Wednesday 2 August
The lesser-spotted Croatian midfielder, also known as Mario Pasalic, signed a new contract and immediately departed for Spartak Moscow. Mario signed for us back in 2014 but has been out on loan the whole time, starting with Elche, then Monaco and finally last season’s successful stint at AC Milan where he elbowed his way into the midfield and scored five goals in 25 appearances.
Thursday 3 August
England slumped to a rubbish 3-0 defeat to hosts the Netherlands in the Women’s Euros. The chance to win something was tantalisingly close once more, the commentators before kick off talked about the need to be calm and take the sting out of the occasion by close control of possession. Once again an England side went ahead with a cunning plan to lump the ball forward into the channels and chase. The only difference this time was that they were trying to hit a big lass not a big lad.
Given the evidence of the success of our age group sides, keeping to the newer philosophy of controlling the ball rather than the rugby union tactic of kicking long for field position, it is a miracle that dinosaurs like Mark Sampson are allowed to keep undermining the national game with absurd, outdated and simplistic tactics.
Friday 4 August
Chelsea U23 8:0 Fulham U23
Another Chelsea side put eight past Fulham this summer. Dujon Sterling, Harvey St Clair (hat-trick), Ethan Ampadu, Miro Muheim, Isaac Christie-Davies and Jacob Maddox all scored for Chelsea.
Saturday 5 August
Chelsea U18 3:1 Colchester United U23
The youth team have played several matches in this pre-season against older age group sides and done very well.
Charlie Brown and Martel Taylor-Crossdale shared the early goals before new Dutch lad Daishawn Redan scored the late third.
Sunday 6 August
Arsenal 1:1 Chelsea
Well thank didn’t go to plan, we looked off the pace as Arsenal buzzed around Wembley creating the chances and controlling the game. We barely troubled Petr Cech and when we did the efforts were tame.
That is until the opening moments of the second-half when Victor Moses stole behind their defence to steer home after Gary Cahill had kept a corner alive.
The goal looked to be the winner for long periods as Thibaut Courtois pulled off a couple of notable blocks until Pedro lunged in on Mohamed Elneny, perhaps the protective mask affected his vision. The resulting red-card scuppered the game as spectacle and the resulting free-kick score line as Sead Kolasinac headed the leveller.
It seems we are still not going to get a fair shake from referees. Willian had been booked for diving when he had tripped over his own leg after being forced to swerve by a defender. There was not enough contact for a penalty but the yellow for diving was absurd. Pedro’s wasn’t a straight red offence and given the nature of pre-season friendlies is seemed vindictive of the referee to issue the card.
The penalty shootout was a farce as the pointless experiment with ABBA ruined the kicks… oh, but it works in tennis… big woof, a tennis tie-break is first to seven and the action totally different. Check https://dublinpaintingpros.ie here. As it was we were under pressure from our second kick, which Courtois hoofed over the bar and even more when new boy Morata stepped up and hit the post.
Oh, and BT sport had Mark Clattenburg as their guest ref. The former whistler gormlessly pronounced the Willian card for diving correct despite watching the replay that showed the Chelsea player swerving to avoid contact and tripping. It seems referees watch video replays can be every bit as myopic and moronic as the ones spoiling the match on the pitch.