Sunday 1 January
Nottingham Forest 1:1 Chelsea
Sleepwalking. That was the view from the commentary team. Chelsea were lucky with their goal and then were sleepwalking towards a poor result.
Jamie Carragher hasn’t ever been a fan of Chelsea and Martin Tyler actually congratulated the new owners for removing the sneer from Chelsea. Which we don’t recognise as a characteristic of our club, any of our managers (apart from Mourinho’s 1st spell), our fans or our previous owner. Can you sneer while not saying in public for the best part of 19-years?
Raheem Sterling handed us the lead by standing still and having the ball drop onto his instep. Standing still is a skill in football, often overlooked.
Their equaliser came during our somnambulism. Forest’s confidence and pressure grew in equal degree as the second half wore on and Aurier took his volley well.
Late substitutions gave us a little more energy but not control. Ziyech came on and started delivering the ball to the forwards in a way we have been unable to do before. But then he had a centre forward to aim at after Aubameyang came out of exile on 73 minutes.
There was a late move when Aubameyang and Havertz tried to link up but played like they’d had no game together.
We managed one shot in the second period. Koulibaly was slow, immobile, booked and could have been sent off. The new arrivals from Molde and the rumoured medicals ahead of signings has better hit the ground running. Remember everything we spend now means less we can spend under FFP rules in the summer.
Yes, we sound impatient, we are impatient because this side has no personality. There is no feeling that Potter knows how to get the best out of his squad, knows how to motivate them. The tactics and leaden not led. We are not creating chances, we aren’t stopping teams attacking, we are desperately poor and there seems to be nothing coming from the manager except ‘the boys showed the right effort’.
Graham Potter had weeks while the World Cup played out and appears to have done nothing but receive assurances that he has a job for life. And on a weekend when Newcastle, City and Spurs slipped up we couldn’t beat a weak Forest.
We are 18-points behind Arsenal. We were five points off the top when Todd sacked Thomas Tuchel. So far, Graham Potter has lost 13 points in a prolonged period of drift. We are seven behind fourth place with Manchester City coming on Thursday. There needs to be improvements.
Monday 2 January
Ian Maatsen blasted in another spectacular brace to give the Clarets a six-point gap at the top of the Championship. Vincent Kompany’s Turf Moor side are the most watchable team in the league at the moment and a quickly-maturing Maatsen a vital part of their progress. We have been looking for a left-back for a long time and many at Cobham have their fingers crossed.
Tuesday 3 January
Charlotte Wardlaw has returned from her Liverpool loan. The youngster who signed her first pro contract this summer, was a great success helping the Reds to promotion last term before returning last August.
Wednesday 4 January
The Brightonification of Chelsea took another step as two of our European scouts joined Liverpool and City respectively. The pair, Sven Dworaczek and Leonardo Masieri, worked under Scott McLachlan who got the heave-ho at the end of his gardening leave last month.
Recruitment will be data-driven from now on as analysts pour over spreadsheets rather than scouts watch football matches. Dworaczek and Masieri clearly didn’t feel they could work under the new model.
If Moneyball was the course all along it seems inexplicable that Boehly shambolically spent £250m in the last window, flirted with Ronaldo and proposed an all-star game, then sacked a coach he’d bought the players for and hired a manager whose only qualification appears to be being a yes-man.
This window doesn’t seem to fit the data-analyst model either. While we are slogging through deal for decent signings from Molde BK and Monaco we are also flirting with Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez for around £100m and have been linked to Bellingham and Rice.
David Gold, joint chairman of West Ham United, died at the age of 86. The man will probably want to be remembered as chairman of first Birmingham City and then the Hammers but he made his money from Asian Babes and Razzle. West Ham’s recent progress was, effectively, subsidised by millions of lonely wanks.
Beth England has left us for Tottenham. Signed from Doncaster a very long time ago, Bethany has been hitting the net regularly for Chelsea. Her 74 goals since 2016 have help us win a host of titles but behind Sam Kerr she does deserve the chance to lead the line and we wish her well.
The fee is reported to be £250,000, a record fee for a player in the WSL.
