The year of our maker 2020 has been like no other year in our lifetime, but for the Chelsea U18s, it was actually 2019 that was the weirdest in recent memory. It was the only one in the last eight years to not feature Chelsea U18 playing in the FA Youth Cup final.
Chelsea had made the final in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 ... deep breath ... 2016, 2017, and 2018 — losing just once (!), in 2013 — but then we stumbled right out of the gate in 2019 (well, December 2018), losing to Manchester United in the third round.
Last night, Chelsea beat Manchester United to advance to the 2020 Final, where we will meet familiar foes Manchester City on Monday night. City, whom we faced (and beat) in 2015, 2016, and 2017, were in the finals in the previous edition of this competition as well, but lost once again, this time to Liverpool.
It’s a bit confusing in having to refer to a 2019-20 competition still being played in 2020-21, but that’s life in the time of COVID-19 for ya. (That’s right, this is the tail end of last season’s competition, which was suspended in March but not actually cancelled!)
In any case, while City cruised past Blackburn Rovers 4-0, Chelsea left it late against United, going through on a solitary second-half goal from striker Bryan Fiabema.
Lewis heads back for Anjorin who sends a lofted pass across midfield which Peart-Harris nods into Livramento's stride whose cross is fired high into the net by Fiabema. Fiabema's goal sends the young Blues to an eighth #FAYouthCupFinal in nine years. #CFC pic.twitter.com/rQOPbJY5vM— amadí (@amadoit__) October 31, 2020
Head coach Ed Brand certainly wasn’t messing around, picking the likes of Myles Peart-Harris, Lewis Bate, Levi Colwill, Dynel Simeu, Henry Lawrence, and Tino Anjorin (who also captained the side) — all players who have already been hovering around the senior side, or in the case of Anjorin, having already made his first-team debut. (Players carried over eligibility from last season, though the likes of Ian Maatsen and Armando Broja couldn’t feature since they’re out on loan now.)
Ed Brand: "Development is always at the forefront of our minds but we always feel that getting lads exposed to games like this and winning things is the best kind of development if they want to play in our first team."— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) October 30, 2020
It wasn’t a dominant win overall, but it got the job done. Onto Monday!