Venue – Stadio Giuseppe Sinigaglia.
Date – 1st of April 2013
Kick-off – 6:00 PM (CET)
TV – Eurosport
Tournament – NextGen Series
Aston Villa’s win over Sporting Lisbon sets up an all-English final with Chelsea as the NextGen series comes to a close. Chelsea were forced by Arsenal into extra-time after the Gunners came back from a 3-1 deficit. Chelsea won the game with a late winner from captain Lewis Baker.
Aston Villa were also taken into extra time after regulation time ended at 1-1. They, however, scored two goals against a defiant Sporting side as they cemented a berth in the NextGen final.
Chelsea’s expected lineup tomorrow (4-2-3-1) – Beeney; Christensen, Davey, Ake, Wright; Loftus-Cheek, Baker; Hunter, Boga, Kiwomya; Feruz
News – Chelsea should have Nathan Ake back as he made the trip back to Italy after training with the first team for a potential spot in the squad that lost to Southampton, but will be without Nditi who picked up an ankle injury.
Dermot Drummy might entertain the idea of bringing in young Conor Hunte, who played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s revival against Arsenal after being 1-0 down. John Swift is another player who could be considered after providing the match-winning assist against Arsenal.
If Nathan Ake returns, then Daniel Pappoe will be on the bench after starting against Arsenal and not putting in a decent enough show for the boss. Mitchell Beeney had a good game despite a few eye-popping mistakes. Jamal Blackman could also be considered for the game after putting in a good show against Juventus.
Aston Villa’s expected lineup tomorrow (4-4-2) – Watkins; Kinsella, Lewis, Donacien, Webb; Grealish, Lyden, Carruthers, Barton; Robinson, Burke
News – Villa will not have the services of top-goalscorer Michael Drennan up-front. Tony McAndrew will pair Burke once again with Robinson.
Captain Carruthers should retain his position once again and look to control the midfield alongside Lyden against Chelsea’s talented Loftus-Cheek and Baker.
Grealish will also get the nod from the gaffer on the left-wing. He made his presence felt against Sporting and won’t hesitate to do the same again in the final. There were also concerns about goalkeeper Watkins’ fitness. He has however shaken of those concerns and will look to start the match.
Chelsea will play attractive football, as they did against Arsenal in the second half. The major problem all 4 teams faced was to get used to the poor state of the pitch. However, after their semi-final ties and a few training sessions there, they should be buzzing to face each other. From the start of this season, Aston Villa have shown immense work-rate, and that won them the game against Sporting. Unlike Chelsea, who completely shut down Arsenal in extra-time, Sporting Lisbon were constantly threatening Aston Villa.
For Chelsea, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Lewis Baker will be decisive while Villa will be resting their hopes on Robinson and Carruthers to turn up along with Watkins manning the posts.
Last season saw Inter Milan beat Ajax in a thriller which ended in a penalty shoot-out in favour for the Nerazzurri. This time we have two teams who out-classed the teams that made it last year. It definitely will be a better end to this year’s NextGen series.