Academy Season Review Part 1: U18's League

Another year comes to a close and it has been another very successful one for the Academy here at Chelsea. Only narrowly missing out of mass...

Another year comes to a close and it has been another very successful one for the Academy here at Chelsea. Only narrowly missing out of massive success at the last hurdles but it has still been one full of young players and huge prospects. This will be the first of a 4 part season review of the academy and the first is covering the U18's league.

Usually the league tables never look good reading for Chelsea, this is down to the fact that the club put much more emphasis on player development than results and especially the second half of the U18's leagues usually fall off. This season it seemed like that trend could have been stopped. For the first time we have seen a new format in the U18's with the season being split into 2 parts, the first part saw the teams split into 3 leagues, in Chelsea's league was Fulham, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Wolves, Man City and Middlesbrough.

Things could not have got off to a better start, our first game was to be against Manchester City and what looked like a tough opener, it proved to be anything but as Chelsea ran out 6 - 1 winners. It was a perfect start and it set the tone of what was to come as Chelsea powered their way to the top of group 3 and that is where they stayed having won 9 of their 12 matches and only losing 1 in the last game to Fulham.

Highlight (6 - 1 win over Manchester City):

Phase 2 of the league saw Chelsea in the Elite group among the best teams from the other 2 leagues, these were  Fulham, Reading, Everton, Man Utd, Southampton, Bolton and Crystal Palace. This was going to be there interesting part as we would see how Chelsea would cope against the best in their age group and potentially fight it out all the way to the final and be crowned U18's league champions.

However as previously mentioned with players at this time of year moving up to the U21's squad and involvement in the U19's NextGen series and U18's Youth Cup some players saw very little league action which meant an even younger team. Inevitably this affected the results with the only highlight coming in the shape of a 5 - 1 away win over Crystal Palace.

Highlight (5 - 1 win over Crystal Palace):

The league would finish with Chelsea in 6th place having only won 4 of their 14 matches in this round and as such very much missed out on being able to go into the play of phase 3 for the right to try and be champions. Still there was a lot of positive to be taken from the season as a lot of young players were once again used. Left back Kevin Wright was the top appearance make in the league this season followed by Jonathan Muleba.

Top goalscorer was Alex Kiwomya with 10 goals, followed by Jeremie Boga and Connor Hunte with 5 each. A total of 39 players was used at U18's level this season which is a big group of players.

So all in all a mixed bag for the U18's league season but still a very positive one with some young players stepping up to show they are big talents. Players like Boga, Hunte, Colkett, Wright, Loftus-Cheek and many more showing that there is still plenty of huge talents coming through.

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