Post-Match Report

U21s report: Arsenal 2-3 Chelsea

james sweet

Chelsea U21 -

Mangata Pay UK Stadium, Meadow Park
Premier League 2 - Division One
Premier League 2 - Division One
  Arsenal U21
      
                  M. Lewis-Skelly (13)
                   N. Butler-Oyedeji (55)
            
   crest
Arsenal U21
M. Lewis-Skelly (13)
N. Butler-Oyedeji (55)
2 3
  Chelsea U21
      
              Diego Moreira (45 + 2
               80
               90 + 5)
          
   crest
Chelsea U21
Diego Moreira (45 + 2 80 90 + 5)

Our under-21s' season came to a close with a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat to Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Premier League 2 play-offs on Saturday afternoon.

We nearly got off to the perfect start when Ethan Nwaneri won the ball high up the pitch, but his subsequent curling effort agonisingly struck the wrong side of the post.

Nevertheless, we seized the lead shortly after when the ball fell favourably to Myles Lewis-Skelly on the edge of the box, and he unleashed a powerful strike into the bottom corner.

Amario Cozier Duberry, who was recently named April's Premier League 2 player of the month, attempted to capitalise on a poor pass from the Chelsea defender. However, he dragged his effort from the edge of the box was dragged wide of the post.

However, the visitors managed to equalise through Diego Moreira just before half-time. The ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box, and he drilled his shot into the bottom corner, levelling the score.

After the break, Movie Ejeheri was called into action, making two smart saves to deny Dujuan Richards and Moreira, preventing Chelsea from taking the lead.

However, we regained the lead when Nathan Butler-Oydejei poked the ball home following some brilliant wing play from Ismeal Kabia.

With just ten minutes remaining, Chelsea found the equaliser once more as the ball deflected into Moreira's path, and he calmly tapped it in. Then, in the fifth minute of added time, Moreira completed his hat-trick, curling his effort into the top corner from the edge of the area, to send Chelsea into the semi-finals at our expense.

 

What's it means

The outcome marks the end of our season, as we bow out of the Premier League 2 play-offs at the quarter-final stage.

 

Team news

Arsenal XI: Ejeheri, Sweet (Oulad M’Hand, 88), Monlouis (Robinson, 88), Heaven, Nichols, Lewis-Skelly (Gower, 77), Henry-Francis, Nwaneri, Cozier-Duberry, Kabia, Butler-Oyedeji

Subs not used: Ranson, Kamara

Video

Jack on a strong second season with the under-18s

Arsenal under-18s head coach, Jack Wilshere, reflected on a strong second season at the helm of his young side after they ended their 2023/24 campaign with a 5-2 win over league leaders Chelsea on Saturday afternoon. 

Chido Martin Obi's hat-trick, along with goals from Daniel Oyetunde and Max Dowman, capped off our season in style.

"I thought we deserved it. In the first half, we were the better team clearly. You always know that when you dominate a game that much in the first half they will change something in the second half, and it took us a little bit of time to adapt on the pitch and we went 2-1 down. But, I’ve said it before, this team has the character to come back, and overall, I thought we deserved it."

Jack spoke highly of striker Martin Obi, who capped off an outstanding season with a hat-trick and ends his campaign with 32 goals scored.

"He’s been exceptional. I’ve said it before but credit to everyone at the club and at Hale End for the work that they have done with him. He’s adapted so well, helped the team massively at times. Also, credit to his teammates too because they serve him so well, and he’s grateful for that."

Reflecting on the overall season, Jack said, “At the start of this year, first game of the season, we played West Ham, who we lost to in the FA Youth Cup final just months earlier, and we won that game and we felt good. But then, we suffered and couldn’t convert the chances we were creating. Part of developing and becoming a football player is learning how to suffer. Our job as a coaching staff is to help them overcome that and fight for one another. But it was a really good season.”

As he reflects on his second season in charge, Jack reflected on his growth in the role. “When I look back to when I first came in to the job until now I knew nothing. But a huge credit must go to Per Mertesacker, Luke Hobbs, Adam Pilling, Adam Birchall, Chris Terpcou all the people that have helped me and so many others.”

“I’ve learnt a lot about people and the type of characteristics you need in a winning team and I am just so grateful for that and I’m looking forward to learning more and I’m hungry to get better.”

He concluded by highlighting Harrison Dudziak and Michal Rosiak’s contributions as they’ll transition to the under-21s next season.

“They’ve been exceptional in terms of reflecting the Arsenal values, and they live it every single day. It’s been tough for them at times seeing other players get called up for the under-21s, but even though they’ve been in the under-18s, they’ve remained professional, and they’re the glue of the team. They’ve kept the unity there, and I’m happy for them and wish them all the best going into the under-21s next year. I’ll miss them.”

 

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