By Paul Lagan at The Emirates
Arsenal U21 4 v Chelsea U21 1
Chelsea’s kids were beaten by Arsenal 4-1 in the Papa John’s Trophy 3rd round tie at the Emirates tonight.
However they had to play 55 minutes with 10-men when the score was just 1-0 to the home side.
Referee James Bell took the harsh decision to send off centre-back Xavier Mbuyamba for a tussle on the left wing.
The incident was a distance way from goal, but the man in the middle opted to brandish a red card when even a yellow looked dubious as Mbuyamba and Mika Biereth clashed several times.
But the Blues equalised straight after but lost concentration to go quickly behind again.
Two second half strikes saw the north Londoners take advantage of their numeric advantage.
A wonderful goal-line headed save by Xavier Simons kept the score to four and allowed Arsenal to progress into a quarter-final tie at home to Wigan.
Chelsea started the brighter with Jayden Wareham forcing goalkeeper Karl Hein into a low parry save for a corner after six minutes.
But after a little bit of pressure and on the home side’s first attack, they scored. The Blues could not clear the ball away, and up popped James Olayinka to tuck home from just outside the six-yard box on 10 minutes with a clean sweep of the ball.
The goalscorer lasted just 12 minutes more where he was whacked with the ball. He hit the ground and was stretched off to be replaced by Tim Akinola.
Chelsea reapplied the pressure forcing free-kicks and corners. But the young Gooners rebuffed the advances.
Alfie Gilchrist could have levelled on 28 minutes but his free header from a corner went in he’s wide of Hein’s right post.
Chelsea had goalkeeper Teddy Sharman-Lowe to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 on 31 minutes when he blocked a shot from Biereth when running free on goal.
The Blues were reduced to 10-men on 35 minutes when a long ball saw a one on one race for the ball on the left between Biereth and Mbuyamba. After a a tussle both fell to the ground and referee James Bell decided that the Chelsea centre-back was culpable.
The official brandished a red card as presumably he felt he was the last man.
But Chelsea kept calm and were rewarded three minutes later, and a wonderful individual run and shot from Wareham levelled the tie. The striker’s right-footer from the edge of the Arsenal penalty area zipped past a helpless Hein.
But the home side restored their advantage when Biereth tucked home from close range with three minutes left in the first half.
A scuffle broke out on the half-way line between Joe Haigh and Arsenal’s Omar Hutchinson.
Bell felt just a stern talking too was required.
Dion Rankine came on at half-time for Chelsea, replacing Ben Elliott.
The Blues kept the wide players on the touch line in an attempt to stretch Arsenal and nullify their man’s advantage.
Rankine wide in the right produced a wonderful byline cross that was met by Harvey Vale. But his header just went wide of goal.
Within seconds the ball was up the other end and Hutchinson, a live-wire produced a wonderful curling left-footer that rammed into the base of Sharman-Lowe’s net to make the tie almost secure with a 3-1 lead.
Charlie Webster and George Nunn were brought in by coach Andy Myers with Wareham and Soonsup-Bell going off.
With the game effectively over, Arsenal continued to take advantage of the extra man and opened up the Blues with ease, and their fourth goal came on 68 minutes when substitute Marcelo Flores’ excellent strike whizzed past Sharman-Lowe.
Joe Haigh could have notched a second for the visitors but headed wide at the far post with the goal gaping.
Brodie Hughes and Bryan Fiabema got 15 minutes on the pitch.
Arsenal: Hein, Alebiosu, Lopez, Biereth, Ogungbo, Olayinka, Oulad M’Hand, Awe, Henry-Francis, Hutchinson, Norton-Cuffy
Subs: Akinola, Ejeheri, Ideho, Walters, Edwards, Flores, Sagoe Jr
Chelsea: Sharman-Lowe, Baker, Mbuyamba, Elliott, Brooking, Haigh, Simons, Wareham, Gilchrist, Soonsup-Bell, Vale
Subs: Uwakwe, Nunn, Fiabema, Rankine, Adegoke, Webster, Hughes
Referee James Bell
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