Monday 30 September
That is a little bit unfair as Ross was visiting family and does deserve a bit of privacy. Spilling your chips in the back of a cab is a better euphemism than tabloid story.
Manchester United languish back in tenth after a crushingly dull draw with Arsenal. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has changed the profile of the team with plenty of young players but he hasn’t managed to harness the optimism and good will needed to insulate the poor performances and dull matches.
Cardiff have been ordered to pay the first instalment of Emiliano Sala’s transfer fee… the Welsh club have tried to argue that Sala was not a Cardiff player when he died… despite the slogan “We are one, we are Bluebirds” behind the shrine of flowers that contained such legally binding sentiments as “Sala is a Bluebird, once a Blue, always a Blue…”
Tuesday 1 October
Spurs set all kinds of new records, just as Darren Fletcher was saying “Tottenham need to build up to a big finish” Spurs pressed forward at 2-4 down with 15 minutes to go – they did so by conceding three more to finish on the wrong end of the heaviest defeat any English club have suffered in European competition, 2-7.
Bayern shouldn’t get too carried away – Colchester can do this lot. Champions League, you’re having a laugh…
Wednesday 2 October
Lille OSC 1:2 Chelsea
It is difficult to disguise the pride we all feel at the moment. This was our young squad’s first Champions League win and it will do wonders for the confidence as we face Ajax in the next two matches.
Tammy Abraham opened the scoring from a Fikayo Tomori pass. His touch and control to spin and open up his stance and pass the ball into the top corner took away the breath. It was a goal in the 22nd minute on his 22nd birthday.
Their equaliser – free header from a corner – was another of those goals and Lampard said afterwards that they would work even harder on the zonal marking. In a way knowing we will concede from a corner means we have to commit to attack.
The late winner came from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s first contribution as he shrugged off a defender and crossed for Willian to blast the ball into the turf and over the goalkeeper’s head before he could even flinch.
Jorginho hit a post and we created the better chances in a game our young squad dominated for long periods.
Worryingly, Willian limped off a few minutes after scoring and Mason Mount also looked to be carrying an injury towards the end.
Reece James made his European debut tonight and looked the part but it was Tomori who was again the outstanding player. He seemed to keep French attacks at bay just through strength of will at times. He is fast, uses his body to close space really well but he is also two footed and a good passer. We are looking at a really big star. Get used to calling him Fik.
Lille OSC U19 2:0 Chelsea U19
A very frustrating match utterly ruined by an atrocious referee. The incompetent official was one Petri Viljanen from Finland. His performance was comical, the penalty awarded was a foul on the keeper by the striker not the other way round. He blew up for very last incident of physical contact, handing every free-kick to the French side.
We totally dominated the match and, while Lille defended in depth and stoically, we only lost because of the incompetence of the officials. Our opening goal was chalked off for offside when, despite the difficulty presented by the camera angle, it was clear our player was onside. The ref was so blatant he gave free-kick for dives when Chelsea players had been pushed over or hacked down. Every feigned injury drew a free-kick or delay and their actual goal came late in the match when we were caught out by quick play around a late substitution when we were stretched.
Overnight the manager of Nigeria announced that he didn’t have Tammy Abraham or Fikayo Tomori in his plans. The statement might be explained if both are named tomorrow in the England squad to play qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria next week. Abraham said after tonight’s match that he hasn’t yet made up his mind between England and Nigeria.
Bernardo Silva has been charged with misconduct by the FA for sending a racist caricature to Benjamin Mendy. He made it worse by tweeting “Can’t even joke with a friend these days”. So says the man with 615,000 followers on Twitter. Raheem Sterling tied himself in knots defending Silva: “It’s a situation between two friends, Bernardo and Mendy, as everyone knows … Bernardo made a joke to his friend.
“He’s not referred to his skin colour, he’s not referred to his lips. In both the pictures they’ve both got small heads, you know. The most important thing for me is he didn’t refer to a colour.”
Sterling has stood up racism in a really courageous way in the recent past but has now fallen back on the “it’s harmless bants” defence. The fact is that the cartoon referred both to his skin colour and his lips and if you want banter between friends, do it on WhatsApp, not in public on Twitter.
