Academy Report: Battling blues secure very late draw
The U18's this week were away to Stoke on Saturday. Missing from the team still due to international commitments was Dom Solanke, Amb...
The U18's this week were away to Stoke on Saturday. Missing from the team still due to international commitments was Dom Solanke, Ambrose Gnahore returned to the team following his spell in the U21's as did Brad Collins. It was game that Chelsea were comfortable in and should have scored more goals in the first half in particular but goals were scored in the first half through a George Cole free kick and a typical Jeremie Boga solo effort. Chelsea still had plenty of chances in the second half to extend their lead but did not take them and the game finished 2 - 0.
Last night the U21's were back in action live on Chelsea TV against current league leaders West Ham and it was a proper game of football. It was a game that pretty much dominated throughout by Chelsea with West Ham having periods of the game where they were looking threatening. But on the whole it was Chelsea possession with West Ham looking to hit us on the break. Early on the chances were all for Chelsea and there were some good chances that we certainly should have taken. But then half way through the first half West Ham hit us with 2 sucker punch goals and all of a sudden after dominating the game we found ourselves 2 goals down.
Chelsea pushed to get themselves back into it without over exposing themselves at the back and conceding a fatal third, and with 5 minutes to go in the half Chelsea got a much deserved goal through Lewis Baker following up to tap home a rebound. At half time Neil Bath said that they were looking for more from the blues particularly in a physical sense and the youngsters duly obliged. The second half was practically total Chelsea domination with chance after chance to get back into the game, but so many chances went begging. Finally with 12 minutes to go Chelsea struck the equalizer, good work down the left from Islam Feruz saw a shot across goal spilled by the keeper and John Swift was on hand to slot it home.
It looked like Chelsea would now go on to win the game but 2 minutes later Chelsea allowed the West Ham winger to push onto goal unopposed and hit a good strike into the bottom corner to put West Ham back in front. As is with the spirit of these players as we have seen over the years they do not give up and they always believe they can get a goal. Having allowed once again some really good chances go begging it was left to the final seconds of the game to see Billy Clifford who did not have a good game hit a wonderful effort which struck the crossbar and Nathan Ake of all people was the closed to get the rebound and hit it home.
Overall it was a classic game but one on balance of the play Chelsea should have won but West Ham are a good side and caused us problems on the break which we were not able to cope with. John Swift was excellent again and showing some seriously good form this season. Lewis Baker as always was very good in the midfield. Highlights of this game and the U18's will be available on my YouTube channel this evening.
In the Premier league this week we saw Romelu Lukaku back among the goals this week. In their game away to Everton Lukaku scored the opening goal of the game on 68 minutes to set Everton on their way as they eventually run out 2 - 1 winners, Lukaku played the whole game and will be pleased as to how his season is going. On the other part of merseyside however Victor Moses who has been pretty much an ever present for Liverpool since moving there on loan was consigned to the bench this week and did not make it on for their win at home to West Brom.
There was positives in the Championship this week as Nathaniel Chalobah scored his first goal for Nottingham forest in their defeat away to Yeovil, sneaking in at the far post to nod the ball home. Chalobah then picked up a booking just before half time and did not reappear for the second half. Elsewhere in the Championship and Josh McEachran was in front of the Sky camera's on Monday night and played the full 90 minutes in Watfords 1 - 1 away draw with Brighton, Watford being cruelly denied a winner with a ball that did look to over the line. Josh was solid if unremarkable in this game but the minutes are what matter at this stage for him. Finally in the Championship and Todd Kane continues to play every game for Blackburn as they drew away to Blackpool, Todd played the full 90.
Down in league one and George Saville and Brentford continue to have a good season as they won at home to Brentford, a solid 90 minutes for George and he looks more an more comfortable in this level of football. There was a fairly rare clean sheet this week for Sam Walker as Colchester managed a 1 - 0 home win over Peterborough Walker making a good couple of saves to keep Colchester as winners. There was disappointment this week for MK Dons and Patrick Bamford as they fell to a defeat away to Tranmere, Bamford not among the goals this week and missed a chance for a certain goal that he will be disappointed he did not put away. Finally in league 1 and Milan Lalkovic who continues to be a peripheral player for Walsall now did not come off the bench for their defeat at home to Coventry.
In Europe now and Courtois kept another clean sheet as Atletico stuck 5 past Betis in La Liga, there has been more discussion as to his Chelsea future this week but nothing new to come out from that. Elsewhere in La Liga Marko Marin did not feature in either of Sevilla's games this week as he is still recovering from injury. The same can be said for Oriol Romeu at Valencia although Romeu was on the bench for their 2 games but he did not make it off the bench for either of those games. In Spains second division Ulises Davilla and Cordoba played out a 2 - 2 draw with Murcia and Davilla played for 71 minutes of that game. Another player who is struggling to make it off the bench at his loan club is Wallace who sat on the bench for both of Inter's games this week. In Belgium and Thorgan Hazard had 2 games this week firstly a 1 - 1 home draw with Charleroi in which he played the full game and secondly 3 - 2 home win against Gent in which he was able to pick up another goal before coming off in the 89th minute.
Over to the dutch league and once again young striker Stipe Perica came off the bench and scored for NAC Breda, he came on with just over 20 minutes left to play and scored with 3 left to play. He will be pleased with his start so far with NAC and will be hoping that his goals can earn him more playing time as the season goes on. As always over at Vitesse there was plenty of Chelsea involvement, in their home draw with Groningen there was starts for Patrick Van Aanholt, Christian Atsu and Lucas Piazon with Gael Kakuta and Sam Hutchinson on the bench. Gael Kakuta did make it on for the last 10 minutes of the game replacing Atsu. Vitesse also had a cup game this week against Noordwijk and in that game there were starts for Van Aanholt, Atsu, Kakuta and a first start for Sam Hutchinson. Everyone barring Hutchinson played the full 90 minutes, Hutchinson lasted for 66 minutes. Kakuta put forward his case for more starts by bagging himself 2 goals in this game. Lucas Piazon was rested for this game and Christian Cuevas is still unused.
In other news it has been confirmed that Danny Pappoe has ended his loan spell at Colchester and has returned to Chelsea. It never really worked out for Danny there with injuries and a total lack of game time it was surely right to bring him back to the club.
In more positive news Chelsea have finally after a very long time confirmed the signing of Bertrand Traore on a four and a half year deal. There is still work permit issues to sort out for him so we will see what happens now with regards to playing football once that is dealt with, if he does have a work permit agreed then he will more likely join up with the U21's rather than the first team but still it is very positive news for a very talented young man.
Finally there is confirmation that Chelsea will be facing Cardiff in their first ever U21's cup game after they overcame Brighton in their game.