Under-18s preview: Home run tested

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Our table-topping youth team return to Cobham in the Under-18 Premier League this lunchtime (Saturday), live on Chelsea TV.

The young Blues have an opportunity to extend both their six-point advantage at the top of the southern section and their 1,015-day, 48-game unbeaten run at home in all competitions, with Aston Villa the visitors for a 12.05pm kick-off.

Jody Morris’s side have won 10, drawn one and lost one of their dozen league outings so far this term, establishing themselves at the top of the regional table ahead of London rivals Arsenal. In a change to the league format this season, there will be no merit round of fixtures at the end of the campaign, in which the top four sides from the northern and southern sections were pitted against each other to determine the national champions.

Instead, the north and south winners will play each other in a one-legged play-off final. Our youngsters will be intent on reaching that stage as they seek to defend the national title they won last May.

Villa were the only side to take points off us at Cobham last season, a 0-0 draw in January the only chink in an otherwise flawless home campaign. Goals from Charlie Brown and George McEachran helped us to a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture on the opening weekend of 2017/18 back in August.

The last Chelsea youth team home defeat was way back in April 2015. Click below to examine the remarkable run in numbers and then tune in to Chelsea TV from midday to see if we can edge closer to a half-century of undefeated matches.

In other Under-18s news, the FA Youth Cup fifth round draw was made yesterday and has handed Morris’s men a trip to either Bournemouth or Tottenham if they can overcome West Brom in round four next week. The Baggies visit Aldershot on Wednesday 17 January, kick-off 7pm, and tickets can be purchased on the door priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. Chelsea TV will no longer be broadcasting this game live due to the scheduling clash with our first team’s FA Cup replay against Norwich City.

After passing 1,000 days without defeat at home, we look closer at the numbers behind an exceptional run from our youngsters.

Joe Edwards (pictured right) was in charge of the Blues when the run first began, with Jody Morris (left) his assistant. Morris then took over the reins in summer 2016, with Ed Brand (middle) number two.

3 – different home venues

Cobham has formed the central pillar of our home fortress throughout the undefeated run, hosting 36 of the 48 games, with Aldershot and Stamford Bridge the venues for six each.

6 – pieces of silverware

The FA Youth Cup has been retained on three occasions, while there have also been trophy triumphs in winning the Under-18 Premier League South (twice) and national title.

8 – hat-tricks

Strikers Martell Taylor-Crossdale and Charlie Brown have combined for five hat-tricks between them during our unbeaten run, with Tammy Abraham, Ike Ugbo and Luke McCormick notching the other trebles.

13 – biggest winning margin

A week after sealing the Under-18 southern title last campaign, our youngsters hit Brighton for 13 back in February. The margin of victory was our biggest in 60 years.

16 – wins in a row (ongoing)

Starting 12 months ago, the young Blues are currently on a run of 16 consecutive home victories. Their most recent win was in the Youth Cup against Scunthorpe, where Callum Hudson-Odoi bagged a brace.

21 – sides beaten

Of 22 teams to have visited us since the run began, only Liverpool have not been beaten following a 2-2 draw at Aldershot in the merit stage of the league in April 2016, Ike Ugbo scoring twice.

22- clean sheets

Six keepers have combined to amass 22 clean sheets throughout the run, with Jared Thompson recording the most shutouts (7).

44 – wins

The Blues have been victorious in a remarkable 44 of their last 48 matches played at home, drawing the other four.

166 – goals scored

Averaging almost 3.5 goals a game during this extraordinary run, Ike Ugbo has been our top scorer with 22, including four strikes in the home legs of the Youth Cup semi-final and final last term.

13/01/2018

The next home outing for our Under-18s is scheduled for Saturday 13 January, with Aston Villa the latest visitors to test our dominance at Cobham. The game will be shown live on Chelsea TV, kick-off 12.05pm.

Chelsea FC NEWS 

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