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Spain vs. Germany, Round 2 / Chelsea U18 Update / Wednesday Open Thread

Today is Wednesday, April 24. This is your open thread.

Going in for the kill.
Going in for the kill.
Dennis Grombkowski

Germany ... blitzed ... Spain in yesterday's Round 1. It was shocking, it was amazing, it was historic. Will we have more of the same today? Probably not. But it should be fun nonetheless. I have no idea for whom I shall be rooting, but this could very well end up being another 2004 situation, where the winner of Mourinho vs. not-Mourinho, for better or worse, ends up being a front-runner for the Chelsea job.

In other news, Chelsea notched up a rare U18 Premier League victory, away to Bolton Wanderers yesterday. After winning their initial group in the fall, the Baby Blues have been struggling in the Elite Group of Phase 2. Just three wins from eleven have left them stranded in 6th place with Crystal Palace & Bolton the only teams below them, placed safely outside the running for the U18 Premier League title playoffs.

Why so bad, you might ask, for the FA Youth Cup finalists? Well, bad is a bit relative, especially since the main goal of the academy is development. With so many of the top tier talent on loan, the best of rest have been mostly playing in the U21 Premier League as well as the NextGen Series, meaning that Chelsea have ended up fielding very young teams - and not just at the U18 level, but pretty much at all youth levels. Which, actually, is quite fantastic. All the players are getting a chance to measure up against older opposition, and still get results as we've seen in the knockout competitions. Chelsea good at knockout competitions? There's a shocker!

The winner at Bolton came from none other than Islam Feruz. It was just the second time that Feruz has suited up for an U18 league match. In those two, he has two goals. He is 17 and is a first-year scholar. The assist for the winner at Bolton came from none other than Lewis Baker. It was the first time that Baker has suited up for an U18 league match. In this one substitute appearance, he has one assist. He is one day shy of his 18th birthday.


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