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Chelsea Under 18s embark on another FA Youth Cup campaign this evening (Monday) when they travel to face Charlton Athletic in Round Three. It is a game live on Chelsea TV. The clash will be our second meeting with the Addicks youth team this season, after comfortably beating them 3-0 at home back in October.

On that occasion, Marko Mitrovic opened and closed the scoring, firstly with a tap in from close range before converting from the penalty spot.

Sandwiched between those two goals was a wonderful strike from left-back Billy Knott, who sent a curling, left-footed shot screaming into the net from the edge of the box.

However the side's recent form has been a different story from that fixture. They go into tonight's game on the back of three consecutive defeats, the last being a 2-0 away loss to Arsenal.

Youth team manager Dermot Drummy (pictured below) isn't too worried about recent results though, as games in the league focus more on the team's overall performance rather than the final score.

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'The boys actually did really well in the last game,' says Drummy.

'We controlled the game for long periods and we definitely had the better of the second half, so I wasn't disappointed.

'We know it is a strong squad we are going to Charlton with and I really think that if we stick to our game plan and we take our chances then we'll be okay.

'The 2-0 defeat won't knock the side's confidence because the goals against us were poor errors and they know that. We played some good football against a team that are top of the league, so all we need to do is cut out those errors.'

While most youth football is about development, the FA Youth Cup has a different feel about it. The prestigious nature of the long-established competition, its knockout format and the few chances any player has to win it, ensures that.

Charlton will be a tough first hurdle as Chelsea look to go one better than two seasons ago when we reached the final for the first time in 47 years.

'We watched them in the previous round against Woking and Charlton played well,' reports Drummy.

'But we also saw some areas where Woking were penetrating and we should be able to use that to our advantage.'

Helping with the task tonight is likely to be reserve team member Jeffrey Bruma, who will be playing in his third Youth Cup campaign. He played centre-half in every Youth Cup game during last two season's campaigns.

'The competition always allows us also to bring down some players who have been playing regularly in the reserves and pit our wits against some of the best teams,' adds Drummy.

'And the tie against Charlton is quite interesting for us, because we have played them already in the league and we had a good victory against them. We'll go and attack again; we won't go to sit off the ball.'

Billy Knott is suspended following a recent red card but in midfield will be a first year scholar who's no stranger to the Cup. Josh McEachran (pictured top) came off the bench in two out of the three games Chelsea played in it last season and has been making an impact this year.

The 16-year-old's abilities have not gone unnoticed higher up with Carlo Ancelotti calling him to train with the first team.

'We should win if we all play well and play as a team,' predicts McEachran.

'I didn't play in that game against Charlton earlier in the season but I watched the team and they did really well, they basically played them off the park, so hopefully we can do that again.'

Charlton's game against Woking ended 3-1 with striker Tamer Tuna hitting a hat-trick. Ola Sogbanmu pulled one back for Woking minutes into the second half, but Tuna's third put the game beyond reach. Charlton are coached by former Chelsea player and Academy coach Damien Matthew.

'We have a good enough defence to handle their attacking play,' notes McEachran. 'We also have a good enough side to score a lot of goals past them.'

Conor Clifford (below) is also expected to make an appearance in midfield for Chelsea and the Ireland Under 21 international is aware this fixture could be different from our earlier victory in the league.

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'That win gives us confidence but it's a lot different in the Youth Cup because of the atmosphere and they're going be ready to really play.

'It's a brilliant experience for us all though, and a great buzz playing in a big stadium in front of a big crowd. A lot of the lads haven't experienced that so it'll be good for us. We just can't wait to get started and get playing.'

Kick-off is 7pm and the venue is The Valley. Ticket prices are £5 for adults and £1 for children.

Should the team win tonight, they will face Nottingham Forest away in the next round.

Live coverage of the game begins on Chelsea TV from 6.30pm, as Jason Cundy, who represented the Blues in the Youth Cup, offers expert opinion alongside FA Cup winner Scott Minto inside the studio before exclusive previews from The Valley offer a closer look at the sides ahead of kick-off.

