Wednesday 1 February
Hakim Ziyech is really confused and angry. His proposed loan to PSG has not been ratified by the Ligue 1 authorities because documents were not filed in time.
PSG say the wrong forms were submitted and when Chelsea were told they sent the right forms but they were unsigned. The French champions were on the phone trying to get the situation sorted but Chelsea were not picking up and the deal missed the deadline.
When Chelsea’s new regime are described as scattergun, chaotic and incompetent this is what is meant. Some of the recruitment team are relatively new to the club. Perhaps, to be kind, some personnel do not yet know their role. Amateurish is a charitable way to describe this episode.
The 28-year-old Moroccan had an excellent World Cup, has shown great form in recent matches and yet Potter clearly doesn’t rate him. The club have just spent a British record sum on another player who had a good World Cup, it goes to show how chaotic Chelsea have become.
What happens now if injury and suspension force Graham to turn to Ziyech, who knows what his response will be?
Also missing out on a loan was Omari Hutchinson who was expected to go to West Bromwich Albion. This time the trouble seems to be with the Throstles.
Jim Fraser was promoted to head of youth development and recruitment at the start of last month when Nail Bath was promoted to director of football development and operations. At the start of his new role Jim has bagged the prolific Southampton striker Jimmy Morgan. Jimmy was a blue earlier in his career but commuting to Cobham was too much at a younger age group.
Neil Bath’s new role will give a voice to the academy further up the club and with the flood of new signings, existing academy players will need an advocate.
Ethan Wady has returned from loan with Woking. At least rumours say he had. No confirmation on the young USA stopper.
Friday 3 February
Chelsea 0:0 Fulham
In the end, despite some promising starts this was another two-points dropped.
Some of the expensively assembled spare parts were in from the start. Enzo Fernandez was industrious at the base of the midfield, Mudryk anonymous early on and Ziyech positive and creative back in the side with Reece James returning behind him.
For all that it was feisty Fulham who had the better early openings, as Willian looked to cause more pain and Arrizabalaga had to be sharp to turn round an Andreas Pereira shot. Havertz stretched to put a chance over a little later but we were not making many chances for him to miss.
The early ball forward, whether from Fernandez, Mount or Badiashile was an early feature but we were all tricks and flicks upfront and couldn’t work a situation.
Fulham had our measure on the break several times with Willian feeding Mitrovic rather than shoot on 35 minutes. Conor Gallagher bustled around, closed and generally looked pleased to still be in the side.
Havertz lifted the ball over the keeper, just before the break but it bounced back off the post. Ziyech’s superb ball over the defence made the chance and he looked the best player on the pitch.
First impressions of Fernandez was a good passer, tenacious in the tackle but a little exposed by Mount and Gallagher pushing forward.
Noni Madueke appeared at the half, replacing the surprisingly quiet Mudryk. The youngster, brought in from PSV, had one barrelling run early and then had a debut goal nicked off his head, from Ziyech’s cross, as Fulham cleared.
Reece James departed, without twisting his knee for Azpilicueta on the hour, with Raheem Sterling on for Ziyech.
It was starting to resemble a pre-season game with the shape and personnel in flux we didn’t look coherent… and that after Potter had the side for nearly two-weeks at Cobham. Under what circumstances could he get a shape and a sustained performance from this group?
It was such a poor half that Mitrovic’s attempt from half way had been the highlight. Kepa tried to look casual but was breathing hard.
Enzo had a thump from distance to a chorus of “what a waste of money…”
Willian received a standing ovation from both sets of fans as he was substituted. We don’t do things with dignity often these days, so it was good to know that we still can.
Fofana had a chance to win it as he latched on to Gallagher’s tenacious pass but a defender cleared. It was only our second attempt at the Fulham goal.
Ben Chilwell also got a run out, so there was positive news but we have spent more than La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga combined and managed only two shots on target against Fulham.
