Chelsea’s Under-18s recorded their most impressive win of the season to date on Saturday as they handed out a 5-0 drubbing to West Bromwich Albion at Cobham.
The Baggies experienced travel woes on their way to the match and the subsequent delays may have affected their performance to degree but Chelsea were on their game throughout and were good value for the result. Swiss winger Miro Muheim got things underway with his first goal for the club and the points were safe before the break as Charlie Wakefield and Tammy Abraham extended the advantage.
Abraham notched a second before the hour mark and Faiq Bolkiah capped the afternoon’s work with one of his own in a second half where, but for the intervention of goalkeeper Alex Palmer, the final score might have even more humbling for West Brom.
Manager Joe Edwards made two changes from the team that drew with West Ham last time out as Muheim and Wakefield were handed starts in place of Isaac Christie-Davies and Kasey Palmer. The rest of the side retained their places, meaning Brad Collins, Josh Grant, Fikayo Tomori, Jake Clarke-Salter and Jay Dasilva made up the back five with the impressive pair of Ruben Sammut and Mukhtar Ali anchoring the midfield in front of them.
Muheim and Wakefield started in the wide positions with Kyle Scott behind top scorer Abraham and the front four between them would terrorise their visitors from the opening minutes, combining for four goals and four assists.
The first came after a tight and patient start in which WBA looked well-drilled and disciplined in their positional approach whilst pressing effectively from the front. A quick turnover in possession however allowed Abraham to gallop clear down the right side and gave him time to pick out the unmarked Muheim at the far post; the newcomer doing the rest with a confident finish low into the bottom corner.
Ali could and probably should have doubled that leads moments later as more good work from Abraham on the same side concluded with a clear opening for the midfielder but he turned his effort inches wide. It set the scene for a half of football completely and utterly controlled by the hosts with Collins having nothing to do in the home goal.
Instead, Sammut headed straight at Palmer and Dasilva fired wide after coming in from the left to good effect, and Muheim could easily have added a second himself as he poked just over the bar at the end of a lovely move involving Abraham and Sammut. 2-0 was inevitable though and duly arrived when Scott fed Wakefield inside the box and he in turn skipped past a lunging challenge before drilling low past the goalkeeper with the aid of a slight deflection.
Albion, understandably to some degree, still looked as if they were suffering a malaise induced by their problematic commute but Chelsea weren’t in a sympathetic mood and took a three-goal lead into the break with a superb team goal. Passes were racked up as possession was maintained for some time before Wakefield drove into the heart of a packes group of red shirts and released Abraham, who skipped around Palmer and tapped in to round off a move you’ll almost certainly see replayed more than once this season.
The half time interval usually sees struggling teams come out with a renewed vigour and an increased tempo but WBA weren’t able to bring that to the table as Chelsea simply picked up where they left off. Scott, who had conducted a magnificent attacking display, got to the byline and cut back for Abraham to guide the ball perfectly into the far corner to make it 4-0 after 57 minutes, at which point substitutes arrived.
They too were eager to get in on the act and whilst Isaac Christie-Davies was twice denied by top-drawer saves from Palmer, Bolkiah was more fortunate as he slalomed through half-hearted challenged before watching the beleaguered young stopper spill his strike into the net.
The Blues declared at five despite further positive moments from Ali (twice) and schoolboy sub Iké Ugbo, and West Brom were at least able to mount a few attacks of their own but Collins was alert to save from Tahvon Campbell whilst everything else was snuffed out by the excellent Tomori. His contribution simply underlined that on this day, Chelsea were superior in every department and can look forward to a testing trip to Tottenham next weekend with momentum behind them.
Chelsea: Collins, Grant, Tomori, Clarke-Salter (c), Dasilva, Sammut, Ali, Scott (Bolkiah), Wakefield, Muheim (Christie-Davies), Abraham (Ugbo)
Subs not Used: Thompson, Suljic
Goals: Muheim, Wakefield, Abraham (2), Bolkiah
West Brom: Palmer, Fitzwater (Gregory), Hallahan, Gannon, Cleet, Barbir, Scrivens (Pritchatt), Sweeney, Campbell, Smith (Miller), Wright
Subs not Used: Moran, Field