And once the result has been decided, Chelsea TV will be the only place to hear directly from Dermot Drummy as he discusses his side's performance.

Please Note: The U18s' league game away to Charlton will now be played on Friday 12 February, 1.30pm kick off.

Source: Chelsea FC

Edited by EskWeston
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FA Youth Cup is always an exciting time for the Youth team these days with the prospect of really going on a run... We have the luxury of putting out a very strong side tonight full of players with lots of reserve team experience. The only downside is that Billy Knott is suspended which is a blow, but going on current selections by Drummy i am sure the starting 11 is going to be:

...........................Haxhia..........................

B.Clifford....Bruma....Mills.....Deen-Conteh

.........................Clifford............................

.............McEachran.....Sala.......................

..Tore................Mitrovic.............Lalkovic..

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FA Youth Cup is always an exciting time for the Youth team these days with the prospect of really going on a run... We have the luxury of putting out a very strong side tonight full of players with lots of reserve team experience. The only downside is that Billy Knott is suspended which is a blow, but going on current selections by Drummy i am sure the starting 11 is going to be:

...........................Haxhia..........................

B.Clifford....Bruma....Mills.....Deen-Conteh

.........................Clifford............................

.............McEachran.....Sala.......................

..Tore................Mitrovic.............Lalkovic..

A very strong team but the front 3 worry me as none of them hardly pass the ball. However, Charlton should be a straight-forward tie and we should win by a few goals, the Arsenal team we just lost to put 6 past them. Based on available players that's probably as strong as it gets.

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A very strong team but the front 3 worry me as none of them hardly pass the ball. However, Charlton should be a straight-forward tie and we should win by a few goals, the Arsenal team we just lost to put 6 past them. Based on available players that's probably as strong as it gets.

Yes i agree, it is definately as strong as it gets for us. I see your point about the front 3 but that is something that Drummy needs to make sure they work on, Lalkovic and Tore are skillfull enough to give excellent supply to Mitrovic, hopefully they can work well together because they are all very talented players.

The midfield again looks nice and strong, Sala and Clifford need to be dominating that midfield area and drive the team on. Having Bruma involved is a big plus point.

Charlton shouldn't be too much of a problem for this team but there has been a lot of inconsistancy again this season and they will need to put in good performances all round.

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Goals from Jeffery Bruma and Marko Mitrovic gave Chelsea a deserved win as this season's FA Youth Cup campaign began with a technically accomplished performance. It was only in stoppage time that Charlton pulled one back, the Blues Under 18s having scored in each half.

Bruma (pictured), who made his first team debut in October, was playing his first youth game of the season and the side was a mix of reserve team and youth team regulars. The level of cohesion should improve if a lengthy cup run can be put together.

Bruma scored the first and was involved in the second. At the other end of the pitch there was not too much to worry the Dutchman and his colleague in defence in what was on the whole a dominant performance. When Charlton did launch it high, schoolboy Daniel Pappoe, the other centre-back, was usually up to the task.

A few Charlton chances did come from Sam Walker in the Chelsea goal who struggled first-half before a steadier second period. The keeper was only just back from nine weeks out injured, taking over from Aldi Haxhia in goal.

Chelsea began the game with plenty of possession. The first true chance to fire on target was lost when a corner made its way through a crowd but squirmed under the feet of Bruma at the far post. Charlton would not be so lucky when the centre-back came forward later in the half.

Charlton had shown nothing by way of a threat in the first 10 minutes but then Walker dropped a regulation catch and Tamer Tuna, maybe caught by surprise, failed to get any pace on his shot towards an unguarded net and Chelsea were able to clear. A huge let off!

Marko Mitrovic, scorer of two goals in the league fixture between these sides, headed a corner on target and then left-back Aziz Deen-Conteh, in for suspended Billy Knott, advanced strongly but misdirected his cross.

