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U18 Premier League Cup: Match Day 3 Preview South Edition

The penultimate round of the group stages of the U18 Premier League Cup comes to an end this Saturday. So many teams will be looking to book their tickets into the knockout phase of the competition.

I will be previewing upcoming matches for the Southern section teams.

West Bromwich Albion U18 vs Stoke City U18

West Brom will welcome Stoke City at Venue Palm Training Ground kicking off at 11am. Last time out West Brom drew 1 – 1 with Ipswich Town despite taking lead through a goal from Samuel Olouwatobi. Leigh Downing’s side will want to secure a win against their opponents who are currently winless in this competition. Three points against Stoke City will secure their passage to the next round if they match Ipswich Town’s result.

Olouwatobi will want to stake a claim to start at the weekend to build his confidence. West Brom’s top scorer Layton Love will be looking to continue his red-hot form in front of goal. If West Brom have any chance of qualifying to the next round.

Although, Stoke City are winless in four matches in all competitions. West Brom will want to maintain form and secure the win.

Middlesbrough U18 vs Ipswich Town U18

Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town will lock horns at Rockliffe Park in Durham kicking off at 11am. Ipswich Town salvaged a point against West Brom in their last group game. Tom Taylor rescuing a point for his side. Alan Lee’s Young Tractor boys need a win against Middlesbrough to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Ipswich Town will be looking to bounce back with a win and put up a good performance. They were defeated 6 – 0 by Charlton Athletic, in the U18 Professional Development League last time out.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough still have a chance of progressing beyond the group stages. If they defeat their East Anglian opponents and West Brom fail to beat Stoke City.

Tom Taylor, Jack Manly and Oli Davis have scored for their side in this cup competition so far. All three players will be key in making sure that their team win their penultimate match against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland U18 vs West Ham United U18

Arguably the biggest match of the group stage round. Premier League Northern leaders, Sunderland will encounter Premier League Southern leaders, West Ham United. The game will be held at the Academy of Light Training Ground Saturday midday. West Ham, Sunderland, Fulham and Nottingham Forest are all locked on three points in their group. The fact, there is a lot to play for in this group, surely means that the grand finale of Group A should not disappoint.

Kevin Keen’s side lost their last group game 3 – 0 away to Nottingham Forest in October. That result was their first and only loss in all competitions. The Young Irons are currently sitting third in the group with a negative goal difference of -1. They must beat Sunderland if they have any chance of qualifying for the next round.

Gideon Kodua, Lewis Orford, Favour Fawunmi and Patrick Kelly are all crucial for this West Ham team. Kevin Keen must rely on this quartet to gain the victory they need against their opponents. The Young Black Cats will not be easy opposition, so West Ham must start the match with the right intentions to win.

Nottingham Forest U18 vs Fulham U18

Fulham will travel to play Nottingham Forest at the Nottingham Forest Football Academy. Both teams need a win to have any chance of progressing beyond the group.

Fulham comfortably defeated Sunderland 3 – 0 last time out. As goals from Terrell Works, Aaron Loupalo-Bi and Caelen Avenall were enough to secure their first three points.

Aaron Loupalo-Bi has been in fantastic form this season for Fulham. The 16-year-old has scored 8 goals in all competitions so far this season. Huge expectations will be placed on him to get on the scoresheet for the Young Cottagers against their opponents. Fulham’s three-match winning streak came to an end with a 2 – 2 draw against London rivals Crystal Palace. However, the west Londoners will look to get back to winning ways against a Forest side, who have won three out of their last ten games in all competitions.

Everton U18 vs Southampton U18

Mikey Harris’s side will travel to Merseyside to play Everton at 11am. Southampton needs only a point to progress to the knockouts as group winners. The Young Saints will want to end their group campaign with a 100% record. They have won their first two games in the competition so far.

Southampton defeated Derby County 1 – 0 in match day 2 courtesy of a goal from debutant Nicholas Okeyunkle. He also made his league debut last Saturday against Leicester City and he managed to get 18 minutes under his belt. This should bode well for Okeyunkle to stake a claim to start and continue to impress his coach.

Mikey Harris and his team will be up against an Everton side despite, being winless in their last three games. They still have a chance of qualification as well.

Derby County U18 vs Chelsea U18

Defending champions, Chelsea still has a chance of progressing to the knockout phase. Although, by their standards, their title defence for this U18 Premier League Cup has been below average. Edward Brand’s side has lost 1 and won 1 against Southampton and Everton respectively. Chelsea attacker, Tyrique George got a brace for his side in match day 2 against Everton. The 16-year-old will want to increase his tally on Saturday against the Northern Premier League side.

Derby County clinched their first-ever win of the season against Newcastle United last Saturday. Jake Buxton’s side are literally playing for pride as they cannot progress beyond the group stage. But despite that, they will want to put in a very good performance in front of their home fans. So, it’s important that Chelsea approach this game with the right mentality if they want to defend their title.

