Bridge Banter: Chelsea need minimum of two new strikers and left back next season
Chelsea lifted silverware this week… the FA Youth Cup, won for the third time in five years.
The second leg of the final on bank holiday Monday saw the U18s reverse a 3-2 deficit, but it was a tense affair to the wire.
The Whites led 6-4 on aggregate at halftime, when youth team coach Adi Viveash threw caution to the wind in a moment of Mourinhoesque drama and made a triple substitution.
It paid off. First Isak Ssewankambo then Dom Solanke dragged the Blues back to parity before Solanke scored the winner in stoppage time as an additional half hour loomed.
A crowd of 13,000, with an encouragingly low average age, had an entertaining, goal-filled evening, but for Fulham the disappointment of defeat compounded the agony of relegation.
Felix Magath will stay to try to bring the Whites back at the first attempt after the squad has been beefed up this summer. But it won’t be easy.
Meanwhile Chelsea’s first team, looking drained after a goalless draw against Norwich City had snatched away any realistic hope of the league title, went on a ‘lap of appreciation’ round Stamford Bridge, with their Mini-Mes in tow.
After the final game of the season at Cardiff, Jose Mourinho will shuffle his pack and bring in up to six new players as quickly as he can to allow the reinforcements as much time as possible to bed in.
If, as Mourinho wants, Belgian national keeper Thibaut Courtois finally pulls on a Chelsea shirt, he will be joined by two new strikers and an additional left back as an absolute minimum.
Many also hope that Jose will develop some of the heroes from the youth team; Andreas Christensen, Jay Dasilva, Jordan Houghton, Solanke, Charlie Colkett and Izzy Brown.
All became Chelsea youth players in the hope of graduating to the senior team, yet chances of progression at the club have been criminally limited for far too long.
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