It was a tough defeat at Meadow Park as our development squad were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

Our development squad sought improvement after the disappointing defeat to Fulham on Monday but were unable to beat the young Gunners.

Despite a sharp start, the home side scored two quick-fire goals midway through the first period. We levelled through Charlie Webster just before the end of the first half, yet Arsenal were too good for our young Blues on the day and scored another two in the second period to condemn our development squad to two defeats in a week.

We did start superbly and Rankine fired a great half volley on target but it was saved well. However, most of the half saw us struggle to fashion opportunities as the home side played much better in and out of possession.

They took the lead through James Olayinka as he curled in an effort past Eddie Beach after half an hour. The advantage was doubled soon after as Olayinka laid the ball off to Khayon Edwards and the striker finished well.

Multiple chances went begging for the home side as Charles Sagoe Jr and Matt Smith had opportunities to put the result beyond doubt and they were made to pay. Against the run of play we pulled a goal back just before half-time as a fine run and finish from Webster gave us a chance.

Despite the lifeline just before the break, the game was put beyond our reach by Sagoe Jr, who scored with a driven effort inside the area.

There was enough time for the home side to grab a fourth as substitute Nathan Butler=Oyedeji swept home underneath the reach of Beach.

Team news

There were again numerous changes from the side that played against Fulham with Mark Robinson bringing Mason Burstow, Webster, Lewis Hall, Alfie Gilchrist, Josh Brooking and Beach into the fold. There was also a Chelsea debut for summer recruit Zak Sturge.

Positive start

It was a fast start from our young Blues as we sought an early goal and we almost found the breakthrough in the opening moments of the game as Dion Rankine’s half-volley almost caught out keeper Hubert Graczyk but he managed to tip over with an outstretched left hand.

Following that chance we retained possession of the ball well, however we struggled to create any clear-cut opportunity to trouble the Arsenal backline.

Relentless pressure

It was the home side’s turn to keep the ball well and they fashioned two opportunities in quick succession. Sagoe Jr was first as he cut in nicely off the left but his curled effort dropped wide. Captain Matt Smith was next and his drilled shot outside the area was palmed away well by Beach in goal.

We could not resist the pressure and the young Gunners took the lead through Olayinka. A fizzed-in pass by Lino Sousa found the young forward and he placed the ball fantastically in the top corner of the net.

The lead was doubled soon after as the home side capitalised on a loose touch from Webster. Olayinka was involved again as he won the ball and laid it off for Edwards to slide easily past Beach.


It was a tough half despite the promising start and the side from north London continued to control the ball and create the chances. Sagoe Jr almost gave his side a third as an inch-perfect pass from Smith found the tricky winger, who beat Josh Brooking out wide and smashed an effort against the crossbar.

It was seemingly looking like the half would end without our boys creating another opportunity but up stepped Webster, who burst through the middle of the park hurdling two challenges before composing himself and finding the bottom corner of the net.

That was how the half would end with our boys still in it despite being under pressure for most of the first.

Search for an equaliser

With the timely goal just before half-time having halved the deficit, our young Blues came out with intent to level the scoreline. There were half-chances from Ben Elliott and Burstow as we looked for an early goal in the second period.

Much like the first, with the young Gunners stood firm as we were searching for a way to unlock their defence. On the counter, Arsenal almost increased their advantage as Smith was played through and his left-footed chip hit the post.

There were numerous stoppages in play as our development squad were struggling to find any consistent rhythm to trouble Arsenal for a sustained period of time.

Beyond reach

It was after yet another stoppage that the young Gunners restarted sharper than our boys as Sagoe Jr found himself one-on-one with Rankine in the box and, after beating him, he struck a left-footed shot which went through the legs of Beach.

With the full time whistle on the horizon, Arsenal scored a fourth through substitute Butler-Oyedeji, who was assisted by another substitute Amario Cozier-Duberry. The young forward swept in from close range as the young Gunners claimed all three points.

After two London derby defeats in succession following a promising opening weekend, Robinson and his men will turn their attention to Manchester City at Kingsmeadow next Friday 26 August. You can still purchase tickets here priced from £3.

Chelsea (3-4-3) Eddie Beach; Josh Brooking, Alfie Gilchrist, Zak Sturge; Dion Rankine, Charlie Webster (Silko Thomas 85), Xavier Simons (c) (Jimi Tauriainen 81), Lewis Hall (Dylan Williams 68); Ben Elliot, Omari Hutchinson, Mason Burstow (Jayden Wareham 68)
Unused subs Ted Sharman-Lowe
Scorers Webster 43
Booked Sturge 55; Simons 77; Brooking 90+1

Arsenal(4-3-3) Hubert Graczyk; James Lannin-Sweet, Lino Sousa, Zach Awe (Taylor Foran 87), Zane Monlouis, Miguel Azeez, Marquinhos, Matt Smith (c), Khayon Edwards (Nathan Butler-Oyedeji 81), James Olayinka, Charles Sagoe Jr (Amario Cozier-Duberry 87)
Unused subs James Hillson, Mauro Bandeira
Scorers Olayinka 29; Edwards 33; Sagoe Jr 81; Butler-Oyedeji 90+1
Booked Azeez 90+1