Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James seem to have completed their shifts for Chelsea’s U23 side on Friday night without much fuss or scary moments, but certainly a few flashes of skill as the Blues beat Brighton & Hove Albion, 2-1.
Their performance, beyond not getting injured or re-aggravating an injury, was not all that important, but it’s always a fun to see players of a higher caliber put on a show at lower levels.
Nineteen minutes in, a cross-field ball from Reece to Callum — who had already dribbled by Brighton players enough to command space — was controlled well and slipped to Henry Lawrence who, in fairness, did the hardest bits himself.
By halftime, there had been enough good moments from Hudson-Odoi to put together a decent highlights package for the break, which I very much enjoyed. The trademark quick feet, the acceleration, as well as the affinity for clipping a variety of passes into the box and into dangerous areas were on solid display already. Callum was subbed off in the 61st minute.
Reece had very little to do since Chelsea dominated so much of the possession for his 45-minute shift, but he looked light and eager. At one point he decided to hang out in the left back position near Callum, and the two toyed with Brighton a bit. He also stopped a counter just past the halfway line with a difficult tackle he made look simple, trotting away with possession before heart rates could even heighten.
Rising star Tino Anjorin, who replaced Hudson-Odoi, got a vital touch that led to a goal for a 2-0 Chelsea lead in the 73rd minute (Marcel Lewis got the final touch). Brighton would score in stoppage time, but after some silliness with Chelsea players keeping the ball from Brighton players for a bit, only seconds remained anyway and it was much too little, much — much — too late.
As long as nothing pops up in Callum or Reece’s post-match recoveries, this should be a giant step toward them joining the first-team. Forty-five minutes for James, a bit of a show in an hour’s worth of work from Hudson-Odoi, a 2-1 win, and the Development Squad remains unbeaten, and top of the league — job done.
The six-match unbeaten run to start the season is the best by a #CFCDev/U21/Reserves team since 2000, when John Terry, Jody Morris, Jon Harley, Eidur Gudjohnsen and others helped Mick McGiven's side to 8 wins and a draw from their first 9 matches.https://t.co/4ge7otzr1v— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) September 13, 2019