Chelsea’s Development Squad suffered a first league defeat since September as they went down 4-3 to Manchester City at Aldershot’s EBB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Brahim Diaz’s hat-trick did the damage as, despite mounting a comeback from an early two-goal deficit courtesy of Charly Musonda and Josimar Quintero, they suffered a second-half sucker punch with a dubious penalty awarded by Premier League referee Kevin Friend, and a fourth from Isaac Buckley-Ricketts ensured Simon Davies’ Citizens ran out winners despite Mason Mount’s late third.
Adi Viveash picked one of his more experienced teams of the season so far, with Ola Aina and Charly Musonda released by the first team squad for duty rather than involvement in the FA Cup tie at Wolves, whilst Todd Kane continued his comeback from injury at right-back. Both teams featured plenty of familiar faces from the last two FA Youth Cup Finals, whilst the two sides could meet in the showpiece occasion once again later this season following this week’s Semi Final draw.
Hot off the heels of the youth team recording a resounding 13-0 win at Cobham earlier the same morning, the slightly-older young Blues did not get off to quite as auspicious a start, finding themselves two goals down inside the opening ten minutes. Brahim Diaz was responsible for both strikes, firstly finishing with aplomb after a driving run from captain Rodney Kongolo went unchallenged, before then tucking home at the far post to meet Aaron Nemane’s cross from the right.
Unbeaten in the league since September though, this isn’t a Chelsea side that takes defeat easily, and – slowly but surely – they worked their way back into the contest. Kane made an important tackle on Jadon Sancho to keep City within arm’s reach, and chances then began to fall their way. Musonda reduced the deficit in fortuitous fashion as Duhaney’s attempted clearance of Charlie Wakefield’s cross rebounded off him and into the back of the net, whilst Musonda then almost found Ugbo with a cross only for Tosin Adarabioyo to clear from under his own crossbar.
Diaz shot over looking for his third, then Musonda – the best player on the pitch in the first half – struck the post after a smart one-two with Quintero. Ugbo might have done better with a chance created by Aina as Chelsea ramped up the pressure, and they got their reward four minutes before half time when Musonda and Quintero worked a short corner routine that ended up with the unfortunate Duhaney flicking a header into his own net for 2-2.
After such an action-packed first half, the second was a far more cautious and cagey affair with each team happy to sit back and wait for their opponent to make a mistake. Musonda and Fernandes exchanged half-chances whilst Nemane wasted a good moment after escaping from Chalobah’s shackles, but beyond that there was relatively little incident of note.
Wakefield was disappointingly forced off early having suffered an injury to the same hamstring that kept him out for the last couple of months of 2016, and fortune would continue to go against the hosts when referee Kevin Friend awarded a penalty to Man City for an alleged handball against Chalobah, with the ball played against the defender from a yard away without actually even appearing to strike his arm at all.
Still, Diaz stepped up to complete his hat-trick from the spot and challenge Chelsea to once again come from behind to get something from their afternoon’s work, but perhaps still distracted by the controversial penalty decision, they conceded again. Chalobah stepped out without Colley going with him, allowing substitute Buckley-Ricketts to exploit the space in behind to full effect, lashing low and hard past Collins to surely put his team out of sight.
Colley’s dalliance on the ball looked to have allowed another sub in Denzeil Boadu to make it five, but the Swede was let off the hook by his captain as Collins stayed big and patient to make a good save one-on-one. It was the sort of moment that showed the game was up for Viveash’s boys. Mount came off the bench to score his ninth of the season across all age groups, converting Dujon Sterling’s cutback from the right, and Sterling himself headed over right at the death as it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat for the first time in ten PL2 matches.
They’ll look to bounce back this coming Friday away to Arsenal, the last team to beat them in the league until today, in a match rearranged multiple times from its originally scheduled date in mid-January.
Chelsea: Collins, Kane (Sterling 45), Colley, T.Chalobah, Aina, Sammut, Wakefield (Maddox 66), Scott, Ugbo, Quintero (Mount 64), Musonda
Subs not Used: Thompson, Christie-Davies
Goals: Musonda ‘14, Quintero ’41, Mount ‘89
Booked: Chalobah, Kane, Scott
Manchester City: Grimshaw, Duhaney, Humphreys, Adarabioyo, Francis, Smith, Nemane (Buckley-Ricketts 64), Kongolo, Diaz (Nmecha 79), Fernandes (Boadu 64), Sancho
Subs not Used: Oliver, Muric
Goals: Diaz ‘7, ‘9, ‘73 (pen), Buckley-Ricketts ‘76
Booked: Nemane, Grimshaw