A late deflected goal succumbed our under-21s to a cruel 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at Kingsmeadow.
The young Gunners started the brighter in the opening stages and we almost went ahead after just seven minutes but Emile Smith Rowe’s snapshot effort was smartly tipped over the bar by Gabriel Slonina.
Our next opportunity came through Joel Ideho but he rifled his effort into the side netting after being played in by Catalin Cirjan. Just moments later, Smith Rowe went close again when he found space in the middle of the park, but his long-range effort trickled past the post.
Just before the break, Mauro Bandeira tested Slonina’s palms once again but the hosts hung on and we went into the break on level terms.
We started the second half on the back foot but we remained resolute and restricted the hosts to little goalmouth action.
Although we had less of the ball, we still created the better opportunities with the best one falling to Charles Sagoe Jr but he slotted his left foot strike wide of the post.
We had another glorious opportunity when Reuell Walters' header from point-blank range was somehow kept out and the resulting goalmouth scramble was cleared away.
However, we were made to pay for our missed chances as we failed to clear the danger and Leo Castledine’s shot took a wicked deflection past Hubert Graczyk, to give Chelsea all three points just minutes from the final whistle.
WHAT IT MEANS
We remain sixth in Premier League 2 after 17 games played.
We'll be looking to bounce back on Monday, March 6, when we host Liverpool in Premier League 2.
Kick-off at Meadow Park is at 7pm (UK).
Arsenal XI: Graczyk (GK), Bandeira (Rosiak, 89), Walters, Kiwior (Ibrahim, 46), Sousa, Smith, Cirjan, Smith Rowe (Nwaneri, 46), Cozier-Duberry, Ideho (Benjamin, 82), Sagoe Jr
Subs not used: Cooper
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