Tuesday 20 February
Chelsea 1:1 Barcelona
This was a fascinating return to big European nights, Barcelona arrived heralded as the best side in Europe and we gave them due respect but grew in confidence and power as the night went on and emerged the better team.
Conte decided to play with Hazard as a false nine thus rendering redundant all the pre-match discussions about Giroud and Morata. The first-half was cagy, Barca dominated possession but we created the better chances. Willian hit the post with a near match to the shot that gave us the lead against Hull.
The goal, when it came, was beautifully worked with Chelsea players slicing through the Catalan defence and setting up Willian for his third goal in the week.
The equaliser was all our own making too as Andreas Christensen’s ill-advised ball across his own box fell to a Catalan boot not a Chelsea one. It is possible that Christensen was distracted by the penalty shout a few seconds earlier as Suarez looked pretended he had been fouled. Lionel Messi slotted his first goal against Chelsea.
It was a tactical master class from our beleaguered manager and one that deserves to keep him in his job until the end of his contract at least.
Wednesday 21 February
Chelsea U19 5:2 Feyenoord U19
Progress for the U19 in the Uefa youth league as goals from Ethan Ampadu, Daishawn Redan and an own goal gave us a 3-1 lead at the break and a second-half own goal provided more momentum before Harvey St Clair capped his own fine performance with the fifth. It was another dominant display from a squad that has found its feet at this level again very quickly.
Callum Hudson-Odoi already looks a class above the age group and his performance really stood out.
Yeovil Town0:2 Chelsea
We leapfrogged City as this win, coupled with their surprise defeat at Birmingham, means we lead the table by a point before the meeting away at City this weekend.
This looked to be a frustrating night before Fran Kirby came off the bench to run rings round a few Yeovil defenders. She slotted her 15th goal of the season and moments later a Jonna Andersson shot deflected in off the retreating defender to make things safe.
Friday 23 February
Fulham U18 0:1 Chelsea U18
With Uefa business earlier in the week there were a smattering of schoolboys in the squad for this one but the confidence and hard work are there in all the age group teams at the moment and Charlie Brown’s 14th goal of a prolific season means we restored our six-point advantage at the top of the southern section.
The weirdo wonks at the FA have charged Pep Guardiola for wearing a political symbol. The yellow ribbon Pep has been sporting is in support of Catalan politicians imprisoned for supporting independence. Guardiola has ignore a couple of warnings on the issue from the FA, who themselves made a song and dance about England teams wearing remembrance poppies a few years ago. Pep can wait until the FA wake up and realise they are being their usual hypocritical selves or he can take them to court for breaching his right to freedom of speech.
The BBC announced that our sixth-round tie against Leicester will be televised by the corporation. Only they didn’t say sixth round. Rather grandly, they have renamed the sixth-round the quarter-final. Now, we know, most other competitions have quarter-finals but the FA Cup is the grandfather of all football competitions and has always had a sixth-round. When you next hear someone bemoaning the lack of tradition or the diminished status of the FA Cup you can pipe up about the sixth round.
Saturday 24 February
Manchester City 2:2 Chelsea
Having raced into a two-goal lead the women will have been very disappointed to let City back for the draw. Although the goal we conceded at the death was a wonderful strike that no goalkeeper could hope to save.
Our goals came from Millie Bright and Ji So-Yun.
Sunday 25 February
Manchester United 2:1 Chelsea
What a disappointment. We dominated the first-half took the lead through Willian but buckled to two well taken strikes in the second. Our equaliser was ruled out for offside by a linesman who know what side his bread is buttered. Honestly, if United had been denied a equaliser by a flag that was so obviously wrong Match of the Day wouldn’t shut up about it … as it was MoTD didn’t even show the incident and waffled on about United as of they had been any good instead of just competitive in second period.
Lukaku and Matic, of course, made all the difference on the day and it is a shocking indictment of our transfer policy that we were undone by two players who should be in our squad.
Crystal Dunn has left the women’s team to sign for North Carolina Courage. Crystal has had a very positive impact on the team after starting as a striker and then moving to left wing-back this season. We wish her well.