Thursday 5 January
Chelsea 0:1 Manchester City
Last season, as European and World Champions we made two cup finals, pushing Liverpool all the way both times and comfortably finished third. Injuries and sanctions robbed us of the chance to challenge. This year, after spending north of £300m on players we are 10 points behind fourth and there is a 19-point gap to Arsenal. In the last eight matches we’ve gained only six points from the 24 available. Scored only five goals and slumped out of the League Cup . Sunday could bring fresh humiliation and yet Graham Potter is still our manager.
A bright opening from Chelsea was marred when first Raheem Sterling and then Christian Pulisic limped out of the action. The latter hurt his ankle as John Stones blocked his shot and was replaced by 20-year-old Carney Chukwuemeka who was positive and didn’t look out of place.
With Mason Mount injured in the warm-up and Reece James out already the options from the bench were getting thin.
The first-half City were not the side everyone feared last season, possibly they’ve spent too long playing an easy ball for the big Norwegian and Haaland even started coming deeper looking for more involvement as the half wore on. His one chance of the half went wide
Chukwuemeka nearly had the perfect start when his shot came back off the base of a post in an otherwise flat first half.
If they looked sleepy in the first half City were sharp at the start of the second and Ake hit the outside of the post and pressure started to build. Koulibaly really seemed to have found his game as he headed out and blocked everything heading towards Haaland.
But at the same time, we were unable to control any of the play and the City subs eventually walked the ball in when Grealish set up Mahrez with Cucurella floundering. Kepa didn’t cover himself in glory, he sat down in the middle of the goal as the ball came across.
Cucurella watched Mahrez waltz past him several time before the goal and didn’t have the appetite to defend.
If Aubameyang wasn’t injured being substituted as a substitute might be the last insult he accepts from Graham Potter. Omari Hutchinson was the beneficiary of the switch. But Cucurella hoiked for Lewis Hall should be a lesson to the £62m signing. Gallagher came on at the same switch for Ziyech.
The youngsters brough a degree of direct and energetic football but were living off scraps. Conor Gallagher looked to be taking City on alone at times as he sought some clean possession but it was futile. When we did work an opportunity for a break Kovačić overhit his pass to Hall, who then jinked into a decent position to cross late on but nobody could get on the end and flashed a late chance over the bar.
With so many players absent, injured or having a nightmare, Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly’s control of Erling Haaland will get little coverage.
We’ve already written Potter off – he has had nothing to contribute. Guardiola spent his half-time talk making changes and talking his team through his plan. Potter seems to spend his talking about effort and crying into his Bovril. Win or lose on Sunday, it is the FA Cup, but if we lose to Fulham next Thursday Potter must go.
Disappointing result, feel for the boys, with any goal you always think you could do better. The boys on the pitch gave everything – it is what it is. Last season, at about the same time, we had as many injuries and Thomas Tuchel got results. Potter is at sea.
Before the match there was some transfer news. The long-awaited signing Benoit Badiashile from Monaco was finally landed after a medical seemingly lasting three days. A fee of around £35m hasn’t been contradicted for the left-sided centre back.
The 21-year-old already has two France caps and is highly rated in his homeland. At seven years he has signed a long contract. He watched tonight’s game in Todd’s box alongside David Fofana.
Meanwhile, Benfica’s boss has criticised Chelsea for turning the head of Enzo Fernandez without wanting to pay his release clause. Roger Schmidt said “What the club is doing who wants Enzo, it’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica … to make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want negotiate I think is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs”.
There was a meeting yesterday between Benfica and Boehly agents and owners and nothing was resolved. Apparently, Chelsea are trying to do a deal involving players (plural) moving to Benfica. They want the cash.
After the Sevilla/Jules Koundé debacle in the summer it seems we are not being considerate of players or other clubs and when you get a reputation for effing people around it sticks.
Friday 6 January
The death has been announced of Gianluca Vialli. Our former manager died of cancer at the age of 58.
It is too soon and the respect and fondness Vialli was held in has been reflected in a solid day of tributes and personal memories from everyone from Juventus fans to Graham Souness.
