Our development squad came out on top in the London derby as a late winner from Leo Castledine gave us the three points we needed to close the gap at the top of the table.
Mark Robinson’s team made it back-to-back clean sheets to add to the Castledine winner five minutes from time to give us the victory in a tough game.
Both sides had chances, but we made ours count and came away with the win.
London derby delight
The young Gunners started the better of the two sides as Smith Rowe tested the gloves of Gaga Slonina who made a good save to push the ball over the bar.
A lot of our first-half work saw us combine well but fail to have a shot to test the Arsenal goalkeeper. The best opportunity fell to Lewis Hall who scuffed an effort which was presented to him through a Harvey Vale pass.
Both sides had periods of controlled possession in the first period. The opportunity of the game before our goal fell to the Gunners' Charles Sagoe Jr, but the forward failed to find the target when he was one-on-one with Slonina.
We took our chance with the help of a deflection as Castledine hit a first-time shot which flew into the goal.
Our young Blues held on to seal the all-important victory against our London rivals having begun the game at Kingsmeadow looking for a positive result after a 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture.
Robinson made only one change to the team that drew 0-0 against Liverpool last weekend and that came in the form of Lewis Hall who came into the side for Dylan Williams.
The young Gunners started quickly, and they almost took the lead through Smith Rowe who had a snapshot at goal saved well by Slonina.
The away side were looking comfortable in possession as they probed but Chelsea were standing resolute, possessing a threat on the counter.
Growing into the game
We were beginning to make an impression on the game and Vale did well to get into a dangerous position by beating his man, but the attack broke down as we played a pass too many in and around the box. Nevertheless, the match was being played at a great tempo.
Smith Rowe went close again as he found space on the edge of the box, but his eventual shot only just went wide with Slonina scrambling.
The pendulum swung in our favour again as we were getting close to our opponents’ goal, but we were failing to test the goalkeeper.
Arsenal goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk made a sloppy pass, attempting to play out of the back and Vale pounced, cutting the ball back for Hall but he scuffed his attempt which fell into the gracious gloves of the Arsenal keeper.
Vale put in an enticing cross that no shirt in blue could get a touch on to divert it goalwards.
We were the better team at beginning of the second half but again we could not create a clear sight of goal.
Vale had the first chance of the second period but his shot from outside the box was comfortable for the goalkeeper.
Joel Ideho went close for the away side as he jinked his way into the box but the shot that followed flew over the bar.
Exchange of chances
Arguably the best chance of the game fell the way of the young Gunners and it was a huge let-off for our young Blues. Sagoe Jr found space in the box and used his speed to break free from the attention of Alfie Gilchrist and with only the keeper to beat he put his shot wide of the post.
Slonina was called into action again as he kept our boys in the game. First, he did well to stop an Ideho cross which looked dangerous. The following corner from Matt Smith was met by the head of Reuell Walters but Slonina made a double stop from the centre-back.
We almost took the lead as both sides exchanged chances; Hall put in a scintillating cross which second-half substitute Castledine managed to get a glancing header on, but it went agonisingly wide of the post.
With five minutes to go, the deadlock was broken through a deflected effort from Castledine. The young midfielder struck a left-footed effort which took a deflection off an Arsenal defender.
That was how the game would end as Chelsea came out victorious against the young Gunners.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Gabriel Slonina; Alfie Gilchrist (c), Josh Brooking, Zak Sturge; Dion Rankine (Silko Thomas 80), Juan Castillo (Brodi Hughes 74), Ben Elliott, Lewis Hall; Harvey Vale (Leo Castledine, 80), Omari Hutchinson; Mason Burstow (Malik Mothersille 74).
Unused sub: Luke Campbell.
Scorer: Leo Castledine 86
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Hubert Graczyk; Mauro Bandeira (Michal Rosiak 90), Lino Sousa, Reuell Walters, Jakub Kiwior (Ethan Nwaneri 46), Matt Smith (c), Amario Cozier-Duberry, Catalin Cirjan, Charles Sagoe Jr, Emile Smith Rowe (Bradley Ibrahim 46), Joel Ideho (Omari Benjamin 82).
Unused sub: Noah Cooper.