeffreyBruma, Sam Hutchinson, Ben Gordon, Jacopo Sala, Conor Clifford, NemanjaMatic, Fabio Borini, Daniel Philliskirk, Joe Cole.

Subs: Sam Walker, Danny Mills, Joshua McEachran, Milan Lalkovic, Gokhan Tore.

The venue is Barnet FC's Underhill Stadium with a 7.05 kick-off. Chelsea TV's live coverage begins at 7pm.

Source: Chelsea FC

Edited by EskWeston
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A goal in each half consigned the reserves to their second defeat of the season in a match that featured Joe Cole and Nemanja Matic, the latter making his competitive debut for Chelsea.In analysing the result, the Blues will regret conceding possessiontoo easily to the Arsenal players, particularly for the second goal,but if there is consolation to be taken, it is that Cole was as strongas anyone on the pitch in the closing stages.

Playing on the left in a Christmas tree formation, the Englandinternational was bright at first but became peripheral to the actionas Chelsea struggled to build in midfield. He was however much moreinvolved kicking up Underhill's famous slope in the final 15 minutes.

Matic, who joined in the summer with an existing metatarsal injury,started deeper in midfield than Cole, and it was a low-key introductionthe English game for the 21-year-old Serb.

Ireland Under 19 international Conor Clifford (pictured below) wasmore prominent in the midfield and he sent Fabio Borini away down theinside right channel early the game. Although tracked by MikaelSilvestre, Arsenal's one senior player on display, Chelsea's Italianstriker still managed to fire towards the target from a tight angle.Keeper James Shea was almost caught by surprise.


At the other end, Ross Turnbull made a confidence-boosting early catch as he looked to put his previous ragged reserve appearance behind him.

An Arsenal shot by centre-forward Sanchez Watt was well off-targetas Sam Hutchinson made himself an obstacle and the home side weredominating the early stages.

Jeffery Bruma tried to get Chelsea on the front foot by advancinginto opposition territory but his ball failed to reach DanielPhilliskirk and suddenly our Dutch Under 21 defender was back trackingas Arsenal countered.

Bruma had just about retreated when Hutchinson failed to cut out across and Craig Eastmond finished through Turnbull's legs for a 23rd minute lead.

Matic made big strides up the pitch and found Borini whosepersistence won a free-kick. Bruma, who was spent recent time on theCobham pitches with Didier Drogbapracticing dead ball situations, struck it well. The keeper wasstruggling as the ball clipped the outside of the post and went safefor the visitors. It was Chelsea's best moment.

That was after 26 minutes and a minute later Arsenal cut Chelsea apart but Barazite was wasteful with Turnbull closing on him.

Chelsea right-back Nikki Ahamed carried the ball from deep in hisown half after intercepting but his ambitious effort was a long waywide.

The dual between Watt and Hutchinson continued with the Chelseadefender's covering again persuading the Arsenal striker to fire a goodchance over.

Coquelin was booked for Arsenal for handball on 37 minutes, Clifford joining him in the book for Chelsea before the break

There was nearly an Arsenal own-goal after quickfire Blues passingand a Clifford cross led to hurried goalscorer Eastmond diverting theball just past his own post.

However anything but an Arsenal lead would not have reflected the first-half play.

Reserve manager Steve Holland brought Milan Lalkovic on forPhilliskirk for a second-half in which Arsenal failed to pass as freelyas before, at least some of credit down to better Chelsea play.


Traore shot from distance for home side at the beginning of the half, extending Turnbull, but it travelled wide.

Borini on the run almost backheeled Cole in after losing control but Chelsea were not working the opposition keeper.

Bruma became a second Chelsea booking 10 minutes into the half for atwo-footed tackle and a minute later there was a change to his centraldefensive partner, Hutchinson departing. Coming on for his secondreserve game was schoolboy Danny Mills.

The second goal came on 65 minutes and the Chelsea defence were lefthelpless when a square pass from anchor midfielder Jacopo Sala provedreckless. It was intercepted and played on to Watt who finished lowpast the ankles of Turnbull.

Lalkovic could have picked out Borini in front of an open net soonafter when Arsenal themselves were stretched and Clifford set up a racebetween Borini and Shea as Chelsea fought back. The keeper won it byinches and cleared just before the two collided. The Arsenal man neededtreatment on his foot but with no reserve keeper on the bench, hobbledon in the style of Cup Final replay Peter Bonetti.

Before the end Cole was found by Ben Gordon, the keeper saved and asClifford was about the let fly on the loose ball, he was felled justoutside the area by Frimpong who was cautioned. Bruma failed to workthe struggling Shea; the free-kick hitting the wall.

Mills was booked for Chelsea and Mark Randall shot wide for Arsenal in the five minutes stoppage time played.

Chelsea(4-3-2-1): Ross Turnbull; Nikki Ahamed, Jeffrey Bruma,Sam Hutchinson (Danny Mills 56), Ben Gordon; Conor Clifford, JacopoSala (Josh McEachran 81), Nemanja Matic; Daniel Philliskirk (MilanLalkovic h-t), Joe Cole ©; Fabio Borini.

