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Chelsea U21 drawn against Arsenal U21 in EFL Trophy Round of 16

A London derby for our dev team

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Forest Green Rovers v Chelsea U21 - Papa John’s Trophy - Round Two - The New Lawn Stadium Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

After beating Forest Green Rovers in the first knockout round of the EFL Trophy, the Chelsea Development Squad will take on our counterparts at Arsenal in the Round of 16, as per the draw made earlier today.

Incidentally, these are the last two development sides left in the competition, which is largely contested by third and fourth division senior sides. Pretty great! The tie will likely take place in early January.

This will arguably be the sternest test yet for Andy Myers’ young charges, with Arsenal currently third in the Premier League 2 table, while we sit in an unusually low 10th position. The Gunners’ main dangerman is centre forward Falorin Balogun, who has 16 goals and 2 assists this season (although there is a possibility that he could head out on loan in January), while their main creative outlets are right back Ryan Alebiosu and attacking midfielder Omari Hutchinson.

Chelsea have had an otherwise mediocre domestic season, with 20 goals scored and 28 goals conceded — most of them from silly individual errors — in 14 games. While the likes of Harvey Vale & Co. do possess the quality to best this Arsenal side on a given day, we’ll need to be at our absolute best. Let’s hope the boys can get the job done!

In some transfer news, Chelsea have been reportedly monitoring Cambrian & Clydach player Joe Thomas, as per Wales Online. The 19-year old plays in the Welsh second-division and mostly features as a right wing back. Chelsea’s interest in Thomas makes sense since we don’t have a natural full back or wing back in the youth ranks at the moment, with Dion Rankine, George Nunn, Lewis Hall, Brodi Hughes and Xavier Simons having all filled in.

Alongside Chelsea, the likes of Swansea City, Manchester United, Manchester City, Cardiff City, Fulham, Southampton, Tottenham and Everton have all shown interest.

Meanwhile, Chelsea-target Arsen Zakharyan could be heading to Everton. The Premier League side could be signing the Dinamo Moscow midfielder for €10m, as per Russian outlet Meta Ratings.

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