Development Squad: Milton Keynes 0-4 Chelsea

Chelsea’s Development squad booked their place in the last sixteen of the Checkatrade Trophy with a resounding 4-0 victory at Milton Keynes on Wednesday evening.

With manager Joe Edwards fielding a team including first-team squad players Michy Batshuayi, Eduardo, Kenedy, Kyle Scott, Ethan Ampadu and Charly Musonda against a makeshift home team, the match was never likely to be much of a contest, and so it proved. Batshuayi netted a first-half brace before Callum Hudson-Odoi was handed a third by a mistake from goalkeeper Wieger Sietsma, and Musonda added a fourth just before the hour mark in a second half where neither team pushed very hard at all.

Edwards had hinted in his pre-match preview that the squad was likely to surprise Milton Keynes, and they cannot have expected to face such an experienced Blues side that still easily complied with competition rules, with Eduardo and Batshuayi the only over-age players selected. Robbie Nielson’s side included just four players from their last league outing, and they were under the cosh from the very first minute when Musonda received Scott’s pass and forced a save from Sietsma with a fierce shot from the edge of the area.

Hudson-Odoi and Kenedy then linked to good effect on a swift counter-attack that would come to shape the course of the match, but the Brazilian’s cross was cleared before it could find Batshuayi, whilst Hudson-Odoi then struck just wide after a typically rambunctious run cutting in from the left flank.

The hosts settled a bit thereafter but only managed to threaten from dead balls and mistakes; Trevoh Chalobah’s mis-kick gave Robbie Muirhead a sight of goal he was surprised to receive, spooning his finish wide. A Chelsea goal was near-inevitable and it duly arrived midway through the first half when Batshuayi took a quick pass from Scott and found the bottom corner from just outside the box.

Ryan Seager could have grabbed a quick equaliser with a tough headed opportunity, but he couldn’t, and instead Chelsea were out of sight before half time. A rapid counter-attack led by Hudson-Odoi helped make it 2-0; the seventeen year-old played in Kenedy for a cross to Batshuayi and a simple finish, and Hudson-Odoi himself then made it three with a speculative 25-yarder spilled by Sietsma, who watched in horror as the ball escaped his clutches and squirmed over the line.

Musonda added a fourth ten minutes into the second half, collecting a deft backheel by Batshuayi before bursting past the MK defence, and opening his body to steer a confident finish into the far corner. It resembled more of a training session than a match in the latter stages, as Edwards introduced Kylian Hazard and Ruben Sammut from the bench, and the primary focus shifted to protecting a clean sheet whilst avoiding injury from some increasingly agricultural Milton Keynes tackles.

It took until the 79th minute before Eduardo had a save to make; the Portuguese stopper ensured Brandon Thomas-Asante’s effort didn’t sneak in at the near post, and was then on hand to safely claim a tame header from the teenage forward. Kenedy rather selfishly shot straight at Sietsma late on, rather than passing to a hat-trick hunting Batshuayi, but it scarcely mattered as Chelsea had long since secured a spot in Friday’s third round draw.

Milton Keynes: Sietsma, Williams ©, Walsh, Wooton, Golbourne, Ariyibi (Pawlett 64), Nesbitt, McGrandles (Upson 64), Muirhead, Seager (Nombe 53), Thomas-Asante
Subs not Used: Nicholls, Aneke, Agard, Kasumu

Booked: McGrandles, Nombe, Williams, Upson

Chelsea: Eduardo, James, Ampadu, Clarke-Salter ©, Sterling, Scott (Christie-Davies 82), Chalobah (Sammut 72), Kenedy, Musonda, Hudson-Odoi (K.Hazard 72), Batshuayi
Subs not Used: Bułka, Grant, Maddox, Taylor-Crossdale

Goals: Batshuayi ’22, ’42, Hudson-Odoi ’45, Musonda ‘57
Booked: Scott