Chelsea’s Under-18s produced a remarkable and perhaps record-breaking performance on Saturday morning as they demolished Aston Villa 12-2 at Cobham. The result was all the more staggering for the fact that they found themselves trailing by two goals inside the opening quarter of an hour.
They would swiftly be rendered mere footnotes in an unbelievable fixture that then saw the Blues net six goals in each half. Jeremie Boga and Miro Muheim grabbed hat-tricks, Dom Solanke and Tammy Abraham two apiece with Kyle Scott and Iké Ugbo rounding things off.
Villa surprised many with the manner in which they started, particularly by giving themselves a healthy early advantage. They hadn’t bossed the opening stages by any means but were above all persistent and a few fortunate breaks of the ball fell their way.
First Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was able to bundle his way past Ruben Sammut – playing at centre back – and as the ball ricocheted around the box it landed at the feet of Harry McKirdy, who was duly able to steer a low shot underneath the body of goalkeeper Jared Thompson.
Hepburn-Murphy was then quick to close down Jake Clarke-Salter in possession and the blocked pass landed perfectly for the Villa number nine to slide his team into a 2-0 lead, but that was good as it would get for the visitors.
Solanke had already threatened Dylan Forth’s goal a few times – most notably heading over the bar from close range – but turned provider as he laid the ball off for Boga to slam home from the edge of the box within a minute of Hepburn-Murphy having netted. The Frenchman then combined well with Kyle Scott to fashion a chance for Mukhtar Ali and whilst Forth was able to make a save, it staved off the comeback for a matter of moments.
Play continued to develop and Solanke claimed a second assist when his cross from the left was turned home from close range by the sliding Abraham, converting his thirteenth goal of this still young season.
Less than half an hour had been played by the time the game’s fifth goal arrived. Ali released the red-hot Abraham and although he was denied by the foot of the post, Boga was on hand to gather the loose ball and fire it into the far bottom corner. The goal came at an unfortunate cost as Ali was recklessly taken out in the process of playing his pass and was unable to continue.
Swiss forward Muheim entered in his stead and would go on to play a significant role. Operating at the top of the midfield diamond behind Solanke and Abraham – with Boga dropping back into central midfield – he made it 4-2 in double quick time as he arrived on cue to head home a cutely executed cross from Abraham.
Plenty of additional time was on offer due to Ali’s injury and Chelsea struck twice more before going in 6-2 ahead. Both came courtesy of Solanke, who first swept confidently high into the roof of the net as Abraham slipped him in, and then he connected with Muheim’s inswinging free kick with a sliding effort from eight yards out.
The breathless first half had given way to an interval where everyone could take stock of what they had seen. Villa hadn’t selected a particular young team and nor was it short on talent. Chelsea possessed perhaps the more experienced and physically superior eleven but they were simply able to blow their opponents away with the ruthless manner in which they executed their attacking play.
Once Villa had fallen far enough behind to no longer stand a realistic chance of mounting a comeback their heads understandably dropped somewhat and, at that point, it became a matter of how many Chelsea wanted to score.
Abraham had one disallowed for a marginal offside decision and McKirdy hit the post at the other end but the seventh arrived after Charlie Wakefield, himself playing at right back, nutmegged his man or wide and drove infield before lofting a sumptuous pass to meet Muheim on the opposite flank. He chested it down and volleyed an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
The substitute was the first to complete a hat-trick when he made it 8-2 by reacting quickest to Forth palming Jay Dasilva’s fierce cross into his path and the goals simply kept on coming. Scott, who was terrific in orchestrating everything from the base of the diamond, grabbed the ninth with a thirty-yard sizzler than took a deflection off of defender Rory Hale and skidded past Forth on the sodden wet pitch.
The darkening clouds and heavy rain reflected Villa’s morning and Swedish forward Khaled Abdo was the first to lose his head, escaping with just a booking for lashing out at Scott following a late tackle.
Boga made it ten without reply and the rarely seen double-figures reached when he stuck a twenty-yard free kick away with aplomb. Chelsea manager Joe Edwards completed his substitutions by introducing birthday boy Josh Grant for the latest goalscorer as well as Iké Ugbo for Clarke-Salter in a move that saw Chelsea move to a 3-4-3 formation.
Abraham made it eleven with his fourteenth of the campaign, collecting a cross from the left, spinning and firing past Forth, and Ugbo completed the rout by pouncing on a spilled Isaac Christie-Davies effort and deftly flicking it over the line.
The referee blew up a few seconds shy of full time, the damage long since done. Edwards’ boys remain top of the South Division table and will take their fine run of form to Brighton next weekend.
Chelsea: Thompson, Wakefield, Sammut, Clarke-Salter (c) (Ugbo), Scott, Ali (Muheim), Christie-Davies, Boga (Grant), Solanke, Abraham
Goals: Boga 3, Abraham 2, Muheim 3, Solanke 2, Scott, Ugbo
Aston Villa: Forth, Lyons-Foster, Taylor, Clarke (Prosser), Hale, Suliman, Lewis (Cox), McKirdy, Hepburn-Murphy, Abdo, O’Hare (Humphries)
Goals: McKirdy, Hepburn-Murphy