Academy: U21's overcome West Ham in cup
The only match action in the Academy this week saw a return of the newly formed U21's cup and...
The only match action in the Academy this week saw a return of the newly formed U21's cup and gave Chelsea a chance to book their place in the quarter finals of this new competition. Standing in their way was West Ham United having a very good academy it meant a potentially very difficult tie to get through for Chelsea.
The teams were very different from both sides, for West Ham their difficulties at first team level meant that in their FA Cup tie against Nottingham Forest their fielded a number of players who would ordinarily played for the U21's and so missed out on this game. This meant that West Ham fielded a team that had little experience at U21 level. Without checking on the stats as i am currently having PC difficulties i do not know how the age comparison of the 2 team stands as Chelsea usually feature young players in the U21's but there was certainly more U21's experience in the Chelsea side for this game.
For Chelsea there was a familiar line up with Beeney in goal and a back 4 of Dabo, Christensen and rare starts for Alex Davey and Adam Nditi. Nathan Ake was playing in midfield again for this game alongside Baker fresh from a first team debut and Loftus-Cheek. Finally there was a goal scoring line up in the forward line with Swift and Boga supporting Brown.
The game was played in very difficult conditions with Manager Drummy admitting that he did not think the game would go ahead and the wind would make things difficult for both teams. The opening exchanges saw things fairly even with West Ham chasing down the defenders which nearly resulted in disaster when Beeney saw a kick closed down but the ball only went out of play. New first team debutant Lewis Baker would shortly after have a really good chance with a free kick just outside the box and Baker was very unlucky not to score drawing a top save from the West Ham keeper which would be something of a feature as the game went on.
However it was only 6 minutes into the game before Chelsea would take the lead and it was Lewis Baker again pulling the strings in the number 10 role rather than his usual withdrawn role who fed a neat ball through for Isaiah Brown who fired home hard past the keeper. It was what Chelsea deserved after being the more dangerous of the 2 teams but the lead would not last too long. 10 minutes later West Ham got their equaliser in unusual circumstances. West Ham's right back causing problems down the left hand side of Chelsea's defence hit a ball into the box which Adam Nditi tried to intercept but only succeeded in deflecting the ball towards goal and wrong footing Beeney who could not stop it from going in.
Chelsea would continue to push forward to once again go ahead and they thought they had when Alex Davey lashed the ball home during a corner only for it to be ruled out for offside. The lead would be restored shortly after that though when Nathan was found by Loftus-Cheek with a nice through ball and Ake with the composure of a striker struck past the West Ham keeper. There would be more chances for Chelsea to extend their lead but would be unable to take them and the score would remain 2 - 1 at half time.
The second half was to prove less dramatic but there would be chances for both sides but with Chelsea having the better of them being denied by a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from the West Ham shot stopper. In the end there would be no more goals and the conditions continuing to make things hard would play a part too. Chelsea would win the game 2 - 1 but they should have won by more and they will now face Arsenal in the quarter finals to be in with a chance of making the semi's.