Liverpool managed to rescue themselves from surrendering a three-goal lead at home to Red Bull Salzburg as a late winner gave them a 4-3 win. It wasn’t their only escape of the day – they’d fielded an ineligible player in the league cup last month against Milton Keynes and the official punishment isn’t expulsion from the competition? Mitigating factors mean the EFL have only fined the Reds. The mitigating factor being Liverpool’s drawing power in terms of money and tv audiences. If MK had made this innocent mistake they’d be kicked out in a heartbeat.
Thursday 3 October
Tomori and Abraham are both in the England squad, they join Ross Barkley and Mason Mount in the squad and, however much Gareth Southgate stressed they were in on merit, there is a feeling that the England hierarchy want to get them both on the pitch in a competitive match before Nigeria swoop.
The international break has come too soon for Callum Hudson-Odoi as he is still feeling his way back to full fitness but Southgate confirmed that he and Reece James are on his radar. Both will be in the U21 squad this time alongside Marc Guehi and Trevoh Chalobah.
Saturday 5 October
Leicester City U18 1:4 Chelsea U18
Joe Haigh in the first-half and Armando Broja, Charlie Wiggett and George Nunn scored the goals that beat Leicester and keep us level on points at the top with Fulham and Brighton.
Spurs continue to entertain, this time at Brighton. They managed to lose their goalkeeper to a sprained elbow and three more goals to make it ten for the week. The Seagulls were pinching themselves but they played really well.
Liverpool’s unbeaten run continues thanks to a late penalty awarded when Sadio Mane threw himself over a challenge in a comical dive and VAR agreed that it was a spot kick. We have suggested that VAR is incompetent or corrupt (a ton on the Reds to win the league would explain a lot of their decisions), we have ventured that they are watching matches in the pub and those hand to ear conversations go a bit like this : “nah, mate I was in the gents… didn’t see it.. whatever you thought… we’ll back you up… nah, its alright Dermot’ll cover our arse on Monday morning… “
But Mane was clearly steady enough, after the slightest touch on his foot, to take a touch on the ball before launching himself over. The evidence suggest that they had better be drunk, incompetent and corrupt.
West Ham lost at home 1-2 to Crystal palace but Roy Hodgson’s side were given a penalty when the ball was blasted at Declan Rice from less than a foot away… point blank range. The incompetent, corrupt or drunk VAR agreed that was a penalty despite the distance between the opponent and the ball being measured in inches not feet.
They will fall behind the excuse that his arm was up, outside his ‘natural silhouette’ but that defence has always been bullshit made up by David Elleray and Ifab to make officiating matches more arbitrary and unfair.
Meanwhile, hapless amateur England manager Phil “I’d-never-had-a-single-minute-of-managerial-experience-before-I-landed-the-national-job” Neville watched helplessly as his charges lost to an understrength Brazil women’s team in Middlesbrough. Chelsea’s Beth England continued her own good form by pulling a goal back in a 1-2 defeat.
Davide Zappacosta suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in training yesterday and will miss the rest of six-month loan with Roma. What happens with him when he recovers is up in the air but we wish him a speedy recovery.
Sunday 6 October
Southampton 1:4 Chelsea
Oi-oi-oi Hudson-Odoi got an assist playing in Tammy Abraham who scored his eighth league goal as he lifted the early chance over the keeper and goal-line technology ruled the ball across the line before the covering defender could clear.
Mason mount left no doubt as he scurried into the box and flashed his shot in at the near post. Mason did skew one wide shortly after but he was getting into the box at will.
Goal machine N’Golo Kanté’s deflected shot put us back into a two-goal lead after we’d played all round the attack that allowed Ings to pull them back into the match at 1-2.
This wasn’t a straight forward match for the midfield and defence and they had to work very hard to keep Southampton at bay. From the first minute when Nathan Redmond blasted just over Fikayo and Kurt were caught in indecision more than once.
They will learn from every game in which they struggle and thankfully the glitz at the other end can be blinding. We flowed down field for Christian Pulisic to feed Michy Batshuayi to kill things off right at the death.
Kanté, Willian and Jorginho again worked out of their skins to hold things together and allow the youngsters to play…
Altogether now … local lad from Wandsworth … Oi oi oi Hudson-Odoi, Oi oi oi Hudson-Odoi
Manchester City lost at home to Wolves who cut through the City defence four or five times in the first-half alone only to be denied a clear penalty by the ref and VAR. Their goal on the break were reminiscent of our 1-3 win up there a few years ago.