Academy Report: UEFA Youth League Kicks Off
With things not going so well at first team level it has been left to the Chelsea academy to pro...
With things not going so well at first team level it has been left to the Chelsea academy to produce the winning football and also the good football that is being craved at senior level. It started last Friday with the U21's 2 - 0 win over Norwich, the game was covered in last weeks post but the highlights of that game can now be seen here:
That was then followed up by the U18's as they took on Liverpool at Cobham, things started well for Chelsea as they took the lead but Liverpool came back and the blues found themselves 2 - 1 down at half time. A dramatic second half though saw Chelsea fire back and ended up running out 4 - 2 winners. 2 goals from Kasey Palmer and a goal each for Dom Solanke and Ambrose Gnahore was enough to secure the win eventually. Viveash explained after the game that he changed the formation somewhat to be basically playing 3 number 10's behind the forward in a similar way to what the first team do and he was pleased with the work from the whole team. Highlights of that game are here:
On the loan front starting in Spain there was starts for the ever present Courtois as Atletico Madrid got 2 wins against Almeria and Zenit in the Champion League. Elsewhere in Spain Marko Marin came off the bench to feature in Sevilla's game against Barcelona and then played 90 minutes in the Europa League against Estoril. Oriol Romeu meanwhile played the full 90 minutes in Valencia's defeat to Real Betis but did not feature for them in the Europa League defeat against Swansea. Ulises Davilla in the second tier of the Spanish league played just over half an hour for Cordoba as they beat Numancia.
Elsewhere in Europe Vitesse did not play due to a waterlogged pitch. Thorgan Hazard meanwhile played the full 90 and scored in Waregem's defeat away to Genk and also in their Europa League game against Wigan. Wallace did not make it off the bench again for Inter as they played Juventus and is yet to feature for Inter in the league this season. Rounding up the European loans is Stipe Perica who made is debut for NAC Breda coming on the final 10 minutes and managed to grab himself a goal
In England Sam Walker played in Colchester's 2 - 2 draw with Bradford, Danny Pappoe was on the bench for that one and did not make it on the pitch. George Saville featured for 90 minutes in Brentford's win over Tranmere, Todd Kane is still an ever present for Blackburn Rovers, this week playing in a draw with Burnley and a defeat away to Leicester. Patrick Bamford continued his excellent goal scoring form for MK Dons as he bagged another in MK's win over Notts County. Milan Lalkovic was again resigned to a spot on the bench for Walsall as they played Crewe and Wolves coming on for about 10 minutes in each. Finally Victor Moses made his debut for Liverpool and made it a scoring one also as they drew 2 - 2 with Swansea. Lukaku obviously could not feature this week for Everton as they were of course playing Chelsea.
Finally in match action was the start of the brand new UEFA Youth League which is an U19's competition. The team lined up basically as the U21's do but missing out due to age were Jamal Blackman replaced by Mitchell Beeney, Adam Nditi replaced by Kevin Wright and Alex Davey was also not eligible for this competition. Basel were the first team to be played as the competition mirrors the senior level competition at the group stage.
Virtually from the get go Chelsea were wholly dominant. It would be very interesting to see the possession stats for this game because i would think there were incredibly high in Chelsea's favour. However with all that possession it was a game of fairly few clear cut chances, Basel made things very tight in their defence and there was also a number of sloppy passing going on in the final third. The midfield trio of Baker, Loftus-Cheek and Swift were thoroughly dominant and impressive throughout. The forward line of Feruz, Brown and Kiwomya were much more frustrated figures and not a lot went right for them in this game and it was the first game where Brown did not look impressive.
Chelsea had enough chances to score and unlike the first team they took their best chances and ended up 4 - 0 winners, Feruz, Swift and Kiwomya score with the other goal an own goal after good work from Feruz. It was an impressive start to the competition for Chelsea and they will feel they have a good opportunity to do well as they did in last season NextGen competition. Highlights of this game are also available to view:
Finally this week we got the much anticipated confirmation of loans for Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah. Chalobah has joined Nottingham Forest on loan until January and McEachran has joined up with Zola's Watford also until January. Both have found themseles good clubs where they can work hard and impress and hopefully these loans will help with their development. It is an especially important loan for McEachran who desperately needs to make an improvement and hopefull he can achieve that under Zola.
This week the U18's are away to Blackburn Rovers and that game is played this morning and will be a good test for the young Blues. The U21's are also away on Monday and they face Everton as they look to keep their impressive run of form going.