Academy week: Boga puts on a show
For the first time this season there was a full schedule of academy football with games played at...
For the first time this season there was a full schedule of academy football with games played at U18', U19's and U21's levels. As always there was plenty of goals and good football and on the whole good results all round.
The week started off last Saturday with the U18's taking on London rivals West Ham at Chelsea's Cobham training ground. The fixtures between these 2 teams are always tight games and neither team can claim to have the upper hand over the other and this game was no different.
The team for this game was as always pretty young put one that is already becoming a familiar sight. The team was Bradley Collins, Josh Grant, Fikayo Tomori, Jake Clarke-Salter, Jay DaSilva, Ruben Sammut, Isaac Christie-Davies, Mukhtar Ali, Kasey Palmer, Kyle Scott and Tammy Abraham with the subs as Charlie Wakefield, Miro Muheim, Jared Thompson and Cole DaSilva.
The game eventually finished in a 2 - 2 draw with Chelsea getting off to a good start when Tammy Abraham showed excellent ability to lose his man and power into the box and once at the byline put the ball into Kyle Scott who was running into the box who had a simple finish to give the blues the lead. West Ham's equaliser which game in the second half was something a little special, a soft clearance fell to the West Ham number 8 on the edge of the D and he hit it on the half volley and it flew into the top corner giving Collins no chance.
Chelsea once again took the lead again with more good work from Abraham, receiving the ball in the middle of the pitch he showed good strength to hold off his man and turn and hit a good ball wide to Charlie Wakefield who was in space down the right hand side who then drove forward and hit a good ball into the middle which found Abraham who had made the run in and he finished well past the keeper. Unfortunately Chelsea would not hold onto their lead and conceded again late on when a through ball found the West Ham striker one on one with Tomori who got twisted and the forward hit a shot which went under the body of Collins who will be disappointed he let that one in.
In the end it was a game which Chelsea should have seen out but a decent enough result against a good team.
Next up was the U21's who had a league game away to Everton, there were some changes to the team with none of the senior players of Baker, Christensen and Ake involved due to first team commitments it meant a team of Mitchell Beeney, Todd Kane, Alex Davey, Ola Aina, Fankaty Dabo, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jordan Houghton, Charly Musonda, Jeremie Boga, Isaiah Brown and Domonic Solanke. The subs for the game were Charlie Colkett, Kevin Wright, Ike Ugbo, Billy Grainger and Charlie Wakefield.
In a tough away fixture this group of players would once again show their quality and came away with a very impressive 2 - 0 win. Chelsea's first goal came from good work down the left hand side from Brown who hit a cross in which found Boga on the edge of the box and he took a touch and then hit a wonderful striker past the Everton keeper.
If you thought that strike was impressive then the second goal also scored by Boga was incredible, picking the ball up on the left hand touchline Boga done his usual jinking and twisting to get away from 3 players and run inside the field, he laid it off to Brown just before an oncoming defender got to him and ran on and got the ball straight back from Brown, he then beat one man and took another touch to work the space and then shot across the keeper into the bottom left hand corner. It was a typical Boga goal, an incredible piece of skill and a great shot to finish it off.
Chelsea would have to hold off Everton in the second half and nearly shot themselves in the foot when Beeney mis controlled a back pass and then fell over trying to keep it in touch but luckily the Everton forward could not score and the ball went wide but it was a big blunder from the Chelsea keeper to present the chance. But they would hold out and keep a clean sheet and come away with a great 3 points which keeps up their 100% win record so far in the league.
Finally i was the turn of the U19's to get their first outing of the season in the opening game of the UEFA Youth League in a home game against Schalke, the team that we beat twice in the group stages last season but knocked us out of the competition at the quarter final stage. The team was Bradley Collins, Fikayo Tomori, Ola Aina, Andreas Christensen, Jay Da Silva, Charlie Colkett, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Charlie Musonda, Domonic Solanke, Jeremie Boga and Isaiah Brown. The subs were Jake Clarke-Salter, Kasey Palmer, Alex Kiwomya, Jared Thompson, Ruben Sammut, Tammy Abraham and Ike Ugbo.
Last season Chelsea won every single one of their group games and they started off this campaign in fine fashion overcoming the visitors by 4 goals to 1. It was a performance of the highest standard and showed just the quality that this group of player actually has. The first goal was route one, a ball over the top by Solanke to Brown and Brown done well to bring the ball under control and poke it past the keeper. It was a route that was tried again and again and caused the Schalke defence a lot of problems, clearly something worked on in training. Schalke then got one back in unusual circumstances, Colkett lost the ball in midfield and Schalke were on the attack a ball across the box saw the ball run loose and an attempted clearance by Aina cannoned off the oncoming forward and went straight into the goal.
Chelsea very quickly got their dominance over the game back and got the lead again with one of the best goals you will see this season, Loftus-Cheek put in an excellent challenge on the penalty sport and came away with the ball 3 player immediately closed him down but he squeezed through all three of them and kept going, he then beat another man in midfield and then another to put Chelsea well away, Ruben then laid the ball off to Charlie Musonda who drove down the left hand side and spotted the run of Domonic Solanke at the far post and Musonda drove a wonderful ball across to Solanke whose first touch was perfect and then he finished past the keeper, a great goal and Loftus-Cheek's part in it was extraordinary.
From then on it was all Chelsea and the third goal again came from Loftus-Cheek winning the ball well in midfield this time and driving forward to lay off the perfect pass in front of Brown who on a fairly tight angle hit the perfect shot across the keeper and inside the far post, another well worked goal. There was then a penalty scare for Chelsea when Colkett stuck a leg out and a Schalke player running onto the ball went over but the Schalke player was booked for diving and no penalty was given.
The final goal should have been a hat trick for Brown when a wonderfully whipped free kick by Colkett was sent in at the far post it found it's way to Brown whose contact could only send it to the far post, the ball bounced off the post straight at Aina who only had a simple tap in to the make the game 4 - 1 for Chelsea. From then on Chelsea were in cruise control and just biding their time to take their chances the main remaining action came when Schalke had a man sent off already on a booking having come on a substitute the Schalke number 12 then took out Alex Kiwomya as he was burst through down the right hand side and a second booking was the only possible outcome.
Chelsea would then see out the game in complete comfort and secure an impressive win in the first game of this competition. The highlight of this game was the performance on Loftus-Cheek in midfield. This is him at his best and he is unstoppable when he plays this way at any level, the problem at the moment is these types of performances are few and far between, if he can make them more regular then the sky is the limit for this young man.