U18 Preview: Young Saints face Chelsea opener

By SFC Media Fri 10 Aug Saints v Chelsea
Photo by James Bridle

The lowdown on Southampton Under-18s' opening day opponents, Chelsea, and a chance to reflect on last season's encounter at Staplewood...

THE MATCH

Southampton U18s vs Chelsea U18s
Under-18s Premier League
Saturday 11th August, 11am BST
Staplewood Campus

Saints' youngsters have beaten their Chelsea counterparts in their previous two encounters at Staplewood Campus, but the national champions will be a tough test in Saturday's Under-18s Premier League opener.

Both sides are under new stewardship, with Paul Hardyman stepping into the fold at Saints, while Andy Myers is now in charge at Chelsea - succeeding Jody Morris who joined Frank Lampard at Derby County this summer.

The visitors will begin the defence of their national title, after topping the southern half of the Under-18s Premier League last term, while Saints will be looking to build on last year's impressive third place finish.

LAST SEASON: Saints 4-0 Chelsea

COACH'S THOUGHTS: Paul Hardyman

"There's been an increase in focus from the players this week. It is an exciting time.

"There's an expectancy level during pre-season, that they hit the required tempo and fitness. Now, we're into the nitty gritty detail.

"We've played some really high level games to get us prepared, the standard has been pitched right, and we've had some good results. The boys are in good shape.

"Chelsea on Saturday is the first real test. They're renowned for having a good set-up, they win the FA Youth Cup most years, so it is a huge challenge. It'll be the benchmark.

"I want it to be competitive. It is as much about work rate and commitment as confidence. I want us to use the ball in the right way, and be creative.

"We've got a game plan, and I want to see it delivered!"

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