It was a rare confluence of events, which basically ensured that for six straight hours on Saturday, there was nothing else on but Chelsea football. All three of Chelsea’s official squads — the U18s, the U23s (i.e. the Development Squad), and of course the first-team — were in action, and it was action like none of us have ever seen before. Literally.
The youngest were up first, kicking off just past 11am local time at Cobham. It had been a busy week for the U18s as they clinched the South sectional title of the U18 Premier League last weekend at Leicester with a 3-0 win, then went back to Leicester on Wednesday for an FA Youth Cup tie (1-0 to the good guys this time, with both teams fielding stronger lineups than the Saturday prior), and then finally hosted Brighton yesterday. Due to these exertions, not to mention the fact that (the first phase of) the league was already won, head coach Jody Morris did not actually field his strongest side, which makes the 13-0 scoreline all the more impressive. As if 13-0 scorelines needed any excuse to be more impressive!
And it could’ve been far worse. As Morris said after the game, Chelsea missed a hatful of chances in the first half alone. In the end, no fewer than three players notched hat-tricks: Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Luke McCormick, and Charlie Brown, who actually had four in just 30 minutes off the bench. Conor Gallagher, Harvey St. Clair, and Cole Dasilva chipped in with one each.
The last player to hit four for the youth team was a certain Miroslav Stoch back in 2008, but the trio of hat-trick heroes accomplished something not seen since the late 1950s, when Bobby Tambling and Barry Bridges ruled the Academy pitches. Those two went on to score almost 300 goals combined for the club, so that’s not a bad precedent to try live up to.
You can watch the all the goals from this
game slaughter over on Chelsea TV or about half of them on the official Facebook page.
The 13 goals of the U18s game were followed by 7 in the U23 contest between Chelsea and Manchester City. Unfortunately, Chelsea did not get all the goals in this one; we did not even get the majority of them. City twice built two-goal leads, but while Adi Viveash’s charges managed to recover the first one, we fell short of doing so a second time. Mason Mount’s 90th minute goal would only prove a consolation.
Despite the scoreline, a few individual performances stood out, perhaps none more so than Charly Musonda who reminded everyone that he’s far too good for this level. A goal and an assist for the Belgian wonderkid. He did play the full 90 minutes as he builds his fitness to Antonio Conte’s liking.
Conte said that he Musonda is having specialist physical training. In short, sounds like he is bulking him up for English football. #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 17, 2017
Ola Aina also played the whole game, at left back, while a certain Todd Kane played the first half as he continues his recovery from a torn ACL suffered last year. G’wan, Toddy!
Good to be back at it today. Shame about the result but another 45 mins under my belt. pic.twitter.com/ZJqHeCIpeh— Todd Kane (@Toddy_Kane) February 19, 2017
After all those goals, the two scored belatedly by the senior side was almost just a drop in the bucket. But they did matter the most, since they meant that Chelsea advance to the FA Cup quarterfinals and remain on course of a couple trophies this season.
And thus, after six hours and goal-to-goal action, we could finally take a quick breather. What a day!