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Chelsea Reserve & Youth Team

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Zoffie   

It's interesting, they're small at first team level but their youth and reserve ranks have a growing number of big, strong players. Part of it is because there's a large and increasing number of second and third generation African/African heritage teenagers in Britain, London especially, and Arsenal are popular amongst the black London community. JET is huge, and has played in all outfield positions for them. At reserve level he's ridiculous, but was off the pace for 30 mins tonight. Got involved and just bounced people off him.

He's not their biggest youngster, Kyle Bartley is taller and on loan at Sheff Utd atm. Chuks Aneke is huge in the u18 midfield, plus Sunu on the wing, and tonight Barazite and Henderson were pretty big too. Then there's the shorter but well-built guys like Deacon, Frimpong, Boateng, Obed, Watt, and Afobe, and then Neita and Monakana in the schoolboys. They'll have you believe they're as good a footballing side around and that's why they win a lot, but a lot of the time they just bully smaller opponents around. Only have to look at Aneke's scoring record this season for justification, he's really not that good.

Chelsea haven't exactly been shy to use the bigger, stronger players throughout the teams over the last few years but if you look at some of our most promising talent - Kakuta, McEachran, Stoch - and the general size of the youth and reserve teams, only Mills Pappoe and Ince really weigh in as bullies. Mitrovic, for his frame, is more finesse-based, whilst I've not seen enough of Prosenik to judge so well. We've adopted a philosophy of smaller, more technically driven players (Ashton, Saville, Lalkovic etc) and Arsenal have gone the other way. Will be an interesting five years or so as they all develop.

Hmm I think Chelsea's approach is better, I say this because it's harder to find a player with both physicality AND technique, and so taking a chance on them as young players at the expense of the really technically gifted smaller players, wouldn't be my preference, but I would make it a point for our 1st team transfer strategy to bring in players who have proven their technicality and also filled out as men, so we have a big teams supplemented with smaller technical players as opposed to the other way around.

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Shame about the result. How was Matic overall ?

I think he had a good game. As usual, he gave the impression of a player who has played at a higher level than reserves. His touch was excellent and he made good use of the ball. I was especially impressed with the way he received the ball. Got on the scoresheet as well which was his first Chelsea goal if I am not wrong.

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hanuma   

Chelsea haven't exactly been shy to use the bigger, stronger players throughout the teams over the last few years but if you look at some of our most promising talent - Kakuta, McEachran, Stoch - and the general size of the youth and reserve teams, only Mills Pappoe and Ince really weigh in as bullies. Mitrovic, for his frame, is more finesse-based, whilst I've not seen enough of Prosenik to judge so well. We've adopted a philosophy of smaller, more technically driven players (Ashton, Saville, Lalkovic etc) and Arsenal have gone the other way. Will be an interesting five years or so as they all develop.

Great post, v.interesting. How many of Arsenal's players are African, and from their 'illegal' processing plants? It seems the biggest difference is that we've gone for high priced European starlets, and they've gone for unknown Africans.

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Juni   

Well it depends on what you mean by 'African', as they mean two things. For example, Emmanuel Frimpong was born in Ghana, and wants to represent them at international level, but has lived in England since age 9 and has played for Arsenal's youth teams. They're not really taken from Africa, they've (or their families) come to England for whatever reason and have been picked up by Arsenal (Aneke, Afobe, Boateng etc).

This doesn't really just apply to them though, it's becoming a common theme. At Chelsea you've got Ofori-Twumasi (Ghana), Deen-Conteh (Sierra Leone), Devyne (Kenya) as definites, and then Mills Pappoe (Ghana) and Chalobah (Sierra Leone) as ones I'm not 100% sure on birth but pretty certain on heritage. Frank Nouble is of Ivorian parentage. As England (even Britain) becomes an even greater, more widespread multi-cultural society, this is going to be the case for an ever-increasing number of players coming through the ranks.

England have named an Under-19 and Under-17 squad this week, and just through those you can see how times are changing:

Under-19s: Nouble (CIV)

Under-17s: Afobe (DR Congo), Aneke (Nigeria), Berahino (Burundi), Chalobah (Sierra Leone), Cofie (Ghana), Pilatos (Angola)

The most recent Under-18 squad featured Medy Elito (DR Congo) and Victor Moses (Nigeria), whilst the Under-16s is harder to get a grip on because of the typically large player pool they tend to work with but Amenku, Fanimo, Sterling (not African, but Jamaican and so Afro-Caribbean) and Nabi have been in recent squads.

It's something I'm really quite interested in, just because of how it's going to shape our footballing culture for the next era.

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Was my first reserve game yesterday and although there was some bright moments (Matic, Borini and Mellis) overall I was very disappointed in our performance. Sure, the pitch did not help one bit (one would thin it woud be better to play at Cobham then on this scrappy surface) but some of our players were clearly over their head. Ofori, Strickland, Gordon and Magnay looked shaky and very much liabilities in defense, and Philliskirk in midfield was largely disappoiting as well. Mellis and Matic ran things from the middle with Matic lasting the 90 mins and Mellis only being really bright for the first 45.

Bridcutt in the anchorrole was strong in the challenge and set the flow from midfield.