Earlier the Champions League squad was released. Joao Felix, Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez were the three new players included.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been dropped, along with Benoit Badiashile the most consistent performer of the new recruits. Noni Madueke, David Datro Fofana and Andrey Santos all also miss out.
The decision to leave out Aubameyang and Fofana from a dysfunctional attack means we have no weapons going into the tie against Dortmund, they can’t all play as false 9s.
Badiashile is a bad miss. He has looked controlled, fast, precise and creative since he started at the back. All the things Koulibaly hasn’t.
The decisions look to have weakened us at the front and the back.
Dion Rankine was rewarded for a positive season with a new contract. The youth team defender was being talked about as stepping up to the first team, until the transfer window blocked the route to the firs team building.
Sunday 5 February
Tottenham Hotspur 2:3 Chelsea
Emma was not amused by the two goals we allowed. Beth England, was itching to get one over on her mates and didn’t celebrate when she scored their first-half equaliser. In the end Jess Carter’s delirious headed opener, Lauren James’ mazy-dribble and Guro Reiten’s audacious steal put us back on top of the league. Manchester United’s and Arsenal’s title pretentions were hurt by 0-0 draws with Everton and West Ham respectively.
Emma was cool about James and her talent on the ball. Urging caution about her game off the ball, Emma conceded: “She’s fantastic but she’s got to learn some other things like the last parts of the game – getting back into position. That’s for me to deal with with her. On the ball, she’s outstanding but we need to be patient.” You can tell she loves her really.
Harry Kane surpassed Jimmy Greaves’ scoring record for Spurs taking 416 games went Jimmy only needed 379. That Greaves also scored 132 for Chelsea and had World Cup and Serie A winners medals puts the potless Kane’s achievements in perspective.
Monday 6 February
Manchester City have been charged with over 100 breaches of Premier League rules. City squirmed out of some of these charges when they were found guilty by Uefa a few years ago but their penalties were then reduced because of a time-bar on some of the evidence. No such time limit affects the Premier League.
City released another of its delusional statements: “The club welcomes the review of this matter by an independent commission, to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence that exists in support of its position”.
The last time it was a mountain of irrefutable evidence that led to their being fined and banned from European competition. CAS overturned that punishment, on a 2-1 vote, on the grounds, not that the evidence wasn’t conclusive, but that City’s delaying tactics meant much of it was time-barred.
The irrefutable evidence has been found to be lies by Uefa and now the Football Association. The titles they have won by cheating can be stripped by the panel and there is no recourse to CAS.
Pep Guardiola said before that he would walk away from the club the next day, if he found they were lying about the financial doping allegations. We’ll be keeping him to that promise when the independent panel returns it verdict.
Christian Atsu is missing following earthquakes in Turkey. At the weekend Christian came on and scored for Hatayspor where he has been playing since September. The club are in Antakya in the south of the country, where the earthquakes hit on Monday
Tuesday 7 February
Christian Atsu has reportedly been rescued from the rubble of the building he was in collapsed in south eastern Turkey. He was reported missing after teammates escaped from the same building, others are still missing.
The report that confirmed he was alive also said he had ‘injuries’ but did not specify.
Zecira Musovic has signed a new contract which keeps her at the club until 2025. The Swedish international has been eased into the starting line up by Emma Hayes who clearly rates the Swedish goalkeeper.
Arsenal beta Manchester City in their league cup semi final and will meet the winners of West Ham and Chelsea tomorrow night.
Thursday 9 February
West Ham United 0:7 Chelsea
Sam Kerr scored four, Frank Kirby, Lauren James and Guro Reiten scored the rest as we eased past West Ham. We had been told to expect a difficult game against opponents who defended brilliantly to take a point off Arsenal in the league. Sam scored after three minutes and the defenders looked to have been worn out not invigorated by their efforts at the weekend.
Continental Tyres cup final will be at Selhurst Park on Sunday 5 May at 3pm.
