Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal: Young guns give their all against talented Blues in FA Youth Cup Final first leg

Matthew Smith battles against Chelsea. CREDIT: Arsenal FC

Matthew Smith battles against Chelsea. CREDIT: Arsenal FC - Credit: Archant

Kwame Ampadu’s Arsenal young guns took on Chelsea U18s in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final at Stamford Bridge on Friday evening.

Arsenal striker Xavier Amaechi celebrates after scoring against Chelsea. CREDIT Arsenal FC

Arsenal striker Xavier Amaechi celebrates after scoring against Chelsea. CREDIT Arsenal FC - Credit: Archant


Joao Virginia: 7.5 - Patrolled his area well after an onslaught in the opening 30 minutes. Showed good handling. Not afraid to punch if required. Good footwork. Excellent organiser as befits such a vocal presence. Excellent reflexes too after turning a vicious curling free kick around his left hand post from the huge Chelsea prospect Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Vontae Daley-Campbell: 7 - The right back showed character in battling with the dangerous Callum Hudson-Odoi throughout.

Dominic Thompson: 7 - Knew he was in for a difficult night after a matter of seconds after Chelsea right back Tariq Lamptey burst through and was dragged down inches outside the box. Showed immense character to keep battling – but could he have been stronger when attempting to thwart Redan for the equaliser?

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Robbie Thompson: 7 – Battled throughout. Never stopped running for the cause as a shield in front of the defence.

Danny Ballard (captain): 7.5 - Captain. Leader. And hopefully an Arsenal legend one day. Wonderful to see the Stevenage-born centre-half put his body on the line for the Arsenal time and time again.

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Zech Medley: 6 - Went down with cramp moments before Chelsea’s Marc Guehi headed home from a matter of yards out. A real shame as Medley’s presence was missed during the crucial set piece. His night got worse after a mistake following a Tino Anjorin cross allowed Redan in to score his second of the night

James Olayinka: 7 - A powerful presence against a difficult foe who flooded forward. Struggled to break up play in the centre of the park at times

Matthew Smith: 7 - Another who put in a shift and deserved his ovation after being substituted.

Tyreece John-Jules: 7 - Not as influential as he would have liked but still put in a shift on a difficult night.

Emile Smith Rowe: 8 - Good to see him drive forward as the talented Croydon-born attacking midfielder showed his ability after he and his colleagues weathered an intense early storm. Sublime through ball to feed Amaechi for the goal

Xavier Amaechi: 8.5 - Showed terrific touch to control a cross in the box before turning and firing in a single movement. Great technique and a calm head after lifting the ball over onrushing Chelsea keeper Jamie Cumming to put the Gunners ahead


Trae Coyle: 6 – On for Smith Rowe

Joe Oluwu: 6 – On for the disappointing Medley late on

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