While the big boys are away, the kids get to play. Inside Stamford Bridge. Cool.
Chelsea do have the early kickoff today, but as prematch entertainment, there's still more football to savor as the under-21 squad resume league play. And as far as filling a couple hours before kickoff, it doesn't get much better than watching Feruz & Co score a few goals.
After the rough start vs. Tottenham, the U21's had righted the ship to impress with three straight wins. Unfortunately, that all came crashing to a halt two weeks ago when they coughed up a two-goal lead at Everton and end up losing 3-2. That result has left the boys in 8th place in the 22-team league, although with one or two games-in-hand on most others.
Today's visitors, Manchester City have had it even rougher with just one win in five, the four points only good for 17th place. While there's no relegation from this year's edition of the U21 league, they are planning on splitting up the 22 teams into two 11-team divisions for next season, with the two initial groups determined by this year's final placements (top 11: division one; bottom 11: division two).
At the time of this writing, the lineup had not been published yet, but I imagine it will consist mostly of the familiar names & faces that we know from previous U21 league and U19 UEFA Youth League matches. Expect Jamal Blackman in goal, with Nathan Ake and Alex Davey anchoring the defense. Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and John Swift should all feature in midfield either as starters of key substitutes, while the forward trio of Isiah Brown, Islam Feruz, and Alex Kiwomya will provide the goals as usual.
On a related note, Jeremie Boga finally made his return from injury yesterday, playing the first half of Chelsea U18's 3-1 victory over Southampton. Yey!
Kickoff is in about 15 minutes; and it's live on Chelsea TV.