Despite a valiant attempt to claw back from a 2-0 deficit, our under-18s suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Chelsea in a Saturday morning clash at Cobham.
Under the guidance of Jack Wilshere, who led us to a resounding 4-0 victory over Southampton the previous week, our team burst out of the gates with a bright start. Early on, Harrison Dudziak came agonizingly close to putting us in the lead, striking the crossbar with a close-range effort.
Our high-press tactics caused Chelsea plenty of headaches, and Dudziak's relentless work rate paid off as he won the ball back, setting up Theo Julienne, whose clever pass found Omari Benjamin, only to see his shot swiftly blocked.
However, it was Chelsea who broke the deadlock from the penalty spot, capitalizing on a foul by Alexei Rojas. Donnell McNeilly calmly slotted home the penalty, giving the hosts the lead.
Just before halftime, we had a golden opportunity to level the score when Chido Obi won the ball high up the pitch. Still, his one-on-one effort was denied by Max Merrick.
Shortly after the break, Chelsea extended their lead through McNeilly's second goal of the game, after some good build-up play orchestrated by Josh Acheampong.
A moment of brilliance from Michal Rosiak rekindled our hopes, as he expertly curled in a stunning free-kick from 20 yards out.
In a breathtaking turn of events, we drew level, with Josh Nichols trying his luck from the edge of the box and delivering an incredible curling strike.
However, Chelsea scored their winner when Ato Ampah reacted swiftly to Rojas' save from a free-kick, tapping in the rebound.
In added time, Ayden Heaven received a second yellow card while attempting to thwart a Chelsea counter-attack.
Regardless of the final score, our young Gunners demonstrated exceptional resilience and determination in the second half, providing us with ample encouragement for future games
WHAT IT MEANS
We remain on eight points after six league games played.
We're back home, gearing up to host Leicester City on Saturday, October 7.
Kick-off at London Colney is at 11:30am (UK).
Arsenal XI: Rojas, Nichols, Kacurri, Heaven, Brown (Copley, 87), Rosiak, Julienne (Sweet, 71), Dudziak, Ferdinand, Benjamin, Obi (Ryan, 59)
Subs not used: Cooper, Akolbire
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