Tuesday 12 September
Chelsea 6:0 Qarabag
This couldn’t have been an easier reintroduction to the delights of midweek European football. From Pedro’s lashed opener to the scuffed final effort that went in off Batshuayi and the defender, we played with an ease and style that belied the seriousness of the competition.
Conte, knowing future dates in Europe will be more taxing made six changes from the weekend and rested Morata, Rüdiger and Bakayoko.
Weirdly this was N’Golo Kante’s first European match.
Pedro’s fine strike opened the scoring before Davide Zappacosta (can we just call him Frank now please?) ran half the length of the field before arcing a beautiful shot over their keeper from forty yards out. He later confessed to have been trying a cross and shanking it horribly but he celebrated like it was the best goal ever.
The Azeri struggled and fell apart a bit in the second-half as Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesar Azpilicueta and the Michy Batshuayi helped themselves to goals.
Eden Hazard was a late sub but he looked a little out of sorts and a touch short of match pace.
Chelsea U19 5:0- Qarabag U19
A crushing win in the end after a very tough first-half and a few tasty tackles from the visitors, they had a player sent off as a result and we romped home with goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi, a Luke McCormick hat-trick and, good grief, a final contribution from Charlie Brown.
The club published a statement condemning the word yid in the catchy new Alvaro Morata chant. The striker himself asked for fans to stop singing it and it seem clear that we are going to have to rephrase our dislike of that particular club. The board appear to be serious this time, they have reported the matter to the police and will be studying CCTV footage to identify season-ticket holders singing the song; they mean business.
Wednesday 13 September
Spurs are on their way to Wembley… part 23. Spurts actually won a match at Wembley but they needed corrupt officials to chalk off two totally legitimate Dortmund goals to achieve it. Dortmund were forced into six changes to their starting lineup and still deserved a point.
The first equaliser incorrectly chalked off, the commentators all agreed, chortling that “you have to understand the offside law”, a Dortmund player, in an offside position, shaped to play the ball and as soon as you do that you are active”, “he then obscured the goalkeeper’s view of the scorer”… to which we can only reply with Arsenal’s first goal in the EFFINGFACUPEFFINGFINAL, you hypocritical, mealy-mouthed, lickspittle morons… as usual it is one law for Chelsea and another for all the rest.
Saturday 16 September
Blackburn Rovers U18 1:1 Chelsea U18
This was our first match in the U18 league cup and an away point in a group that also includes Newcastle and Brighton. Jon Panzo gave us the lead and there will be a degree of frustration that we couldn’t finish off our hosts who lost a man with 15-minutes still on the clock.
Spurs are on their way to Wembley (part four), this saga gets better and better, Spurs have now dropped more points at ‘home’ this season than they did in the whole of the last campaign. Today’s visit of Swansea at least gave us the chance to see Tammy Abraham in action, even if the Swans hardly crossed the half-way line in securing their nil each.
Jeremie Boga’s season at Birmingham just got a bit more interesting as the board rewarded Harry Redknapp’s poor start to the season by sacking the man who kept them up last term. Shipping three in six second-half minutes to lose at home to Preston North End was the last straw.
Sunday 17 September
Chelsea 0:0 Arsenal
Well that was a massive anti-climax and David Luiz was sent off.
We have started to get used to Arsenal putting in a strong, fighting performance against us and then spending the rest of the season supine as the big teams whip their arses.
Today they showed conviction and guile while we looked a little off the pace a draw was a fair result.
The only talking point in a stale afternoon was Luiz’s straight red card for catching Kolasinac and while you cannot dispute there were mitigating circumstances: David was off balanced having been fouled Sanchez and both players were equally committed to winning the ball. You could add further that when we played Tottenham, two of their players were issued yellow cards for remarkably similar offences.
All in all it was a bit of a wet fart to finish to the weekend.
It was also the first home draw under Antonio Conte, proving the lie to the old saying “you win some, you lose some” because, apparently, you can also draw some.