U18 Premier League- Game 12
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 3 (Boga 6, 37, 42)
A first-half hat-trick from Jeremie Boga condemned Arsenal U18s to their seventh defeat of the season this morning against a determined Chelsea side.
Given the current strength of the U21 side, coach Carl Laraman was able to call upon second-string regulars Chuba Akpom and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, whilst Alfred Mugabo returned from injury in the only other change to the team that earned a point against Southampton last week.
subs: Smith (for Mugabo, 68). Not used: Bola, Raage, Dawkins, Hinds.
Kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes due to the Chelsea team arriving late, but the visitors certainly made up for lost time by opening the scoring in the sixth minute, with the talented Boga beating Ryan Huddart with a well-struck effort.
Just moments earlier Huddart had been on hand to deny Boga with a good save, and the goalkeeper then had Tafari Moore to thank for clearing the ball off the line with Isaiah Brown bearing down on goal.
Arsenal responded with Akpom directing a header on target, but the striker’s effort was comfortably gathered by Chelsea goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney. At the other end Brown was a persistent threat, with the former West Bromwich Albion youngster weaving his way past Arsenal’s defenders before directing a shot narrowly off target.
Chelsea were the dominant side, but Arsenal were not without their chances, with Jebb striking a post with an expertly-delivered free-kick. Jebb, who was becoming increasingly influential, then found Mugabo with another set-piece, but the Rwanda international could only send his effort wide.
Chelsea, though, were always a threat at the other end and Boga scored twice before the interval to complete his hat-trick and leave Arsenal shellshocked. First, the 16 year old beat Huddart with a ferocious strike before adding the finishing touch to a multi-pass move on the stroke of half-time.
Jebb, who continued to battle on in adversity, shot over with the first attempt of note in the second-half, before Alex Iwobi, who had been rather quiet up until that point, forced Beeney to gather his well-struck effort.
Arsenal then introduced Renny Smith into the fray against his former club in place of Mugabo, but Chelsea were still the more dangerous side, with Brown testing Huddart again, this time from long-range.
Arsenal’s plight was epitomised by Beeney being equal to Jebb’s effort following good work from Maitland-Niles down the right flank, and, although Akpom came close to reducing the deficit in the dying stages, the Gunners had given themselves too difficult a task as a consequence of their disappointing first-half performance.
Chelsea were fully deserved winners, and, in Boga and Brown, possess two supremely talented youngsters. Arsenal, meanwhile, are now without a win in eleven games at this level and have the small matter of facing Tottenham Hotspur away next weekend.