NextGen Series preview: Arsenal take on Chelsea in Italy

Christensen Nextgen

Arsenal and Chelsea's youngsters will do battle in the NextGen Series Semi-Finals today ... with one English team guaranteed in the final.

The NextGen Series has reached the final four and at 14:00 GMT two London sides will do battle for a place in the final of the competition; held this year at the Giuseppe Sinigaglia stadium in Como.

Aston Villa take on Sporting Lisbon in the later fixture but for now it is the turn of Arsenal and Chelsea to receive the bulk of our focus ahead of their afternoon kick-off.

Both teams certainly didn’t have it easy in the Group Stages. Arsenal struggled to find goals and scraped through on the final day while Chelsea qualified as one of the best third-placed sides below CSKA Moscow and Ajax in their difficult group.

However the knockout stage has been an entirely different story with both teams pulling out all the stops to earn their place in the semi-finals.

Based on those knockout round performances Chelsea are likely to go into this game as favourites. Not only did they tear Italian outfit Juventus apart in the quarter-finals but the second round saw them travel to Barcelona; and win comfortably against many peoples hot favourites.

Arsenal on the other hand have been much more economical with their triumphs. The 1-0 win against reigning champions Inter Milan was played amongst a soggy deluge of rain which was only decided by Nico Yennaris’s 30-yard screamer.

But their performance against CSKA was extremely impressive. The Russian outfit had become many people’s dark horses in the competition with their solid defensive style but they had no answer to the wonderful one-touch passing that split them open at The Emirates and left Serge Gnabry through for a clean finish.

So it is certainly a tough game to call.

Looking at domestic fixtures can be misleading for this competition with various age groups and first-team players returning from injury often getting run-outs for the under-21’s but Arsenal may be smiling at the memory of beating Chelsea in their last meeting 2-0; however that was a very long time ago.

Chelsea can expect a strong side with Alex Kiwomya, Andreas Christensen, Jeremie Boga, Islam Feruz, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathan Ake all available while Arsenal also have a near full-strength squad with Thomas Eisfeld travelling along with the likes of Yennaris, Gnabry and Chuba Akpom. Dejan Alliyev will continue to deputise in goal for the injured Reice Charles-Cook.

The game is live on Eurosport UK so tune in and see the top talent London has to offer…

Here are some Tweets from both sets of players…



image: © NextGen

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