The Chelsea FC youth won the U21 Premier League title against Manchester United in a playoff tonight at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester. The U21 Premier League is also known as the Professional U21 Development League and is split in to two divisions with 20 teams in League 1 and 22 in League 2. Chelsea FC is in the League 1 division along with some other familiar teams such as the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, and Arsenal.
The league is decided with a regular season table much like the actual Premier League but the champion is determined with a playoff system involving the top four teams. Chelsea was the number one team after the regular season with 44 points from 21 matches and defeated Manchester City in penalties in the first round of the playoffs.
Manchester United defeated Liverpool in their first round matchup to set up a clash of footballing titans in the final at Old Trafford. 13,000 fans were in attendance for the U21 Premier League final and were rewarded with a spectacle of a match featuring some wonderful end to end football. These same fans were treated to what may be a sneak peak at some of the Premier League’s future stars.
Manchester United took the early lead in the twelfth minute as Tom Lawrence scored from a Saidy Janko cross with a fine finish past Chelsea keeper Jamal Blackmon. Lawrence had started for the first team squad against Hull City and continued his impressive form with a goal to remember. Just ten minutes later Chelsea was able to equalize through Belgian Charly Musonda who beat a few defenders at the top of the box and found the space to drive home in the bottom corner past the diving Ben Amos.
The second half saw Chelsea’s dominance continue as they created chance after chance but could not find the breakthrough. The winning goal came with just eleven minutes remaining as Islam Feruz took possession from some sloppy play at the back by United. He found Lewis Baker at the top of the box who curled home a wonderful finish again past the diving Ben Amos. United made some attacking substitutions but Jamal Blackman and the defense did well to fight off the Red Devils’ final attacks to seal the Premier League title.
The U21 Premier League title represents the second trophy the Chelsea youth have captured this year after winning the FA Youth Cup a few weeks ago. Many people have derided Chelsea for not having a youth setup but this year has clearly shown the wealth of talent being developed at Stamford Bridge. It is impossible for all of these Chelsea youth to make the breakthrough to the first team but they will all more than likely have a future as first teamers at other clubs throughout Europe.
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