Arsenal James Shea, Kerrea Gilbert, Mikael Silvestre, KyleBartley, Armand Traore, Mark Randall, Craig Eastmond (Emmanuel Frimpong72), Francis Coquelin, Nacer Barazite, Sanchez Watt (Rhys Murphy 72),Gilles Sunu.

Source: Chelsea FC

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This game was so very much like the first game against Aston Villa for so many reasons. Firstly, Arsenal were just onthe day a far superior team, we gave them so much room to play and we just was not up to speed. We could get any forward play going whatsoever.

Right from the off we let them play far too easily, giving them so much room that they were able to use all their party tricks through the game. Another glaring diffference between the teams was confidence. Arsenal were brimming with confidence and we just lacked it completely, we were not comfortable at all and there was no real reason for it, we but out a pretty decent side to compete in this game.

Turnbull didn't have a terrible game but looked a little out of sorts still and that is why Hilario is definately infront of him at the moment. The defence were exposed again down the wings, something that is happening too much at this level at the moment. Hutchinson and Bruma did OK but still didn't look as solid as they should have.

Playing with the Christmas tree formation this time around we had Sala at the base of the diamond who following on from a fantastic performance there against Portsmouth had a very very poor one indeed this time around. Conor clifford worked hard again and was the best player in the middle and in my opinion on the whole of the Chelsea side. Matic is a big lad and showed some very good skills on the ball but is way off the pace at the moment but you can see what they saw in him.

Joe Cole was playing behind Borini with Philliskirk in the first half and Lalkovic in the second half. In the second half it looked more like we went 4-3-3 with Cole and Lalkovic on the wings and we looked a little better, Joe Cole hardly got on the ball all game and the chance for Borini were ridiculously slim. Same problem we had for Villa, the service getting into the forwards was just below par.

So far we have had 2 performances well under par and 2 very solid performances.

Player Reviews:

Ross Turnbull: A better performance from the first outing against Villa but still a little short of confidence and at times made the wrong choices. Bottled it slightly for the first goal, comming out with his feet where if he had spread his body he probably would have made the save. Work to be done for him still yet if he has ideas of first team appearances. 5

Nikki Ahamed: I like Nikki Ahamed as a right back, he does work hard and gets forward very well. Still a little work to be done defensively but he is getting better in that respect, he worked hard in this game but was under a lot of pressure. Can't pick out many things he did too wrong though. 6

Ben Gordon: I know i have mentioned it before but there is something not quite up to standard with Ben Gordon, he really has not yet got up to standard of the reserves football yet. Hopefully he can still make it there but at the moment he is a weak link in our back 4 and is losing the ball far too often. 5

Jeffrey Bruma: Not one of his better performances and i am sure he will feel the same. A little out of time with his tackles at time but he didn't have a bad game. Was put under a lot of pressure and dealt with a lot very well too. 6

Sam Hutchinson: Didn't play the full game as he was going off with the U21's but after a big big game against QPR in the Carling Cup you would have wanted to see him dominate this game but he didn't. He didn't have a bad game but like the whole team in general wasn't up to his usual standards. 6

Jacopo Sala: I gave him big praise after the last game for his play in the holding role and rightly so but he did not carry that over to this game and he just could not get to grips at all with this game. Was run ragged by the Arsenal midfield and couldn't make the impact in an offence way either. For someone learning the role you can forgive slightly but would still want more from him. 5

Conor Clifford: For me the best player on the pitch in a blue shirt. Continue to very much like what i see of him, will but himself around all over the place and put the tackles in. Unable to assist too much in going forward which was a dissapointment for the whole team but he came out of the game with a decent performance. 7

Nemaja Matic: Was very much looking forward to seeing Matic play to what he was capable of. He played in the more advanced role of the midfield 3 and he had some very nice touches of the ball. But was not up to speed and with the highly motivated and confident Arsenal players he was caught out a lot.

Daniel Philliskirk: Played behind Borini and was not where i think he played best, i think he is best utilised in the holding role or as a box to box player. He didn't get involved much at all and his link up play with Borini was pretty poor in the whole. Came off at half time for Lalkovic. 5

Joe Cole: Most experienced and skilled player on the pitch by a country mile and should have absolutely run Arsenal ragged. But he was hardly on the ball at all and was not an influence on the game in the slightest unfortunately. Almost a pointless exercise for him which is not what him or Carlo would have wanted to see. 5

Fabio Borini: Starved of supply and not in the game at all. Had a good oppertunity at the start of the game but that was about it. Games like this do nothing for Borini and he would have been very frustrated to have had such minimal supply. 6

Milan Lalkovic: Gave us a new dimention when he came on. His speed can make him a real asset running in behind defenders and finding a way to utilise him will be important. Behind the strikers is a good role for him but he never really had the oppertunities to make the impact in this game. 6

Danny Mills: Came on to replace Hutchinson and didn't have too much to do but in the short time he was on the pitch he certainly didn't look as confident as he did last time around. Coming on a sub would have made it hard and he still looks a fantastic prospect for his age. 6

Josh McEachran: I am very keen to see this lad develop, his ball skills and ability are great and give the right development could make him a star. Didn't have a lot of time to do anything in this game. 6

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