Arsenal Under-21s play their penultimate league game of the season this evening when they host Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

Following the under-18s' Youth Cup exit at the hands of the Blues, tonight represents a chance to gain a measure of revenge and continue the under-21s' 100 per cent record at the Emirates this season.

Carl Laraman, who will be joining Steve Gatting's side next season as part of a summer coaching reshuffle, believes there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the current crop of youngsters.

They were a little bit stronger than us and the first goal at Emirates Stadium was a killer blow in the end

Carl Laraman

"They've done themselves proud this season," he told "It was a very positive cup run and the team have really gelled this season.

"We're still a young side and a lot of these boys will be able to play in the Youth Cup next season. Unfortunately we came up short in the semi-finals but I don't think you can deny that probably Chelsea deserved to win over the two legs.

"They were a little bit stronger than us and the first goal at Emirates Stadium was a killer blow in the end. But we kept on battling and played some good stuff at times.

"We'll probably look back on the first leg and conceding those two quick goals after going ahead. If we had perhaps held onto our lead or even got a draw the tie would have been different."

A mixed campaign for Gatting's team comes to an end on Friday with a trip to Newcastle. After a promising start to the season, Arsenal's form has lacked consistency since the turn of the year.

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill in Youth Cup action
Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill in Youth Cup action

The under-21s had a prolonged run in the league cup, which included an impressive win over Chelsea on the way to the semi-finals.

An inspired performance from goalkeeper Matt Macey helped clinch victory on that occasion and Gatting's players will need to produce a similar performance tonight to prevent Chelsea from finishing the regular season as league winners.

Tickets for tonight’s match are priced at £4 adults, £2 concessions. Supporters wishing to purchase tickets must do so from the South West Box Office before 5pm today.  

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Isaac Moore 22 Apr 2014