Chelsea’s Under-21 team started the season well but a poor run of form scuppered their chances of matching the Under-18 team’s qualification to the Elite Group of competition.
A late rally put them in contention but results elsewhere meant that they take their place in Tier One of the post-Christmas format; the second of three groups ranked by first-half performance. Winning the group will allow them a chance at winning the national title, but it’ll be a tough ask against a solid group of opponents.
Dermot Drummy’s lads get 2013 underway on Thursday when they host Fulham at Cobham; a re-match of a fixture played just before Christmas when the Blues ran out 3-0 winners. They then travel to Everton in a fortnight before hosting Middlesbrough in the second Under-21 game to be played at Stamford Bridge this season.
Three of the six home games are scheduled to be played at Cobham, with just two at Brentford’s Griffin Park. All live Chelsea TV coverage is pending, but with less than half of the first 12 games televised, many fans have already cancelled their subscriptions.
The full fixture list is as follows:
Thursday 10th January – Fulham (H), 7.05pm, Cobham
Tuesday 22nd January – Everton (A), 7pm, Southport FC
Friday 25th January – Middlesbrough (H), 7.05pm, Stamford Bridge
Sunday 3rd February – Sunderland (H), 12pm, Griffin Park
Monday 11th February – Blackburn Rovers (A), 7pm, Leigh Sports Village
Friday 15th February – Aston Villa (H), 7.05pm, Griffin Park
Friday 1st March – Fulham (A), 7pm, Craven Cottage
Sunday 10th March – Everton (H), 2.30pm, Cobham
Monday 18th March – Middlesbrough (A), 7pm, Riverside Stadium
Sunday 31st March – Blackburn Rovers (H), 12 noon, Cobham
Monday 8th April – Sunderland (A), 12 noon, Academy of Light
Monday 15th April – Aston Villa (A), 7pm, Villa Park