Boreham Wood v Chelsea XI
Tuesday 18 July 2023, 19:30
Mangata Pay UK Stadium Meadow Park, Pre-Season Friendly

This Tuesday, the Wood host Chelsea XI in the fourth pre-season friendly at Meadow Park as the hosts still seek for the first win of the summer. The Young Blues finished third in Premier League 2 with another successful season for their development under manager Mark Robinson.


Chelsea XI, or Development Squad, are the development team of Chelsea FC. They play in the Premier League 2, which is the top level of reserve football in England. The team mainly consists of under-21 players, although senior players occasionally feature, when recovering from injuries or otherwise not in the first team. They were league champions in the 2013-14 and 2019-20 seasons.

With one of the most famous academies in world football, the club have seen some of the best young talent and have a natural ability to produce world class players. From recent years, the most famous being the likes of Reece James (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Manchester United), Tammy Abraham (Roma), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), and Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), are some of the newer graduates of the academy. As well as some icons of the game like John Terry. Representing the Development side is the final step before the first team with many of the academy players training with the senior players.


After a struggling 2021-22 season finishing 12th, one point above relegation, Chelsea Development side looked to bounce back and challenge for a top-half finish. Like any academy side, players come and go with youngsters been sent out on loan or released to free agency. The Young Blues did bounce back and finished with 43 points and a third place finish behind only Liverpool U21’s and Manchester City U21’s. The league consists of 14 teams with two places for relegation with the winners qualifying for the UEFA Youth League.

Chelsea, despite finishing the previous campaign third from bottom, qualified for the UEFA Youth League due to the senior side qualifying for the Champions League in the previous year. Despite European football, the Young Blues were knocked out in the group stage finishing bottom of the group behind Milan, Salzburg, and Dinamo Zagreb, beating the latter on the final matchday 4-0. Scoring 10 goals in the six games, they ended the group stage win a record of 1-2-3 (W-D-L).


Mark Robinson has spent the majority of his coaching career at AFC Wimbledon in a variety of roles, working as head of the club’s academy and youth team coach before a 14-month spell in charge of the senior side. After a positive start to the 2021/22 campaign with the Dons, including a run to the Carabao Cup third round that saw them take on Arsenal at the Emirates, Wimbledon’s form dipped in the second half of the season and Robinson left the club in March 2022. Two months later, Robinson was appointed head coach of the Chelsea development squad in May 2022.


Omari Elijah Giraud-Hutchinson is a winger or attacking midfielder who joined Chelsea in 2022 after a switch from London-rivals Arsenal for an undisclosed fee. Born in England, he is of Jamaican descent and now plays for the senior team having made two caps for “the Reggae Boyz”.

In his last season with Arsenal, he was a key figure in a side that finished third in Premier League 2, known for his ability to open-up defenses with his lightning pace and skills. He was named several times as a substitute under Mikel Arteta’s senior side during the 21/22 campaign, including the Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool.

After playing his early football for Chelsea in the development squad between 2008-2012, he joined the Blues and has made his senior debut in the Premier League against Manchester City.


 Boreham Wood 2 – 4 Chelsea XI
Friday 15th July 2022
Meadow Park – Pre-Season Friendly  

Wood succumbed to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of a strong Chelsea XI side that included senior internationals N’Golo Kanté, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Matt Miazga and Baba Rahman, who didn’t travel with the senior Chelsea squad on their pre-season tour of the USA, much to the delight of the Meadow Park crowd.

Tyrone Marsh opened the scoring for the Wood. After winning a penalty, Marsh dusted himself off to calmly slot the spot kick home, sending the young Blue’s keeper Eddie Beach the wrong way. However, Wood couldn’t maintain their one-goal lead and just five minutes before the break Leo Castledine finished off a smart Chelsea move, leveling proceedings heading into the half-time interbal.

Despite wholesale changes for the Blues, the second half saw a much more dominant Chelsea display, with a Jez Davies double and a late fourth from Mason Burstow putting the game out of reach for the Wood. Despite a late consolation goal from Jacob Mendy with the final kick of the game, the young Blue’s side ran out deserved winners on the night.


Ticket price:
Adult Ticket- £15
OAP Ticket- £15
Under 18 Ticket- £10
Under 12 Ticket- £5
Under 5 Ticket- £2

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