By Connor Armstrong
Arsenal Under-18s were beaten by London rivals Chelsea in an action-packed encounter at Cobham Training Centre.
Martell Taylor-Crossdale netted a hat-trick for the hosts, who established control of the game with two goals inside the opening five minutes.
Jordi Osei-Tutu netted for Kwame Ampadu’s team to make it 2-1, before Harvey St Clair restored the home side's two-goal advantage.
Josh Benson made an impact off the bench when he scored Arsenal’s second goal after bursting forward from midfield but it was not enough to get his side back into the game.
SETTING THE SCENE
Arsenal lined up with Joao Virginia in goal, with Daniel Barden and Joseph Olowu in the centre of defence.
Marcus McGuane was handed the captain’s armband and was joined in midfield by Robbie Burton.
Eddie Nketiah led the Arsenal attack, having signed his first professional contract during the week.
Chelsea made a blistering start at Cobham, taking the lead after just two minutes when Taylor-Crosgdale seized on a heavy touch before rounding Virginia and slotting into an empty net.
Ampadu’s side were left to rue a slow start that saw them two goals down after five minutes when Taylor-Crossdale converted from the spot after Josh Maddox was brought down by Barden.
Osei-Tutu halved the deficit when he slid in at the far post to poke the ball over the line from Joe Willock’s low cross.
If the Gunners had hopes of mounting a second-half comeback, they were soon dashed when St Clair fired home from close range to make it 3-1.
The Blues added a fourth goal when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul by Arsenal skipper McGuane despite the protests of his team-mates, with Taylor-Crossdale sending Virginia the wrong way to complete his hat-trick.
Midfielder Benson, a second-half substitute, then did well to steady himself after an attempt to win the ball before steering the ball past Marcin Bulka with four minutes remaining.
Arsenal remain top of the division on goal difference with 10 points from their opening five games of the season.
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