Tuesday 2 May
Arsenal 3:1 Chelsea
Chelsea won the second half 0-1, sadly we lost the first half hour 3-0. It was abject surrender.
Frank’s selection raised a few eyebrows: Madueke and Aubameyang both started, with Sterling back on the left of the attack. Fernandez and Kovačić continued in their roles in a midfield that cannot create chances or stop opposition attacks. It felt significant that this was Frank’s first Chelsea selection without a Cobham graduate.
We couldn’t get down the pitch. All of our attacks foundered on half way. At the other end there didn’t appear to be anything we could do to stop them moving the ball through midfield. We were so weak that Enzo Fernandez actually did a stepover as the ball came across for Ødegaard’s first. The entire defence was standing still, ball watching for Ødegaard’s second. Their third, scored by Jesus, came as our defence all fell over and sat on their backsides as the goal went in.
Chelsea lacked confidence: handed the ball on the edge of their box, Sterling didn’t shoot but fluffed his pass.
Aubameyang was replaced by Havertz at the break. As if the striker, who had received three passes, was somehow responsible for the mess behind him. There was no change of formation.
Madueke pulled a goal back from nothing. A weird passage of play as Thiago Silva was down and looking for treatment but Azpilicueta pressed on and Kovačić spotted the youngster’s run. It finished with an Arsenal player down and Silva happy to play on.
There was a little more drive and attacking intent was evident afterwards but no clear chances from a couple of good situations.
Kanté’s role has been confounding. We know he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the game, we are crying out for solidity in the middle, yet he has been given a more attacking role since his return from injury. Tuchel liked him in a more advanced position but that was in a confident, well-structured Chelsea. In this side he looks out of position.
Fran Kirby will miss the World Cup after announcing she needs knee surgery. The 29-year-old has been out since the League Cup semi-final against West Ham in February. She will miss a significant period recovering and we wish her well. Of all the withdrawals from thee Egland squad Frans will be the most significant. She will be missed in Australia.
We might all miss the World Cup, greedy Gianni Infantino threatened to blackout Europe’s TV coverage of the tournament after low bids for packages.
Infantino came over all pious in urging fans to pressure their broadcasters into paying Fifa more. Not for themselves you understand but in the name of equality. “I call, therefore, on all players, fans, football officials, presidents, prime ministers, politicians and journalists all over the world to join us and support this call for a fair remuneration of women’s football. Women deserve it, as simple as that.”
It isn’t that simple. Fifa could pay the women the same prize money from the billions they made from the men’s tournament in Qatar.
European viewers actually made up about half the total audience at the last tournament so Gianni Baby might be cutting off our coverage to spite himself.
Wednesday 3 May
Chelsea 2:1 Liverpool
Sam Kerr to the rescue as we fell behind early, Niamh Charles headed a leveller but the game looked like a draw until Sam scuffed in a rebound. The win keeps the league on. Liverpool have been a pushover to many in the WLS but we have struggled against them. Leicester beat them 4-0 in the last match but the Reds scored from their first attack, as Emma Koivisto swept the ball in.
Emma Hayes was grinding her teeth but confident that we would respond. She will know that we need to rediscover our best form but after the shock of exiting Europe it will not take long.
Leeds sacked Javi Garcia and appointed Sam ‘I’ll have a pint of wine’ Allardyce. Leeds are only out of the bottom three on goal difference and Allardyce has only four games left to save them from the drop.
Petr Cech has been inducted to the hall of fame. Another import from US sport, nobody knows where the hall of fame is, nor really cares but it is an honour.
The idiot who shone a laser into Mykhailo Mudryk’s face last night has been identified and arrested. Weird way to celebrate Arsenal’s most successful season in 20-years, being banned for holding a grudge against a player who signed for a rival.
Thursday 4 May
Demanding fans must be patient, runs the headline in the Metro. Todd really doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Todd addressed a group of finance directors, rather than Chelsea fans our new owner said: “We very much believe that we are going to figure it out.” Having shown no evidence that he even understands what a hole he has put us in he burbled on, “We’ve got the best league in the world, we’ve got what I think is the top city in the world and we’ve got an unbelievable location in the top city in the world.
“There’s a market for top players in every country in the world and each one of those markets is different.
“You have the Portuguese market, the French market, the English market so you have the ability to go to these markets. then of course you have to build a team, your coach is the conductor of the team.
“There is a lot that we have learned about the different markets, the global aspect of it all. The fans are demanding. They want to win and we get that, we want to win.”
After reading that it is clear that he simply doesn’t know what he is doing. The manager is a conductor? Not if he is unable to buy the players he wants.
That there are different markets shouldn’t come as a surprise to him. What will come as a surprise is the difficulty we will have in offloading more than 10 players to trim the squad. Clubs know we need to sell.
Yesterday Gary Neville summed it up clearly:
“It all comes from the top. It’s been chaotic, a mess since day one. Boehly has had a nightmare and misread this league” he told Sky Sports.
“What has happened this season is purely down to him. He needed to keep the footballing department together. He’s the non-footballing department.
