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Chelsea Reserves V Birmingham Reserves

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Will be intersting to see what sort of team gets fielded this time... The first team players last week offered nothing whatsoever and the kids have looked better.

On the plus side another chance to see Di Santo in action who has been impressive so far! 2 goals in 2 games is impressive considering our reserves can't score for s**t this season :) and his goal last week was very good indeed!

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Chelsea's reserves travel to Birmingham tonight, with another chance to see some of our FA Youth Cup squad in Blues action, live on Chelsea TV.

Following their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Friday, six members of Paul Clement's side will feature in a young Chelsea line-up this evening.

They include Gael Kakuta, who scored a hat-trick in the last round against Port Vale, and caught the eye again at Stamford Bridge on Friday.

Youth team captain Nana Ofori-Twumasi makes his first second string start of the season, after appearing as a substitute earlier in the season against Tottenham. He is joined by regulars Patrick van Aanholt, Sergio Tejera and Miroslav Stoch, with Michael Woods on the bench.

With first team games coming thick and fast, there are no members of Avram Grant's squad in contention this evening, but Argentine Franco Di Santo is again involved. He has two goals from his first two outings in a Blues shirt, against Fulham and Reading.


Fabio Ferreira plays his first competitive game since October after recovering from injury, while his Portuguese compatriot Ricardo Fernandes is on the bench - he has not featured since last March after a serious knee ligament injury.

For Birmingham, forward Cameron Jerome, who scored an important goal in the win at Tottenham in December, starts in attack, while Dutch winger Daniel De Ridder also features.

Left-back Franck Queudrue also starts, in front of goalkeeper Colin Doyle, who was between the sticks at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season, when Michael Essien's thunderbolt gave us a 3-2 win. Defender Rafael Schmitz adds experience at centre-half.

Brendan Rodgers and his side are looking to avenge a 2-0 home defeat against Birmingham back in November, when two second half goals were our downfall.

Michael Ballack's season began that evening with a 45 minute cameo, against an experienced opposition that boasted Radhi Jaidi, Olivier Tebily, Queudrue and club captain Damien Johnson.

A win tonight would see Chelsea leapfrog Tottenham into eighth place, while Birmingham could move into fourth if they take all three points at St Andrews.

Chelsea: Stuart Searle, Shaun Cummings, Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Carl Magnay, Patrick van Aanholt, Jimmy Smith, Fabio Ferreiar, Sergio Tejera, Franco Di Santo, Gael Kakuta, Miroslav Stoch.

Subs: Phil Younghusband, Ricardo Fernandes, Michael Woods.

Birmingham: Doyle, Rutter, Wilson, Queudrue, Schmitz, Joyce, De Ridder, Mutch, Jerome, Jervis, Sammons.

Subs: L Rowe, Sheldon, J Rowe, Hunt, Lea.

The game is live on Chelsea TV, with a 7pm kick-off. Monday Night Live begins at 6.30pm, and features reaction to our FA Cup defeat at Barnsley, with a live phone-in after the game.

Source: Chelsea FC

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An interesting line up, with a few players playing out of position or not in their best position:


Cummings.........Nana-Ofori...Magnay...........Van Aanholt



Ferreira........................Di Santo...........................Stoch

Having Stoch and Kakuta around him will help Di Santo to find some chances to score. Ferreira needs to have a good game as he is one who is rapidly fading into obscurity.

Good to see Ricardo Fernandes on the bench after a very very long lay off with injury, was a player with much promise.

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It hasn't been the best of games to be honest. 0-0 it finished. Kakuta sadly didn't perform well at all but I was impressed by Stoch and van Aarnholt in particular. Very patchy match and neither side deserved to win - 0-0 certainly suited it. Nice for the players to play at such a large stadium though at St. Andrews. Maybe Pizarro should have played ;)

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It was defences on top at St Andrew's on Monday evening as both sides were restricted to a couple of genuine chances each.

Despite the lack of goals, and an easy ride given to both keepers, coach Brendan Rodgers will still take comfort from seeing his all-teenage defence, two of whom were out of position, deal with a Birmingham attack containing first team experience.

It was a young Chelsea side all-round. In a vivid example of the challenges faced by coaches in modern reserve team football, from five first team squad members, including three internationals, last time out, Rodgers this week assimilated five of those who played in Friday's FA Youth Cup semi-final into his starting line-up.

It took until 11 minutes for either side to have a proper sight at goal and when it came, it fell Chelsea's way. A deep cross by Nana Ofori-Twumasi, a figure frequently attacking from right-back in the early stages, had Birmingham keeper Doyle and defender Schmitz in a state of joint confusion.

The weak clearance was taken down expertly by Gaël Kakuta but his follow-up shot rocketed over the bar.

It took an intervention by Chelsea keeper Stuart Searle to prevent a chance at the other end before there was a lengthy break in penalty area activity.

