For the third season running, Chelsea and Manchester City will lock horns in The FA Youth Cup Final, after proving too strong for all the other contenders in English youth football.
Just like the previous two years, the sides will meet first at City's Academy Stadium on Tuesday, before they clash again at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium next Wednesday.
The two teams' respective runs to the Final have seen both rarely stretched – here's how they progressed, starting with the holders...
- The FA Youth Cup Final
- First leg: 7.45pm, Tuesday 18 April 2017
- Second leg: 7.45pm, Wedneday 26 April 2017
- Live on ITV4
- By Matt Wright
The Blues, looking for their fourth straight title, began their run in December with a 5-0 humbling of Cardiff City in the third round, when Ike Ugbo struck twice an emphatic performance fropm Jody Morris's side.
Birmingham City also felt the full force of Chelsea in the fourth round, with home comforts proving to be no advantage as the defending champions racked up another 5-0 triumph.
Captain Mason Mount scored a hat-trick in Solihull for the rampant visitors, with Cole Dasilva and Reece James also on target, and it continued to be plain sailing at the next stage of the competition.
Sheffield Wednesday were the visitors to Aldershot at the start of February, but they were no match and were promptly brushed aside by 4-0 with Ugbo and Mount again on the scoresheet, along with Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Leicester City provided their first real test in the sixth round two weeks later, with the Blues frustrated until Ugbo's header from James' cross in the 66th minute finally settled matters.
London rivals Tottenham Hotspur looked to upset them in the semi-finals, and a tightly-fought contest saw the Blues run out 2-1 winners in the first leg at White Hart Lane.
But the return game at Stamford Bridge was far more one-sided, with Chelsea running away with the tie and beating Spurs 7-1 to complete a 9-2 aggregate victory, with Ugbo claiming a hat-trick.
Looking for their first FA Youth Cup success since 2008 when they beat Chelsea in the Final, City began their run with a comfortable 4-0 victory at Reading in the third round.
Lukas Nmecha scored twice at the Madejski Stadium that night, and he was on target again in the next round – where Liverpool were dispatched 3-1 following an impressive performance.
Southampton, who had already knocked out Manchester United, were the visitors to the Academy Stadium in the fifth round but they found City too hot to handle as they were swept aside by 4-0.
Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Nmecha and Dumeaco Duhaney all struck for the dominant hosts to book a sixth round tie against Aston Villa, who were eventually beaten 2-1 thanks to Matt Smith's 87th-minute winner.
They then hit top form during the first leg of their semi-final against Stoke City, with Nmecha scoring a hat-trick and City running riot to beat their opponents 6-0 and make the return game a formality – although they won that 3-2 to complete a 9-2 aggregate victory.
City midfielder Brahim Diaz, who featured in last year’s Final and has also appeared for City’s first team, is looking forward to the Final’s bumper crowds but is still desperate for his side to come out on top this time after being thwarted by Chelsea twice already.
“Last year, it was challenging, but this year we have to win because we have a good team – individually and as a team,” he said.
“We’ll go for it and we’ll try to win, trying our best. If we play as a team, we can win it this year.
“We need support. The fans are always amazing. We need them here to support us and we will be more excited for it. If you see the fans singing, it’s better for us and it’s a great experience.
“We need the support and we will try to do our best and win The FA Youth Cup for the club.”