Willock scores late equaliser and Dragomir impresses as Arsenal U23s draw with Chelsea

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Premier League 2

Chelsea 2 (Taylor-Crossdale 14, Sterling 65) Arsenal 2 (Dragomir 18, Willock 90)

Joe Willock hit a dramatic late equaliser as a strong Arsenal U23 side took a point away to Chelsea today.

After an inexperienced line-up were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, coach Steve Gatting was able to call upon most of his regulars today, although Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson weren’t involved.

Eddie Nketiah, having scored a brace for the first-team in midweek, was amongst those involved on this occasion.

Iliev

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Akpom

Subs: T. Bola (for Medley, 82) Keto (for Iliev, 83). Not used: Gilmour, Olowu, Moore.

Chelsea started impressively and took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of Martell Tyler-Crossdale, who finished calmly from close range after he was found by Josh Grant.

The lead lasted just four minutes, however, as Vlad Dragomir equalised for Arsenal with a lofted effort following good work from Marcus McGuane.

Chelsea had some notable names in their side including Charly Musonda and Eden Hazard’s brother Kylian, with both players causing difficulty for the Arsenal defence.  Thankfully goalkeeper Deyan Iliev was able to make some impressive stops.

Arsenal withstood long periods of pressure but still posed a threat at the other end, with Josh Dasilva’s cross almost finding its way into the net.

It was Chelsea, though, who would make it 2-1, with Dujon Sterling getting the better of Iliev, who could only parry Hazard’s initial effort.

Arsenal were forced into a change in goal when an injury for the unfortunate Iliev, who has just come back from two years on the sidelines, saw Hugo Keto enter the fray. Meanwhile, Tolaji Bola came on for Zech Medley.

It was attack which was the sole focus for Arsenal in the closing stages, however, and their persistence eventually paid off when Willock showed excellent composure to finish after the impressive Dragomir had located him.

 

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