On 26 minutes, a classic piece of Miroslav Stoch wing play saw him cut in off the left side, drift inside two defenders and attempt to catch Doyle out with a long shot that the keeper pushed up and away.

Chelsea were not reluctant to utilise the long pass towards the tall Franco Di Santo up front, but though he showed a few neat link-up touches when moving out wide, the Argentine didn't come close to adding to his two goals in two appearances.

On 32 minutes, Birmingham spurned the best chance of the game so far, Jervis cleverly pulling a cross back towards the penalty spot but De Ridder's shot struck the covering Shaun Cummings when there was plenty of goal at which to aim.

Jimmy Smith had Doyle diving full-length to stop a Chelsea shot after he had combined with Fabio Ferreira, Kakuta having fed the ball into the centre.

The home side threatened with a free-kick three minutes before the break but Jerome couldn't convert De Ridder's ball.

There was a first Chelsea change on 53 minutes and it was a pleasing sight - Portuguese midfielder Ricardo Fernandes (pictured) back after over a year out with a cruciate injury. He came on for Kakuta, the 16-year-old's contribution a fitful one on his second start at this level.

Less pleasant on the eye was a horribly late challenge on Stoch by Jack Rutter, the Birmingham defender lucky to escape with a yellow card.

Stoch, though hurt, was okay to continue to attack with the ball a player he had troubled frequently.

Birmingham, on the break, could have taken the lead had De Ridder kept his 20-yard shot a couple of yards lower after the Dutchman was found by Jerome.

Carl Magnay, after another solid display, became Chelsea's one booking for a sliding challenge as the game entered the final quarter-of-an-hour. The Geordie centre-back would be forced off in the closing minutes with an injury.

Searle, a near spectator since his push out early in the game, was quickly on hand to quell danger after Mutch over-hit a final pass to De Ridder. Stoch, after a penetrating run, could only conjure up a grass cutter shot, straight at the keeper.

With the final effort of the game, Patrick van Aanholt, up from the back, connected well from the edge of the area after a Smith touch but the shot struck a defender.

The result made it four draws in five for the second string, but the wait for a first win since September goes on.

Chelsea Stuart Searle, Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Carl Magnay (Michael Woods 86), Patrick van Aanholt, Shaun Cummings; Gael Kakuta (Ricardo Fernandes 53), Sergio Tejera, Jimmy Smith; Fabio Ferreira (Phil Younghusband 63), Franco Di Santo, Miroslav Stoch.

Birmingham Doyle, Rutter, Wilson, Queudrue, Schmitz, Joyce, De Ridder, Mutch, Jerome (Sheldon 65), Jervis, Sammons.

That's one strong birmingham side.. a 0-0 result actually seems decent..

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Another 0 - 0 result for the reserves!! But to be fair in this game the boys did enough to win the game and actually played pretty well. We had some very very good chances to win the game and unfortunately we didn't take them.

Player Ratings:

Stuart Searle: Didn't have much to do but did what he had to do well, pretty much what you would expect from him. 7

Nana Ofori: A better game than what he had for the youth team on Friday but still some problems. His main problem at the moment is overhitting his passes and his control of the ball. Still a very strong right back though. 6

Carl Magnay: A very solid performance. He is looking more and more comfortable with every game and is growing into a very good centre back. Sometimes is taking too many chances at the back that would normally get punished. 7

Patrick Van Aanholt: This boys is going to be very good. He has adapted so well this season and is becomming better and better with every game, his defending is top class and he is not afraid to make some forward runs too. 7

Shaun Cummings: Played out of position at left back but did very well actually, worked hard and defended very well. 7

Jimmy Smith: Had a couple of good shooting chances but not as dominating in the midfield as you would hope to see from him given his experience over the rest of the team. 6

Sergio Tejera: A very fine display from Tejera. He controlled the midfield well and was not bossed about at all, was strong and controlled. He is learing his game well but playing deeper at the moment and it will benefit him in the long run. 8

Gael Kakuta: Carried on where he left off from Friday and not playing quite as well. Struggled maybe being much younger than anyone else but still showed showed great skills and touches and had the best chance of the game. 6

Fabio Ferreira: Playing again after a long period, Ferreira is a very frustrating player. He has a lot of skills, the way he plays reminds me of Ronaldo in his style. He worked very very hard last night, but he just cannot at the moment beat his man. 7

Miroslav Stoch: It's getting tiring praising Stoch now. If he doesn't get his first team chance soon it is criminal, the boy is outstanding and even though his size is not the biggest he can mix it with the big boys. A constant threat and has the defence shitting themselves when he runs at them. 8

Franco Di Santo: Another very good performance from him. He is playing the lone striker role very well, and although he didn't score this time he worked hard and showed what he is all about again. Hopefully his progress will keep going. 8

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