Gianluca won the FA Cup as a player and followed that with the League Cup, Cup Winners Cup and Super Cup as manager in his first season.
We finished third in the league in his second season and could have been champions but for a handful of unlucky results.
He secured the FA Cup in the last final at Wembley before beating Manchester United in the charity shield. Five trophies in less than three years.
For some reason Ken Bates decided that Clownio Ranieri was a better choice and we switched managers five games into the season leading to years of drift, so unlike today’s Chelsea.
Everyone at Chelsea loved Gianluca Vialli and we will hold him in our history and hearts.
Saturday 7 January
FA Youth Cup
Chelsea U18 3:1 Bradford City
Not a classic but goals from Leo Castledine, Tudor Mendel-Idowu and Zain Silcott-Duberry broke down a resilient Bradford.
The bad news was that Travis Akomeah left the field with a serious leg injury. He signed his first professional contract this week as well.
The fourth round is a trip to Cambridge.
We have officially announced the signings of David Datro Fofana from Molde and the Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos. Both are 20 the Norwegians got between £8-10m, the Brazilians around £18m.
The message to the academy couldn’t be clearer. We are going back to a club that hoovers up talent and the first-team path will start to clog.
Sunday 8 January
Manchester City 4:0 Chelsea
Some journalists are making Graham Potter’s excuses for him – mostly about injuries – but this was pathetic.
The away support chanted for Thomas Tuchel and that is the end of the relationship. Nobody has any respect for him as coach, as a tactician or a man.
Thomas Tuchel suffered periods of injuries and took the squad through sanctions when he had four defenders out of contract and yet he held it all together to finish in third.
Graham Potter looks sorry for himself.
Tuchel sometimes lost, sometimes underestimated opponents but he would never have sent a team out to be humiliated in this fashion. Manchester City could showboat their way through the second-half. We not only didn’t lay a glove on them; we didn’t look capable.
Afterwards Potter looked to make excuses and said “we have to keep improving” which sounds delusional. He probably didn’t mean that, possibly meant that we need to improve but he is leading this squad backwards.
The funeral bells on his career at Stamford Bridge could be heard when he was asked about application. “I don’t get any sense of any people with poor attitudes; everyone wants to try and do better and there is support in the dressing room.” It doesn’t look like it from the outside.
It is a shame for Bashir Humphreys that his talent was drowned out by this display. He is a very highly thought of young defender and will have better days.
Potter is clearly out of his depth but the real problem is with the board that hired him. The squad clearly needs strengthening, an experienced centre-half and a striker would have helped here and our new board have been active … buying teenagers.
We have snapped up a lot of young talent but recruiting youth and selling on for a profit is not the model Chelsea have followed and it isn’t one that will work at Europe’s top table. Boehly and the Clearlake clan do not understand football. They didn’t have the humility to understand that they needed to learn how to run a football club, instead blundering around making mistakes with almost every decision. They are out of their depth.
The only question left is how long the drift is going to last.
Monday 9 January
Leicester City U21 0:2 Chelsea U21
Dion Rankin (early) and Charlie Webster (a real banger) scored the first-half strikes in a comfortable return for the academy. Mark Robinson’s side move up to second, the only drawback a cautious withdrawal of Cesare Casadei with what looked a thigh problem.
Rumours are that Todd will stand down as the ‘interim’ sporting director and hand over to his recruitment team. Individually it is difficult to gauge how well they will do in future but the back of Boehly’s influence on transfers has to be welcomed.
But the Daily Mail are also reporting that the board are backing Graham Potter and fear that the players struggle to understand his tactics. We struggle to understand just what it is that Potter is trying to do but the professionals employed by the club certainly don’t. It is patronising and ridiculous to suggest that our current situation is down to the players.
While we are giving room to rumours, The Athletic are reporting that João Félix will spend the rest of the season on loan at Stamford Bridge from Atletico. The Madrid side blew a tidy €126m on the then teenager from Benfica. In an injury hit spell he has netted 25 in 96 appearances but hasn’t fulfilled his promise. He did have a good World Cup
Rumours that he is attracted by the project at Chelsea suggest he is desperate or misinformed. We are paying £8m loan-fee with no option. He is joining a misfiring, midtable side in poor form.
