Academy Week: Big European Win
This week the Chelsea Academy once again saw a full fixture schedule with the U18's, U19's and U21's all in match action a...
This week the Chelsea Academy once again saw a full fixture schedule with the U18's, U19's and U21's all in match action and there were some big games in there and some very big results as well that continue to highlight the level at which Chelsea academy players are now at.
The week started as usual with the U18's in action and this time they were away to Tottenham which always proves to be a tricky fixture and this time was no different with the Chelsea boys having to come from behind twice but ultimately winning the game 4 - 2.
The team consisted of Bradley Collins, Josh Grant, Fikayo Tomori, Ali Suljic, Jay Da Silva, Ruben Sammut, Mukhtar Ali, Kyle Scott, Charlie Wakefield, Tammy Abraham and Miro Muheim with the bench as Jared Thompson, Jake Clarke-Salter, Ike Ugbo, Faiq Bolkiah and Isaac Christie-Davies.
Tottenham started out the stronger team and would have taken the lead earlier were it not for a last ditch challenge by Grant. A stray pass gave possession away to Spurs and they worked the ball well forward with some quick passing to eventually work the shot which came off the post but it was a Tottenham player who reacted quicker to put the ball in the net.
Chelsea reacted well though and almost got a quick goal back when Abraham headed onto the bar following a Chelsea corner but that was not to be. That would be how it would stay until half time but the second half started with a bang when Kyle Scott won the ball back on the edge of the Tottenham box with some good pressing and the Spurs defender brought Scott down in the box and the ref awarded the penalty. Tammy Abraham stepped up and hit it hard and low to the right but the keeper guessed right and saved well and Chelsea were denied again.
Chelsea would get their equaliser though and it would be Abraham with the goal when a great cross in from the left by Da Silva was met by Abraham who headed well past the keeper, the size difference between Abraham and Da Silva in the celebration afterwards was quite amusing also. Tottenham would then again take the lead, a free kick on the edge of the Chelsea box was headed home well by the Spurs number 6 without much of a challenge from close range and Chelsea then had all the work to do again.
However that is exactly what they did and put the pressure right on Tottenham straight away and Miro Muheim got the team back level with his second goal in 2 games when he received the ball on the edge of the box, worked the space well and fired across the keeper into the bottom right hand corner. Chelsea were now the team in the ascendancy and soon took the lead with some quick and crisp passing being worked wide right to Grant who crossed into the box and Abraham running in rose above everyone to head the ball past the keeper.
Chelsea would eventually put the seal on the win with Tottenham pushing to get an equaliser Chelsea again won the ball in midfield with good pressing and they were away on a break with the ball played through to Abraham who did well to keep the ball and eventually working the ball to get the shot off and past the keeper for a hat trick. Once again a very impressive win for the U18's against tough opposition.
Next up was the U21's who were away to Leicester with the team setting up with Mitchell Beeney, Todd Kane, Alex Davey, Ola Aina, Fankaty Dabo, Jordan Houghton, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alex Kiwomya, Lewis Baker, Jeremie Boga, Isaiah Brown and the subs as Charlie Colkett, Kasey Palmer, Charly Musonda, Billy Grainger and Reece Mitchell. For their part Leicester fielded a fairly strong side with some senior experience in their with the likes of Mark Albrighton and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
Chelsea started off well and were passing around well and almost opened the scoring after some good passing throughout the forward line mostly involving Alex Kiwomya and Lewis Baker and the ball eventually found its way to Jordan Houghton in the box but when taking his shot he was stretching and could not get enough on the ball to find a way past the Leicester keeper.
Leicester were the next side to cause problems when a well worked break almost put the Leicester forward through the ball was cut out however the sweeping clearance fell to a Leicester player who trip to chip it over Beeney in the Chelsea goal and nearly pulled it off but the ball came off the bar, even then the danger was not away and were it not for Dabo being on the spot there would have been an easy finish for Leicester.
Chelsea then again had a big chance when a ball forward by Alex Davey was won and nodded down by Lewis Baker of all people to Isaiah Brown who hit a terrific shot at goal but was close enough and at a god height for the keeper to get good hands to it and push it wide. It would be Chelsea and Brown that would break the deadlock and in spectacular fashion too. Brown picks the ball up almost on the half way line and drives towards goal running through 2 players and then cutting in to the left once he is just outside the box now running across the goal he then hits a tremendous strike which the keeper has no chance with and Chelsea had the lead.
In the second half Leicester would get themselves level once again. A well worked short corner routine saw the ball eventually hit towards the far post and Leicester won the header which was headed back across goal where Taylor-Fletcher was unmarked and he poked the ball over the top of Beeney and into the back of the net. Chelsea's best chance to win the game fell to Kiwomya who following a pass from Boga found himself with space on the edge of the box, with a defender closing him down rapidly he took the shot which unfortunately was well hit but flew over the bar.
The game finished in a draw which Chelsea maybe will feel that could have got more from but it was a tough game and Leicester pushed them all the way.
Lastly before the senior team took on Sporting Lisbon the U19's counterparts went head to head. Whilst this fixture was considered an easier one for the senior team for the U19's it was a far harder prospect as Sporting have a very good academy indeed and would prove a very stern test for our youngsters. As it turned out that was not the case and Chelsea romped away with a 5 - 0 win.
The team for the game saw a few first appearances at this level and a strong attacking line up too with the team being Jared Thompson, Fikayo Tomori, Ola Aina, Andrea Christensen, Jay DaSilva, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Charlie Colkett, Charlie Musonda, Tammy Abraham, Domonic Solanke, Isaiah Brown with the subs as Jake Clarke-Salter, Charlie Wakefield, Alex Kiwomya, Nathan Baxter, Ruben Sammut, Kyle Scott, Isaac Christie-Davies.
Chelsea started the game very lively and when Domonic Solanke chased down the keeper and he took a heavy touch Solanke pounced and got in front of the keeper and to the ball, the keeper proceeded to do a poor imitation of a defender and bundled Solanke over and the penalty was awarded. Charlie Colkett was the man to step up and he hit a terrific penalty low and hard giving the keeper no chance and gave Chelsea a one goal lead.
Chelsea's pressing game was causing Sporting all sorts of problems and leading to mistakes, Chelsea were punishing those mistakes and none more so than Charly Musonda who got the second goal after a loose ball was fed to him and he hit an absolute bullet into the bottom left hand corner past the keeper.
The third was just as impressive, Musonda and Colkett tying the Sporting defenders in knotts following a short corner before Colkett hit the ball across the box and found Tammy Abraham who made no mistake in firing the ball home to give Chelsea a surprising 3 - 0 lead but a fully deserved lead on the balance of play.
It would be four before half time too, Abraham this time turning provider, jinking and twisting over the right hand wing and eventually working the space to hit a hard low ball across the box which everyone missed but fell to Domonic Solanke who had the simple task of tapping home from about 4 yards.
The fifth and final goal would come in the second half and it would be Tammy Abraham who would once again get the goal. A lovely cross field ball from Christensen found Abraham in space who took the ball down well and ran towards the box, he then out muscled the defender and found space to shot which was from a very tight angle but he curled it around the keeper and found the net, a lovely goal to finish up the goal scoring.
At the start of the day there was no way anyone was going to predict that Chelsea would be 5 - 0 winners in this game and without seeing the full 90 minutes of this game it is hard to know how much was down the quality of Chelsea and how much was down to the lack of quality for Sporting but Chelsea got the win and like last season in this competition Chelsea have a 100% record so far in the group stages.