With the next attack on 18 minutes, the young Blues forced a save out of Charlton keeper Jack Binks. This time it was Gokhan Tore who crossed from the left and Josh McEachran tricked himself into space before shooting well.

Conor Clifford saw a long-range effort also saved but before that, Walker's problems at the other end continued. Twice he survived interceptions as he tried to play the ball out from his area.

The opening goal came on 27 minutes and it was simple but deadly in its execution. From a free-kick out to the left and midway inside the Charlton half, Milan Lalkovic flighted the ball towards the far post and Bruma rose to head home.

Chelsea were playing a 4-3-3 shape rather than the more usual diamond but despite less bodies in the centre of the park, there was no lack of ball for the likes of Conor Clifford and McEacharn to drive the team forward. It was McEachran's early ball that released Sala for a shot the keeper could only push out. Mitrovic on the follow-up went down under Yado Mambo's challenge but the ref ignored a hopeful and brief penalty claim.

Mitrovic then fired straight at Binks after Deen-Conteh had steamed through the middle. The Swedish centre-forward should have made it a lot harder for the keeper.

When Charlton won a rare corner, Walker dropped his attempted claim but survived once more, the first shot blocked by a forest of legs, a follow-up attempt very well parried by Walker himself. The 6ft 6in keeper then had his best moment so far when he saved Tuna's well-struck 38th minute shot as the Chelsea defence was for once carved open.

Sala, who had earlier blazed over an unguarded net (not knowing he was flagged offside) was most definitely on-target four minutes before the break as Binks tipped the shot round the post.

Charlton, who stuck to their task throughout, were an improved side immediately after the break and could have done better with one clever corner.

Then just before the hour the game saw the pace and power of Tore down the Chelsea left. His centre found Conor Clifford but under pressure, the shot was too tame. Then Lalkovic squared from the other flank just inches ahead of Mitrovic. Chelsea were now pressing hard for the second goal.

The insurance of a bigger lead would have been most welcome at that point. On 67 minutes, Charlton went far too close for comfort when Harry Pell shot wide from the edge of the area.

The Blues went straight up the other end and Lalkovic's over-hit cross dropped onto the top of the crossbar.

There was a poor miss by Mitrovic after a long ball had caught the home defence on temporary leave and Sala, who had run well with the ball all night, drew a near-post save from the keeper before finally Chelsea scored that second.

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This time there was no messing, nor missing by Mitrovic as he slammed in from a couple yards out. Bruma again had too much spring for the Charlton defence, heading down a ball in from the left for the striker to kill off the Robins on a wintry night.

Charlton did show resistance in stoppage time. Having seen a shot deflect wide for a corner, the ball in was cleared to full-back Jordan Cousins. He shot low and it too took a deflection and went in under Walker's foot.

'I'm very pleased,' said youth team manager Dermot Drummy. 'It was a proper cup tie, end-to-end with missed chances. I thought Charlton did really well and if you take your chances the game opens up, if you don't it becomes more tense.

'The lads have not played together a lot and Jeffrey Bruma showed a great attitude coming down from the first team squad. Aziz Deen-Conteh had a great game and we deserved the result.

'We went 4-3-3 because of the personnel and Gokhan Tore got round the back in the first half. You just have to be careful that the midfield keep their shape and at times we lost it but for the players we have I still think this is the best shape.'

Chelsea will play Nottingham Forest away in the fourth round.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Sam Walker; Billy Clifford, Daniel Pappoe, Jeffrey Bruma, Aziz Deen-Conteh; Jacopo Sala, Conor Clifford ©, Josh McEachran (Aliu Djalo 72); Milan Lalkovic (Bobby Devyne 75), Marko Mitrovic, Gokhan Tore.

Charlton (4-4-2): Jack Binks; Jordan Cousins (Stephen Camacho 63), Carl Jenkinson ©, Yado Mambo, Connor Morris; Liam Bellamy, Freddie Warren (Jonathon Anderson), Harry Pell, Joe Carter (Adebayo Azeez h-t); Tamer Tuna, Lewis Perkins.

