By Rob Kelly at London Colney
Arsenal Reserves slipped to a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at London Colney on Monday afternoon after shipping three goals in the second half.
Neil Banfield's side were in control for much of the opening period but were left to rue a number of missed opportunities when Nathaniel Chalobah opened the scoring six minutes before half time.
Chelsea took control after the break however as Romelu Lukaku's close-range effort, an excellent Chalobah free kick and Lucas Piazon's strike completed a miserable afternoon for Arsenal's youngsters.
Chelsea, meanwhile, named powerful Belgian forward Lukaku up front, with the dangerous pair of Jacob Mellis and Piazon also starting.
The visitors made the brighter start on a bitterly cold and wet day, and should have opened the scoring with six minutes on the clock when Chalobah wastefully fired wide from eight yards.
Arsenal's youngsters started to settle after an uncomfortable first 15 minutes and carved out two good chances as first Rhys Murphy and then Martin Angha fired wide from promising positions.
Banfield's side continued to impose themselves on Chelsea but spurned another decent opportunity to grab the lead after 21 minutes when Jernade Meade's powerful shot from 18 yards fizzed just wide of the far post.
With Chelsea offering little in the way of attacking threat for large swathes of the first half, Arsenal continued to press on in search of the opener and Murphy came closest when sent through on goal but saw his shot blocked by the onrushing Rhys Taylor.
Chelsea goalkeeper Taylor again foiled the Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker moments later by holding on to Murphy's curling strike - and Arsenal were soon made to pay for their profligacy.
With 39 minutes on the clock, a Chelsea corner led to a desperate scramble in the box, the ball eventually arriving at the feet of Chalobah, who impudently backheeled the ball past Damian Martinez.
The second half started with a flurry as firstly Murphy saw his snap shot fly just past the right-hand post, only for Chelsea to then double their lead in the 50th minute.
The west Londoners broke down the right flank through the dangerous Milan Lalkovic, who flew into the box and slipped an inviting cross into the feet of Lukaku, and the Belgian made no mistake from close range.
Banfield's side regrouped and came agonisngly close to halving the deficit two minutes later as Craig Eastmond slipped a neat pass through the Chelsea defence for Murphy to run on to. The striker took the chance early and curled a shot around Taylor but against the post.
But it was the visitors who were in charge of the game and they extended their advantage on 74 minutes when Chalobah curled a superb free kick into the top corner from 25 yards.
But Chelsea were not done there and they completed a dreary afternoon for Banfield's side when the lively Piazon fired in from a tight angle in the closing stages.
- Ansah 62
- Hajrovic 62
- Eastmond Yellow Card
- Boateng (C)
- Rees 62
- Ebecilio 62
- Ince 77
- Mellis 55
- Chabolah 81 Goal! Goal!
- Piazon Goal!
- Lalkovic Yellow Card
- Djalo Yellow Card
- Lukaku Goal!
- Magnay 77
- Feruz 55
- Ake 81