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Reserves looking a bit loanly, but there are some positives


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Last night’s reserve game against Birmingham found its way into some newspapers only because of signalling the return of Michael Ballack, who got 45 minutes under his proverbial belt, but it was also noteworthy as it showed that short term loans can seriously affect any perception of the underlying playing strength at the club. Viewers able to take a first time free peek on Chelsea TV weren’t able to see Sinclair, Sahar, Mancienne, Grant, Smith, Cork and Bertrand, never mind the other notable absentees such as Hutchinson and Woods, and that meant that only those of us sad enough to watch on a regular basis would have known the true state of play at this level. That said, there were some interesting newcomers to watch and a few who have broken through of late who have either kicked on or, for want of a better phase, slipped a little in my estimation. If you are interested in that estimation here’s my take on what turned out to be a disappointing game, as far as the result was concerned, but an interesting one if you’re looking for prospects to break through in four or five years time…

Firstly, those mentioned before in dispatches:- Miroslav Stoch - still excites in terms of pace and trickery, but you get to thinking that size might ultimately matter for him and my previous comparison with Ralph Coates looked a little off beam as he faced up to the likes of Franc Queudrue, Jaidi and Tebily. Unfair to be too critical, but Sinclair is definitely a level ahead, both technically and physically. Patrick van Aanholt - this kid oozes class and it’s a shame that there are so many LBs in front of him, including Bertrand who seems to be doing really well on loan. Still, he’s only 17 and maybe his future will lie as a CB and, either way, he WILL make it. Liam Bridcutt - every time I see him I’m reminded of Wisey and, as the current captain of this side, he is obviously held in high regard. Rightly so, he reads the game well, passes with precision, and is improving at a fast rate. Lee Sawyer - played out of position (wide left, no Sinclair) yesterday and suffered as a result. Looks much more comfortable in the centre of midfield and, somewhat disturbingly, reminds me of Gerrard, being just as inspirational as him at the moment as well.

Now the newcomers:- Gael Kakuta - Can’t believe he is only sixteen! Outrageous ability to go past the first man and then it’s anyone’s guess what happens next. Very talented, totally unpredictable, Alan Hudson anybody?!?! Such a shame he’s French - how did Wenger miss him!! Jeffrey Bruma - a Dutch schoolboy (an Arnesen ‘find’ no doubt) came on when Harry Worley got injured after 30 minutes and whilst I know absolutely nothing about him he did look very accomplished. Sadly for him, the list of potentially good Chels CB material is as long as your arm (Mancienne leads Hutchinson, Pettigrew, Worley, Magnay, possibly Van Aanholt) and even Mancienne isn’t guaranteed a crack at fourth place in the first team set-up. Jacob Mellis - another one who is sixteen and an England International, he came on for Sawyer and almost scored immediately after Kakuta left his marker for dead and put him through. Certainly the most attacking of the young midfield players in our ranks. Last but not least Frank Nouble - if this lad is still a schoolboy then I’m Frank Arnesen’s uncle! A centre forward built like Carlton Cole and just as raw, he will be bloody enormous when he reaches twenty and I think we should all pray every night that he does not end up possessing the same technical skills as Tony Hateley. The jury is obviously out on this at the moment, but you can’t resist having thoughts of a Drogba look-alike in our midst in a few years time.

So there we have it - great futures for some, shame about losing to Brum. Incidentally, they had a 15yr old (!) on the left wing and truth be told he gave Shaun Cummings a tough time. Yes, that’s the same Shaun Cummings who has led the line for the Reserves in some games this season - now that’s what I call a utility player!

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Frank Nouble looks a very good kid. and yes, he was bloody big. got around the pitch well too. and looked very mature as a player. but like you, bridcutts the one that impresses me every time i watch him. excellent passer, tenacious tackler, superb vision and as hes captain, obviously has influence too. very much a young wisey. just hope hes as nasty as wise.

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Excellent post! Not sure about the rest of the csr...er...sef...but I love hearing about how our youngsters are doing since we are obviously putting some attention to signing quality kids.

One question though:I didn't hear any news on Tejera, thought he was a decent prospect?

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Kakuta is an attacking midfield player who is very direct and has only just been given his chance at Reserve level. Tejera hasn't featured much recently, not sure if he is injured, but he's more of a Pauly-type No.10 anyway and we all know he'll be the first to tell you they are never given the chances they deserve at the club, whatever the level.

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