Aston Villa U18 vs Newcastle United U18

Gerard Nash’s Young Claret and Blue Army will welcome Newcastle United at Bodymoor Heath Training Centre. The match kicks off at 11am. Aston Villa is currently sitting 2nd in Group C with three points level with Arsenal. Aston Villa lost their last group 1 – 0 against Jack Wilshere’s. Despite the loss, Aston Villa is in the driving seat of having a chance of qualifying ahead of Arsenal. Since they have a better goal difference than their London opponents.

Attackers Omari Kellyman and Kobei Moore have been the scorers so far for Aston Villa in this competition. Gerard Nash will be relying on those two players importantly if they stand a chance of beating leaders Newcastle United.

Leeds United U18 vs Crystal Palace U18

Group D leaders Crystal Palace will travel to Thorp Arch Grange to face Leeds United at 12pm. Rob Quinn’s side needs only a point to go through to the knockout round as group winners. Crystal Palace have won their opening two games against Brighton Hove Albion and Sheffield United. They will want to win their last group match to cement their 100% record. This also bodes well for the team’s confidence for their upcoming matches.

Crystal Palace’s top scorer Junior Dixon missed their last game against Fulham. Rob Quinn will relish the chance of having his top scorer available for this match.

Last week, Crystal Palace forward Zach Marsh signed his first professional contract. He will hope to have a major impact for his side as they aim to finish their group campaign in style.

Sheffield United U18 vs Brighton Hove Albion U18

Brighton Hove Albion will play Sheffield United away from home in their final group game. Arthur Brammer and his team know that victory over Sheffield United will all but guarantee qualification for the next round of the U18 Premier League Cup. The Young Seagulls defeated their opponents’ fellow rivals Leeds United 4 – 0. The goals were scored by Harry Mills x2, Bailey Smith and Jaydon Fuller.

This match is a winner takes all match. Both teams have the same number of points, so expectations for this match will be extremely exciting. Brighton has had a turbulent start to the season winning only four out of their nine games in all competitions. But despite their up and down form, this game on Saturday should be a massive chance to show why they deserve to be in this competition. Also, importantly have a chance of winning silverware.

Norwich City U18 vs Manchester City U18

Manchester City will travel down to East Anglia to play Norwich City. Both teams are currently on 6 points after winning each of their opening two matches. It has been a while since Greg Crane’s side last played a football match and that was on 8th October 2022 against Blackburn Rovers. They won the match 3 – 1 courtesy of goals from Ken Aboh, Dubem Eze and Finley Welch.

Going into their final group game a lot of their players will be lacking match fitness. This could play into Manchester City’s hands due to them having more match fitness.

Manchester City is on a three-match winning streak and they will want to continue their good form. Manchester City will be the favourites going into the game. However, Norwich City will most likely make it difficult for them and I think it will be a much closer contest than people think.

Leicester City U18 vs Blackburn Rovers

Leicester City welcomes Blackburn Rovers in Aylestone on Saturday kicking off at 12:30pm. Unfortunately, both teams are eliminated from the competition and therefore this game will be a dead rubber.  Adam Barradell’s side lost their first two games which resulted in elimination for his team.

Leicester City have been struggling to gain consistency in winning matches. Although, they are going through a rough time. Amani Richards has been the shining light for his side, he has scored 4 goals in 7 appearances. He will be a key player for the Young Foxes if they want to end their campaign on a positive note.

Charlton Athletic U18 vs Tottenham Hotspur U18

Charlton Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur will face each other on Saturday at 11am. This is a massive game for both teams and will determine who will qualify as group winners. Last time out, Charlton emphatically thumped Liverpool 8 – 1. Ralfi Hand and Henry Rylah each got braces on that day as the Young Addicks were thoroughly deserved winners. Whereas, Tottenham came from 3 – 0 down to draw with Wolves – Will Lankshear x2 and Mikey Moore were the goal scorers for Spurs on that day. As two London teams battle it out for the top spot for automatic qualification. Currently, as it stands Charlton leads the way with 6 points and they are two points ahead of Wayne Burnett’s side.

Manchester United U18 vs Arsenal U18

Jack Wilshere’s Young Gunners travel to north west of England to play Manchester United. Arsenal will progress onto the next round, if they defeat Travis Binnion’s side and hope that Aston Villa fail to beat Newcastle United.

The Young Gunners defeated Aston Villa in match day 2 and their goal came from Sebastian Ferdinand. Arsenal have not won their last two games in all competitions. So, Jack Wilshere must rally his troops if they are to return to winning ways. Manchester United have lost their opening two games of the U18 Premier League Cup. Travis Binnion will want to motivate his players to defeat their opponents to end their campaign on a high.

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