Friday 10 February
Christian Atsu has not been found. His partner confirmed that he is still unaccounted for and called for rescue equipment to be sent to the site. Atsu’s agent said on Tuesday that he was alright but officials have been, first, unable to confirm and then said he is still missing.
It must have been distressing for his family to get a false report about his safety. Players in the Premier League will wear black armbands this weekend and the league have donated money to the relief efforts.
Lyon in the quarter-final draw. Emma will be pissed off, we will face either Roma but probably Barcelona if we get passed the current champions. Arsenal are in the easy side of the draw facing Bayern Munich, the winners of that tie face Wolfsburg or PSG.
So, if we are to lift the trophy, we’ll have to play the current champions, the winners from the season before and then two-time winners, and bogey team, Wolfsburg.
The club formally welcomed Jimmy Jay Morgan from Southampton. The young striker is among the most sought after and talented kids in his age group. At 17 he has trained regularly with the Saints first team and made the bench for some cup matches.
Pep Guardiola is very unhappy about his innocent club being reported for cheating. He listed the clubs that called for City to be banned from Europe when Uefa were investigating them in 2020. Burnley, Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea all called for them to be banned from the Champions League.
As his press conference descended into a rant he said the other clubs were driving this process and named Daniel Levy of Spurs as well as the CEOs of the other clubs.
Guardiola had previously said that he would leave City if h found he had been lied to but in declaring, “The club proved they were completely innocent”, suggests he might not be open to the truth.
Saturday 11 February
West Ham United 1:1 Chelsea
He doesn’t say anything at all. In Graham Potter’s post-match comments, he just says happy with the work rate, disappointed with the result, and that is it. Five wins in 16 games and he has nothing to say for himself.
Potter has been in charge of a failing Chelsea project for five months. We were awful before the World Cup, dreadful after the World Cup, cannot buy a win despite pebble-dashing the transfer market with £320m. The side has no character, no momentum, no direction and no leadership.
The new boys looked slick in creating early penetration and movement. Felix took his goal well with praise is due for the pass from Fernandez who shows great promise.
Madueke also had his moments and could develop into a good asset but Emerson popped up with an equaliser and, for all the new faces and money, we had no answer. Clinging to the straw that we could have had a late penalty is pretty thin given the state of the club.
Blackburn Rovers U21 2:3 Chelsea U21
A real fight as Omari Hutchinson and Dion Rankin scored and Hutchinson looked to have won it only for the goal to be credited as an own-goal winner. Tough match but all the better to come out on top.
West Ham United U18 1:3 Chelsea U18
We lost to this West Ham earlier in the season as the out fought us on the night. Today we fought as hard and played better football.
Donnell McNeilly scored two either side of the half and Tudor Mendel-Idowu added the third in a game. We move up to second in the table.
Monday 13 February
Uefa have been panned in a report into the farce outside the Champions League final in Paris last year. Liverpool fans had been blamed for showing up late and with fake tickets but the report confirms, what was self-evident on the night, that French Police and Uefa were the problem Fans were there up to four hours before the match and no more than 1,200 forged ticket had been recovered from both Liverpool and Real fans, far short of the 30,000 claimed by the French government the day after the match.
Problems were due to French police delaying fans, and restricting access to turnstiles and then overreacting with pepper spray and tear gas when locals tried to jump barriers. The report also panned the ‘reprehensible’ efforts of the authorities to blame football fans for their own organisational failures.
George McEachran has joined Jody Morris’s misfiring revolution at Swindon Town. Subject to EFL approval. George learnt his craft with us but has been a free-agent since last summer.
Wednesday 15 February
Borussia Dortmund 1:0 Chelsea
“To be fair” we had some chances. Joao Felix missed a couple in the first period when we’d escaped the Dortmund shackles. And, to be fair, we started the second half well but apparently unaware that Karim Adeyemi is quite fast .We trailed in his wake as he gave the German side a first-leg lead.
