It wasn’t a good week for the English sides in the UEFA Youth League as Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City all suffered defeats which saw them dumped out of the competition.
All three sides had done brilliantly to reach this stage of the competition, but it was all a little too much as their European opponents ground out wins in entertaining youth matches.
Chelsea 1-3 Schalke
Chelsea were well beaten by a determined Schalke side that took a seemingly possessed attitude to making the semi-finals of the competition.
The young Blues went behind in the 6th minute of the game and saw that margin double just before half-time. John Swift scored to drag them back into the match but Florian Pick scored a third for Schalke just over ten minutes later.
Precision is where Chelsea needed to improve because while they had six more efforts on Schalke’s goal, the German side produced one more shot on target over the 90 minutes and ultimately that was the difference.
Barcelona 4-2 Arsenal
This game was arguably the pick of the quarter-finals and it looked as though Arsenal’s youngsters had forced the game into extra time before a late goal from Wilfrid Kaptoum sucked the life out of the visitors.
Arsenal named a strong side which included Serge Gnabry and it was the German who initially equalised for Arsenal just before the break.
A goal from Adama Traore put Barca back in front and a home win looked a sure bet when Deyan Lliev was sent off for the Gunners with the Spanish side missing the resulting penalty.
With the match balanced at 2-1, Chuba Akpom scored with the game seemingly set for extra time. However, Arsenal couldn’t hang on as Barca scored two late goals to win the game.
Manchester City 1-2 Benfica
For the large part of this game it seemed as though Manchester City would hold out for a win.
Seko Fofana got City off to a great start with a goal in the 12th minute and the back four defended well, not really being troubled throughout the game.
It was a bit of a mismatch with City producing 23 efforts on goal compared to the six produced by Benfica.
However, the same defensive discipline wasn’t evident in the final quarter of the game as Goncalo Guedes and Estrela took advantage of City’s players switching off to put the Portuguese side through.