Kakuta's performance was very worrying and he had very few brght moments of the game. Perhaps the cold weather and the awful pitch put him off a bit but I really had expected so much more from him.

Borini was very bright but he does lack a natural goalscoring ability. For all the chances, runs, flicks, crosses etc there really isn't much end-product. So far he feels lke a slightly better Di Santo but I doubt if he'll ever make it at Chelsea or the Premier League. He is very pacey but lacks some real strength and finishing ability. He'll need to work on that a lot. That being said I really like his pattern of movement and the runs he makes. But maybe I am being too pessimistic here...

From the team yesterday and from the players normally associated with the reserves it really only is Borini, Kakuta, Mellis, Bruma & C Clifford with any sort of chance at making it at Chelsea.

Then we have Mancienne, Van Aanholt, Bertrand, Stoch and Cork out on loan who may, or may not, make it. Out of these five I feel Cork, Van Aanholt and Stoch are the ones with the greatest chance but with slight reservation from haing seen Van Aanholt and Bertrand too little to really being able to judge them fully.

In the youth team Josh MacEachran is the outstanding prospect but he'll need time to build up his body strength a bit but technically and tactically he is on a very high level already.

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ish   
Ofori, Strickland, Gordon and Magnay looked shaky and very much liabilities in defense,

yep they basically just place holders at the moment, chelsea's first team defense is quite young so no need for great reserve level defenders, the younger level players seem to be the quality defenders at the moment.

and Philliskirk in midfield was largely disappoiting as well.

philliskirk is 18 this year I think and has been moved back to midfield from a striking role, he is a little iffy due to injuries if I'm not mistaken, doubtful for his long term stay at chelsea as well.

Mellis and Matic ran things from the middle with Matic lasting the 90 mins and Mellis only being really bright for the first 45.

not surprising, matic is older then most of the players and used to a higher level, the crappy pitch lets him use his size and height a little bit more due to less ground play. mellis is one of the players that has the possibility of getting far, good player but very incosistent sometimes.

Bridcutt in the anchorrole was strong in the challenge and set the flow from midfield.

I like bridcutt but doubtful on his long term stay.

Kakuta's performance was very worrying and he had very few brght moments of the game. Perhaps the cold weather and the awful pitch put him off a bit but I really had expected so much more from him.

kakuta seems to be getting worse at reserve level, the pitch doesnt suit his game style either. I think he isn't interested at reserve level anymore.

Borini was very bright but he does lack a natural goalscoring ability. For all the chances, runs, flicks, crosses etc there really isn't much end-product. So far he feels lke a slightly better Di Santo but I doubt if he'll ever make it at Chelsea or the Premier League. He is very pacey but lacks some real strength and finishing ability. He'll need to work on that a lot. That being said I really like his pattern of movement and the runs he makes. But maybe I am being too pessimistic here...

wierd you say that about borini's goal scoring, if anything borini used to be JUST a goal scorer, very very good at getting the ball into the back of the net, perhaps they are teaching him to be a more all round forward, is he playing deeper then he used to?? borini also isn't as weak as he appears, from first team games he seems to have good balance under pressure.

From the team yesterday and from the players normally associated with the reserves it really only is Borini, Kakuta, Mellis, Bruma & C Clifford with any sort of chance at making it at Chelsea.

Then we have Mancienne, Van Aanholt, Bertrand, Stoch and Cork out on loan who may, or may not, make it. Out of these five I feel Cork, Van Aanholt and Stoch are the ones with the greatest chance but with slight reservation from haing seen Van Aanholt and Bertrand too little to really being able to judge them fully.

of those listed I'm guessing most will only get a peak into the first team if any, more then likely cork, bertrand and the younger ones will go on loan, mancienne will either play or get sold off.

In the youth team Josh MacEachran is the outstanding prospect but he'll need time to build up his body strength a bit but technically and tactically he is on a very high level already.

c.clifford is young as well, mceachran is good and consistent, lalkovic and tore look explosive as well, tore especially is a level above u18s already. kaby has improved alot since he started and the power forwards all seem to be technically proficient. its still early for quite a few of them since they are boys who might have the technical mastery but with strength and speed comes more cards they can play.

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Juni   

Youth Cup tonight should be good, if not ****ing cold at Watford. Team *should* be

Walker, Clifford, Mills Pappoe, Bruma, Deen-Conteh, Clifford, McEachran, Kaby, Sala, Gokhan Tore, Mitrovic

The only uncertainty/ies I'd have is again, whether Lalkovic gets to start, and whether Ince would play over Bruma. Siding with Jeffrey because he's not played since before Christmas really, and was part of the FAYC team then so should get the nod. Ince unlikely to be ready for 90 mins yet.

Just as a side, it's highly doubtful we'll see Billy Knott play, and there's wider/longer-term issues in his situation which I don't feel comfortable going into detail about until I hear/learn more about it.

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yugam   

Just as a side, it's highly doubtful we'll see Billy Knott play, and there's wider/longer-term issues in his situation which I don't feel comfortable going into detail about until I hear/learn more about it.

He has had a great season so far so I hope you will keep us posted on this.

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