Chelsea edge out Arsenal to book Youth Cup Final berth

Thursday 17 Apr 2014
Star performer - Charlie Colkett excelled in both legs

A first-half strike from Charlie Colkett was enough to ensure Chelsea booked their place in a third consecutive FA Youth Cup Final after overcoming Arsenal 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.

The Blues – leading 2-1 from the first leg at Stamford Bridge seven days earlier – went into the tie knowing a draw would be enough, but from the first blast of the Stuart Attwell’s whistle, never looked likely to rest on their laurels and were by far the fastest out the blocks.

Despite the positive start from the visitors, a quarter of an hour had passed before either goalkeeper was tested but when Arsenal’s Josh Vickers was – as he did on several occasions in the first leg – he answered the call splendidly.

Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea

(Chelsea win 3-1 on aggregate) The FA Youth Cup
Semi-Final Second Leg
Thursday 17 April 
Emirates Stadium, Arsenal

Firstly, Dominic Solanke got in behind Arsenal right-back Tafari Moore. The Chelsea youngster twisted and turned and was not once, but twice, denied by Vickers – who recovered well from the first save to leap up and smother the rebound.

However – as is often a goalkeeper’s lot in life – the hero was a villain moments later when he helped turn the ball into his own net after failing to deal with a low, close-range shot.

Colkett – capped for England at U16, U17s and U18s level – continued where he left off from the first leg and was a menace to the Arsenal back four throughout.

And when the east London-born midfielder found himself free on the left in the 16th minute, he skipped past his marker and advanced on Vickers’ goal.

Weary of a near-post shot, the goalkeeper took a step back and Colkett played the angles as he fired low and across the body of the 17-year-old stopper, who stuck out a leg and was unfortunate to divert the ball into his own net.

On a clear, but crisp spring evening in north London, the impressive crowd of just under 10,000 played their part in not allowing the home side’s heads to drop after the goal – and Arsenal responded well to the early setback.  

Arsenal goalkeeper Josh Vickers

Unfortunate to be on the losing side: Arsenal goalkeeper Josh Vickers was excellent across the two legs

The outstanding interplay of the attacking trio of Alex Iwobi, Chuba Akpom and Ainsley Maitland-Niles proved troublesome for the Blues in the first half.

With 30 minutes played the three combined and Akpom found himself clean through on Mitchell Beeney’s goal. But the England U19 international opted to square the ball when he may have been better served following his instinct and trying and beat his Young Lions team-mate himself.

Into the second period, Arsenal again began brightly.

Chelsea failed to deal with a Gedion Zelalem free-kick and the ball broke to Glen Kamara, who feigned a shot to beat his man, only to see his low shot cleared off the line.

Arsenal were getting closer – but the visitors were always going to be a threat on the counter-attack.

The Blues also looked dangerous from set pieces and as the game entered its final stages, substitute Isak Ssewankambo was only denied by a spectacular save from Vickers – who tipped the looping header onto the bar and behind.

Despite the Gunners' best efforts, however, it was not to be for Carl Laraman's young side and Chelsea saw out the remaining minutes in relative comfort.

The Blues will now turn their attention to a Final date with local rivals Fulham – who edged Reading 5-4 in their Semi-Final – and will be desperate reclaiming the crown they lost a year ago to Norwich City. 

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): 1 Josh Vickers, 2 Tafari Moore, 3 Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, 4 Glen Kamara 5 Leander Siemann, 6 Julio Pleguezuelo, 7 Ashley Maitland-Niles, 8 Gedion Zelalem, 9 Chuba Akpom (C), 10 Jack Jebb, 11 Alex Iwobi.

Substitutes:12 Stefan O'Connor (on for 5 Leander Siemann, 67),13 Ryan Huddart, 14 Austin Lipman (on for Glen Kamara), 15 Daniel Crowley (on for 11 Alex Iwobi, 60) 16 Alfred Mugabo

Coach: Carl Laraman

Chelsea (4-3-3): 1 Mitchell Beeney, 2 Fankaty Dabo, 3 Andres Christensen, 4 Jake Clarke-Salter, 5 Ola Aina, 6 Jordon Houghton, 7 Alex Kiwomya, 10 Charlie Colkett, 8 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (C), 9 Dominic Solanke, 11 Jay Dasilva.

Substitutes: 12 Isak Ssewankambo, 13 Bradley Collins, (on for 2 Fankaty Dabo, 60), 14 Isaiah Brown (on for 4 Jake Clarke-Salter, 67), 15 Kasey Palmer,16 Reese Mitchell (on for Charlie Colkett, 81)

Goals: Colkett (16).

Bookings:
Dabo

Coach: Adi Viveash

Attendance: 9,695

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer at Emirates Stadium