It may not fit with Greg Dyke's vision for the future of English football and B-teams in the lower divisions but Chelsea's production line is functioning just fine. The FA Youth Cup winners completed a double at Old Trafford where a superb late winner from Lewis Baker secured the Premier League Under-21s trophy at the expense of Manchester United.
United were given further confirmation of the promise of James Wilson and Tom Lawrence, the two United youngsters handed Premier League debuts by Giggs against Hull City last week, plus the depth of talent coming through at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea carried the greater physical strength, particularly through the spine where Andreas Christensen was an assured, intelligent presence at centre-half, the captain Nathan Ake was composed throughout and Ruben Loftus-Cheek dominant alongside him in central midfield. At the head of diamond Lewis Baker provided the creative spark and forced Ben Amos into the first save of the final with a shot from 25 yards. The England Under-19 international roamed everywhere in search of the ball, an encouraging trait that took him too deep in the first half but was rectified to telling effect for Dermot Drummy's side after the break.
The visitors probed patiently whereas United broke with purpose. Wilson met Saidy Janko's right-wing cross with a venomous shot that was destined to test Jamal Blackman in the Chelsea goal until it cannoned against Lawrence. The 18-year-old showed there is more to his game than finishing in United's next attack as he cushioned another Janko delivery into the path of Lawrence, who stepped inside two defenders to curl a fine finish beyond Blackman.
Chelsea equalised with an equally impressive finish 10 minutes later. Ake drove through the middle and picked out Charly Musonda on the edge of the United area. The Belgium Under-17 captain showed a rapid turn of pace to cut across United's central defenders and drill a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner.
United almost restored their lead through Lawrence and Ben Pearson but Chelsea improved as the final wore on. Baker blazed a glorious chance over from Loftus-Cheek's cut-back, Amos denied Loftus-Cheek with his legs from close range and, with 12 minutes remaining, the visitors struck a fine and merited winner. There was only one intention on Baker's mind when he collected a lay-off from Islam Feruz on the corner of the penalty area. A sweeping finish into Amos' far corner was executed to perfection to give Chelsea the trophy.