By Joe Brewin at The Meadow
Arsenal’s youngsters concluded their pre-season schedule with a convincing 6-2 victory over Chesham United on Saturday.
Terry Burton’s side flew out of the traps and were rarely threatened after racing into an early three-goal lead.
Philip Roberts hit a brace either side of Nigel Neita’s low finish before Jack Jebb, Chuba Akpom and Austin Lipman completed the scoring in the second half.
Chesham substitute Chris Watters scored twice for the hosts but his goals - the second a superb long-range effort - were in vain as the young Gunners ran riot at The Meadow.
Burton named his youngest side of pre-season so far as first year Jebb began in midfield. Zac Fagan enjoyed his first start of the summer in defence, while Isaac Hayden occupied a deep-lying role in midfield.
Elsewhere, first-year scholars Josh Vickers, Alfred Mugabo, Glen Kamara, Lipman and Akpom were named among the substitutes.
Chesham included former Fulham and Leicester striker Barry Hayles up front. Captain Danny Talbot, son of former Gunner Brian, started in midfield.
The hosts, however, were put to the sword from the first whistle.
Arsenal’s youngsters struck the first blow inside four minutes after fine defending from Elton Monteiro set up an incisive counter-attack. Neita caught right back Danny Dudgeon in possession before clipping into the area for Roberts to nod home.
Nine minutes later Burton’s youngsters doubled their advantage - and this time Neita turned scorer. Hector Bellerin found Roberts with a neat ball over the top and the latter returned the favour for the pacy winger to finish off.
Captain Jernade Meade fired wide on the angle moments later before the young Gunners added a third just 16 minutes in.
A slick passing move saw Rees play in Bellerin down the right, who squared across goal for Roberts to slide into an empty net.
It had been a wonderful opening salvo from Burton’s side, who created two goals as a result of neat, quick and accurate passing in midfield.
Arsenal kept pushing forward and Monteiro had a huge claim for a penalty rejected after turning his man inside the area.
Roberts’ intelligent runs up front were a constant threat to the Chesham backline and a free-kick won by him almost provided a fourth goal. Set-piece specialist Jebb stepped up but fired a useful effort narrowly wide.
The first period had been a wake-up call for Chesham and they got off to the perfect start inside the first minute of the restart when substitute Watters slotted home at the back post.
Jebb, however, was keen to snuff out any hope of a comeback. The 16-year-old first tested goalkeeper Harry Ricketts with a low drive from the edge of the area - but his second was to prove more rewarding.
The young central midfielder is clearly not afraid to shoot from range and this time his powerful strike nestled in the bottom corner for Arsenal’s fourth of the afternoon.
Kristoffer Olsson went close moments later with an audacious chip which dropped narrowly over the bar, before Burton introduced Lipman and Akpom.
The latter was a threat from the moment he came on and his mesmerising run almost created a fifth. The resulting corner did, however - and Akpom was the player to claim it.
The young striker lashed a loose ball towards goal which inadvertently struck Rob Bartley on the line to leave Ricketts with no chance.
Five goals in one afternoon was just rewards for an eye-catching display from Arsenal’s youngsters - but there was still time for the hosts to enjoy their moment.
It was substitute Watters who proved the danger man once more, this time firing an unstoppable 30-yard drive into the top corner past a helpless Shea.
Burton handed a few minutes to first years Kamara and Mugabo as his young side looked for a sixth goal.
And they got it in the final minute as Lipman rounded Ricketts to finish off after a good ball from Neita. It rounded off a successful pre-season for Burton’s youngsters.
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