“You’re the owner. You’re not a player or a coach. You’ve got no experience in this league so stay where you are and allow the people to run the football club, (as they have) successfully over the last 10 years.
‘Try and get a year out of them to learn the ropes and keep the stability and consistency of Chelsea.
“Petr Cech left, Marina Granovskaia left, Thomas Tuchel was gone after a few games and all of a sudden you’re in complete turmoil.
“Then they flipped it to a model giving players eight-year contracts to 22-year-olds!
“When you start sacking groundsmen, physios, sports scientists, directors, managers, then you are throwing everyone under a bus saying, “it’s their fault not mine”.
“Chelsea had a successful way of running the club. This is now what Boehly has created.
“He created this mess. Like playing football manager, it’s been terrible.”
Half the world’s supply of fireworks went off in southern Italy tonight as Napoli finally won Serie A after a 1-1 with Udinese. It was a weeks-long stumble over the line but Napoli lit up Italian and European football this season. They show that a project can work with knowledgeable owners, an imaginative coach and recruitment of rough diamonds.
It puts our baseball fans and the recruitment of a Spurs boss, whose tactics are six years out of date.
Huddersfield are also celebrating as a 1-0 win over already promoted Sheffield United condemned Reading to League One. With Neil Warnock securing the Terriers’ future and Roy Hodgson turning Palace into high scorers perhaps we should have turned to John Hollins instead of Frank. Hollins is only 76.
Friday 5 May
Raheem Sterling weighed in to the debate about how Chelsea are being run. “I’m not one to tell the club what to do but from what I can gauge from where I was previously, organisation is the most important thing. Having a manager that has the final say on everything and it being his way with everyone having to follow that,
“Successful teams always have a manager that comes in, brings his blueprint and everyone follows. If there are people that don’t follow, then they are not part of the team and that is how brutal it needs to be at a high level.
“It’s a fine line between winning, coming second and being in the position we are now. It’s about everyone being on the same page from my experience.”
We are not sure Todd would have been listening.
Jody Morris and Ed Brand have been sacked from the Swindon Town job. Results have not been great, a gradual decline from sixth to tenth wasn’t what the Robins wanted.
Queens Park missed out on promotion to the Scottish top flight as Dundee beat them in a thriller, it was 3-3 at half time and Dundee are promoted. Cove Rangers were relegated.
Saturday 6 May
Bournemouth 1:3 Chelsea
“We are staying up, said we are staying up.” Roman Abramovich experienced some high and lows as Chelsea owner but he never heard that chant.
Conor Gallagher scored early as the familiar bright start actually bore fruit.
Mudryk was booked early for diving, when he was pushed while running at speed on a very wet surface. Referees have marked his card already.
There was a cracking top-corner equaliser followed by a second half of growing home pressure. How they didn’t score from one of the chances suddenly didn’t matter when Benoit Badiashile thumped in a Ziyech freekick.
The kick had been awarded when Dom Solanke fell on the ball and was adjudge to have handled.
Joao Felix came on a scored with his second touch. Sterling burst forward and the Portuguese finished smartly.
Madueke and Mudryk both looked more at home and threatening. Badiashile was positive.
Ben Chilwell limped out with a hamstring.
The result means we are arithmetically safe. Leeds, Everton and Southampton cannot catch us.
Liverpool fans drowned out the national anthem before their match with Brentford. The booing was almost complete coming from every stand. Sky said that the FA had requested clubs play the national anthem before matches to mark the coronation but they had actually demanded that clubs comply.
Liverpool fans are not happy with the British establishment, something to do with the slaughter of 97 of them with nobody ever held to account.
Sunday 7 May
Chelsea 7:0 Everton
A blistering first half with five shots on target and five goals – Reiten, Kerr, Harder, Ingle, Fleming – gave way to a cagier second period.
Everton had things all their own way in he first ten minutes, we couldn’t get a kick as pink waves broke forward. But Guro Reiten scored with her first chance and we never looked back.
Sam Kerr limped off with an ankle but it looked precautionary and Harder was more than adequate as an understudy.
We had to wait until the 80th minute for six. Lauren James showed superb vision to set Cuthbert away and she squared for Harder to take her second. Johanna Rytting Kaneryd hit the inside of the post. Rin Cuthbert grabbed a seventh.
The goals took a huge chunk out of Manchester United’s goal-difference advantage. We move ahead of City into second, four points behind United with two games in hand.
Next up is Leicester City on Wednesday. Everton have Arsenal next.
Elsewhere in the WSL, Manchester City lost to Liverpool to end their chances of the league. Manchester United continued to win, against woeful Tottenham.
Celtic sealed another title, their 52nd, with a 0-2 victory at Heart of Midlothian.
Plymouth clinched the League Two title, Ipswich go up in second but Derby County missed a playoff chance as Peterborough won at Barnsley as County lost to Sheffield Wednesday.
Milton Keynes were relegated. Favourites to stay up at the star of play MK could only draw with Burton Albion while Cambridge beat Forest Green Rovers to reach the safety of 46 points.
Notts County too extra time to overcome Boreham Wood, who led until virtually the last kick of normal time. Then as it looked like penalties