Source: Chelsea FC

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So the FA Youth cup started again last night, the programme started with a reminder of the run to the Final 2 years ago, and what a team we had that season: Rhys Taylor, Nana Ofori, Ben Gordon, Patrick Van Aanholt, Jeffrey Bruma, Michael Woods, Sergio Tejera, Jacob Mellis, Gael Kakuta, Miroslav Stoch, Morten Nielson....... fantastic team, virtually all are playing first team football somewhere at the moment.

Back to the current crop and we have another fantastic group of players ready to make an assault on the FA Youth cup and they overcame hurdle number 1. Goals from Jeffrey Bruma and Marco Mitrovic sealed the win for Chelsea in a game which tough for them to kill off, the first half was pretty much all Chelsea, played some decent football and created some great chances. Bruma eventually opened the scoring by finding space in the area from a dead ball situation to nod in from 5 yards. There were plenty more chances to win the game none more so than a glaring miss from Jacopo Sala but they couldn't get the second goal.

The second half saw Charlton take heart from only being 1 down and obviously a strong team talk and came out and put under serious pressure. They restricted our attacking potential and created a few of their own. Thankfully the defence stood up to the challenge and kept them out and eventually we got the second, the ball falling kindly to Mitrovic in the area for him to poke home and secure the win. Panic stations was returned in stoppage time when a long range shot took a couple of deflections and found it's way into the goal. But the blues managed to hold on for the win.

Personally, and i may be a little harsh in this, i thought the lads played no-where near up to their standard. Virtually every single player other than those in the back four should have given a lot more. Mitrovic seems to have gone from goalscoring machine to a striker lacking in confidence, Josh McEachran seems to drift through games at the moment without really taking it by the scruff and getting it ticking. The win was deserved but later in the competition when we come up against tougher teams we are going to have to play a LOT better.

Player Reviews:

Sam Walker - Was very relieved to see Sam Walker between the sticks for last nights game, Aldi Haxhia has produced some very poor displays and conceeded some poor goals, he didn't even make the bench last night. Sam didn't have the greatest of games, some shakey moments, but you can forgive him a little after returning from a break. He is still a decent keeper and will have improved greatly by the next round. 6

Billy Clifford - Billy has played in a number of positions for the youth team but last night he dropped into right back. He had a fairly solid game worked hard throughout. Got forward when the oppertunity was there, his tackling was decent also. 7

Aziz Deen-Conteh - Only playing due to the absense of Billy Knott, but Aziz did himself a lot of favours, it would be harsh to drop him now for the next game (even though that is likely to be the case) His defensive play was excellent, he was beaten only a couple of times, very solid. And getting forward he gave some excellent options, 1 time he should have taken the ball further on in a good position, but in general his attacking play was good. 8

Danny Mills Pappoe - Big strong lad which helps him massively. Worked very well with Jeffrey Bruma and they were very solid throughout, not much done wrong. A couple of times he was a little too casual on the ball which he needs to get out of the habbit of doing. But overall another impressive display form Danny. 7

Jeffrey Bruma - Dropping down from 1st team to youth team and the difference in class was obvious. Excellent display from Bruma, dominating at the back, grabbing his goal and making some great runs down the middle, one in particular was top top class. The fact that Bruma can still play for the youth shows how good he is. 8

Connor Clifford - Played at the base of the diamond and was our workhorse in midfield. He was the most active in midfield but strangely not as combative and tenacious as he has been in the reserves and previous games that he has played in this season. Still a pretty solid outing from Clifford. 7

Jacopo Sala - Sala i though put in a good shift, again probably could have expected more from him seeing as he is a player now with a lot of experience compared. Missed a couple of very good chances but overall i think did fairly well in this game. 7

Josh McEachran - A little dissapointed with McEachran in this game, a player of his quality at this level should be a major influence in this game, as it was he breezed through with little cameos here and there and being missing for a lot of the time. We need to be getting a lot more out of him than this, especially if we want him to improve to a higher standard. 6

