Tuesday 8 May
Liverpool U23 5:1 Chelsea U23
If there has been one level of Chelsea football that has consistently disappointed this season it is in the Premier League 2. Joe Edwards returned to lead our academy side and while this is the youngest side in the competition by some way and we have used few of the allowed overage players, somehow we seemed never to get into gear in the league. That said we finished mid-table as Manchester United were relegated.
The magnificent run to the semi-final of the Checkatrade Trophy, which only ended at the hands of the eventual winners Lincoln City, and the Uefa Youth League final showed the club and the academy squad in its best light. We are still streets ahead of any other academy and getting stronger.
Martell Taylor-Crossdale added to his prolific season with our goal today.
Southampton’s win at Swansea means that West Brom join Stoke City on the way down. One of Southampton, Swansea or Huddersfield will join them.
Liverpool beat Manchester City women to hand us a chance at the top of the WSL. Still level on points, we now have a game in hand… which is at home to Birmingham City tomorrow.
To add a gloss to the result it was Bethany England, on loan from Chelsea to Liverpool, who headed the winning goal.
90 loyalty points if you want a Cup Final ticket… it looks like BT Sport again, or the gurning charm of Gary Lineker. One year we should ask everyone who has already been to a cup final to stay at home and let the poorer members of our parish have a chance at the big day.
Wednesday 9 May
Chelsea 1:1 Huddersfield Town
Instead of the grand narrative of our challenge for the Champions League we became the fall guys in the story of the Terriers’ survival. The point keeps them up and, hard though it is to say, they defended like heroes to the last and deserved their prize.
We, however, looked forlorn by the end as we got caught on the break and, as a kind of cruel metaphor for a season of wasted chances and dropped points, Caballero bungled his chance to clear the danger and we didn’t even really score the equaliser as a clearance smacked into Alonso’s face.
It was absolutely typical of the season for the referee, Lee Mason, to allow Willian to be smashed off the ball as they broke to score. Referees, this season, have sunk to new lows of self-obsession, bias and absurdity. From the moment 13-minutes into the new season when the incompetent Craig Pawson sent off Gary Cahill, our season has been defined by outrageous officials and sickening decisions. You can take your pick from that first red, through the VAR upholding incorrect calls on the field, two yellow cards with a couple of seconds to the kind of tackle that led to their opener.
We managed to undermine our own title defence possibly even from the moment when the hierarchy failed to buy Romelu Lukaku and Antonio’s summer plans blew up in his face.
Of course you have witnessed tackles, sometimes two or three in a match, that were worse than Cahill’s against Burnley but the club seemed to sulk from that moment on and never really found the form – Atletico away, perhaps – that clinched the title just a few weeks before.
Antonio Conte waited behind to shake the hand of every Huddersfield player tonight. He is a man of immense dignity and should be backed in the market to build another title challenging team.
A Spurs win over Newcastle means we can now only qualify for the Champions League if Liverpool lose to, already safe, Brighton and we beat Newcastle… come on Brighton.
Hugo Lloris said that, to Spurs, qualifying for the Champions League meant more than a trophy. Which is understandable playing for a club that hasn’t won the league since before we were all born and has nothing but a league cup to show since the last century.
Chelsea 2:1 Birmingham City
The women were placed in a similar position to the men but they found an Erin Cuthbert finish to snatch all the points and spring three points clear of City with three games left to play. Fran Kirby scored a brilliant opener but our winner had to wait until deep into injury time.
Mason Mount booted in a hat-trick as Vitesse thrashed ADO Den Haag in the Europa League play-off in the Netherlands. Mason made his mark with one with each foot in the first-half and a free-kick after the break.
Alex Ferguson is out of intensive care after his brain haemorrhage.
Thursday 10 May
The FA have added further insult to our injury by charging us with failing to control our players. The absurd charge came after perplexed players had been awarded a corner only for Lee Mason to blow-up for half-time before we could take it.
The stuffed shirts at PGMOL will claim that the referee does not have to add on time for a corner to be taken, citing perhaps Clive Thomas in 1978 denying Brazil against Sweden because he had blown up while the corner was still in the air and before Zico headed the ‘winner’.
You will remember that PGMOL are so well regarded in the world game that no English referees are deemed competent enough for the World Cup this summer.
Charlton and Jay Dasilva have a lot of work to do after losing the first leg of their League One play-off at home 1-0 to Shrewsbury.
Saturday 12 May
Chelsea 2:1 Sunderland
The women took a giant leap towards their second double winning season in three years. Goals from Fran Kirby and Eni Aluko gave us the lead and the late reply from Sunderland didn’t ruffle the feathers too much.
The pressure eased somewhat earlier as Manchester City lost their second game of the week as Arsenal came from one down at the break to beat them 2-1. This win means, then, that we need only one point form our remaining two fixtures, away at Bristol and Liverpool, to secure the title.
We said goodbye to Katie Chapman and Claire Rafferty as both made their last home appearance.
Clair is our longest serving player having joined from Millwall in 2007. Katie a captain, leader, legend of the women’s game, she was given a guard of honour as she came onto the pitch as she looked to take another step on her way to a fifth major piece of silverware with us, after a 21-year career.
It could be a summer of recruitment because Eni Aluko is rumoured to be on her way too.
The other League One play-off semi-finished two each as Scunthorpe and Rotherham United went head to head. Remember what happens in years Scunthorpe get promoted – we win the FA Cup.
One each between Coventry City and Notts County in the League Two play-off first leg. Nil each between Lincoln and Exeter City.
Mason Mount furthered a really successful season on loan with Vitesse Arnhem by scoring again as the won the home leg of the Europe League play-off with ADO 2-1. Utrecht await in the final.
Newcastle United 3:0 Chelsea
This was a performance as gutless and weak as anything we have served up this season. Needing three points and an improbably Brighton win at Anfield to qualify for the Champions League, we didn’t show up to play Newcastle. We stood and watched as they scored simple goals and traipsed off at the end like we were heading for the beach rather than the cup final.
Nobody came out of this well, needing to fight for midfield we dropped Ross Barclay into a match and watched him fumble, bumble and stumble his way to a needed second-half substitution. He looks a waste of money, and it is not often we say that about a Chelsea player.
We were, again, flaccid in midfield and limp at the back. Even Eden Hazard, who has been the one consistently bright spark looked tired and was easily dispossessed several times.
The only thing worse than the performance – two realistic chances in 90-minutes – was the new kit. Every bit at lazy and incompetent as the players, Nike have let us down. Because the players can regroup but they will have to approach the coming season in a 80s French beach towel design that never should have left the factory.
It is unspeakable awful. Some eight-year-old has crayoned red and white stripes onto a Chelsea shirt. We should all boycott this abomination until they bring out a proper Chelsea shirt. No red on the Chelsea shirt.
It is par for the course for Nike not to notice that Chelsea hate clubs that play in red and so introducing red stripes onto the home kit will only antagonise the fans. Nike care nothing for the history and tradition of a club when they produce kits, they are only in for the number of units they can shift… and punters they can shaft.
Disappointment for Tammy Abraham as an up and down season on loan to Swansea City ends in the Swans’ relegation. They lost at home to Kurt Zouma’s Stoke City.
League One play-off misery for Jay Dasilva and Charlton as they lost 1-0 to Shrewsbury again.