Youth Cup report: Chelsea 4 Sheffield Wednesday 0
news Wed 1 Feb 2017
Our Under-18s booked themselves a place in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals for the eighth year in a row following a comfortable victory at rainy Aldershot this evening (Wednesday).
Goals from Trevoh Chalobah and Ike Ugbo were followed by strikes from Mason Mount, his fifth goal in the competition this season, and Callum Hudson-Odoi as the Blues cruised into the sixth round. Jody Morris’s side will find out their last-eight opponents later this week as they prepare for a trip to either Middlesbrough or Leicester City.
Morris made four changes and implemented a significant reshuffle as he switched to a 4-3-3 system, with much of the tinkering coming at the back as goalkeeper Jared Thompson replaced Jamie Cumming between the sticks. A back four was preferred to the 3-4-3 shape deployed in the fourth-round win at Birmingham, with Joseph Colley and Reece James drafted in at centre-back and right-back respectively. Colley was partnered by Chalobah, while Marc Guehi moved from a central role to start at left-back.
Jacob Maddox and captain Mount retained their places in central midfield, with the addition of Luke McCormick to bolster the defensive mindedness of the side in the middle of the pitch. Hudson-Odoi and Ugbo remained in the side in attack, with Dujon Sterling moved into a more advanced wide-right role.
Wednesday made just one change from their 3-0 win over Gillingham in round four and lined up with five at the back in an attempt to combat the attacking threat of the holders, who had scored 10 in two games in the competition to date. Their challenge would be not to repeat the errors of Birmingham and Cardiff in previous rounds against the Blues, defending strongly whilst maintaining an attacking threat of their own.
Goalkeeper Dan Wallis had not conceded a goal in his side’s first two ties but he was always going to be a busy man up against Morris’s men. His first action of the night came after seven minutes as he dived well to his right to push away Mount’s curling free-kick from 25 yards before an agile stop to palm Maddox’s effort over the bar.
The Blues kept up the pressure from the following corner, with Guehi’s header cleared from close range, before Hudson-Odoi supplied dangerously from the left. The schoolboy’s delivery to the far post was headed back across goal by James and Chalobah was on hand to break the deadlock with an acrobatic volleyed finish for his maiden Youth Cup goal.
The pace, power and direct running of Sterling down the right was a constant cause for concern for the visitors, though the 17-year-old was unable to pick out Ugbo in the centre following a threatening advance after 20 minutes. The striker did fashion a sight at goal for himself moments before the half-hour mark, again after progress on the right side, but his rising drive flew narrowly wide.
The hosts continued to probe and assert their technical quality on the tie as the half progressed. Guehi’s forward pass was laid off nicely into the path of Mount by Ugbo and the two combined intricately before Wallis smothered the ball at the striker’s feet.
Wednesday, managed by former Everton defender Danny Cadamarteri, threatened only fleetingly. While energetic and tenacious in their approach, their best opportunity of the opening period came from Joe West’s inswinging free-kick, headed harmlessly over by Joe Cook.
Morris gestured for more urgency from his young charges and when they increased the tempo of the game, the Owls struggled to cope. Pushing for a second goal before the break, Mount struck the post with a brilliant individual attempt from distance after showing some eye-catching trickery before Hudson-Odoi’s shot from the left deflected inches wide of the far post.
The advantage was doubled four minutes before half-time and it arrived at the end of an incisive Blues counter-attack. Chalobah had taken a flailing arm in the face when challenging for a high ball at the back and the blow seemed to fire him into life.
Regaining possession, the centre-half stepped boldly into midfield and started the break, charging forward into the box after laying the ball to Sterling on the right. The delivery was too strong for Chalobah but flighted perfectly for Ugbo to thump a header beyond Wallis and claim his 11th goal of the campaign (pictured below).
The traffic continued in a similarly one-way fashion in the second half, with Chalobah heading a great chance over the bar following Mount’s dangerous inswinging corner. Mount then fired a left-footed shot just wide after advancing promisingly infield from the right before Chalobah nodded another header over.
With chances sure to be at a premium for the visitors, the need to be clinical when the few came along was obvious. Hirst was handed a rare opportunity to test Thompson eight minutes after the restart from Liam Williams’s centre but the England Under-18 striker skewed his strike harmlessly off-target.
James’s strike on the half-volley was well blocked as we pushed to add further goals to the scoreline, with Hudson-Odoi’s strike troubling Wallis but arrowing just wide of the far post. It was 3-0 with 74 minutes on the clock and it was the skipper celebrating a goal for the third successive Youth Cup tie as he weaved between defenders and found the back of the net with a sweet strike.
Morris introduced further attacking impetus for the final 15 minutes as he looked to expose the tired legs of the visitors, with George McEachran and Martell Taylor-Crossdale entering the fray. However, it was also down the other end that the holders recorded another impressive showing, having not conceded a goal yet in the competition this campaign. James defended well at the back post to keep that shutout intact before Hudson-Odoi finished expertly in added time to complete the scoring.
Three clean sheets, 14 goals scored and another well-deserved win means our defence of the FA Youth Cup, a trophy we have lifted in five of the past seven seasons, continues determinedly.
The young Blues return to action in the Under-18 Premier League this Saturday 4 February with a trip to Reading, in which a victory will guarantee their place in the elite play-off round. The following afternoon, our development squad also face the Royals in Premier League 2. Adi Viveash’s side kick off at 12.05pm at Aldershot.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Jared Thompson; Reece James, Joseph Colley (Tariq Uwakwe 71), Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Guehi; Luke McCormick (George McEachran 75), Jacob Maddox, Mason Mount; Dujon Sterling, Ike Ugbo (Martell Taylor-Crossdale 75), Callum Hudson-Odoi
Unused subs Josh Grant, Jamie Cumming
Scorers Chalobah 13; Ugbo 41; Mount 74; Hudson-Odoi 90+4
Sheffield Wednesday (5-3-2) Dan Wallis; Ciaran Brennan (Ben Hughes 86), Joe Cook, Liam Williams, Jack Lee, Joe West; Lewis Price (Alex Hunt 58), Connor Kirby (c), Liam Waldock (Stefan Gavrilov 73); Fraser Preston, George Hirst
Unused subs Joe Walker, Josh Reaney
Booked Brennan, Cook, Kirby
Referee Ian Fissenden
-Additional pictures courtesy of Mark Sandom and Dan Davies