Updated: Mar 11
If you blinked, you missed it. Missed what, you ask? The lighting quick counter attack Chelsea's youth unleashed on Brighton Saturday afternoon during their 2-0 win. It wasn't just any counter, but a counter foreshadowing the future.
The youth revolution at Chelsea is off to a great start after nearly two months of the season. Granted, results haven’t necessarily followed as much as people hoped or would’ve liked, but the young guns at Stamford Bridge are showing promise.
Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Fikayo Tomori have made themselves virtually undroppable after only a few games. So the question begs, how long can this continue? Optimistic fans will say this can and will continue while the club certainly thinks the future is already here.
Chelsea notched their first home win and clean sheet of the season against Brighton thanks to a penalty from Jorginho and a deflected goal from Willian. While those will make the highlight real, there was a far more important attack that flew a bit under the radar.
In the 69th minute, Tomori intercepted a through ball near the Chelsea 18 yard box and hit it to Callum Hudson-Odoi. He then immediately one timed it to Mason Mount. And the break was on.
Mount shook off a tackle and was off to the races. After a few gallops, he laid it off for Hudson-Odoi near the touch line and they sprinted past midfield. Hudson-Odoi cut in and passed it to Tammy Abraham just outside the Brighton box. Then, he angled his run towards the D.
Abraham one timed it back to Hudson-Odoi and he fizzed it across the box to the oncoming Willian. Surely it would be the second goal. Willian stretched for it.
But it was inches too far ahead. The ball rolled past the sliding Brazilian for a goal kick and the attack was over.
Told you. Blink and you'd miss it.
It was a beauty of an interchange. Less than eight seconds and the Chelsea youth went box to box on a lethal counter. Unfortunately, the last pass was off by the slimmest of margins, however, it was a promising attack.
In reality, it was a glimpse of the future. Tomori, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, and Abraham, all 21 and under, worked together to fly past the Seagulls defense at a blistering pace.
This is exactly what Chelsea fans have been clamoring about for weeks, if not years. It was exactly the type of attack Frank Lampard has talked about since taking over as manager. The deadly sequence is one that Premier League teams will undoubtedly face and fear for a mercilessly long time.
Hudson-Odoi impressed last season in limited appearances before injury and made his England debut. As a reward, last week he signed a new contract until 2024.
Mount has taken every opportunity presented so far this season by scoring three goals and adding an assist. And this was only in his first seven Premier League games. He will remain at Stamford Bridge until 2024 after signing a new contract in the summer.
Abraham has seven goals to open the young season and Tomori has become first choice center back. Both are reportedly set to get new contract offers soon from the club.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 23, is still out through injury, but on his way back soon. He too inked a new deal in the summer like his compatriots and committed to the Blues until 2024.
Reece James, a 19 year old right back, is making his way back from injury and tuned up pretty well in the EFL Cup win over Grimsby Town, collecting one goal and assist each. He is also in line for a contract extension, with reports dating back to the summer.
Chelsea have a lot of academy players pushing to become first team mainstays and the club believes in each and every one of, evidenced by extending their deals.
In addition, academy product Andreas Christensen, 23, has started several games at center back this season. That may end when Antonio Rudiger returns from injury though. Newly bought Christian Pulisic, 21, has struggled to begin the year, but has plenty of time and potential to earn a regular starting spot.
And although not considered youth anymore, Chelsea have Kepa, 24, starting in goal, Kurt Zouma, 24, as a squad player in central defense, Emerson, 25, as the first choice left back when fully fit, Ross Barkley, 25, and Mateo Kovacic, 25, both vying or minutes, and Michy Batshuayi, 25, deserving of both Premier League and Champions League minutes.
Frank Lampard has a plethora of bright, young talent all trying to break through, some of which already have.
Chelsea sit 6th in the table after seven matches with 11 points, which isn’t the greatest of starts, but neither is it a humiliating beginning to the campaign. And all of it has happened with young players, and quite a few being academy graduates, leading the way.
The youth movement and revolution is eye catching and inspiring. In reality, it’s actually more of an evolution. This may be the way Chelsea proceed in the future, moving the club from one way of doing things in the past, spending copious amounts of money on flashy new signings, to a completely new way, entrusting the youth to develop and blossom.
Results haven’t followed suit yet, but the future is looking quite auspicious. The youngsters are proving their worth and just might return Chelsea to super club status over the next few years.
The rest of the Premier League needs to pay close attention so they don't get hit hard by the Blues’ young, fearless, and ruthless attack as Brighton experienced, although they narrowly escaped....this time.