Chelsea opened the eventus tonight, as United gave away possession in a dangerous area and Tammy Abraham sprinted past Phil Jones, but Joel Pereira managed to parry the effort to a corner kick.
This reflected fairly on the opening part of the game, with the blues dominating possession, much thanks to Kasey Palmer in the middle of the park, and pushing United on the back foot. This was the tune for significant parts of the game, yet the Blues struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Matty Willock in the limelight
After Palmer went down for an injury and left the pitch for some treatment, United got more into the game, and as a result, Matty Willock almost delivered an absolutely special goal. Januzaj laid it off for him outside the box, Willock slipped past four players seemingly with ease, and just had to sidefoot it into the back of the net. Bradley Collins in the Chelsea net had other plans though, made himself big, and managed to parry the shot.
The 19-year-old midfielder who joined United in 2012 wasn’t done yet though. Borthwick-Jackson played a defence-splitting pass to open some space for Andreas Pereira, and the Belgian’s response was to set up Willock for curling it – from a more difficult position than last time – past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net! United were 1-0 up, thanks to Willock scoring his second in two games, bagging the consolation goal against Southampton last week.
Blues kept at bay – at least for now
Chelsea looked for the equaliser in the 40th minute when Wakefield got himself past Borthwick-Jackson on the right and squared it into the box, but Reagan Poole was there to deal with what could’ve been a really dangerous situation.
Just prior to the break, Roshaun WIlliams set up a vast opportunity for United to get some breathing space, by advancing towards the box and finding Andreas Pereira. By the standards’s of the latter, it really should’ve been a goal, but he skied it way off target in a shambolic attempt.
A brawl and two bookings
After a double substitution for United, the second half started in a frantic fashion. Kasey Palmer had an initial argument with Sadique El Fitouri, and attempted to take him out with a reckless challenge. Instead, he basically hit his own teammate Abraham, and a brawl followed. For some completely freaky reason, Palmer got away unpunished after a lasting meeting between all three officials, yet Josh Harrop and Chelsea’s shotstopper Bradley Collins got booked.
United knock on the door again
Footballistically it didn’t happen much in the second half before the 63rd minute, when Andreas Pereira decided it was about time putting Chelsea under some pressure. He delivered a can-opener of a pass to catch Dion Conroy off guard and sent Demi Mitchell in a one-on-one with Bradley Collins, but he got under some pressure and the goalkeeper kept his finish out.
Blue menace on the right
Palmer and Wakefield had been key men for Chelsea in the first half, and in the 70th minute both turned up again. The former played through the latter on the right, who squared it across the face of the goal, but Joel Pereira was there like a panther to claim it.
In an attempt to turn things around, Chelsea brought on a natural left winger Miro Muheim, and put him on the right instead of Wakefield, and the substitution almost paid off immediately. Abraham drifted wide, crossed it for Muheim, but he couldn’t make proper contact with the ball tro trigger a shot on target.
Chelsea enjoyed some possession to push for an equaliser, but struggled to set up a proper clear-cut chance. Particularly Abraham was key for their attack, and when the substitute Muheim put in another decent cross in the 90th minute, there was only a sliding Phil Jones between him and an equaliser.
For United’s part, the most noticeable event in the dying minutes was that the 17-year-old Nigerian Tosin Kehinde got his U21 debut by replacing Andreas Pereira one minute from time.
Chelsea, however, never got the equaliser, and a scintiliating campaign ended it the manner it should: With a win, a clean sheet and a trophy.
Chelsea U21s 0-1 Man United U21s | CFC: – MUFC: Willock 32
United: J. Pereira – Love, Jones, Williams, Borthwick-Jackson – Love, Poole, Willock, Redmond (Harrop 46), A. Pereira (Kehinde 89) – Januzaj (Mitchell 46)
Subs: Mitchell, Henderson (GK), Harrop, Olosunde, Kehinde
Chelsea: Collins – Aina, Conroy, Da Silva, Tomori – Wakefield (Murheim 75), Colkett, Ali, Christie-Davies (Quintero 68) – Palmer, Abraham
Subs: Murheim, Beeney (GK), Quintero, Sammut, Wright