Amidst all the jubilations of the FA cup success and progress to the Champions League final, the youth team secured a second FA Youth Cup victory in three years with a 4-1 aggregate victory over Blackburn, making Chelsea the only team to win the FA Cup and Youth Cup double in two separate seasons.
The season has been embittered and overshadowed by the poor league performances set by the senior team this season, but with a predicted overhaul of the squad this summer, it is refreshing and assuring from the cup success of the youth team that huge sums of money will not be wasted on other players throughout Europe in the not too distant future.
Needless to say certain players will be elected to the reserve team next season, and others will start a downslide towards lower league football but this crop of youngsters has delivered with effective attacking football and cohesive team play.
The set-up has similarities to that of the side who reached the same success in 2010, with the likes of Gokhan Tore, Jeffrey Bruma and Josh McEachran forming and developing their careers with Hamburg (Bruma, loan) and Swansea (McEachran, loan) respectively.
And just like the team of 2010, this year’s victors are a collection of skillful individuals who have at times devastated interlocked defenses and posed rock solid formations to thwart attacks. From the backline to the front there are standout individuals.
The towering number one, Jamal Blackman, has been in fine form, a confident and commanding presence who is capable of clutching onto balls in the sky and a very good shot stopper who has potential to develop into a very solid goalkeeper.
Like most productive goalkeepers they are lenient on a mean defence, and with that Right back Todd Kane and Nathan Ake in the center share Blackman’s prospects. Kane’s composed on the ball and has a sensible outlook in possession as a full back, effective and willing to join attacks while defensively astute. Combined with the heavy haired Ake (think David Luiz), the Dutchman is aerially adept to headed battles and organised, measured and calculated to ensure safeguards for his goalkeeper.
Further forward John Swift in centre midfield has enjoyed this year’s campaign wearing number 8, and shares a likeness to Chelsea legend Frank Lampard in passing ability and goal bound distance shooting. Accompanying Swift is captain Nathaniel Chalobah, who noticeably joined the pre-season tour last summer, and has been an unused sub. Chalobah is also captain of the Reserves and England under 17. He is by far the more intelligent player of the group with a great leadership quality and excellent readership of the game. It won’t be long until he makes his debut.
Lastly in attack you can find the two recent arrivals to Chelsea. Islam Feruz signed from Celtic after he rejected their professional contract offer, and Lucas Piazon from Brazil’s Sao Paolo.
Islam Feruz, who reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid, has an incredible knack of scoring goals. His finishing, at the tender age of just 16 is a natural potion of potency, offering assurance of providing opportunities will be converted into goals. And then there is Piazon, likened to Kaka for his dribbling skills, his performances has seen him collect the Youth Player of the Season award. Capable of playing as a striker, winger or in the hole, Piazon is best at running at players with options to execute his vision. Technically gifted and technically capable of becoming a huge player for the club.
There we have it, the class of 2012, FA Youth Cup winners. Watch out for them. The future is bright, the future is Blue.