By Nick Teale
Arsenal Reserves continued their impressive start to the season with a 2-0 win over London rivals Chelsea at Underhill.
Craig Eastmond and Sanchez Watt scored the goals in another convincing display from Neil Banfield's young Gunners.
Arsenal made four changes with James Shea, Armand Traore, Francis Coquelin and most notably Mikael Silvestre all coming in. Wojciech Szczesny, Ignasi Miquel, Roarie Deacon and Phillipe Senderos made way.
For the visitors the main attraction was Joe Cole, captaining the side as he looked to improve his match fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee-ligament injury.
Arsenal dominated possession early on but only had a string of half-chances to show for it. With 14 minutes played Watt turned his defender and then beat Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull to the ball.
With the net empty Watt knocked the ball to Kerrea Gilbert who tried his luck from a tight angle. The right-back's shot curled at the right moment but sailed marginally over the crossbar.
Eastmond broke the deadlock 22 minutes in, capping off a fine Arsenal move. Randall played the ball to a central Watt who knocked it left for Gilles Sunu. The French forward's cross found its way through to Eastmond who tapped home at the near post.
Chelsea could have been level four minutes later after Fabio Borini won a free-kick 25 yards out. Defender Jeffrey Bruma came forward to take it and would have been disappointed to see his placed effort hit the top of the post.
Nacer Barazite went agonisingly close two minutes later. Randall won the ball in the midfield and slipped it through to the Dutchman but the 19-year-old fired his shot inches wide of the far post.
With 10 minutes of the first-half remaining Watt was presented with a golden opportunity to double Arsenal's lead. Sunu threaded through to Traore who sent a low cross into the area. Watt beat his man to the ball but fired his shot over the bar.
Chelsea introduced Milan Lalkovic at half-time with Daniel Philliskirk making way but it was Arsenal left-back Traore who had the first chance of note in the second-half, his long-range drive crashing just wide of Turnbull's goal.
Watt's trickery forced Bruma into a foul 30 yards from goal shortly afterwards. Randall took the free-kick and, though it dipped late, it always looked to be heading over.
Eight minutes into the second period Silvestre tackled Borini just outside the area. The loose ball fell kindly for the Chelsea striker but Shea was able to intercept his backheel towards Cole.
The visitors from west London made their second change shortly before the hour-mark with Danny Mills introduced in place of Sam Hutchinson.
With 66 minutes played Arsenal's lead was doubled. Barazite intercepted a cross-field ball on the right and drove forward. Cutting inside he passed the ball forward to Watt who sent the ball through the legs of Turnbull and into the back of the net.
Arsenal were well on their way to a fourth win in four.
Banfield made a double substitution after 73 minutes. Rhys Murphy and Emmanuel Frimpong replaced goalscorers Eastmond and Watt.
With 10 minutes left Shea received lengthy treatment for a foot injury, but with no keeper on the bench he remained on the pitch.
Chelsea made their final change two minutes later. Joshua McEachran came on in place of Jacopo Sala and the visitors were handed another opportunity on 83 minutes with a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Bruma struck it powerfully but the Arsenal wall did its job.
In the last minute Sunu won a free-kick on the right edge of the area. Randall curled it around the outside of the wall but Turnbull saw it wide.
Seeing the fourth official display five minutes of stoppage time may have given Chelsea a brief moment's hope, but Arsenal maintained possession comfortably in the closing minutes.
The Gunners' 100 per cent start to the season continues.
- Coquelin Yellow Card
- Eastmond 73 Goal!
- Watt 73 Goal!
- Frimpong 73
- Murphy 73
- Hutchinson 57
- Sala 82
- Clifford Yellow Card
- Philliskirk 46
- Mills 57 Yellow Card
- McEachran 82
- Lalkovic 46