Luiz Felipe Scolari may well have to open the cheque book to strengthen his squad in January, but it appears the Chelsea manager has a talented teenage generation emerging after his Under-18 side defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford last night to advance to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.
Nine-times winners United included Danny Welbeck, who has three senior appearances and scored against Stoke in the Premier League this month, in a team which included Oliver Gill, the 18-year-old son of David, the club's chief executive. Despite defeat, they look to have some talented players coming through, for instance 15-year-old Ravel Morrison, who produced a mature finish to earn the hosts an eighth-minute lead.
Yet Chelsea, last crowned FA Youth Cup winners in 1961, hit back with two goals in three minutes at the end of the half from French youngster Gaël Kakuta and Frank Nouble before producing a dogged defensive display to secure a victory which will brighten up Scolari's week after the hiccup in Bordeaux.
Fabio Borini made it 3-1 near the end before Welbeck scored in the dying moments. However, for United the damage had been done.
Manchester United (4-4-2): Woods; Tunnicliffe, Dudgeon, Wootton, Gill; James, Morrison, Norwood (Petrucci, 73), Macheda (Ajose, 82); Welbeck, Brady (Stewart, 32). Substitutes not used: Devlin, Strickland.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Heimann; Ahamed, Ince, Bruma, Gordon; Sala (King, 76), Philliskirk, Mellis, Nouble; Kakuta (Knott, 80), Borini. Substitutes not used: Sebek, Clifford, McEachran.
Arnesen's trail of broken hearts, page 81