Chelsea's development squad secured all three points in this afternoon's London derby against Arsenal at Kingsmeadow.
It was a deserved victory for our development squad, who started the game well and had chances through George Nunn and Tino Livramento in the opening minutes, but it would be a defender who would give Chelsea their eventual lead.
There were 28 minutes on the clock when we scored and it came through Ian Maatsen, who slotted home from inside the area. The left-back's goal gave Chelsea a half-time advantage and set us up nicely for the second period.
Arsenal were a refreshed side after the break and found themselves behind the Chelsea defence on occasions, but luckily for the Blues, Folarin Balogun was unable to find the target with Karlo Ziger denying the forward multiple times.
We left it late, but found the net for our second and third in quick succession. Bryan Fiabema made it two from close range before Tino Livramento struck our third, sealing the derby win for the Blues who return to winning ways.
The young Blues
Andy Myers named three changes from the development squad’s last outing at Walsall. Ziger was back between the sticks while Marcel Lewis and Lewis Bate had a starting place this afternoon. Harvey Vale was among the substitutes, as was Dion Rankine and Jack Wakely.
Chelsea got the London derby underway in wet conditions at Kingsmeadow and had control of the game in the opening minutes. The first chance came from our forwards. Nunn and Thierno Ballo linked-up just outside the box and the latter’s prod towards goal was blocked by Karl Hein. The resulting corner found its way to Livramento, who tried his luck from range but the ball spun wide of the target.
Our strong start continued and the press was troubling the Arsenal defence who were forced into an almost costly mistake. Daniel Oyegoke’s backwards pass fell short of its intended target, Hein, and into Nunn’s path. The forward attempted to round the keeper but a good recovery save spared the visitors on this occasion.
Arsenal slowly began to move forward as the half wore on. Balogun had their first attempt on goal; it was a well-struck attempt from distance which required a save from Karlo Ziger.
A touch of quality midway through the first half almost handed Chelsea the lead. Lewis’ touch set Maatsen racing down the left, his low cross was a good one and it dropped to Nunn who made a connection with the ball but couldn’t keep it on target.
Our offensive pressure continued and we were creating chances, Bate wriggled himself into the box but curled his shot inches wide of the target.
Chelsea had looked good all afternoon and after Nunn went close following miscommunication in the Arsenal defence, Maatsen went one better and opened the scoring. Our left-back was the first to react to a misplaced pass and with the keeper floored by the mistake, the Dutchman slotted home into a near-open net.
After an action-packed half-an-hour, the remaining minutes played out without the visitors troubling our lead and Chelsea were deservedly on top at the break.
The second-half began evenly and Arsenal were in the hunt for an equaliser. Ben Cottrell slipped Balogun through but Dynel Simeu did well to push him wide, forcing the shot across the face of goal.
Forward Nunn was forced off through injury before we reached an hour’s play. Fiabema was his replacement in a like-for-like swap.
Arsenal's Balogun had beaten the offside trap and found himself in on goal again, this time with only Ziger to beat, but our keeper won the battle and made the save from the low drive look an easy stop.
The game had become flat and we were in need of some fresh legs, which Dion Rankine provided in place of Lewis with 20 minutes left on the clock. The focus of our play had switched to the right in this half, and a Henry Lawrence ball over the top of the Arsenal defence gave Ballo a chance on goal, but under pressure he made the save easy for Hein.
Arsenal had another chance to get back into the game after 75 minutes and it was through their main threat, Balogun. He found himself with only Ziger to beat again. Luckily, his attempt this time cleared the target and our sheet remained clean.
Chelsea lead stretched
Chelsea had held off Arsenal pressure well and were finally rewarded with the goals the performance deserved as the final whistle approached.
First substitute Fiabema picked the pockets of the Arsenal defenders and sent Hein the wrong way from close range – a first at this level for the young forward.
Then, only three minutes later, our lead was stretched further. Myles Peart-Harris spotted the run of Livramento on the left and he made no mistake to powerfully find the net and wrap up the points for Chelsea, who were more than worth their win.
After the international period our development squad host Derby County at Kingsmeadow on October 17.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Karlo Ziger; Henry Lawrence, Dynel Simeu (c), Levi Colwill, Ian Maatsen; Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris; Tino Livramento (Harvey Vale 90+2), Thierno Ballo, Marcel Lewis (Dion Rankine 70) ; George Nunn (Bryan Fiabema 58)
Unused subs Jack Wakely, Lucas Bergstrom
Booked Peart-Harris 70, Colwill 80
Scorers Maatsen 28 Fiabema 87, Livramento 90
Arsenal Karl Hein, Ryan Alebiosu, Daniel Oyegoke, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Harry Clarke (c), Ben Cottrell, James Olayinka, Tim Akinola, Flo Balogun, Jordan McEneff, George Lewis (Miguel Azeez 83)
Unused subs Zach Awe, Arthur Okonkwo, Catalin Cirjan, Luke Plange
Booked Dinzeyi 82
Referee Tom Reeves