Last Friday, Chelsea's squad of promising youngsters got a swift education at the hands of the slightly older, slightly better, and far more organized Tottenham Hotspur. It was a disappointing start to the U21 league campaign, one that has taken on a slight bit of extra significance now that the NextGen Series has been canceled for this season.
Tonight, Chelsea U21 travel to the South Coast. Traditionally strong, Southampton promises to be another major test having finished fourth in last season's Elite group (where Spurs finished first). They should have plenty of home support as well with free admission to St. Mary's. Thanks to a brace apiece by Omar Rowe and Jake Sinclair (brother of ex-Chelsea Scott), Saints opened their U21 season with a 4-3 win over Liverpool.
Chelsea U21 starting lineup (4-2-3-1?):
Jamal Blackman | Nathan Ake, Alex Davey, Andreas Christensen, Isak Ssewankambo | Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek | Lamisha Musonda, Jeremie Boga, Alex Kiwomya | Isaiah Brown
Substitutes from: Mitchell Beeney, John Swift, Islam Feruz, Fankaty Dabo, Dion Conroy
Southamption U21 starting lineup (4-3-2-1):
Cody Cropper | Matt Young, Jack Stephens, Jordan Turnbull, Matt Targett | Harrison Reed, Jake Flannigan, Corby Moore | Lloyd Isgrove, Omar Rowe | Jake Sinclair
Substitutes from: Chris Johns, Ryan Seager, Fraser Colmer, Jamal Branker, Jason McCarthy
The match is live on Chelsea TV with coverage starting at the bottom of the hour (7:30pm BST) and presumably kickoff following soon after.