United 1-1 Chelsea (Scott, Colley OG)
United got a deserved point thanks to a resurgent second half display capped off with an equalising own goal thanks to Regan Poole’s perfect delivery.
After Joyce’s frank but honest assessment of the sides performance at Southampton Monday night, United went into the game knowing full well of the backlash if they did not play well.
Mitchell came into the side and provided some added flair and pace up top. But it was Chelsea who started brightest, moving the ball around well whilst pushing United back.
The game proved to be a feisty one which saw many a bookable offence, Chelsea’s players were up to their old tricks with some cynical fouls. Matty Willock pleased the crowd as he humiliated Mason Mount with a neat little nutmeg, only to be dragged back by his shirt afterwards.
McTominay is always one to make a 50-50 more of a 60-40, but this time a tough tackle injured both himself and the Chelsea striker who both had to be subbed off following a lengthy delay.
Chelsea, however were mounting the pressure as the partnership of Poole and Tuanzebe stood firm, literally. As a ball into the box fell to the Chelsea striker his shot flew past Johnstone, only to be blocked with a satisfying thud off of Tuanzebe’s chest right on the line.
But for all of United’s resistance, Chelsea took the lead in the most underwhelming fashion. Johnstone challenged for a cross in the air only to be knocked slightly, dropping the ball, Chelsea’s Kyle Scott duly tapped into an empty net.
At first no-one was sure the goal counted as the following celebrations were very muted. But it was an unusually poor mistake from Sam Johnstone who will be frustrated with himself.
The second-half saw a much improved United display, Demi Mitchell’s shot on target from a tight angle was the first all game for United, as it was saved well at the near post from the Chelsea keeper.
Joshua Harrop then came close to equalising when his neat curling effort was only just tipped over by Bradley Collins, United were knocking on the door now as Chelsea started to look drained.
Charlie Scott and Ethan Hamilton both came on to make their under-23 debuts, as United went to a 3-5-2 formation. This really improved the rate of attack for Joyce’s side as Poole and El-Fitouri caused problems down the right.
Then, the breakthrough as Poole produced a perfect cross curling round the full-back and right in-between the two centre-backs. James Weir was rightly positioned in that gap to finish, but as it turned out it came of the Chelsea defender as an own goal although the tannoy announced it as Weir’s goal, replays show it was a Colley own goal. Nevertheless, a deserved equaliser.
Chelsea looked a strong side, and the second-half was a much improved performance from Joyce’s side. However, United will need a bit more firepower in the wide as the season starts to get up and running.
Man of the Match: Yet again, Axel Tuanzebe was the most dominant player on the pitch. His performance was epitomised by his block on the line to keep Chelsea out, his physicality and reading of the game are way beyond his years.
Line up: Johnstone, El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley, McTominay, Harrop, Weir, Redmond, Willock, Mitchell
Subs: Henderson, Scott (Mitchell) , Kehinde (McTominay), Sang, Hamilton (Harrop)
There has been a bit of an exodus at this level with a total of 16 departures over summer, with only 4 being loan moves. Adnan Januzaj has had the most success so far at Sunderland where he has featured in every game for Sunderland this season, starting 3. He even scored his first goal for the black-cats, a fine strike from outside the box in an EFL Cup win over Shrewsbury.
None of the 4 loanees were on the winning side over the weekend as Januzaj played 90 minutes as his Sunderland side drew 1-1 with Southampton. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was an un-used sub as Wolves lost 1-0 to Huddersfield, James Wilson played 34 minutes as Derby lost 1-0 to Burton Albion and Andreas Pereira got half an hour during Granada’s 5-1 dismal loss to Las Palmas.
The under-18s seem to be making up for the under-23s lack of true goalscoring talent up front after they beat Everton 5-1 on Saturday. Angel Gomes, who turns 16 this week, grabbed himself with a fine hat-trick. After a poor result on the opening day of the season and Everton taking an early lead this time round, the team did well to rally and the front five of Buffonge-Chong-Boonen-Burkhart-Gomes looks unstoppable once they get going.
Nishan Burkhart, the summer acquisition from FC Zürich scored his first goal during his first start at under-18 level as he already looks very impressive. However it was Angel Gomes who stole the show, after captaining the England under-17’s and scoring a goal for the side during the week, he topped it off with a hat-trick at the weekend, not bad for 15 years of age.
Angel Gomes' hat-trick for the under-18s in their 5-1 victory over Everton on Saturday pic.twitter.com/RY1J4BwkM9
— United Reserves (@unitedreserves_) August 29, 2016
It’s not just the first-team who face international duty over the next week, Timothy Fosu-Mensah has joined up with the Netherlands under-21 side where they face Belarus and Turkey over the weekend. Regan Poole has also been called up to the Wales under-21 side after injuries to other players. The talented 18 year-old will be in the squad to face Denmark and Luxembourg this week.
Manchester City [A] / Academy Stadium / Fri 9th September / 19:00