Academy Report: McEachran on target to defeat Norwich

So the international break is finally over and we can once again focus on club football and that...

So the international break is finally over and we can once again focus on club football and that goes for every level of Chelsea not just the first team of course.

There was still some Chelsea involvement during the international break however in the Football league. Sam Walker continues in goal for Colchester United as they suffer a 2 - 0 away defeat to Coventry. Patrick Bamford continues his excellent goal scoring form for MK Dons scoring the only goal for Dons in a 1 - 1 draw with Swindon and George Saville played 68 minutes during Brentford heavy 4 - 0 away defeat to Bradford. All players continue to get decent game time at their respective clubs and Bamford showing impressive form and going a good way to possibly earning himself a Championship loan for the second half of the season.

In U21's football news there has been much discussion about youth development in this country following the appointment of Gregg Dyke to the FA and his outline for the future of development. For me the biggest issue is the development of players between the ages of 18 and 23 where the level of football is not enough to continue the necessary development of these players. However there has been another step from the Premier League to address this with announcement that from next season the U21's Premier League will be split between 2 leagues. This will be split on the basis of this seasons finishing position. The idea being that the prospect of promotion and relegation will be enough to create a more competitive edge to the league. It is hoped that it will benefit this season as well because teams will be hoping to make the top league of the 2 for next year. This will be a helpful addition to the U21's competition but time will tell how much difference it will make. Given the number of changes to the new academy formats over the last 2 seasons however what it does highlight is that there is a big push for the right set up and the constant tweeking is a positive thing.

The U21's returned to match action last night as they hosted Norwich at Aldershot. Once again the U21's were able to put in a very good performance and come out 2 - 0 winners with both of the goals scored from Josh McEachran. McEachran was starting in one of the 2 midfield slots as he looked to get back into fitness for a new loan move, the game also saw Billy Clifford get some much needed minutes before he too heads out on another loan. Jamal Blackman continued in goal and the regular sight now of Ssewankambo, Christensen and Ake were joined by Adam Nditi who made his first U21's appearance of the season. The midfield composed of McEachran, John Swift and Lewis Baker with Billy Clifford Isaiah Brown operating from a wide position this week and Islam Feruz in the striker role.

The conditions were tough for the lads with a constant downpour through the whole game, the pitch held up well considering but it was certainly difficult conditions. Chelsea were dominant throughout the game with lots of possession and looking dangerous, Norwich however are a solid side and they were organised and compact making things hard for Chelsea to find the right final pass to make a decent chance. It was not a game of many chances but Chelsea eventually took the lead when Billy Clifford was fouled in the box, it looked slightly soft but Chelsea were denied was a nailed on penalty earlier in the game and McEachran stepped up to confidently put it away.

Baker, McEachran and Clifford were really running the game and Chelsea continued to press their advantage and they got their reward after a lovely move involving Clifford a lovely touch from Brown and McEachran jinking into the box to score the second which would turn out to be the last. Norwich had some half chances on the break but solid defending kept them at bay. Christensen and Ake looking very composed and Christensen in particular looking real quality so far this season.

It was another impressive win and gives the U21's 9 points from 4 games which is very good start. Next up they will face Everton on a week Monday.

In the coming week we have today the U18's back in action against Liverpool which will prove an interesting game as well as the first game in the new UEFA Youth League when the U19's take on Basel at Cobham, the game has been confirmed as being shown live on Chelsea TV so if you are able to you will be able to take in the U19's action at 1:00pm and then in the evening the first team against the same opposition.

In some contract news it looks like Islam Feruz has been offered a new deal by Chelsea. The striker is starting to hit some good form this season and is certainly a big talent for the future and with a number of clubs apparently interested it seems Chelsea have moved to tie him to the club for more years.

We still await news on the destinations of Clifford, Chalobah and McEachran, Chalobah has been heavily linked with Watford again in recent days and it had been hinted that a club had already been found for Clifford. But there should definitely be some confirmation of those moves soon. Also there is yet to be an announcement on Bertrand Traore the youngster who impressed with the first team in pre season, he has now turned 17 and able to sign officially for the club, however there will need to be a work permit hearing to see if he will be able to play for Chelsea or have to go out on loan, so expect some news on that shortly too.


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