U19's and U21's Season Review
As always seems to be the case now the season for the U19's and the U21's has been one of...
As always seems to be the case now the season for the U19's and the U21's has been one of success. It ended in another trophy and a top 3 finish in the league. In this article we will look at the 3 competitions Chelsea were involved in through these age groups and then take a look at the keys statistics for the season.
UEFA Youth League:
For those who do not know this is only the second season that the UEFA Youth League has been running, last year it was won by Barcelona. In format it is similar to the senior counterpart, the Champions League, and in the group stages it is an exact mirror. The groups are the same for the U19's as they are for the seniors. Once out of the group stage it becomes a knock out competition the difference to the Champions League being that the games are only played over 1 leg either home or away and then the Semi Finals and the Final are played at a neutral venue over a 3 day period.
In the group stages we had a group that consisted of Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. In the group stages the only points that Chelsea would drop would be in the away game against Schalke and it would be the only game that Chelsea did not win. They scored an incredible 24 goals and only conceded 3 in the 6 games of the group. That included beating Maribor 7 - 0 away from from and beating Sporting 5 - 0 and 6 - 0. Some very impressive results.
In the first knock out game Chelsea were put up against Zenit St Petersburg and would have the game played at home. It would prove to be a pretty straight forward game and they dispatched them 3 - 1 in the end. In the quarter finals it was Atletico Madrid that were to be out opponents, again were would be lucky enough to be drawn at home, this game was not as comfortable but they would still win the game by 2 goals.
That led us into a 3 day event where the Semi Finals and Finals would all be played and Chelsea were up against Roma in the Quarter Finals. In the end it proved to be a very comfortable game, one that Chelsea showed all their qualities and ran out 4 - 0 winners to set up a final against Shakhtar Donetsk, a game that Chelsea would be firm favorites for. The final was won by Chelsea 3 goals to 2 but in truth it was a far more comfortable game for Chelsea than that and they were deserved winners.
In the end it was a competition that Chelsea dominated from start to finish and I don't think there was any team that would have stopped this team winning the trophy this season. Now they have the difficulty of defending the trophy next season. To add to the impressive nature of the win Domonic Solanke was also confirmed as the top scorer for the competition.
Premier League International Cup:
This was a new competition for this season and the idea was to give teams a more European type of fixtures so teams from across Europe were selected to take part. There would be a group stage where each team would face off only once and then onto the knock out rounds.
In Chelsea's group was Borussia Monchengladbach, Porto and Norwich. Chelsea started their campaign against the German side and played out a 1 - 1 draw, a game in which Chelsea never really got into their groove. The next game however was much more like Chelsea and against tricky competition in Norwich they won the game 5 - 0. The last game in the group against a decent Porto side was a difficult game but Chelsea came out on top 2 - 1 winners, Porto would eventually go on to be finalists. The next round Chelsea would face local rivals Fulham, as we have come to expect from these teams it was a high scoring game and it was Fulham that ended up the victors by 4 goals to 3 and would see the end of Chelsea's run in this competition.
Eventually it would be Manchester City that would go on to win the competition beating Porto 1 - 0 in the final.
This season was a very mixed campaign for the U21's with very good run's of wins and then some very poor runs of defeats. Chelsea were defending Champions this season and were hoping to retain the title and at the very least put up a fight for the title as is now expected.
In the end Chelsea finished the league in 3rd place 5 points behind Manchester United and 1 point behind Liverpool. Manchester United it must be said used the U21's league to regularly field senior players for fitness such and Ashley Young, Rafael, Falcao and Robin Van Persie. In a 22 game season Chelsea won 10, drew 5 and lost 7 scoring a total of 39 goals and conceding 27.
As i said it was a mixed season for Chelsea, they started the season strong by not losing a single game in their first 8. In the February to April period however there was a run of 5 games where Chelsea did not win a single game and it was that period which ultimately cost Chelsea in this season, the performances were just not there and nothing was going right for them. It looked like Chelsea would still turn things around with a run of 3 straight wins but with the title in their sights and a chance to win the league they couldn't keep up the pace and did not win any of their last 3 games.
In the end it was not a wholly disappointing season, Chelsea finished in the top 3 which is a respectable finish however the feeling is that they could have done better in certain games and gone on to win the league. Chelsea's aim for this competition is to fight for the title and they were still in it right up to the last 3 games. Domonic Solanke finished second top scorer in the league this season with 13 goals.
5 Players featured in all 10 games of the U19's campaign: Ola Aina, Andreas Christensen, Charlie Colkett, Izzy Brown and Jake Clarke-Salter
Only Christensen and Brown played every minute of every game.
Domonic Solake was the clear top scorer with 12 goals, Charlie Colkett was second with 5.
Izzy Brown was the top assist maker with 5 and Christensen and Solanke were second with 4.
Jordan Houghton was the top appearance maker this season with 22 appearances, Ola Aina and Fankaty Dabo were second with 21 each.
Dom Solanke was the top scorer this season with 14 goals well ahead of Tammy Abraham with 5.
Izzy Brown was top assist maker with 6 ahead of Charlie Colkett with 4.
Chelsea players actually scored 11 goals less in total than last season.