Chelsea Academy: Cup Run Continues
The tail end of the season is upon and fixtures are piling up and the squad in light on numbers, there are league games to be rescheduled and an FA and European trophy is up for grabs. A perfect description of where things are currently with the first team but the above description also fully fits with the goings on at academy level too.
Whilst the first team could only manage to earn themselves a replay in the FA Cup this week, the U18′s did book their place in the semi final with a hard fought win over Derby County at Pride Park. Having only recently played Barcelona at their footballing game, it was a different challenge altogether for the young blues this time around. Derby are a decent side and will have done their homework on Chelsea. A physical game was played out with Chelsea sprinkling in some brilliance to try and make things happen for them.
Even though this is a young team who can play some scintillating football they are also able to mix it up and whilst the physical nature of the game disrupted the flow Chelsea were able to cope with it and eventually make their chances count. Adi Viveash knows his team and has the confidence to change things up when needed but this time the changes were forced upon him, a serious injury early on to Reece Mitchell which earned the Blues a penalty duly dispatched by Lewis Baker meant Kiwomya moving central and Dabo coming on to play on the right. On the stroke of half time a further injury this time to right back Andreas Christensen meant more changes, Dion Conroy came on to play centre back with Dabo moving to right back and Ake moving to left back and Nditi moving onto the wing.
The changes, although tough for Chelsea, were coped with and the midfield influence of Baker, Swift and the exciting Boga create enough chances to win the game, many of those chances fell to Alex Kiwomya who should have scored more but he eventually made the chances count and finished well with very little time left on the clock.
The reward for that hard fought win is a semi final match against Liverpool, the game will be played over 2 legs with the first leg at Anfield and the second will most likely be played at Stamford Bridge. Here are the extended highlights of the Derby game:
At U21 level there was a league game to deal with at home to Everton on Monday afternoon. A stretched squad meant debut starts for Dion Conroy and Kevin Wright at Centre back and right back. Everton fielded a fairly strong team with players like Duffy, Barkley and Vellios. The game was a fairly even affair, but the damage was done for Chelsea with a very decent goal. A cracking shot from outside the box left Blackman with no chance as the ball found the top corner of his goal.
Chances came for both sides and Chelsea tried to push for a equaliser, particularly when Barkley was sent off for lashing out at Alex Davey with a hand but the goal would not come for them despite a few decent efforts by Todd Kane near the end who was moved up to right wing. Highlights of the game are here: