Manchester United’s under-21 side may have lifted the Professional U21 Development League title over the weekend, but the season is far from done just yet with one round of fixtures still to play.
Fans already know which teams will be lining up in Division 1 next season, as West Ham United and Fulham prepare to drop down while Middlesbrough and Reading take their spots in the top flight.
However, England’s most elite youth teams are still hoping to impress at the final hurdle before their senior counterparts bring an end to their Premier League season on Sunday.
Read on for a recap, the latest scores and an updated look at the U21 standings coming into the final week of the 2014-15 campaign.
Chelsea’s U21 side capped off the season with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Norwich City, meaning the young Blues finish in third position behind champions Manchester United and Liverpool.
As noted by the club’s official Twitter feed, the team’s young strikers have scored a hatful of goals throughout the campaign:
The Blues finish the U21 league season in third place following today's away point. Solanke & Abraham finish with 41 goals apiece. #CFCU21
After winning the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League earlier in the campaign, the Blues will have been disappointed not to have added the league title to their haul.
But it seems as though the effects of going so far in so many cup competitions may have caught up with this team, as they’ve toiled slightly in the final knockings of this tournament.
It certainly seemed to be the case in this match, as Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead. Tammy Abraham put the Blues ahead with a delectable finish in the sixth minute, before Charly Musonda rounded a couple of Canaries defenders on the counter, before finishing superbly seven minutes before the interval.
There was little that could be about the first Norwich goal, as Jacob Murphy halved the deficit in the 41st minute with a stunning strike. But the Blues lost their concentration after the break, with Jake Clarke-Salter picking up a second yellow card midway through the second period.
It gave the hosts the momentum they dearly needed and Raymond Grant squared things up not long after. Both teams piled forward in the latter stages in search of a winner, but the goalkeepers produced wonderful saves to ensure the spoils were shared.
Manchester City easily beat Southampton 4-0 in their penultimate match of the 2014-15 season, setting the table for a fantastic clash on the final matchday against neighbours and new U21 Premier League champions.
Aaron Nemane, Olivier Ntcham, Brandon Barker and Kelechi Iheanacho all found the back of the net for the Citizens, as shared by the club’s official Twitter account:
FT: @SouthamptonFC 0-4 City EDS. Goals: @AaronNemane11, Ntcham, @BrandonBarker96 & @67Kelechi. Report to follow. http://t.co/0JgSTOQQCy
City’s 2014-15 campaign didn’t go according to plan, but on Tuesday, Patrick Vieira’s squad showed why many believe they’ll be among the title contenders next season. Southampton had their chances to turn this into a close match, but the visitors were far more clinical in front of goal.
Iheanacho remains one of the best prospects in all of England, and he was a terror to the Southampton defence on Tuesday. The teenager may be rewarded with a promotion to the first team next season, but if he’s not, U21 defences around the country better beware.
Arsenal finished their campaign with flair on Monday, making it three wins on the bounce thanks to a 4-0 mauling of bottom-side Wolverhampton Wanderers to end the season in fourth.
Jack Wilshere stepped up his recovery for the Gunners and was once again in action for the reserves, but it was German starlet Serge Gnabry who impressed most, scoring twice and assisting another to slay Wolves.
Alex Iwobi was on target before Gnabry clinched his first to set the Gunners on their way, with Julio Pleguezuelo striking just six minutes into the second period before the Man of the Match grabbed his second.
Arsenal end the season level on points with West Brom but just edge the Baggies on goal difference, with Arseblog contributor Jeorge Bird pleased to see Gnabry starring so prominently for the U21s again:
Another good win for the U21s. Gnabry getting back to his best and Iwobi has had an excellent season.
Elsewhere, Everton got the better of Tottenham Hotspur as the two clashed only a matter of days before their senior counterparts do the same, with the Toffees running out 3-1 victors on Monday night.
David Unsworth’s side enjoyed a superb first half to find themselves 3-0 up at the half-time interval, with Sam Byrne, Chris Long and Jonjoe Kenny each scoring to put the Merseyside hosts in fine stead.
Division 2 strugglers Aston Villa also managed to carve out some good fortune in their last game of the season, overcoming Brighton to clinch a 1-0 victory, albeit not sufficient to move above seventh place.
Graham Burke converted the only goal of the night to see the Villans above their South Coast guests, leading Heart of the Holte to insist the 21-year-old deserves a chance in the first-team setup:
Good to see Graham Burke on the score sheet for the U21's tonight, another academy youngster I feel Sherwood should, and will give a chance.
Despite their encouraging 1-0 win over title contenders Chelsea last Friday, West Ham United couldn’t uphold the same standards against mid-table Leicester City as they slumped in a 3-1 loss in Monday’s early fixture.
The Foxes ended their season on a high as goals from Joe Dodoo, Jack Barmby and Jak McCourt completed a 3-1 victory for the King Power Stadium hosts.
McCourt’s was the pick of the bunch, collecting from long range before converting from 30 yards out, and Jaanai Gordon’s finish would count as nothing more than a consolation for the Hammers.
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.
The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.