Manchester City will host Chelsea on Saturday morning for the first meeting of the season between two of the best academies in the country.
City won the northern Premier League by a margin of nine points whereas Chelsea finished 12 points above the nearest southern challengers Arsenal.
The sides have also contested the last two FA Youth Cup finals and will meet in the two-legged showpiece again this season.
City, the defending champions of the U18 Premier League, will be looking to get their first Merit Group A victory after an opening day draw with Manchester United. Chelsea have already played two matches in the final stage, beating both West Ham and United.
Whatever the impact on the Premier League, City’s U18s boss Lee Carsley doesn’t expect Saturday’s match to have any bearing on the looming final.
“I wouldn’t like to pick Chelsea’s team and they wouldn’t be able to pick ours. The EDS are playing on Friday and our focus won’t change.
“It’s important for these players to play at the highest level and for many of these players at the moment it’s the EDS. Some of the lads that have missed out tonight will get the chance on Saturday.”
City right winger Luke Bolton has played a crucial role in City’s excellent form throughout the season and leads the assists chart for the U18 Premier League. While there will still be five matches for City to play, Bolton believes Saturday’s meeting could decide the destiny of the title.
“The league’s very different but it would be good to get one over on them. We’ll see what they’re about but it’s a massive game in its own right as it could help decide who will win the league. We need a win to get going in that league and try to go for the treble.”
Manchester City v Chelsea in the U18 Premier League is free for all. Head to the ticket office to redeem your ticket now.
Full build-up and coverage of the match will be on mancity.com and @ManCityAcademy.