Saturday saw pre-season get underway at Chelsea with action for both their Under-21 and Under-18 teams, and there was plenty to talk about across the board.
A total of 43 players featured across the two teams, with some known new faces joined by some unknown ones, and an emphatic victory for the younger generation to kick things off.
Adi Viveash’s Under-18s hosted Torquay United at Cobham and ran out 12-1 (yes, twelve) winners in a match played for the most part in heavy rain.
The goals were evenly split between the first and second half elevens, with Jordan Houghton, Walter Figueira (twice), Jeremie Boga, Ismail Seremba and Joao Rodriguez netting before the break, and George Cole, Isak Ssewankambo, Charly Musonda and Chike Kandi with a hat-trick adding their names to the lengthy scoresheet.
Rodriguez is a Colombian attacking midfielder who spent two months on trial as an Under-16 last season and has reportedly signed, as was first revealed here at TheChel back in February.
Musonda, meanwhile, is an Under-16 for the coming season but is expected to play for Viveash’s team with regularity. He’s been joined by his older brothers Tika and Lamisha in Chelsea blue, and they both featured for Dermot Drummy’s Under-21 squad at Northwood FC in the afternoon.
Sam Walker captained a more recognisable first-half team which included Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore, as well as the newly-named forward Adam Coombes (formerly Phillip, having now adopted his mother’s maiden name), who spurned three or four excellent chances to score in a match that would finish goalless.
Amongst the ten substitutes (Ben Gordon’s injury prevented a full replacment service) were the two elder Musondas, as were another pair of African-born brothers.
Goalkeeper Vincent Angban and his younger brother Victorien played 45 minutes alongside Islam Feruz, John Swift, Lewis Baker and new first-year scholar Andreas Christensen.
Vincent is a 27 year-old Ivorian international of two caps and has represented the Elephants at the Olympic Games, but is only believed to be at the club in order to secure the services of his younger brother.
Eighteen year-old Victorien featured alongside Souleymane Coulibaly at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2011 and grabbed the attention of the usual elite, but despite a rumoured move to Liverpool it appears as if the forward-turned-defensive midfielder (as he was here) has joined the European Champions instead.
Both the Angban and Musonda brothers (Charly aside) will now head to Austria with the rest of the Under-21s for a training camp in Obertraun, where they’ll play 1860 Munich next weekend, whilst the Under-18s host Arsenal at Cobham on Friday and Bristol City 24 hours later.
Under 18s vs Torquay (First Half): Ben Killip, Fankaty Dabo, Sam Bangura, Ali Gordon, Kevin Wright, Jordan Houghton, Jesse Starkey, Jeremie Boga, Ismail Seremba, Joao Rodriguez, Walter Figueira
Under 18s vs Torquay (Second Half): Mitchell Beeney, Nortei Nortey, Jonathan Muleba, Dion Conroy, Ambrose Gnahore, Isak Ssewankambo, George Cole, Tom Howard, Charly Musonda, Reece Mitchell, Chike Kandi
Under 21s vs Northwood (First Half): Sam Walker, Archange Nkumu, Alex Davey, Nathan Aké, Aziz Deen-Conteh, Conor Clifford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Clifford, Milan Lalkovic, Bertrand Traore, Adam Coombes
Under-21s vs Northwood (Second Half): Vincent Angban, Tika Musonda, Andreas Christensen, Nathan Aké (Alex Davey 67), Adam Nditi, Victorien Angban, John Swift, Lewis Baker, Lamisha Musonda, Amin Affane, Islam Feruz