The FA Youth Cup tie against Cambridge United will be at the Abbey Stadium Thursday 19 January.
Tuesday 10 January
João Félix is in London having a medical and the loan fee has grown to around £10m, although it depends who is telling the tale. Chelsea are also picking up his wages which will add £4.75m to the deal.
It is a lot of money for five month’s work. But if he clicks and finds the net, sets up colleagues it will be worth it.
Melanie Leupolz signed a contract extension. The German international has been away on maternity leave and signs until 2026. We haven’t been able to find out the name of her baby boy.
Wednesday 11 January
João Félix is a Chelsea player until May on a loan fee of £9.7m.
The signing marks the end of our pursuit of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. The 21-year-old Argentinian, who scored last night for his club, has been destabilized by our interest. He put in a request not to be included in the match-day squad last week only for no deal to arise.
Chris Sutton said it was a pin the tail on the donkey approach to recruitment and Félix’s signing went along with that policy
Jayden Wareham has been recalled from his loan at Hull.
“Two months ago, I was considered a top coach” burbled Graham Potter at his conference ahead of Fulham He went on “But at the same time I acknowledge the results we have had have not been good enough for us”.
Two months ago the World Cup was starting. What Potter was before that was an ex-Brighton boss and failing at Chelsea. You are not a top coach until you’ve proved something and Potter hasn’t.
Southampton proved what an organised team can achieve against City by knocking them out of the league cup at St Mary’s. It was a stark contrast to our recent performances.
Thursday 12 January
Fulham 2:1 Chelsea
We have become a laughing stock. Chelsea lose to Fulham once a generation but we couldn’t make an impact at the new-look Cottage. The side moving to four-points from the Champions League places after a derby with Fulham is usually us. This time it was them.
João Félix was the headline starter and the headline maker but Graham had a crisis meeting with some of the senior pros this week and the upshot seems to be reverting to three at the back.
Chalobah, Silva and Koulibaly started with Lewis Hall – now an established first-teamer – and Azpilicueta wide.
João Félix started brightly, finding Kai Havertz to set up Hall for an early chance and then poked his first shot wide.
In contrast to our usual sedate and gentlemanly derbies at the Cottage there was a bit if early bite to this one as tackles flew in and studs met ankles.
For the time he was on the pitch, you had to like the way Félix plays football. He was direct and inventive. He strayed into several lazy offsides as the half wore on but he will get used to the pace of the game in this league.
Willian also gave us a reminder of just what an energetic and imaginative footballer he is. To his credit he showed little of it at Arsenal and seems to have returned from Brazil with his appetite back. Decordova-Reid hit the woodwork as all three of our centre-halves switched off and from the same move Willian was the only Fulham player who didn’t celebrate when he scored.
Kovačić flew with a delicious scissor kick but the ball flew too. Havertz nearly set up Félix when the Fulham defence slipped up but his shot was saved.
Right at the start of the second half, Koulibaly scrambled the ball over the line after Mount’s free-kick came back off the post for our equaliser. Denis Zakaria limped out with a possible knee or hamstring problem… just before João Félix went straight through Kenny Tete for his red card which makes his loan fee per-match even more expensive. He will miss the home game against Palace and the trip to Anfield.
For ten minutes after the card we played well. Kai had a good break from Mount’s pass but just won a corner.
But all of that was for nothing as Carlos Vinicius headed them back in front with Silva and Chalobah in his wake.
We didn’t look like getting it back, we are disorganised, unimaginative and approaching a rabble.
The players would like to see the back of Potter. Much of the crowd didn’t disguise their disgust as he came over to applaud their support. Body language said it all.
Martin Spencer, 1933-2023, was the accountant behind the scenes trying to keep the club afloat at the end of the 1970s. The insolvency expert who came to Chelsea in 1976 has died at the age of 89.
