Following the cancellation of last season’s competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UEFA Youth League is back for 2021/22 and Chelsea’s schedule of group fixtures has now been set out.
The Under-19 competition mirrors the men’s UEFA Champions League format so Andy Myers’s side will be in Group H alongside their counterparts from Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg and Malmo.
The group winner will advance straight to the last-16, while the group runner-up faces a one-leg play-off away at one of the teams to have progressed through the Domestic Champions pathway.
Our campaign gets underway at Cobham next Tuesday 14 September against Zenit with a 1pm kick-off before we travel to Turin to take on Juventus a fortnight later. A double-header with the Swedish side Malmo follows before we finish at home to the Italians and away in Russia.
The full fixture list is outlined below:
Our previous meeting with Zenit at this age group came in the last-16 of the 2014/15 campaign. Despite falling behind at Aldershot, goals from Dominic Solanke, Kasey Palmer and Charlie Colkett helped us to a 3-1 victory en route to winning the competition for the first time.
We have also met Juventus before in the last eight of the NextGen Series in March 2013. That game was played at Brentford’s Griffin Park and saw Dermot Drummy’s side run out 4-1 winners, with Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek involved.
It will be our first meeting with Malmo, although our most recent encounter with Swedish opposition in the UEFA Youth League ended with a 9-0 aggregate victory against Elfsborg in 2018.
Those players born on or after 1 January 2003 are eligible to play in the competition this term, as are up to five players born in the 12 months prior to this date provided they have been registered at the club for the past two years.
In other Academy news, midfielder Lewis Hall has signed his first professional contract at the club, which runs until the summer of 2024. Meanwhile, Aleksi Heino has departed to join Wolfsburg in Germany on a permanent basis.