Chelsea’s positive start to the new Premier League 2 campaign continued in impressive fashion on Friday night as the young Blues beat an older Tottenham Hotspur team 3-1 under the Stamford Bridge lights.
A controlled first-half display provided the platform for what was to follow in the second as Jay Dasilva, Isaac Christie-Davies and Fikayo Tomori all found the back of the net to make it two wins from two at home and four unbeaten in total for Adi Viveash’s side, and not even a late Shayon Harrison consolation from the penalty spot could put a dampened on the evening’s events.
Having earned a credible point away to defending champions Manchester United last time out, Chelsea arrived into this one confident and in form, with several of their number having impressed on recent international representation. One amongst them, Joseph Colley, was unavailable for that very reason but he was ably replaced in the heart of the defence by Jake Clarke-Salter, who was playing for the first time in four months in an effort to build up his match-fitness before embarking upon a season-long loan at Bristol Rovers.
He was one of four changes from the visit to Manchester, with Charlie Colkett (also now at Bristol Rovers), Dujon Sterling and the injured Dominic Solanke dropping out in favour of Isaac Christie-Davies, Jacob Maddox and Charlie Wakefield, who led the line in an unfamiliar centre-forward’s role.
In the first of two matches at the first team stadium this month they were keen to get underway and threatened twice inside the opening five minutes; Wakefield’s cross almost picked out Mount, who in turn curled a free kick just wide of Tom Glover’s goal. They made by far the better of the going and, whilst clear-cut chances were at a premium for both sides, the action was firmly in Tottenham’s defensive half.
Tottenham lost full-back Conor Ogilvie to an early injury which resulted in midfielder Zenon Stylianides deputising out of position and the visitors had neither the defensive structure nor the midfield control to prevent Chelsea from playing the game on their own terms. Captain Dasilva had a useful sight of goal when he came in from the left only to drive one tamely at Glover, Mount spun another free kick wide, and Christie-Davies saw his best effort deflected away at the end of a patient and probing spell of possession.
The Blues needed a bit more potency and aggression about them in the final third and that came with Iké Ugbo’s half-time introduction. The 17 year-old has already shown promising development in his early promotion to Under-23 football – particularly in the way he uses his body against opposing centre-backs – and was quickly involved, chesting down a long pass before testing Glover properly at his near post.
Stylianides was struggling against the weight of Chelsea’s options on the right, with Wakefield and Tomori combining smartly for the latter to whip a shot just wide, but the breakthrough came after clever play on the other flank. Josimar Quintero, industrious and intelligent as ever in his role as a midfield destroyer, pulled out a marvellous roulette spin to leave Christian Maghoma confused in the Tottenham penalty area, leading to a foul and a penalty.
With Mount having missed, albeit to a fine save, against Liverpool a fortnight ago, Dasilva took on the responsibility and duly converted from twelve yards to open the scoring. A second wasn’t far away either and, when it arrived, it owed much to the play of Man of the Match Kyle Scott. Striding forward unchallenged for sixty yards on a swift counter-attack, the midfield orchestrator exchanged passed with Wakefield before drawing a save from Glover that merely delayed the inevitable as Christie-Davies stooped to nod home his first goal at this level from a yard out.
At 2-0 ahead and with Spurs not having worked Brad Collins into a sweat all evening, the party tricks began to come out from a Chelsea side with their tails up. Ugbo almost pulled a 25-yard beauty out of the bag only for Glover to match his try with an equally-impressive save, but Mount and Tomori had what it took to add the exclamation point with a third twenty minutes from time. Mount provided the smart backheel in the area, allowing Tomori to calmly steer into the far corner to open his account for the season, having netted six times last term.
Ugbo should have had a late fourth when he collected a sumptuous cross from fellow substitution Miro Muheim and thundered a volley straight at Glover but, although it took them fully 85 minutes to have a shot at goal, Tottenham stole the last word. Ryan Loft trundled his shot wide but Dasilva was adjudged to have pulled Marcus Edwards back in the fifth minute of stoppage time, allowing Harrison to grab a consolation with the game’s final kick.
It was little more than a footnote in the grand scheme of things though as this young Chelsea team – nobody over the age of 19 featured on the evening – looked fearless and full of vigour once again. They now prepare for a brand new adventure as they take part in the Checkatrade Trophy this coming Tuesday, when they travel to Swindon Town to take on what will ostensibly be their first team. With the competition taking the place of UEFA Youth League involvement this season, they’ll be in it to win it.
Chelsea: Collins, Tomori, T.Chalobah, Clarke-Salter, J.Dasilva (c), Quintero, Maddox (Ugbo 45), Scott (Ali 90), Wakefield, Mount (Muheim 72), Christie-Davies
Subs not Used: Sterling, Thompson
Goals: Dasilva ‘55 (pen), Christie-Davies ’61, Tomori ‘71
Tottenham Hotspur: Glover, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie (Stylianides 9), Owens (Oakley-Boothe 65), Maghoma, Walkes, Edwards, Pritchard (Loft 65), Harrison (c), Tracey, Shashoua
Subs not Used: McDermott
Goal: Harrison ’90 (pen)