Spurs Under 23’s 1-2 Chelsea: (match report)

Spurs’ Under 23 side traveled to the Cobham Training Centre to face a strong Chelsea side which included Trevor Chalobah and Malang Sarr, in their final Premier League 2 fixture of the 2021/22 season. Spurs lost the match, with Chelsea scoring two goals late on in the second half, to make sure that they avoided relegation to the Second Division of the Premier League 2. Spurs lined-up with Thimothée Lo-Tutala in goal, while Kallum Cesay, Marqes Muir, Malachi Fagan-Walcott and Dermi Lusala started in defence. Spurs’ captain Jamie Bowden and Nile John started in midfield, as Romaine Mundle and Yago Santiago started out on the flanks, either side of CAM Alfie Devine. Kion Etete would lead the line for Spurs, who got the match underway on a nice day at the Cobham Training Centre. Early on in the match Malachi Fagan-Walcott made an important and good challenge on Harvey Vale. Then a couple of minute later Yago Santiago had a cross from the left flank pushed away by Chelsea goalkeeper Lucas Bergstrom, just before Romaine Mundle won a free-kick on the edge of the Chelsea box. However, his resulting effort was blocked by the Chelsea wall. Santiago hit an effort wide after going inside with the ball onto his right foot, from the left flank.

Marqes Muir received an early yellow card for a challenge on Harvey Vale, before Spurs managed to create a good chance. Yago Santiago managed to win the ball off of Trevor Chalobah, he then passed the ball to Kion Etete, who gave the ball to Romaine Mundle on the right side of the Chelsea box, but his effort was blocked well by Malang Sarr. After Mundle managed to get onto the ball following a pass from Malang Sarr, he passed the ball to Alfie Devine inside the Chelsea box, but Devine’s effort was blocked. Thimothée Lo-Tutala saved Thierno Ballo’s low effort from the edge of the Spurs penalty area, before Marqes Muir did well to block Thierno Ballo’s effort inside the Spurs box. Malachi Fagan-Walcott had a header saved by Bergstrom, from a Bowden cross, before Jamie Bowden received a yellow card, with the referee then sounding his whistle for half-time. Chelsea got the second half underway. A good Spurs move saw Mundle pass the ball to Devine on the right side of the Chelsea box, and the midfielder then crossed the ball for Kion Etete at the back post, but his effort was deflected behind off a Chelsea player.

Spurs took the lead in the 57th minute of the game, through Kion Etete. Jamie Bowden’s corner-kick was met by Kion Etete at Luca Bergstrom’s back post, and Etete was able to head the ball towards the centre of the goal, with it already having crossed the line when Xavier Simons headed it into the roof of the goal, 1-0. After going on a great run with the ball, Romaine Mundle had an effort from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area saved. Then J’Neil Bennett replaced Alfie Devine, who had picked up an injury. Mason Burstow came very close to meeting a cross into the box, a couple of yards out from the Spurs goal. Nile John hit an effort over from the right side of the Chelsea box, before Kallum Cesay received a yellow card. Max Robson then replaced Nile John, who seemed to have picked up an injury. After going past Dermi Lusala with the ball on the left side of the Spurs box, Lewis Hall squared the ball for Dion Rankine to tap home from close range, 1-1. Max Rosbson received a yellow card just before the game got started again.

Lo-Tutala was able to save Harvey Vale’s curling effort, before Chelsea took the lead for the first time in the game. After receiving a pass from Xavier Simons on the right side of the Spurs box, Mason Burstow hit a deflected effort on goal via a deflection off of Fagan-Walcott, which Lo-Tutala was able to save, but not gather. As Joe Haigh was able to tap the ball into the goal, 1-2. Maksim Paskotši replaced Marqes Muir, in what was Spurs’ final change of the game. Malachi Fagan-Walcott sent a looping header just wide of the Chelsea goal, after meeting Jamie Bowden’s free-kick inside the Chelsea box. Trevor Chalobah then made a challenge on Max Robson inside the Chelsea box, which Robson was adamant should have been a penalty for Spurs. Mason Burstow’s effort from the right side of the Spurs box was saved by Lo-Tutala, before Spurs managed to create one last good chance. Romaine Mundle’s cross to Kion Etete inside the Chelsea box, was headed down by the centre-forward to Santiago, who then passed the ball to Jamie Bowden on the edge of the Chelsea box, but his effort went over the goal. The referee sounded his final whistle a couple of minutes later, to bring Spurs’ Premier League 2 season to an end.

Player reviews:

  • Thimothée Lo-Tutala: The Spurs goalkeeper made some good saves, but it was how he commanded his box and came rushing out his goal to clear the ball on occasions, which impressed me the most today. 
  • Kallum Cesay: The right-back defended well, but he also showed some good skill on the ball.
  • Marqes Muir: I was impressed once again with how the first year professional defended, during the game today. Marqes made a good block in the first half, but he was at times very clever in how he defended against a good Chelsea side.
  • Malachi Fagan-Walcott: My man of the match, see below.
  • Dermi Lusala: The left-back often stayed deep, but he did get forward well on occasions.
  • Jamie Bowden: The Spurs captain made some good passes and took some good set-pieces today. He was creative with the ball, but he also read the game well.
  • Nile John: The midfielder was tidy on the ball, and he supported the forwards well, before unfortunately having to be substituted.
  • Romaine Mundle: Very inventive with the ball during the first half, Romaine Mundle went on some good runs with the ball down the right flank.
  • Alfie Devine: The Spurs CAM made some good passes during his time on the pitch and worked well with the forwards. However, he unfortunately had to be substituted because of injury.
  • Yago Santiago: On his 27th competitive appearance of the season for Wayne Burnett’s Spurs Under 23 side, Yago Santiago started the Chelsea match as a winger on the left flank. He would later move to the CAM position after Alfie Devine was substituted.
  • Kion Etete: The centre-forward made his first competitive appearance of the season for the Spurs Under 23 side on Sunday, after returning from loan club Cheltenham Town. The 20 year old would lead the line well against Chelsea, score a good headed goal and he also held the ball up well.
  • J’Neil Bennett: The second half substitute went out to the left flank, where he played as a winger.
  • Max Robson: The second half substitute went on a good run with the ball down the left flank, into the Chelsea penalty area, and he was adamant that Trevor Chalobah had fouled him, and that he should have had a penalty. 
  • Maksim Paskotši: The late substitute replaced Marqes Muir on the right side of central defence.

My man of the match: Malachi Fagan-Walcott. Starting the match as a left sided centre-half, 20 year old defender Malachi Fagan-Walcott was in my opinion very good defensively against Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. The defender read the game so well, made some really good challenges and he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side today. He was excellent.

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