Arsenal have been playing with 'babies' all season - and winning plaudits for the attractive and attacking games they played in the Carling Cup. Manchester United put out practically a whole team of teenagers on Sunday, and still managed to beat a relegation-battling Hull side. Where are our next generation?
With Manchester United lambasted all week because they were potentially going to send out an understrength side, it looked almost like Ferguson might bow to media pressure and name an all-star first XI. In reality it was only Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher who played (all without a hope of playing on Wednesday), leading a team of talented youngsters. The average age, even with those three old-timers, was just 21. The bench average was 19.
Why didn't Chelsea do something similar? We had nothing to play for, and only Sunderland to beat. We have an extra few days to rest up, but surely it was a time to get the kids out on the pitch and see what they can do. Perhaps this wasn't done because Guus wouldn't see the benefits - he's leaving after next week, so what would the point be in testing the youngsters?
Our side for the last day was Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Ashley Cole; Essien (Kalou 65), Mikel (Mancienne 78), Belletti (Ballack 27), Malouda; Drogba, Anelka. In short, our strongest team. Mancienne is young (though still 21) as is Jon Obi Mikel, but otherwise they are a team that are hitting their peak, or just past it. We need new youngsters to come through and mix things up a bit.
Amongst those left on our bench there were a few more youngsters in Di Santo, Sinclair and Stoch, but none of these have been given a chance, and they probably won't be given one next season either.
What happened to Tom Taiwo? How about Jack Cork? Ryan Bertrand could have played? The few youngsters with up-and-coming reputations were let down on Sunday, and deserved a chance to impress.
The worrying thing is that we have so few youth players who seem capable of making the grade - even though its one of Franck Arnesen's only tasks to get good youngsters to the club. We need to take a few more leaves out of Arsenal and Man United's book - buy good talent early, and then give them a chance. Its the only way forwards as far as I can see.