Ken Bates made him vice-chairman a role he filled
Friday 13 January
Chelsea U21 2:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21
Mason Burstow and Dion Rankin with our goals as the development squad march on. 11 without defeat now and a place at the top of the table.
The women signed the young Japanese striker Maika Hamano and have sent her on loan for the rest of the season to Sweden.
Signed from INAC Kobe Leonessa the striker scored four at the U20 World Cup as Japan finished runners up to Spain. She joins Hammarby IF in Stockholm
Ted Sharman-Lowe will spend the remainder of the season at Havant & Waterlooville… so that is a goalkeeper who sounds like a WWI general heading to a club that sounds like a music hall ventriloquist act. Meanwhile, Eddie Beach will play for Chelmsford City. Both clubs are in contention for promotion from National League South.
Saturday 14 January
Norwich City U18 1:7 Chelsea U18
Donnell McNeilly scored two in the first half with Leo Cardoso, Reiss Russell-Denny and Louis Flower had us 1-5 up at the break. Cardoso and Flower both scored a second, Flower’s a Vialli tribute overhead volley, to give us a thumping return from the break.
What is going on? Chelsea have agreed a deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for winger Mykhailo Mudryk. £85m on another winger, the day after they leaked a story about a huge clear out of surplus wingers. And then, according to Shakhtar’s twitter we haven’t agreed a deal.
Mudryk had been busy choosing an Arsenal squad number this week, after agreeing terms with the north London club. He has been tweeting pictures of himself watching the Gooners matches on TV.
Whether Mykhailo is a great player or not, he is another winger. Or put another way light-weight inside-forward. We have dozens of the already. Mount, Havertz, Pulisic, Ziyech, Felix, Hudson-Odoi, Sterling, Gallagher, Hutchinson and on down the youth ranks… what is not is a defender or midfielder.
FFP might have been replaced by ‘financial sustainability’ rules that allow €60m deficits over three years but we must be close to blowing our allowance out of the water in one window.
The new squad cost rule means that spending on wages, coaches, agents fee and transfers are limited to 70% if income and we are unlikely to have Champions League cash to rely on next season so perhaps Boehly is trying to blow through the permitted spend now.
Manchester United were gifted an equalising-goal against City when despite being offside and clearly active and shaping to play the ball Marcus Rashford was deemed invisible by a referee who doesn’t know the laws of the game. Mutters of collusion, conspiracy and complicity have never been proved, and castration would ne’er improve matters.
Sunday 15 January
Chelsea 1:0 Crystal Palace
The performance and result were secondary to the tribute paid to the late Gianluca Vialli. A host of players from Vialli’s squad graced the turf before the match including Mark Hughes, Jon Harley, John Terry, Danny Granville, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Graeme Le Saux, Mario Melchiot, Michael Duberry, Carlo Cudicini, Albert Ferrer, Chis Sutton, Andy Myers, Frank Sinclair, and Jody Morris.
Many cried during the applause. It was a fitting tribute to a wonderful man.
We started with enough energy but everyone was edgy. Palace are not easy and Tyrick Mitchell nearly beat Arrizabalaga early on.
Badiashile made his bow alongside Silva and it looked a new partnership.
Vincente Guaita had to tip away Silva’s volley after he’d had a couple of bites at a header as Conor Gallagher looked to impress against the side he played for last season and Hall almost finished from his cross. Kepa had to be as alert at the other end.
In the second half Potter made an attacking substitution that actually changed a game. Aubameyang came on, Havertz found more space and the German headed in Ziyech’s cross from a corner routine. He had the chance to settle nerves but the ball slipped off his head and Kepa had to keep us ahead a couple of times but the win lifts a little of the gloom.
Mykhailo Mudryk is officially a Chelsea player and sat in the box with Todd and Behdad for the match and, weirdly, walked out onto the pitch at the half.
The £89m fee is split into two with £62m up front. His value amortised over the length of his eight-and-a-half-year contract.
The fee is good news for Shakhtar as Uefa declared that non-Ukrainian players could leave their contracts for free when the Russian invasion started last year.
