This year’s NextGen Series has reached it’s climax as the final round of games will be played from this Friday through Monday. The first semi-final will be between the London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea while the second clash is between Sporting Lisbon from Portugal and Aston Villa .
We will look into the London Derby as Arsenal and Chelsea lock horns in what should be a mouth watering game of football. Arsenal reached the semi’s after an impressive 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow at the Emirates and has really deserved their place in the Semi’s. Their youngsters like Akpom and Gnabry has been performing at a consistent level through out the tournament. And Hector Bellerin is another kid who has impressed and probably be over-shadowed by his attacking counterparts. His surging runs down the right from full-back are unstoppable and he delivers a great pass, as we saw on Monday when he assisted the only goal of the game against CSKA.
Chuba Akpom is, for me, the best young striker in England at the moment. His footwork has hints of a La Masia product and the way he dances around defenders, whilst using his strength to shield the ball, has been vital for Arsenal U19s. Serge Gnabry was as good as ever, picking up the ball on the left wing and always looking to go inside towards goal. Even when he doesn’t have the ball he always seems to want to get inside and into the box. A probable Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires in the making may be! And honourable mentions to Olsson, Ebecilio, Eisfeld and Yennaris, who all quietly had great games, despite CSKA offering very little in response.
Meanwhile Chelsea are coming off the back of a superb win against the undefeated Juventus, and under stably will be on a high. Not only did they manage to win, they did it in style, dominating possession with quick tempo to their passing as they never allowed the Italians to settle down. Chelsea managed 4 goals on the night and all of them were off the highest quality. The ever impressive Lewis Baker, thumped in the first goal from outside the box, a top corner finish which the keeper had no chance. The second came soon after, Alex Kiwomya racing on to a ball through, beat the keeper to it and slotted it nicely home.
Going 2-0 down, Juve pushed for a goal, and inevitably left acres of space in the back asking to be punished which the Blues did. Substitute Feruz and Lewis Baker scored 2 more to round-up an excellent night for the Londoners.
Going head to head both Arsenal and Chelsea are evenly matched on paper with the Blues having a slight upper hand. As the game is played on a neutral venue far from home, the kids have to pull up their socks and work hard to go all the way. All in all a great game is on the cards.
My prediction: 2-1 win for Chelsea.