Monday 7 August
The women’s team fixtures have been released and the first match, at our new home Kingsmeadow, will be against Bristol City. The campaign is spread very thinly over the course of a full season with only four league matches between now and November. Cup matches and international breaks will fill in the slack.
Wednesday 9 August
Willian is 29 today. On the day it emerged that he held talks about joining Jose in Manchester we have to say we are happy he stayed. With Eden Hazard out for an indefinite period this could be, the underappreciated, Willian’s chance to shine.
Friday 11 August
Manchester City U23 0:0 Chelsea U23
Joe Edwards’ first match in charge of our oldest development age group earned a creditable draw. City were second in the PL2 last term and they started well. It was a young Chelsea side that matured as the match progressed to create the game’s best chances and a one-on-one that should have been a winner.
Lewis Baker became the latest to sign a new deal and then depart on loan. Lewis will be a Smog Monster for the foreseeable future. Well, until next May at any rate.
Saturday 12 August
Chelsea 2:3 Burnley
Anyone who had been looking forward to the football season has had the wool pulled from their eyes. It seems we were right to predict our season will be marred by awful and, frankly, biased refereeing.
We have now lost players to appalling decisions in our last three competitive games; the moron with the whistle today was Craig Pawson. Gary Cahill had lost the ball and lunged to try to retrieve it, he barely touched his opponent and in no way was it dangerous, career threatening, malicious or out of control. The decision to issue a straight red card was simply absurd. The tackle warranted only a yellow.
We will, of course, witness much worse tackles against our players as the season goes on and you can bet your house none will be punished.
We lost our shape and discipline after that an allowed them into a 3-0 half time lead.
Jeremie Boga had looked bright until the red and his afternoon was cut short too as he made way for Andreas Christensen.
Alvaro Morata made a huge impact on his introduction scoring the kind of header that used to be the preserve of Peter Osgood. But the Spaniard also tapped in from an offside position to deny Christensen his first Chelsea goal and then set up the marauding Luiz for our second.
The referee showed his contempt for consistency and fairness by only booking Ben Mee for a foul on Morata that was every bit as bad as the one that earned Cahill a card of a different colour. Clearly concerned ten-men might rescue a point, Pawson then sent Cesc Fabregas off for a second yellow. His first booking was for dissent his second again clumsy but not malicious. The glee on the referee’s face as he got to send of another Chelsea player made it plain we will be playing 13 men every week.
We nearly snatched an equaliser at the death and but for the referee would have won this comfortably.
Aston Villa U18 0:2 Chelsea U18
Charlie Brown and George McEachran scored quick goals after the break to secure a fairly routine first match back for the youth. Winners of their league last term they looked the part even with schoolboys making up the midfield. The ever inventive Jody Morris started with a diamond midfield and Villa started with an overtly defensive structure. We dominated the play and chances and the goals we scored were a just reward.
Sunday 13 August
Just as your blood pressure is returning to normal Harry Kane gets away with an appalling scissor-tackle on Newcastle United’s Florian Lejeune. Proof if any were needed that there is one law for Chelsea and another for the rest. Needless to say Kane got just a yellow for a tackle that took his opponent out of the game and Spurs went on to win.
We couldn’t watch Manchester United as they lined up with three former Chelsea players against West Ham.