The visit of Premier League opposition saw floods of fans flock to the Melbourne Stadium. Arsenal, runners up in the 2022/23 Premier League season, travelled to Essex with an XI to face Chelmsford, in the Clarets’ final preseason fixture before the visit of Farnborough.

Robbie opted to send keeper Josh Oluwayemi straight in against his former rivals, with the ex-Tottenham keeper making his first appearance for the Clarets. At the back, Winfield was joined by Brookes and Jenkins, With Barnum-Bobb in the team, but playing wide and further forward. The midfield continued was made up of, Carruthers, Mills, Wordsworth, Ebuozeme and Ruff, with Jones leading the line.


It was the visiting Gunners who kicked us off, firing long but only for Josh Oluwayemi to have the ball thistle out for a goal kick, his first action for the Club. The Clarets looked to cause danger early on, as Mills whipped a ball across the box only to be clear. From the clearance, Arsenal broke forward with Amario Cozier-Duberry, before an excellent Ben Brookes tackle stopped the attack. The first real effort of the game saw Oluwayemi tested, with an effort from the edge of the box stinging his palms but allowed him to claim for a routine save. Arsenal’s number 7, Cozier-Duberry, was causing all the danger, as he danced round Adam Mills before cutting inside. He looked to turn provider, as he sent a pass towards Kamara, where Jazzi Barnum-Bobb was able to intercept.

With 12 minutes gone, Arsenal keeper, Alexel Rojas was called into action for the first time, as he pulled off a brilliant save. Ben Brookes’ long throw was met by the volley from Adam Mills who, from out wide, looped his effort up and over the keeper, to see an outstretched hand make a great save. Robbie’s side were growing into the game, as they looked to pile the pressure on the young Arsenal side. The pressure was mounting, as Callum Jones was able to outmuscle Taylor Foran, forcing the Gunners skipper to turn behind for a corner. Ben Brookes delivered, with Dave Winfield firing a header across the box. Multiple Clarets players tried, with Ruff having a volley deflect out and sent wide as Winfield then had another header but sent it just wide. A promising chance for Chelmsford, as they so nearly got the better of them.

A horrendous error nearly gave the Clarets the lead, as Rojas passed to Jones in the box but, with no option, he could only win a corner. The resulting delivery was good from Adam Mills, but evaded Clarets heads as it went all the way out for a goal kick on the other side. Them, a mistake at the other end saw Eze give Ismail Oulad M’Hand a chance to feed Khayon Edwards through. Edwards was able to get a shot away, with Winfield and Jenkins putting themselves in the way, and a deflection seeing it through to the keeper. However, in the 28th minute, a penalty was given to the Clarets. A great Adam Mills ball was almost met by Callum Jones but, he was bundled over in the box. The game continued, as Barnum-Bobb teed up Wordsworth whose shot was blocked, but by a hand as the referee then pointed to the spot. Anthony Wordsworth then took responsibility, stepping up to score a brilliant penalty against Alexel Rojas. Despite some scuffing of the penalty spot from Ismail Oulad M’Hand, it was a clean strike into the bottom right and out of the reach of the outstretched keeper.  The Clarets took the lead, just before the half an hour mark.

However, 10 minutes after the first one. Another penalty was awarded. The ball fell to Eze on the box, and some good skill saw him dance into the box, being fouled as another penalty was given. Wordsworth was the man to step up but, this time does not find the back of the net. An audacious chipped attempt saw it come back off the crossbar and into the box, with Arsenal then able to clear the danger. Entering the final 5, Arsenal looked to cause their danger. Cozier-Duberry was once again showing his qualities, as the winger danced around multiple Clarets player, before spraying a great ball across the pitch. Osman Kamara picked the ball up and faced off to Jenkins, who was able to deflect his attempt into the arms of Josh Oluwayemi.


The Clarets kicked off the second half, with a whole load of changes being made. Less than a minute in, the Clarets came agonisingly close. A knock over the top sent Freddie Hockey in, through on goal. He set his sights on the bottom right, beating the keeper but, unfortunately, not beating the post as it clipped the post and went out for a goal kick. The Clarets’ fast start continued as Castiglione brought the ball down well and looked to cause danger. Luckily for Arsenal, a good block prevented any further danger. As they game seemed to even out, neither side could muster up any clear-cut chances. However, as Arsenal managed to break, a penalty was given as Callum Watts took Osman Kamara down. Up stepped Khayon Edwards and he cooly dispatched, levelling the scores, with an hour played. With an hour on the clock and the scores level, Arsenal opted for a full squad change, as their 11 substitutes came on for the remaining half an hour.

The first real piece of play by the subs came as Timi Henry-Davis went up against Luke Jenkins and was able to send a ball across the face of goal. Noone was on the receiving end, as the Clarets regained possession.  Once again, the lack of chances continued but another penalty was subsequently awarded. With the Clarets having 2 penalties, it was a second to Arsenal as Timi Henry-Davis was brought down by Adam Wheeler. This time, Marcelo Flores stepped up with a great finish from the spot, to take the lead. In the last 10, the game started to heat up. An excellent ball by James Sweet put Marcelo Flores, the 3-time capped Mexico international, in on goal. Some great backtracking saw him ushered away from goal and, with multiple Clarets players around him, it was Mo Dabre who won the ball back, to send it up the field.


Preseason started with and ended in defeat but, valuable minutes for every single player see the Clarets go into the game against Farnborough on Saturday in good shape. With an enormous crowd today, we hope to see many of you backing the boys on Saturday!

Chelmsford City:

Oluwayemi (GK) (Marsden 70’) , Brookes (Duffin 70’), Wordsworth (Watts 46’), Winfield (C) (Davison 70’), Ebuozeme (Dabre 46’), Carruthers (Hockey 46’), Mills (Terry 46’), Jenkins (Wheeler 70’), Jones (Bettamer 46’), Ruff (Castiglione 46’), Barnum-Bobb (Trialist A 46’)

Goals: Wordsworth 30’ (PEN),

Cautions: Ebuozeme 35’,

Arsenal XI:

Rojas (GK), Rosiak, Sousa, Foran (C), Jeffcott, Lewis-Skelly, Cozier-Duberry, Oulad M’Hand, Edwards, Gower, Kamara – Whole team off at 61’

All subs on at 61’: Cooper (GK), Sweet, Monlouis, Walters, Ibrahim, Henry-Francis, Nwaneri, Flores, Ismail, Sagoe Jr, Henry-Davis

Goals: Edwards 60’ (PEN), Flores 73’ (PEN),

Cautions: Foran 34’,

Attendance: 2,559

Words by Josh Lowe

Cover Photo by Roger Robinson Photography

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