It’s not quite Robert Lewandowski hitting 30 goals before Christmas — not quite! — but Chelsea U18 forward Armando Broja was already on 20 goals heading into Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup opener against Huddersfield Town.
A little over a minute later, he was on 21. A little over an hour later, he was on 23, leading the way in the 4-0 win for the Baby Blues.
(Catch the highlights on the official Chelsea website and 5th Stand App.)
Here's a quick match report as Chelsea are back on the FA Youth Cup trail again. #CFC #FAYouthCup #CFCU18 https://t.co/DAyPwjw3Mx pic.twitter.com/Rw9iMKu2fE— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) December 18, 2019
After last season’s dramatic 4-3 elimination in the opening round, a game that featured another hat-trick — from Mason Greenwood, recent savior of Manchester United — it was a welcome return to form for Chelsea, who had won a record-tying five FA Youth Cups in a row before last season’s first-hurdle exit.
And speaking of hat-tricks, Broja joins Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke in putting up three-spots against the Terriers at this level, while also joining Mason Mount, Iké Ugbo, and Martell Taylor-Crossdale in hat-tricks during this decade of FA Youth Cup domination.
#CFCU18 FA Youth Cup hat-tricks this decade:— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) December 18, 2019
Dominic Solanke 2
Tammy Abraham 2
Chelsea U18 head coach Ed Brand named a strong lineup for the most glamorous competition left on his schedule, with first-team fringe players Ian Maatsen and Tino Anjorin (captain on the night) both getting starts, alongside other names to watch for the future, like Valentino Livramento, Myles Peart-Harris, or Lewis Bate.
The win underlines Chelsea’s dominant season so far at the U18 level, which sees the unbeaten Baby Blues topping the table (9 wins in 11), two points ahead of local rivals Fulham U18 in the Southern Division. A hat-trick from 16-year-old Joe Haigh wasn’t even half the total goals scored by the club in an 8-0 win over the weekend, for example.
But the name making headlines after last night is Armando Broja. Of Albanian descent (and representing Albania at youth international level) but born in Slough (Berkshire), Broja has been with Chelsea since before age 10, signing his first professional contract last summer. Counting Didier Drogba and Ronaldo (the true Ronaldo) among his idols, Broja has exploded onto the scene after just 2 goals in 23 appearances last season.
Keep it up, big man!