Monday 18 February
Chelsea 0:2 Manchester United
Another abject performance and another resignation letter from Maurizio Sarri to the board. Fuck Sarri-ball, fuck Sarri-ball, fuck Sarri-ball about sums up the evening.
He hasn’t learnt anything, refuses to change even simple tactical switches seem beyond him.
One of tonight’s goal scorers, Ander Herrera, said afterwards “we knew how to play them. I played today a more offensive role because we knew they struggle in that side of the pitch.” United have watched how we play and simply exploited the disorganisation we offered them. Our own manager cannot see what everyone else can.
It doesn’t help when you are two down and struggling to even get a shot on target for the manager to use his third change to swap Azpilicueta for Davide Zappacosta.
When United fans started singing “you’re getting sacked in the morning” the home crowd joined in. We are not sure if their chant of “bring back Mourinho” was meant in an entirely constructive manner.
Sadly, the club are unlikely to sack him ahead of the League Cup final but another 6-0 pasting at Wembley might just tip the balance.
The only bright spots on the night were the work rate of Eden Hazard who was immense and the generous round of applause Juan Mata received from the home crowd.
If Emma Hayes hasn’t been promoted to the caretaker of the men’s side before March her women’s side will play Durham in the next round of the Women’s FA Cup.
Tuesday 19 February
Chelsea U19 3:1 Monaco U19
When things aren’t going well for the first-team it is always a balm to watch out youngsters beat the best the continent has to offer. Monaco’s boys looked bigger and certainly started in a very physical manner as the clattered into every tackle but what told, in the end, was that we kept our passing philosophy and shape.
Charlie Brown gave us the lead in the first half and then doubled it. Conor Gallagher whipped in a free-kick before the late blast of a consolation for the French.
John Terry, Petr Cech and Eden Hazard, among others, all showed up to watch our progress.
Thursday 21 February
Chelsea 3:0 Malmo FF
Well, we needed that, a good performance after a shaky start and goals from Giroud, Barkley and, the new favourite, Callum Hudson-Odoi left the Bridge in a much happier frame of mind than recent matches. The draw is tomorrow.
Friday 22 February
As if this week wasn’t complicated enough, Fifa deem us guilty of tapping up youngsters and have handed down a two-window transfer ban. The Fifa ban comes after we were found guilty in 29 cases out of 92 investigations.
The FA have also been found guilty of allowing us to break the rules and we have joined forces to appeal the decision.
The decision would appear to be Fifa nit-picking in the extreme. Chelsea believed they were acting within the regulations, disclosed everything they were doing, checked with the FA and cooperated with the investigation from the start.
Fifa for their part, have taken years to investigate 92 cases and only found an issue in 29. You might well object that we have not signed 92 foreign youngsters but the charge does not relate to signings but in the main part to trials, we offered players from abroad. Reading between the lines of the club statement it appears we were only found guilty because they ignored the evidence we presented in our defence.
We drew Dynamo Kiev in the next round of the Uefa Cup.
Saturday 23 February
Chelsea U18 6:0 Swansea City U18
George Nunn scored two and Thierno Ballo, Pierre Ekwah Elimby and Armando Broja added the others with an own-goal in between. A list of the scorers doesn’t really tell the whole story as Swansea fashioned a few chances of their own. Ballo was sent off as the last man at 3-0. The ten-men managed to score three more before a late scrap saw Swansea finish with ten-men and we finished with nine.
Stern words will be exchanged about discipline but the performance was a step up from some disappointing recent shows and the result keeps the gap to Arsenal at six-points with a game in hand and a trip to their place to come.
Sunday 24 February
League Cup Final
Manchester City 0:0 Chelsea
(City win 4-3 on penalties)
What a week. Rarely can a manager have run the gauntlet of defeat, vitriol, victory, and near redemption only to have his dignity and authority shoved back in his face by his own goalkeeper.
Kepa Arrizabalaga stole the headlines when having twice been hit by cramp in the latter stages, he refused to be substituted for Willy Caballero.
Caballero is an ex-City player and saved three penalties when City beat Liverpool in 2016 final.
But when the board was raised Arrizabalaga refused to budge and Sarri was left stomping around in fury, at one stage appearing to storm off down the tunnel only to reappear holding his arms out in confusion.
Both later fudged an excuse at the press conference saying that the substitution was due to Kepa’s confusion about the ’keeper’s ability to continue. In reality, it seemed the manager was trying to get on a ’keeper with a better reputation for saving penalties.
It didn’t help the manager that his favourite, Jorginho, gormlessly and ineffectually pat-a-caked his penalty straight at the City ’keeper and it didn’t help Kepa that he failed to save more than one despite a few weak shots.
Perhaps David Luiz sought to settle the argument by slapping his own penalty back off the post and therefore ensuring the shoot-out failure could be laid to him.
The whole issue completely overshadowed our display on the field. After a the nervous start we grew into the match, with Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus- Cheek finally on we looked the more thrusting team and City laboured in possession.