We’re set for the latest edition of Academy Day as we take on AFC Wimbledon tonight in the second round of the League Cup, with Mauricio Pochettino already promising that “four or five young guys from the Academy” will make an appearance.
So it’s doubly unfortunate that this match will not be broadcast. Anywhere.
Yes, that’s right. In the year of our Lord TikTok 2023, we’re stuck with radio coverage only for a Chelsea game. By my count, the last time this happened was in 2016, for a match against Bristol Rovers, also in the second round of the League Cup. That was 19 months after the previous such occasion, which was one of the weirdest, most shocking results in our history: (current Wrexham boss) Phil Parkinson’s Bradford City, then in the fourth division, coming from two goals down against the Premier League leaders at the Bridge to win 4-2 in the FA Cup third round.
Who knows what strange things might happen today without the bright lights of TV cameras?
Date / Time: Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 19.45 BST; 2:45pm EDT; 12:15am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Tony Harrington (on pitch); no VAR until later rounds because reasons
Forecast: Pleasant evening with a light breeze
On TV: nope
Streaming: Talksport 2 radio (UK); Chelsea TV (audio commentary only, int’l)
Chelsea team news: Our injury situation hasn’t really improved, and all those who were getting close to returning are still just getting close to returning. And all those who are not close are obviously still not close. And those who are fit might be due a well-earned rest.
Thus the need for some Academy standouts to join the party — though last night’s U23 match in the EFL Trophy also complicates things (Alfie Gilchrist among those starting) — alongside those who haven’t featured much yet this season (such as Diego Moreira, Ian Maatsen, and Bashir Humphreys, just to name a few). Young striker Deivid Washington will surely join as well should he be allowed to. Speaking of which, new backup goalkeeper singing Djordje Petrović has not been cleared, so Robert Sánchez will keep his place in goal.
AFC Wimbledon team news: Other than a friendly in the summer of 2014 (featuring Mo Salah at wing-back of course, because Chelsea), this will be our first meeting with the reborn Wimbledon football club, which rose from the ashes of Wimbledon FC, or as they are now called, MK Dons.
Since their rebirth Wimbledon have risen as high as the Tier 3 midtable (i.e. League One), but last season, they finished just two spots above the relegation zone in League Two. They’re off to an unbeaten start this season however, with two wins from their first five league games and a late comeback win against Championship side Coventry City in the first round of this competition. Former Brighton prospect — settle down, Todd! — James Tilley leads the way with four goals.
Previously: We played Wimbledon 30 times prior to their controversial (to say the least) move to Milton Keynes, The last of those was back in early 2000, but of course we have to do the obligatory Zola flick video instead.