Tuesday 27 February
Fulham U18 0:6 Chelsea U18
Hat’s off to the Fulham ground staff for getting this fixture on. And an intriguing night it was. Scoreless at the break, a penalty save, a quick-fire hat-trick and six unanswered goals made for a topsy-turvy evening. Most fans didn’t really care as they froze to their seats.
To be fair to the players they were probably all trying the thaw out in the first 45-minutes, it was that cold.
In the second, Callum Hudson-Odoi showed that he is a class above this age group by forcing an own-goal before netting one of his own. Martell Taylor-Crossdale then tapped in the first of his hat-trick before the referee interpreted a Fulham striker trying to climb all over Jamie Cumming’s back as a penalty offence. Thankfully the ‘keeper made the save. Dujon Sterling hooked in our fourth after a good Billy Gilmour run. Taylor-Crossdale’s second and third were simple, one a header the last a penalty.
Birmingham City over two legs in the semi-final.
Thursday 1 March
In a quiet week Fran Kirby scored the second as Phil Neville’s England women started well by beating France 4-1. Millie Bright and Anita Asante started in defence by Anita limped out of her first representative game in three years. The matches are part of the She Believes tournament and the women will play group matches against Germany and the hosts USA over the next few days.
Friday 2 March
Antonio Conte slammed the ambition Chelsea have shown in the last two transfer windows and said he doesn’t have the money at Chelsea to bring in the players he wants. The extraordinary press conference seemed to confirm that he will be pushed out in the summer.
Asked about Man City’s season he said: “”When you have a good manager and a lot of money to spend, probably you can have a successful season … It’s very important to have the coach and the club with the same ambition: to improve the team, the idea of football and the quality of your players. If you find this situation, probably the season will finish with success. You can win the league, the Cup, the Cup and league, the Champions League.
“I have great ambition but I don’t have money for Chelsea. The club knows very well what is my idea, what is my ambition. That is very clear. When you decide to work with this type of coach, you must understand that you take a coach with great ambition. Not a loser but a winner. And that ambition must always be share
Conte was undermined by the club almost as soon as the league trophy was secured. The Italian wanted to bring in Romelu Lukaku and build his new attacking approach around him. The Chelsea board sat on their hands until Manchester United swooped. Instead, Conte was presented with the injury prone Alvaro Morata, next they failed to lure Llorente from Swansea as a back up for the frail Morata.
The board have history in failing to invest after a league winning season and blaming the manager for the subsequent failure on the pitch.
Conte is going to have to win the European Cup if he is going to stay at the Bridge.
Moreover you have to wonder about the direction of the club as we prepare for the expensive job of rebuilding the stadium are we sacrificing success on the pitch. And would anyone take this job knowing their vision of a squad will be betrayed?
The scheduled academy games have been called off so we just have the hard trip to Manchester this weekend.
Sunday 4 March
Manchester City 1:0 Chelsea
Nothing. We contributed nothing to this match at all.
The only possible gleam of a silver lining is that we could be trying to lull Barcelona into a false sense of security. But really this was abject. We are now 25 points behind City and five behind Spurs.
Millie Bright scored as England drew two each with Germany in the US and we will win the tournament if we beat the USA on their own patch.