In the 18th round of matches of the 2017/2018 Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign, Terry Westley’s West Ham United U23s play host to Joe Edwards’ Chelsea U23s in a mid-table clash of two teams looking to put pressure on the top four.
The Hammers recently had their trip to Manchester City postponed and were last in action in mid-February before then, defeating PL2 high-flyers Liverpool away from home, while the Blues also saw their most recent fixture called off against Arsenal, thrashing Manchester United before that in the PL2, balancing the scales nicely for an even encounter.
The Development Squad encounter will take place at 12:05 PM tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 11 February 2018), as is common with PL2 games, there will be no live television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
There will also be no live radio commentary to listen to from any outlet, however, never fear, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can find live build-up, updates and reaction from East London.
National League outfit Dagenham & Redbridge’s regular home Stadium of the Chigwell Construction Stadium will host the visit of the West London club, located in Dagenham, Essex, it has been the permanent home of the U23s since the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Opening all the way back in the year of 1916, the cosy venue has a capacity of just over 6,000 and a record attendance of around 500 below that number, Sunday afternoon’s matchup will spell the first ever time that the Young Blues have been visitors to the arena.
Hammers boss Westley is expected to be handed a major injury boost ahead of the clash and it comes in the form of Nathan Holland returning from the hamstring injury that has kept him out since October 2017, having trained recently.
He is still missing many of his crop due to loan deals, although Dan Kemp could be another one making his comeback from injury, new signing and striker Oladapo Afolayan will be keen to make an impact against his former team.
Blues manager Edwards is suffering with a similar loan issue when it comes to his squad, though he still has some of England’s finest young talents at his disposal.
These include the likes of England U19 European champions Trevor Chalobah and Dujon Sterling, brother of Eden, Kylian Hazard, former Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Izzy Brown and Brazilian talent Wallace, who are all sure to pose a threat.
The Development Squads of West Ham United and Chelsea have met eight times at this level since the 2009/2010 campaign and only once since the restructure of football at reserve Premier League.
In that time, the team from West London have claimed four victories, coming by the score-lines of 4-1, 1-2, 4-3 and 1-3 in the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015, the two draws have come in 2013 and 2017.
Meanwhile, tomorrow’s hosts from East London have managed to come away with the three points on just two occasions, 2-1 at Woodside Park in 2010 and 0-1 at Stamford Bridge in 2015.
The last meeting between these two came earlier this season in the league, October 2017 to be more precise at Aldershot Town’s Electrical Services Stadium with a rather uninspiring 0-0 stalemate being played out.
The Academy system of Chelsea, including the U18 team and U23 team, is world-renowned for being one of the most success and state of the art in the game.
The West London club have been successful in each level of youth football, including Development Squad or U23, triumphing in two Premier Reserve Leagues and one U21 Premier League, not to mention 16 London Challenge Cups and London Combinations.
Notable past Chelsea Academy graduates include names such as England Internationals Jimmy Greaves, John Terry and Carlton Cole, while more recent talents to emerge include the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Andreas Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, to name a few.
Nowadays, under young coach Edwards, the Young Blues sit seventh in the PL2 Division 1 table having recovered from a poor start to rise up the table, they’re two points and just one place behind their Sunday opposition.
So, now that the Victoria Road scene has been well and truly set for an exciting Sunday afternoon of PL football, can the home side make it two wins on the spin and boost their chances of clinching a top-four spot?
Or, will the away side claim a surprise victory on the road to overtake their opponents in the standings for the first time this term? Think you know? Be sure to head over to MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your early score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.