Chelsea’s development squad are in action at Aldershot Town on Friday night, with Arsenal the visitors to Hampshire in Premier League 2.
Andy Myers’ team will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season after a last-gasp draw at Leicester City’s Holmes Park last time out.
Boss Myers has given his assessment of the team’s results and performances so far this campaign with four wins and three draws from seven games.
‘I assess the league campaign by the number of players that train with the men's first team,' Myers told the official Chelsea website in the build-up to the game. ‘I think it’s nice to be top of the league and for the players to be doing really well and it’s a credit to them. If they keep doing well then eyes will look and they will get opportunities to go over the road and train in front of Frank and his staff.
‘It’s also really pleasing that they’ve bought into the ideas and are sitting top of the league. It’s a credit them, even though it’s been hard at times.'
The development squad have seen a number of players handed debuts by Lampard in recent weeks and the former Chelsea defender believes having senior team staff who have had an affiliation with the Academy is good.
‘It’s what we are in the job for,’ said Myers. ‘When you work in an academy environment, it’s about getting players and developing them to get them into first teams, hopefully our first team.
‘It’s been a joy to see players making their debuts and training up this year a lot more then they have in the past, just through circumstance. It’s also good to have people involved in the senior team that have had an affiliation with the Academy - it does help but, first and foremost, the players have got to be training and playing well to get those opportunities.’
Three times already this season, Myers’ side have had to come from behind to snatch a point, in games against Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester. Although it takes a lot of character to do so, the head coach would rather that not be the case and have his team make a better start to fixtures.
‘Those games say a lot about them, but it also says that we shouldn’t not turn up for the first 45 minutes as well,' he continued. 'But testament to them because not a lot was done tactically when we’ve come in behind in those games, it was more of a stern talking-to and they rose to the occasion.
‘The Leicester one was pleasing because we dominated the whole of the second half against a physical side. The boys are showing another side of themselves, they showed good character and to come back is a testament to their work but I would rather us not be chasing a lead.'
'There are positives but we’ve also got little bits to work on to make sure we start better’.
— Andy Myers
In the international break Chelsea youngsters jetted off all over the globe to represent their respective countries. Despite a little disruption to preparation, the development squad are fully aware of the task ahead with the break firmly behind them.
‘Yes, it breaks up the training week but what it does as well is give more opportunities to go over and train with the senior team because those who don’t go away train here,' Myers explained.
‘It does disrupt the flow but not too much because the players know what’s expected of them when they come back. They put their international bits to bed and know what the job to hand is. Preparation may not be great but that’s what football is, no matter what the level.'
Arsenal travel to Aldershot as another of PL2’s unbeaten teams, which should provide good viewing for those in attendance or watching live the live stream. Games between the two London sides in the past have produced memorable fixtures and results, however Myers is focused on his team maintaining their standard and getting a result.
‘Chelsea versus Arsenal is always a game that people want to be involved in,' he claimed. 'It’s a game nobody wants to lose. Hopefully it’s a good football game and we compete. We’ve just got to keep maintaining the standards and hopefully we get the result.’