Academy: European and FA Cup Progress
This week in the academy cup competitions were the order of the day. There was no U18's leag...
This week in the academy cup competitions were the order of the day. There was no U18's league action this week as the game against Fulham was postponed. However there were still 2 games to enjoy this week and both of them were cup games.
For the U19's this week there was the opportunity to finish their UEFA Youth League group stage with a 100% win record and that is exactly what they did and in style. In the end it was a comfortable 5 - 0 win for the Blues. The team was a mixture of players some left out for the FA Youth cup later in the week and others played in this game rather than that one. There was a start in goal for Brad Collins with a back 4 of Ssewankambo, Brady, Christensen and Ake. In the midfield was Baker and Ali with the attacking midfielders of Swift, Kiwomya and Brown with Islam Feruz leading the line.
Things got off to a good start when Nathan Ake who was playing at left back burst into the box but saw his run checked, the ball fell to Alex Kiwomya whose shot was saved by the keeper but he could not hold onto the ball and John Swift running in was first to it and slotted the ball home to give Chelsea the lead. Swift was to shortly after have another good chance on goal after being put through by Feruz but his shot was wide of the target this time.
The next goal that Chelsea would score would be a real cracker, the ball fell to Feruz just inside the opposition half and after losing his footing briefly he got up and turned towards goal before unleashing a rocket for something like 30 yards out and into the top corner, it was a welcome goal for Feruz who has not scored for a while. Feruz would then go on to double his tally when a he was first to a cross in from Kevin Wright and he headed the ball into the back of the net.
The scoring was not done there for the first half however and when Alex Kiwomya picked up the ball well in his own half and passed it off and made a bursting run through the middle you know something is going to happen and Isak Ssewankambo made it happen by powering down the right hand side andpassing it into the box where Kiwomya was left unmarked and able to bring the ball under control and score.
The second half was to prove to be less eventful than the first but the scoring was still not done Andreas Christensen made one of his trademark runs down the middle of the pitch beating a few players and then playing a one two with Alex Kiwomya, Christensen then played in substitute Ambrose Gnahore who beat the keeper and scored a tidy goal.
So Chelsea go through to the knockout stages of the UEFA Youth League with 6 wins out of 6 and the only team with that record. Highlights of the game are here:
Thursday night was the turn of the U18's who were in the first FA Youth Cup game of the week at home to non league Dartford. Given that the U19's were in action only days before there were players who would have been eligable to play in this game but did not, the likes of Kiwomya, Feruz, Christensen ect. which meant opportunities for other young talent.
Mitchell Beeney started in goal with a back 4 of Fankaty Dabo, Jonathan Muleba, Dion Conroy and Kevin Wright. The 2 deep midfielders were Charlie Musonda and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The attacking midfielders were Reece Mitchell, Jeremie Boga and George Cole with Dom Solanke as the centre forward. It was a strong team and at the same time a young team and they were up against a non league side who would fight hard and make things difficult.
Overall the game was one not massively full of chances for either side but Chelsea had more than the lions share of opportunities and possession. What Chelsea would find the hardest was the Dartford defenders back in numbers and throwing themselves in front of everything, this would inevitably lead to some late challenges and free kicks being given away but it did make life hard for Chelsea.
Domonic Solanke who would start and finish the scoring would break the deadlock, finding himself with space in the box he took a good cross down from Mitchell, took a touch and fired home passed the Dartford keeper, it was reward for the hard work that they had been putting in to work the openings for a good shot on goal. It would not take long for both Chelsea and Solanke to double their tally for the evening too, another dangerous ball into the box by Mitchell was latched onto by Solanke who hit it back across the already diving keeper.
Dartford would never really threaten and even with their few corners they could not really test Beeney however their centre forward was trying to make a constant nuisance of himself. But before half time Chelsea would get a third and kill the game off, after some good passing in and around the box Fankaty Dabo found himself with the ball and after flicking passed a defender he hit a hard shot at the keeper which was not difficult for the keeper to save and he did get behind it but only succeeded in defecting the ball passed himself.
There would be more chances in the second half but the game certainly went down a level in the second half and it was not exactly played at a mad pace in the first half. However Chelsea would get themselves another goal before the night was over and Solanke would complete his hat trick. Substitute Charlie Colkett had good vision and saw the opportunity to play Solanke in behind the defence and got the ball spot on, Solanke with coolness took a touch and then struck the ball home to cap off what was a good performance for him and a decent one overall for the team.
Chelsea will most certainly come across far harder opposition that Dartford in this competition but they did what was needed and worked hard against a team that would not give up and continued to make like hard for them. The draw for the next round has already been made and it is another home tie for Chelsea this time against Sheffield Wednesday which will certainly prove a tougher challenge. Highlights of the game are here:
This week the U18's are back in league action away to West Brom and given the youth cup exploits there is likely to be quite a young team involved in that one. The U21's meanwhile are due to play Bolton away on Monday night, we await news of when the next round of the U21's cup against West Ham is scheduled to be played.