Monday 12 March
The FA Youth Cup game against Birmingham City will be on Wednesday 4 April up at St Andrew’s with a date yet to be confirmed for the Stamford Bridge match.
Manchester City beat hapless Stoke City tonight and we now have to surrender our crown as we cannot catch them even if Devon Loch was appointed manager for the rest of the campaign.
Tuesday 13 March
The FA, determined to screw up every aspect of the game, received applications for the top two tiers of women’s football for the fifth grand reorganisation in the last seven years. Not content with switching the game from winter to summer to winter with a spring series thrown in, the FA have decreed that women’s’ teams must be professional in the WSL and semi-pro in the Women’s Championship. The WSL will be expanded to 14 teams and new clubs with Premier League club backing will be parachuted into the new structure.
Women’s teams must be backed by a men’s club, this patronising measure is designed to exclude some of the trailblazers of the women’s game from participation and punish others.
Doncaster Belles, for example, pioneers of the women’s game, cannot afford to join the professional ranks and Yeovil Town, who host all their league games at the men’s stadium, have some of the highest attendances, will struggle to go pro. West Ham have long neglected their women’s team but have applied for a place in the top division.
There will be no relegation this season and WSL 2 sides have been effectively told they will be not be promoted this term.
With Phil, I have no managerial experience of any kind, Neville blocking the top coaching role, the women’s game and the fallout from the Mark Samson cover-up still settling, it seems the women’s game is being handled by the incurably incompetent.
Wednesday 14 March
Barcelona 3:0 Chelsea
Well, at least we didn’t flop out with an uninspiring performance at home to European minnows. But this still hurts, not as much as those Chelsea fans assaulted outside the match but more on that when it becomes clearer.
We went for this one, let in a criminally incompetent early goal, as Courtois was nutmegged for the first time on the night, and some of our players really shone.
Willian was, again, in sparkling form with Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante showing that they belonged on this stage. But for all the chances we created and the forward drive and possession we had, Barcelona picked us off. Ousmane Dembele scored their second and Messi added insult to injury by nutmegging Courtois for a second time.
We should have had a penalty, had to watch as they rolled around and tried to con free-kicks out of a weak and gullible referee but in the end they finished their chances while ours hit the woodwork.
It will be a matter of some pride that we looked every bit as good as Barcelona but for our finishing and you have to wonder too, as Giroud faded, if Deigo Costa would have scored the goals we needed.
In the end Conte will be blamed and will get it from the board as we start to rebuild again.
Real Madrid U19 2:4 Chelsea U19
We could do worse than rebuilding with a host of the academy squad. We will be at the semi-final party for the third time in five tournaments after we recovered from a goal down to beat Real.
Luke McCormick and a Daishawn Redan brace gave us a 1-3 half-time lead. Ok so, Redan’s first was in off his arm but we won’t quibble because they were handed a man advantage when Jacob Maddox was given a straight red card for cleanly winning a nothing tackle. There was contact with the defender’s foot but nothing dangerous, out of control or malicious.
Harvey St Clair walked in a celebratory goal with the last kick as Madrid stretched for an equaliser and we were worthy winners. The finals are in Nyon, Switzerland toward the end of next month.
Saturday 17 March
Arsenal U23 3:1 Chelsea U23
Kyle Scott opened the scoring but we didn’t take any of our other chance as Arsenal ended our recent winning run.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek made a substitute appearance for Crystal Palace after months out with an ankle injury.
Sunday 18 March
Leicester City 1:2 Chelsea (aet)
We had to work for this as a first-half display only brought one Alvaro Morata goal and we allowed Jamie Vardy to stab home a scrappy equaliser.
With Leicester on the front foot in extra-time we have Pedro to thank for speeding on to N’Golo Kante’s looping cross for the winner.
The balls out of the bag handed Spurs a home tie, as the away team, with Manchester United as we drew Southampton.
Chelsea U18 2:0 Tottenham Hotspur U18
The inaugural Under-18 Premier League Cup is ours after Charlie Brown’s first half brace crowned a dominant display.
Liverpool 0:3 Chelsea
A Women’s FA Cup quarter-final place was the prize for beating Liverpool and we did so with ease. Jonna Anderson and Katie Chapman scored from open play and Maren Mjelde added the spot kick as we now look forward to Montpellier in the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.