By Tim Harrison
Spurs marksman Christian Eriksen and his teammates spent Saturday glued to the telly to see how the Blues would fare at Stoke, seemingly confirming it’s now a two-horse race between Chelsea and Tottenham for the title.
The Blues, who have topped the table since Bonfire Night, need seven wins from their remaining 10 matches to clinch the Premier League.
Victory at Stoke, thanks to late goal by Gary Cahill, means Chelsea could secure the title by the end of April, although home ties against Watford and Southampton must be rearranged.
If Spurs’ hopes of catching the Blues were dented at the weekend, it was nothing to the effect on morale of news from Stamford Bridge the same evening.
Tottenham’s U18s were not merely beaten, they were crushed in the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup, where Chelsea have been finalists for the past six years.
A 7-1 victory on the night (9-2 on aggregate) deflated the north Londoners whose youth development project has already produced Harry Kane.
Chelsea’s youth were simply majestic. Tony Conte will shortly sit down with youth coach Jody Morris to discuss bringing another crop of youngsters into the reserves and, hopefully, first team.
Hat-trick man Ike Ugbo is one to watch, as are goalie Jared Thompson – who pulled off several outrageously good saves, defender Trevoh Chalobah (a Youth Cup winner with the Blues last season), and lively forward George McEachran.
But the youth squad goes deeper than that. Callum Hudson-Odoi conjured the goal of the game, running half the length of the pitch and scoring, in Eden Hazard style, four minutes after coming on as sub. Dujon Sterling and Juan Castillo also look sharp and, encouragingly for England, 10 of Chelsea’s youth starting line-up are eligible to play for the Three Lions.
The difference is that several of Spurs’ youth would struggle to play for the Red Lion.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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