There were positives but just as at the weekend the players had no confidence in front of goal and when Koulibaly did blast a shot on target, Emre Can hacked it off the line.
Reece James, for all the money spent, still looks the best player on the pitch, brought a couple of saves from Gregor Kobel in the Dortmund goal. But that was it.
The BT commentators kept saying “to be fair” while picking holes in another disjointed display. It is only a one goal deficit ahead of the second leg but we haven’t looked like scoring one let alone two.
Potter said afterwards that it was a strong performance because we got into the areas he wanted and had personality. But the personality we showed was a deflated team unable to muster shots, take decent chances or impose their talent and tactics. Dortmund are a good team and an established force and the result is not shaming. What is a problem is the continued drift. Since Potter took over we have scored 25 goals, in that time Manchester United have scored 60, City 59, Arsenal 43. We are a pathetic shadow of the team that finished last season in third and simply fail to improve with each game.
The owners have said that Potter is here for the long term and perhaps that has taken off the pressure but we are playing like strangers, still.
We have an easy one against the least confident team in the league, in Southampton, at the weekend. If he doesn’t conjure a performance against them Potter should go.
Manchester City beat Arsenal in the top of the table clash but that end of the table isn’t relevant to us anymore.
Thursday 16 February
England 4:0 South Korea
Lauren James is carving a place for herself in the England side, winning a penalty and scoring a superb solo goal. Emma Hayes was doing the commentary and couldn’t quite stifle the glow of pride. James is going to be a very special player.
Jess Carter partnered Millie Bright in the defence but to many people’s disappointment Ji So-Yun stayed on the Korean bench.
Saturday 18 February
Chelsea 0:1 Southampton
The first half was a disgrace as Southampton, poor, demoralised Southampton dominated possession, had the clearer chances, played the better football and went ahead as Ward-Prowse scored direct from a free-kick.
Booing the team off at the break, takes us back to the early days of Claudio Ranieri’s reign and rousing chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing…”
Raheem Sterling made some early headway in the second-half but Kepa had to be alert to turn Adam Armstrong’s effort away with his legs.
Sterling had a couple of further chances when first Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Romain Perraud and then Romeo Lavia all blocked shots.
Cesar Azpilicueta left the field on a stretcher after taking a boot in the head. There was a ten-minute delay as the stretcher, neck-brace and oxygen were applied but Cesar was conscious as he left the pitch.
Southampton needed just to be competent to keep Chelsea out and had their own chances as the game wound into the injury-time and the final whistle could have sounded for Potter’s time at Chelsea.
Southampton, bottom of the league and with one clean sheet in 25 away games, humiliated Graham Potter’s disjointed side.
It has been clear for months that Graham Potter is out of his depth. Brighton, although they lost today, have been scoring more goals and getting better results under their new boss than they managed when Potter was in charge. Forget the 23-point gap to the top of the table, Chelsea are seven-points behind Fulham with an inferior goal-difference.
Chelsea U18 1:4 Arsenal U18
A really disappointing result as great saves, last-ditch tackles, offside flags and the woodwork restricted us to Ronnie Stutter’s goal.
Christian Atsu 1992-2023
Sobering news that the body of Christian Atsu has been found in the rubble, 12-days after he was reported missing. Early, erroneous, reports suggested that he had been found but sadly he died last Monday when the earthquake hit Turkey and Syria.
It is a shocking and sudden way to die and our thoughts are with his family and friends. The whole region needs our help and if you were thinking about donating to the DEC appeal fund you can do so here – https://www.dec.org.uk/appeal/turkey-syria-earthquake-appeal
Sunday 19 February
Liverpool U21 0:0 Chelsea U21
This was a chance to go top of the table but a very close and hard-fought match ended without a goal.
Dave isn’t in any danger following a hospital assessment overnight. He left an upbeat message on FaceTok