Under-18s live stream preview: Opportunity to build lead and momentum

From the official Chelsea FC website:

Chelsea Under-18s have the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table when we face Reading in the first of our three games in hand, which will be shown live on the Official Chelsea App.

Results on Saturday, when the Blues drew 2-2 at West Bromwich Albion and main title rivals West Ham United were beaten heavily by Arsenal, left us one point ahead in first place in the Under-18 Premier League southern table.

However, Chelsea have also played three matches less than the Hammers, meaning Wednesday’s trip to Reading provides an opportunity to extend our advantage. The game kicks off at 1pm UK time and you can see it live on the Official Chelsea App.

‘At the moment we are one point ahead, which is positive for us because we wanted to come away with three points on Saturday, but still gained on West Ham as they lost,’ said Under-18s head coach Hassan Sulaiman.

‘But of course Wednesday is an opportunity for us to build on the fantastic momentum that we’ve gained and build on the points we’ve managed to accumulate in the league.

‘So without a doubt we’re really looking forward to the game and we have to make sure we approach it positively.’

Just because there is silverware on the line, doesn’t mean Sulaiman and the rest of our Academy will be forgetting about their principles and focus on player development.

That was clear on Saturday, when schoolboys Sol Gordon, Yahya Idrissi and Kobe Barbour were all included in the starting line-up – Gordon making his debut at this level and Idrissi netting the opening goal less than two minutes into his first start for our Under-18s.

‘Of course we want to win, but the bigger picture is that all of these games are development games,’ explained Sulaiman.

‘You’ve got to expose players to these type of opportunities, and that’s no different with the three boys who started on Saturday. Exposing them to Under-18s football is pivotal to their development and only going to prepare them for next season.

‘I thought it was brilliant for Sol, because it was his debut, and brilliant for Yahya on his first start. Kobe’s played a few games and I thought he played well too. Yahya got the first goal from a cross and it was a very clever and tidy finish.

‘And then Ryan Kavuma-McQueen, an Under-15, came on for the last few minutes and just got a taster of what the physical demands are and the importance of staying strong, getting up to the ball and pressing, and all the bits in possession. So it was really positive and we’ve got to keep exposing these boys to these games.’

Whoever gets the nod from Sulaiman on Wednesday afternoon, the head coach knows the players will be up against a difficult challenge at Reading, after late goals by Ato Ampah and Frankie Runham gave us a 2-0 victory over the same opponents last month.

In addition, Hassan believes the Chelsea name, combined with our status as league leaders, means his side have a target on their backs.

‘There are no easy games, we keep saying that. Every game provides a different challenge and we have to show the mental strength and emotional intelligence to cope with these matches.

‘Reading will be no different, it’s going to be a tough test. It will be a different type of game, it was a tough one when we played against them at Cobham. We didn’t score until the latter stages of the game, so it just goes to show how every game is intense and every team will set up differently when they play us.

‘Every team will play their best players, every team will compete with the intention of stopping us from playing, while assessing how they can target what are arguably some of our vulnerabilities. So we expect a tough game.’

Where to watch the live stream

You can watch our Under-18 Premier League fixture against Reading live on the Official Chelsea App, complete with enhanced stats and event tracking from MVX, built by Infinite Athlete. It will be available globally and priced at £1.99.

Don’t miss Chelsea Under-18s against Reading on the Official Chelsea App





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