Arsenal 1:1 Chelsea
Sam Kerr scored another incredible goal to give us a share of the points. We had been second best as Arsenal worked incredibly hard to close us down across the pitch. They led through an absurd penalty where a 50/50 shoulder barge was deemed a foul and a penalty even though the contact was clearly outside the box. Niamh Charles was the player caught on the turn.
With 46,811 Gooners cheering them on Arsenal must have thought they had finally laid a glove on an Emma Hayes side, only for Jelena Cankovic’s cross to find Sam’s head.
A word for Zećira Mušović who kept them out time and again. Smothering balls tipping them onto the bar she will have given her defence a great deal of confidence.
Instead of level with a game in hand Arsenal still trail by three.
Arsenal chose to blame fans turning up late for the crush outside the ground that delayed entry for so many. While not life threatening it is good to see football learned nothing from Hillsborough.
Aaron Ramsdale was attacked by a fan after Arsenal won the North London derby. It was as close as any Spurs player came to hurting Arsenal in an insipid display.
The Spurs fan will be banned for life but the PFA waded in and said “these incidents are happening far too often.” We disagree, while player safety is always a concern this is the first incident of its kind this season. Bar the promotion fuelled pitch invasions last year we can’t think of a single incident… so, not often.
Monday 16 January
The roof of the Abbey Stadium in Cambridge has been damaged in high winds. So much so that our youth cup tie against United has been rescheduled for Wednesday 25 January. Tickets for the original match date will still be valid.
Thursday 19 January
The data-driven recruitment project is stacking up wingers like cordwood.
Noni Madueke is the latest winger/light-weight inside-forward to join the club as he flew into London for a medical.
Rumours have the fee from PSV Eindhoven at £30m-ish.
Madueke was a kid at Palace and then Spurs but left for PSV as a 16-year-old so doesn’t count as association trained.
He is a talented lad, eleven goals in 51 games from PSV and in the Spurs U18 squad as a 15-year-old.
Scattergun doesn’t really describe a situation where a squad needed defensive support, a number 9 and a midfielder and the recruitment team have spent £140m on wide players. But they balked at £106m up front for Enzo Fernandez.
Given that we can only register three new players for the game against Dortmund the recruitment looks crazy.
Perhaps in baseball you can store dozens of players but football squad need a plan.
His is a reversion to what Michael Emenalo was doing a few years back. At the time we bought half the Belgium U21 squad and never quite made it gel.
The knock back was to the talent coming through from Cobham who had to drift away on loan without being able to make their mark.
Cobham has been vital to keeping us afloat since the transfer ban and then sanctions. Cutting that route now has its own dangers.
Saturday 21 January
Liverpool 0:0 Chelsea
The story today was the debut of Mykhailo Mudryk as the Ukrainian danced through the Liverpool defence only to place his shot wide and almost got on the end of a Ziyech cross but miscontrolled.
We had started brightly but faded as the half wore on. The early goal the game needed was ruled out after Kai Havertz’s foot was ahead of the ball as Thiago’s shot came back off the post.
Benoit Badiashile should get a mention as well. He had the best chance to head us into a lead but, at 21, dealt easily with the pressures of Anfield.
We were clearly better than a poor, listless Liverpool. It wasn’t great play by us that stopped them closing down or passing to each other.
The second half was enlivened by the new Ukrainian winger but while we continued to dominate we didn’t get that close to scoring.
Ziyech is starting to make the most of his chances. Like Pulisic his form improves the more consecutive games he plays but patience is not abundant at the moment. If Hakim rediscovers the scoring form that sees him hit in streaks, he might save his Chelsea career.
Potter afterwards said nothing that he doesn’t usually say – pleased with the effort, the boys done good. He is consistently uninteresting,
We needed to win this if we were to be going back in the right direction. Liverpool needed the win too. We both look midtable.
Noni Madueke is confirmed from PSV for around £30m. Another signing on a seven-and-a-half-year-contract
Sunday 22 January
Fulham U21 2:4 Chelsea U21
Freezing Motspur Park was the familiar venue for another good U21 win. Cesare Casadei set us on our way. Mason Burstow scored early in. the second before Bashir Humphreys headed us into a 0-3 lead. They struggled back to Humphreys 2-3 as we eased off but Malik Mothersille slid the ball under their keeper to put is top of the table and genuine title challengers.
