Monday 16 October
The balls out of the bag exercise for the Women’s Champions League paired us with the Swedish side Rosengard. Based in Malmo the Swedish champions have been ever present in the Champions League for the last five seasons and have reached five quarter-finals.
Wednesday 18 October
Chelsea 3:3 AS Roma
Well that was close, Roma played us off the park for large periods but while the possession they enjoyed seemed a deliberate tactic the manner of their goals and our near capitulation from two up is very worrying.
Antonio Conte is talking about an injury crisis and things didn’t get any better when the scorer of our first goal, David Luiz, limped out of the action just before the hour.
At that stage we had been clinical on the break twice as Luiz and then Hazard drilled us into a two-goal lead that Kolarov pulled one back was unlucky as the ball was headed straight for Courtois’ arms before a deflection took it into the roof of the net.
Dzeko’s equaliser was a one in a million hit as he strong-armed Christensen and volleys a ball dropping over his shoulder. The next goal he scored looked to t=be the result of the fatalism that steals over this team, as if we’d shrugged and stood debating the difficult of defending a cross rather than actually got on and done it.
Hazard’s equaliser, from Pedro’s cross was precise and made the last fifteen-minutes tense and nervous. We had as many chances as they did to win it but none of them clear cut. There was just time for Gary Cahill to be bandaged up like one of the Munsters and the game was over.
Roma came and really fought for everything and we were patchy at the back and magnificent at the front. The story of the season so far.
The Hornets will have been watching with glee and will be looking forward to Saturday lunchtime.
Chelsea U19 0:2 AS Roma U19
This was a curiously disjointed match in which the referee handed them a penalty when the ball hit Ampedu’s hand from less than a yard and then a goalkeeping error doubled the lead. We didn’t really click and the diamond midfield isn’t really creating the results, yet, that staff obviously hope it will. That said this was only our third ever defeat in the competition and we are still well placed.
Over in Parliament and Eni Aluko had her very dignified say in front of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee. The FA announced, just before the hearings that, all of a sudden, they were apologising to Eni and Drew Spence and that the ‘independent’ investigation had now concluded that Mark Sampson had made the racist remarks afterall, but that the FA had done no wrong and that there wasn’t a culture of bullying. So that is ok then.
FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, came across as a lying toerag from the start as he sought to defend the indefensible incompetence of the original investigation and whitewash while simultaneously admitting that it was a farce. Aluko revealed that Glenn had withheld half the £80,000 hush money the FA had agreed to pay her until she made a public statement that the FA were not institutionally racist. She labelled the move blackmail.
Greg Clarke, FA Chairman, came out swinging. Unprepared to admit to any failings he made an extraordinary attack on the player’s union, the PFA, alleging that the union had abandoned former child sex abuse victims while paying inflated salaries to their Chief Executive, Gordon Taylor. The PFA denied his allegations and it is clear that trust and cooperation between the FA and the PFA has evaporated.
Along with the head of HR at the FA it is clear that they all need to go. The only people left defending their position is themselves, it is quite clear to the rest of the game, the public and the press that a failed cover-up has been botched and those responsible have been caught. It is time for them to go.
Saturday 21 October
Chelsea 4:2 Watford
The last time the Hornets lost away in the league was the 4-3 reverse at the Bridge as we closed out the season. This time we were nervous until the final few minutes as Pedro’s outrageous opener was cancelled out just before the break and Watford snatched the lead just after. We had to wait until the 71st minuet for Batshuayi’s equaliser but we showed our determination in forcing a late winner from Azpilicueta and a second for Batshuayi to make things safe at the death.
We needed the insurance as well because Watford came with a plan and were belligerent and attacking throughout.
The malaise surrounding the first team will not completely lift with this result but it will give everyone a spring in their step again for the coming week’s work.
Southampton U18 4:0 Chelsea U18
The first defeat of the season for Jody Morris’ team and even the cold blustery day cannot really be an excuse. Perhaps the youngsters were learning what happens on the days you just don’t show up.
Sunday 22 October
Chelsea U23 0:0 West Ham United U23
This was a positive draw for the U23 squad as it turned around a string of recent negative results. Still, a closely fought nil each leaves plenty of room for improvement.