Brazilian forward Lucas Piazon made a first appearance in the blue of Chelsea yesterday afternoon as Adrian Viveash’s Under-18 team took on Arsenal in a friendly at the Emirates Stadium.
Choosing to operate with a much younger squad than their hosts, Viveash’s charges put in a strong performance but ultimately lost 1-0 to a first half goal from England youth forward Zak Ansah.
With the Premier Academy League on a scheduled weekend off due to half term school holidays in the UK, the clubs agreed to a friendly following the Arsenal vs Stoke first team clash.
Arsenal approached the Blues after having been requested to find a way to keep supporters in the stadium for longer due to public transport disruptions in the area.
Ultimately only a few hundred stayed to watch what was apparently thoroughly entertaining fayre, and featured 17 year-old Piazon in an attacking midfield role.
The ex-Sao Paulo youngster has been in England training with his new team-mates since early September after it was agreed that he should spend a period acclimatising to his new environment before his move is made official in January. Due to FIFA regulations, he is unable to feature competitively until his 18th birthday in the new year.
Piazon featured alongside 16 year-old Burkinabe winger Bertrand Traoré, who has also thus far been precluded from partaking in academy league football.
Still a schoolboy having missed the cut for a scholarship this summer by less than a week, the highly-rated left-sided midfielder recently made his full international debut for Les Etalons and could be a surprise feature for Paulo Duarte’s side in January’s African Cup of Nations.
Fellow Under-16s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alex Kiwomya, Islam Feruz and Dion Conroy also played and held their own for much of the match. Viveash shuffled his pack for the second half and handed more players the opportunity to play in one of the country’s finer stadiums, including highly-rated Under-15 forward Jeremie Boga.
Team: Blackman, Kane, Pappoe (c), Conroy, Nditi, Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Piazon, Feruz, Traoré, Kiwomya
Subs Used: Killip, Gordon, Bangura, Nkumu, Seremba, Affane, Osmanovic, Boga