Milan Lalkovic - Always a willing runner and worked pretty hard, at times maybe overdoing it or taking the wrong option. Again another one who i would have liked to have seen more from and be a bigger inflence in the game. 6

Gokhan Tore - There has been very little seen of Gokhan this season for either youth or reserves. He is a very well build lad who physically dominated his opponents in this game and it was good to see in a winger, he has quick feet and had a good game. Seemed to play better in the second half and created some good oppertunities. 7

Marco Mitrovic - As i mentioned in the report Mitrovic is a player seemingly lacking in confidence at the moment. He got his goal and you could see in his celebration how frustrated he has been. His hold up play at times was very good, but i would like to see some of his old composure back. 7

Kaby Djalo - Was very impressed with him when he came on, seemed to offer a lot more than McEachran who he replaced. Quick feet and got around players to create openings, maybe he has made Drummy think twice about selection for the next games. 6

Highlights to come on Friday, or before if i get the chance..

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i see mitrovic and bruma as great prospects for the future, as well as connor clifford. It would be nice to see someone like Rhys Taylor or Sam Walker to break into the first team in the future, a English bred keeper would make me happy. :)

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i see mitrovic and bruma as great prospects for the future, as well as connor clifford. It would be nice to see someone like Rhys Taylor or Sam Walker to break into the first team in the future, a English bred keeper would make me happy. :)

Keepers are very hard to break through from youth. Rhys is on loan at QPR but getting no game time, which isn't going to help. He is adecent keeper and with enough games could turn out decent. Have not seen enough of Walker to judge but he looks like a good talent.

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Against a limited Charlton side a win was the minimum expectation but I would have liked to have seen a much better display from the team we put out. Esk, I agree with your summary and it was no surprise to me that the front 3 played so separate from eachother. I don't mind fast and strong if it involves playing with your head up. There were so few partnerships linking up on the pitch. I think McEachran's a great prospect but I haven't actually seen a proper decent game from him this year. He'll start next round for sure, it looks like it's got to the stage where it doesn't matter how limp his displays are he won't get dropped as he can produce. He links up well so is better suited to a more withdrawn role but I saw most of his passes going square or back (maybe spending too much time with Butch!!). I think it's a solid team but Kaby's introduction added an element of surprise and invention. Still probably best coming from the bench against tired legs though. I think the main problem was that everyone was already looking at the next round and had dismissed Charlton's threat. Fortunately it didn't backfire and I expect we will see a brighter display next time round against Forest. the worry is we beat them well earlier in the year so I hope we don't fall into the same trap.

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Against a limited Charlton side a win was the minimum expectation but I would have liked to have seen a much better display from the team we put out. Esk, I agree with your summary and it was no surprise to me that the front 3 played so separate from eachother. I don't mind fast and strong if it involves playing with your head up. There were so few partnerships linking up on the pitch. I think McEachran's a great prospect but I haven't actually seen a proper decent game from him this year. He'll start next round for sure, it looks like it's got to the stage where it doesn't matter how limp his displays are he won't get dropped as he can produce. He links up well so is better suited to a more withdrawn role but I saw most of his passes going square or back (maybe spending too much time with Butch!!). I think it's a solid team but Kaby's introduction added an element of surprise and invention. Still probably best coming from the bench against tired legs though. I think the main problem was that everyone was already looking at the next round and had dismissed Charlton's threat. Fortunately it didn't backfire and I expect we will see a brighter display next time round against Forest. the worry is we beat them well earlier in the year so I hope we don't fall into the same trap.

I hope your right and that they will improve for later rounds. But i can't help but think that the performances have not been up to scratch for most of the season. Getting the lads working as a team is the key, we had it down to an art with the team 2 years ago that made the final. Last years game against United was a top team performance too, but come Liverpool it was gone. That is a very good team of players we put out last night, but if we can't get them playing together as a team we won't get much past Forest.

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