Goals from Josh Benson and Jordi Osei-Tutu were not enough to stop Chelsea from ending the u18s unbeaten start to the new season at Cobham.
It always had the potential of being a high-scoring affair, and Chelsea’s fast start was rewarded when Martell Tyler-Crossdale broke the deadlock within minutes of the first whistle. The 16-year-old was razor-sharp in front of goal throughout, and took his chance from close-range, beating Joao Virginía, to take full advantage of a defensive error.
It was soon 2-0, with winger Jacob Maddox being brought down in the area after going on a dangerous driving run forward. Taylor-Crossdale converted the resulting spot-kick, and it was clear that Chelsea were eager for more goals after an excellent start. Left-back Joshua Grant forced a good stop out of Virginía, and the goalkeeper’s save seemed to rejuvenate fighting spirit in the Arsenal side just before the half-time interval.
Osei-Tutu halved the deficit a few minutes before the break after good work in the build-up by Joe Willock, and the scores could’ve been level if not for a good diving low save for debutant Marcin Bułka.
Edward Nketiah, who signed a new deal that the club finally announced this week, worked tirelessly off-the-ball and looked threatening in the final third but Chelsea found themselves in a commanding position once more after George McEachran’s excellent solo run helped create a third – with Harvey St Clair applying the finishing touch.
Donyell Malen and Tolaji Bola were replaced by Trae Coyle and Toby Omole with time running out for Kwame Ampadu’s side to respond accordingly. Soon enough, things got worse with another penalty awarded – another strike goalwards from Taylor-Crossdale completed his hat-trick.
Josh Benson came off the substitutes’ bench and netted a well-taken individual effort to make the scoreline more respectable but in truth, Chelsea were dominant and deserving of the win in the end.
Arsenal remain top of the Premier Academy League Group South, but are now level on points with West Ham (5-1 win over Fulham) and Reading (2-0 victory against Leicester) ahead of their upcoming home fixture against Leicester next week.