Five months after the last game was played, the Premier League have officially declared a winner for the “Premier League 2” competition — i.e. the U23s, the Development Squad (DevSquad), the reserves, whatever you want to call it. (Just don’t call it B-teams, because that would be giving it too much credit and legitimacy and usefulness.)
That said, it’s never not nice to win and winning things is very much a guiding principle of the Academy.
Congrats to the boys, head coach Andy Myers, and the rest of the academy and coaching staff!
“There’s a winning mentality within the Academy which starts from the Under-9s and by the time those players get to Under-23 level it becomes real life as there are leagues and competitions to play for. The last time we won the title at this level was in 2013/14 with Dermot Drummy, I’ve still got the picture up of him holding the cup, and I think winning it this year means a lot for the club as we continue to create a pathway for players.”
-Andy Myers; source: Chelsea FC
Much like Chelsea’s WSL title, there was little debate about the choice of Chelsea as champions once it was decided to award a title. Andy Myers’ U23 side went undefeated through the 18 games played (10 wins) and held a three-point advantage over Leicester City, who were also on 18 games played.
This would mean that Chelsea are crowned #PL2 champions, with Wolves relegated to Division 2. West Ham and Man United will be promoted, with three new clubs joining Premier League 2 in 2020/21. pic.twitter.com/1Lv3rb0qqP— youthhawk (@youthhawk) August 5, 2020
Technically, the title was awarded on a points-per-game basis (some teams had played only 17 games), but Chelsea were first regardless of metric used.
Chelsea's development squad have been crowned Premier League 2 champions!!! pic.twitter.com/wDwsgEPwst— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 7, 2020
As in most seasons, the U23s featured a rotating cast of characters, including turns from kids in the U18s or players in need of minutes from the first-team (Antonio Rüdiger made two rehab starts, for example), but that’s part of the game at that level. Ian Maatsen, Henry Lawrence (now both in Munich with the big squad), Clinton Mola, George McEachran, and Charlie Brown led the way with 14 appearances, while Tino Anjorin scored the most goals with 5. No fewer than 17 different players got on the scoresheet, which is fairly impressive considering we scored 34 goals in total!
Anjorin, Broja, Gilmour, Guehi, Lamptey and Maatsen all made their first-team debuts this season after playing for #CFCDev. Clinton Mola joined Stuttgart mid-season. One or two more might make their bow in Munich. It's a terrific squad and a richly-deserved achievement.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) August 7, 2020
Unfortunately, Chelsea were unable to repeat this trick at the U18 level, where we finished just behind Fulham at the top of the U18 south table (2.35 PPG vs. 2.25 PPG). Fortunately, with Chelsea qualifying for the Champions League next season, our youth are eligible to participate in the UEFA Youth League (U19) as well.