Monday 1 July
Frank Lampard has been given permission to miss the start of pre-season training at Derby. The Rams’ statement, reading between the lines, seemed to be pleading with Chelsea to get on with it.
Higuain will not be staying but Kovacic is a Chelsea boy after we paid £40m to Real Madrid. Given his impressive performances toward the end of the season he will be a useful addition. We are able to sign him despite the transfer ban because he was already registered with us as a loan player.
Higuain’s departure means Tammy Abraham is guaranteed a meaningful role next term.
Christian Pulisic helped the USA overcome Curacao 1-0 to reach the Gold cup semi-finals. They will play Michael Hector and Jamaica on Thursday.
Juan Castillo, George McEachran and Tariq Uwakwe all signed new contracts today. The big defender Sam McClelland signed his first professional contract.
Thomas Kalas has left us for Bristol City where he spent last season on loan. The Czech international never quite broke into the first-team although he will long be remembered for his partnership with Branislav Ivanovic at Anfield on 2014 when our 2-0 win blew Liverpool’s title hopes to shreds.
Leaving us this summer are Todd Kane, Ruben Sammut, Marcin Bulka, Joseph Colley, Renedi Masampu, Josimar Quintero, Martell Taylor-Crossdale and Jared Thompson.
Bradley Collins and Fanktay Dabo have already gone and Victorian Angban will leave us to play in France with Metz.
A clearing of the decks ahead of a new broom.. who knows…
The women’s fixtures are out and we start with a home game with newly promoted Spurs on the first weekend of September.
Tuesday 2 July
England 1:2 USA
We have long criticised amateur manager Phil Neville as incompetent for the job of managing the England and he went a long way to proving it by adopting the wrong tactics with the wrong personnel.
He sent his side out in a 4-4-1-1 formation dropping Fran Kirby and Toni Duggan. Nikita Parris played out of position as a 10 and didn’t touch the ball until we reverted to 4-3-3.
The result was a shambolic first-half in which we were out manoeuvred in midfield and never regained the initiative. We did manage to scrape a goal back and miss a penalty but the USA looked in control throughout most of the match.
Millie Bright was sent off late on for a questionable card and VAR ruled out a legitimate equaliser. Offside used to involve only the player’s torso not their foot, big toe or knee. The change in the law was made by Ifab, the secretive body slowly sucking all the joy out of football
Wednesday 3 July
Mario Pasalic signed a new deal and returns to Atalanta for another season on loan. The 24-year-old Croatian international played over forty games for Atalanta last term helping them finish third.
Our Swedish women missed out on the final too and will have to play England in the coveted 3rd place play-off. Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson and Hedvig Lindahl all played well as the Swedes set the early pace but in the end it was Chelsea old girl Jackie Groenen who scored the winner for the Netherlands deep into extra-time.
Thursday 4 July
Finally, Frank Lampard has been officially unveiled as Chelsea manager. The deal was finalised last night but the club held the announcement until this morning. Frank’s assistants at Derby, Jody Morris and Chris Jones are also joining.
Being a gentleman Frank thanked Mel Morris, Derby CEO, for giving him the chance and wished everyone at Derby well. It is a sentiment we should all share, Derby gave Frank and Jody the opportunity to cut their teeth and have not stood in the way of their return to Stamford Bridge.
Many Chelsea fans followed Derby closely last season and we think that bond will last for a good few seasons. We wish them well under Frank’s replacement Phillip Cocu.
There are already noises about the academy boys training alongside the first-team with the squads mixing more at Cobham.
On the minus side today, Gianfranco Zola leaves the club, formerly assistant coach under Sarri the genius Italian is looking for his own management position.
Arjen Robben retired from football at the age of 35. The former Chelsea winger was an undoubted star of our first Permier League championship side. He left us for Madrid for the then heft wedge of £24m. He was a delight to watch when he was fit but whippet players often have tendon injuries and Robben was out with injuries throughout his career.
It is not just the men’s squad getting new staff today Bart Caubergh, Lisa Fallon, Brede Tokvam and Steve Hockham all joining the women’s set-up behind the scenes.
Christian Pulisic scored two as the USA beat Jamaica 3-1
Saturday 6 July
Alvaro Morata leaves us for Atletico for about £58m, so we breakeven on the Spaniard’s uneven time at the Bridge. He scored 24 goals in 72 games. Statistics that look much better when you consider that he was often in and out of the side.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has penned a contract for a further five-years. He is a giant on the pitch and talks eloquently about being a mentor to the players stepping up from the academy.
Football fans are going to present a series of demands to Uefa about tickets and venues for future European finals. The Chelsea Supporter’s Trust alongside Liverpool, Arenal and Tottenham fan groups have asked for 80% of venue seats going to fans, fair pricing and venues in cities with good transport and accommodation.
Phil Neville couldn’t lead England to third and all the pre-tournament talk of England improving has evaporated. Fran Kirby scored a cracking goal to give us hope but a poor England flopped against Sweden 2-1. VAR did have time to deny us an equaliser for a fictitious handball but you expect incompetence from video refs.
Karen Carney has retired
Sunday 7 July
The USA are world champions again after a 2-0 win over the Netherlands. The game was again decided by VAR as a penalty was awarded against a defender who got a touch on the ball before the striker charged into her.
It does give the USA team the pleasure of sticking up a finger at the White House as they receive the acclaim of their nation.
Brazil won the Copa America beating Peru in a match with an absurd VAR penalty each. Willian stay on the bench for the final as a younger looking Brazil team triumphed on home soil.
The USA failed to win the day’s third major final as Mexico scored the only goal. Christian Pulisic did his best to play like Eden Hazard danced through a number of tackles but didn’t really have a chance. Matt Miazga play ina. Defence that was only breached