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The Under 18s paid a price for not converting first-half superiority into goals and for coming up against a keeper in good form when Arsenal scored three times in the second half at Cobham. After the first 45 minutes there looked to be only one winner in the game with Jamal Blackman in the Chelsea goal a near spectator up to that point, in stark contrast to Damien Martinez between the Gunners' posts who had saved from Todd Kane, George Saville and Ismail Seremba.

Dermot Drummy's side were on top from the start although without creating early opportunities, Billy Clifford tackled in the area on one attack and Nathaniel Chalobah shooting well off-target from distance.

Chalobah was playing in the heart of midfield and was probing away with his passing but it was another schoolboy, left-back Adam Nditi, who carved out the first opening when he left his opposite number trailing near the corner flag and teed up Kane for a bouncing shot that was pushed wide.

That was 17 minutes in and midway through the half Nditi crossed promisingly but the tall Saville (pictured below) couldn't quite reach for a header. Billy Clifford did connect later in the half when Lewis Baker sent in a free-kick but Martinez was up to the task again.

Before half-time the Arsenal keeper acrobatically clawed Seremba's shot away from the top corner when Chelsea attacked through the middle.

Seremba, who along with Baker took the schoolboy count to four in the starting line up, had been handed the centre-forward's role on his youth team debut and showed promise in that position.

The corner that followed his effort eventually found its way to Rohan Ince (pictured top) but the big centre-back drilled a shot over.

When Arsenal had managed to push forward, they found the Chelsea rearguard strong and organised with Ince doing well to intercept one attack and then block-tackle in the follow up early in the game. Alongside Ince, Archange Nkumu was also putting in a strong display.

The one moment of slackness did leaving Jeffrey Monakana unmarked at the far-post as Arsenal pushed forward but the wide man couldn't connect to the cross.

Carlo Ancelotti, using the opportunity of no first-team fixture to watch the competitive action alongside Ray Wilkins, must have been pretty impressed.


The opening 20 minutes of the second half were without clear-cut chances at either end as Arsenal stiffened up their play. The Gunners fired one free-kick over and Seremba missed out in a race between him and the keeper but that was the main action until on 22 minutes, Arsenal took the lead.

The goal came shortly after Seremba had been swapped for another schoolboy debutant at centre-forward, Walter Figueira.

Chelsea, shortly after a shot of their own, lost the ball in midfield and Kyle Ebecilio advanced and hit a perfect strike into the top corner, giving Blackman little chance.

It looked a classic case of goals changing matches as Arsenal pushed forward with renewed confidence and scored two minutes after their opener. Blackman could only push a low cross into the path of Alton Bunjaku who tapped in.

Arsenal had the pace and presence to mop up as the home side tried to come back into the match and they made it 3-0 with two minutes left on the clock.

Nditi couldn't cut out a ball forward as Arsenal counter-attacked from a Chelsea corner and substitute Josh Rees scored with Blackman wrong-footed.

'I was really pleased with the first half,' reported youth team manager Drummy.

'We had a number of chances and there were a couple of good saves from their keeper. We should have gone in at the break in the lead but as the second half went on I thought we got dominated by the better side which is disappointing.

'Arsenal came out and pressed us and we lost it tactically second half, but we can learn from it.

'The boys have to understand that they need to move the ball quicker and try to dominate when you are playing against a top academy side.

'We had a few schoolboys - Ismail Seremba did well and Adam Nditi I was really pleased with. We had some debuts so we have some young players coming through but we also had some senior second years playing.'

Chelsea (4-3-3): Jamal Blackman; Ben Sampayo ©, Archange Nkumu, Rohan Ince, Adam Nditi; Billy Clifford, Nathaniel Chalobah, George Saville; Todd Kane (Danny Stenning), Ismail Seremba (Walter Figueira), Lewis Baker (Reece Loudon).

Arsenal: Martinez, Glasgow, Campbell (Bihmoutine), Edge (Wynter), Angha ©, Monteiro, Monakana (Rees), Ebecilio, Roberts, Bunjaku, Neita.

Source: Chelsea FC

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