Chelsea A:A Liverpool
Losing a game to the weather is not as unusual as starting – because it is on the telly – and then giving up again after seven-minutes play.
Ever ambitious, Emma advocated undersoil heating at every WSL ground. You cannot fault her ambition even if the practicalities might dwarf the funds available.
Monday 23 January
Frank Lampard is out of a job. Everton’s form this season has been poor but Toffees had, rightly, been blaming the owner and board, not Frank. As a coach is you lose Richarlison and players of the stature of Sigurdsson and Delph without adequate replacements the team is going to suffer.
Kenwright and Moshiri are blaming Frank for their repeated failures.
On the upside he is available if Boehly and Clearlake decide to blame Potter for their repeated failures… Marcelo Bielsa is being lined up to replace Frank.
Wednesday 25 January
Tottenham Hotspur 1:3 Chelsea
We haven’t been to Brisbane Road since a narrow one-nil win 43-years ago. Tonight was supposed to be about Beth England but she barely got a shot until the death. We struggled to make clear chances in the first half until Erin took charge and thumped the ball in, via a few deflections as Spurs tried to clear, we didn’t look back.
Fran Kirby finished off a flowing move fed by Lauren James’ determination and astute cutback. Sam Kerr scored with a delicate lift over the ’keeper after all her more powerful efforts were wide.
Beth wasn’t the only former Blue in lilywhite as Drew Spence thrashed in a late consolation from 25-yards.
The semi-final draw is on Thursday evening.
Thursday 26 January
Cambridge United U18 1:0 Chelsea U18
The much-delayed FA Youth Cup tie ends in anti-climax. Chelsea had chances in the second period but made heavy weather of a good Cambridge side.
The women’s league cup draw paired us with West Ham United away, while Manchester City and Arsenal will contest the other tie. Matches will be played 8/9 February.
Friday 27 January
Chelsea U21 2:3 West Ham United U21
Just as we were being spoken of in terms of titles and the game with Manchester City away as a decider and we slip up at home.
There are excuses, we were missing some regulars but three first-half slips proved too much.
Goals back from Charlie Webster and Mason Burstow, Webster’s a real thump, Harvey Vale was back to provide the cross for Burstow. But a second yellow for Derrik Abu robbed us of manpower and the Hungarian, Krisztián Hegyi, between the sticks did the rest. We should buy him.
The loss is the first since August and we can bounce back but not for a couple of weeks.
Bashir Humphreys has caught the eye this term and wins himself a loan to Paderborn in Bundeliga 2. Paderborn had been challenging for promotion but indifferent form since the World Cup has seen them slip away. Humphreys made his Chelsea debut in. the challenging FA Cup tie at Manchester City and great things are expected. Bundesliga 2 highlights are hard to find.
Saturday 28 January
Chelsea U18 2:2 Tottenham Hotspur U18
After the disappointment of the Youth Cup exit there were changes and Spurs proved difficult and determined from the start.
Louis Flower eased nerves with a smart finish but Mikey Moore equalised, and it had been coming before Rio Kyerematen put them ahead.
Our unbeaten league start to the year looked threatened until Michael Golding snatched a late, and not really deserved, equaliser. We haven’t often been thrashed two-all but that was a fortunate point.
Sunday 29 January
Chelsea 3:2 Liverpool
Sam Kerr’s hat-trick booked us a fifth-round tie but we were made to work extremely hard for the right.
Sam scored either side of the break and that looked like the tie was over. But Ceri Holland found the corner from the edge of the box and while Sam headed in her third and then almost from the kick off could have made it four. Instead a goal-mouth-scramble meant we had to fight off Liverpool pressure for an equaliser.
Given that we lost the first game of the season to Matt Beard’s team, they are in danger of becoming another bogey team.
Malo Gusto has been signed as right-back cover for Reece James but will stay with Lyon on loan until the summer. A £30m fee has been reported about £5m of which is add-ons.