Bridge Banter: Cup dream not over for Chelsea - the FA Youth Cup that is
Chelsea’s European adventure is over for another year after they were beaten by an impressive Atletico Madrid side at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
But there’s still FA Youth Cup glory to dream about.
The first leg of the final against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Monday ended with a 3-2 victory to the Whites.
But Chelsea’s youth team always perform well at the Bridge and Monday night’s second leg will be close.
It’s a chance to assess the next generation, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho paying youth goalie Mitchell Beeney the ultimate compliment by pulling him from the squad which faced Fulham so he could be third standby for the Atletico game.
Bradley Collins deputised. Others to watch for?
Captain Ruben Loftus-Cheek, an imposing midfielder; Jay Dasilva, the smallest man in the team – like a primary school player who’s wandered on to the sixth formers’ pitch – but a mighty atom who packs a phenomenal shot; and Izzy Brown, a right-side forward with good pace and an impish style.
For Fulham, sturdy midfielder Solomon Sambou impressed, while Moussa Dembele needs no introduction, having already made an impact at senior level.
Wednesday’s 3-1 aggregate defeat to Atletico was painful, especially as the Blues had taken the lead in the tie with a Fernando Torres goal before the interval. But Mourinho was gracious afterwards.
Atletico squeezed in an equaliser on the stroke of half-time, and Chelsea never really recovered.
The second half lacked the grit the Blues showed at Anfield in last weekend’s 2-0 win – one of the stand-out results of the season, leading to hearty chants of ‘Have you ever seen Gerrard win the league?’
People ask why so much fan venom is directed at Steven Gerrard.
The reason is simple. Blues supporters had to endure 20 years of the Kop chanting ‘Have you ever seen Chelsea win the league?’ and this is payback time.
Could there still be other twists in the title race?
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