Yesterday’s match against West Brom was an underwhelming result for the Blues. They were flat, lifeless, and pretty much already on holiday. The game could be summed up by Cesc Fabregas’s red card. The Spaniard was sent off for kicking the ball after the play. Whether or not he meant to strike a West Brom player remains to be seen, but regardless of his intent, he was off.
Chelsea didn’t muster up much of an attack all afternoon, enjoying fits of possession but nothing substantial enough to result in a goal. West Brom’s Saido Berahino put in his best performance in some time, scoring a brace for the Hawthorns. The lad has had a very streaky season, scoring in fits, and finding himself in goalless droughts all the same.
However, it wasn’t all negative for the Blues. The shining lights in this match were the Blues’ youngsters. Ruben Loftus-Cheek put in one hell of a performance for Jose Mourinho. The 19-year-old made his second consecutive start for the Blues, lining up next to Nemanja Matic in the Blues’ pivot. And the young Englishman certainly looked the part. His reliability was tested following Fabregas’s red card, but the youngster wasn’t fazed. He continued to perform, shield Chelsea’s defense and prove his worth to Mourinho. He will be sure to feature a lot more next season.
Another positive in a game to forget was Nathan Ake. The young Dutchman came on midway through the second half. He looked unstoppable. The 20-year-old plays with a swagger, which hasn’t been replicated by players of his age and experience. He looked calm and collected next to Matic, winning tackles and playing sublime passes. His overall performance was superb and there is no reason to think that he won’t feature heavily next season as well, especially considering his versatility to play several different positions for Jose.
Finally Isaiah Brown made his debut for the first team against his former club, West Brom. Fighting off jeers from the fans, Brown looked strong, showing a lot of potential. He has been a catalyst for the Blues’ youth team this season, and will continue to make strides towards being a future first team player.
Overall, in a game to forget, there were several positive takeaways for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea. The youngsters were the star of the show, as they proved why Chelsea’s academy is getting so much recognition as of late. They demonstrated why the future is so bright at Stamford Bridge, and why Jose speaks so highly of his youth talent. Hopefully, next season they are included even more, and eventually break into the first team. While Jose placed the blame for the loss on Chelsea’s title contenders, the larger take away for Chelsea was their squad players, brimming of youth and talent.
Contribution by Tyler Strauss