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Tottenham Hotspur’s U23 match at Chelsea was absolutely bonkers


Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League 2
Alfie Devine gets stuck in vs. Danny Drinkwater.
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

We don’t generally pay attention to Tottenham Hotspur’s U23 development squad matches, also referred to as the Premier League 2. While they’re a good opportunity for academy and fringe players to get some match time and maybe work their way into a loan, or for players returning from an injury to back to fitness, they’re not usually that consequential when it comes to action.

Then there was today’s match between Chelsea U23 and Tottenham U23. Because holy smokes, by all indications it was absolutely BONKERS.

For starters, the match ended 3-2 in favor of Chelsea, after Blues starlet Miles Peart-Harris scored a winner in the 88th minute. For seconds, Petr Cech started in goal for Chelsea for some reason. Yes, THAT Petr Cech. And finally, there was a flat-out brawl that involved Spurs’ Alfie Devine and Chelsea first team midfielder Danny Drinkwater that saw both of them sent off.

But let’s start with Cech. At age 38, technically Cech is still considered an emergency goalkeeper for Chelsea, and he also carries the role of “technical/performance advisor.” We’re not sure why he was starting in goal for the U23s, and it seems kinda weird that, even past his peak, a player who was once considered one of the best keepers in world football was playing against what was mostly a bunch of kids.

Whatever. What’s important here is that 16-year old Tottenham striker Dane Scarlett absolutely dunked on the old man off of a gorgeous ball in by Harvey White. Check it out.

Honestly, that’s enough for me to make a post #onhere just on its own, but we’re just getting started. In the 75th minute, this U23 match took a turn towards the Battle of the Bridge after Tottenham summer signing Alfie Devine decided to go in HAM for a challenge against Danny Drinkwater and uhhhhhhhhhhhh things went a bit off the rails.

There is SO much to unpack here. Like Alfie, let’s get stuck in.

  1. That’s a super dangerous challenge from Devine. Two footed, studs up, straight through Drinkwater’s legs. Partisans will say “he got the ball” (he did) but yeah, that was shades of Lee Cattermole or Joey Barton. It was 100% dirty af and completely indefensible. He rightfully got a straight red and was sent off for that.
  2. I literally laughed out loud at the Chelsea TV commentator who did a bemused “OH, HELLO” as Alfie took Drinkwater out at the ankles. Say what you want about the challenge, that commentary was both hilarious and quintessentially British.
  3. As bad as that Devine challenge was, Drinkwater’s reaction to immediately get up and sweep Alfie’s feet from behind was arguably worse. Drinkwater is a seasoned first team professional and a 30-year old grown-ass man. Devine, 16, is a literal child. No matter how dirty a challenge that was (and it was pretty f—in’ dirty) there is absolutely no reason for a player almost literally twice Devine’s age to react in such an unprofessional manner. Even the Chelsea TV announcers were pretty clear that Drinkwater was acting like an ass. Drinkwater also got his marching orders, and frankly should’ve gotten a double-red card. There’s no double-red card? There should be for shit like that.
  4. Keion Etete (#9) and Jubril Okedina (#2) both squared up to Drinkwater and the rest of the Chelsea players in that scrum like the future kings that they are.
  5. LOL at the Chelsea #16 (my notes say his name is Jude Soonsup-Bell, which also LOL) casually shooting the ball, basketball style, into the scrum of players. Decent form mate but next time try a jump shot.
  6. That Cech kid did well to step in and soothe some hot tempers. I think he may have a future in this game.

Chelsea’s win took them to the top of the Premier League 2 standings while Spurs dropped down to 9th, which is really only important if you are obsessive and care about U23 football (which most people, including myself, do not).

Never a dull moment when Spurs play Chelsea.