Tuesday 5 November
Chelsea 4:4 Ajax Amsterdam
You cannot make this stuff up. We slumped to a 1-4 deficit, shipping three goals in the first half and while Ajax are an admirable side two of their goals were flukes: one flicked off Abraham’s shin as he tried to clear leaving Kepa stranded; the third whipped free-kick bounced off the post and in off the side of our ’keeper’s nose.
Their fourth was well crafted and made Jorginho’s penalty look like a poor consolation.
Frank took the bull by the horns at the break and brought on a 19-year-old right-back. Yeah, not what the watching world expected but Alonso had been having a tough time at left-back so Reece James replaced him, played on the right and Azpilicueta shifted sides.
The impact was remarkable although at first it came from Kurt Zouma who danced and shimmied his way forward beating Ajax challenges and then, skewed his shot horribly. What it did was wake the place up as fans and players alike saw the example and the fight.
Their fourth couldn’t damped the attacking verve we’d suddenly found and Azpilicueta got his studs on Abraham’s deflected shot and cut the deficit to two.
Then everything happened at once: Ex-Man Utd Daley Blind hacked Abraham down for his second yellow but as play was allowed to go on Joel Veltman got his hand to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot for another second yellow and a penalty. 3-4.
Reece James was making things difficult for Ajax down the right as he and Willian ran rings round them at times. It was James who latched on to the loose ball to make it 4-4.
Azpilicueta scored a winner but the ball had brushed the arm of Abraham before falling to the Chelsea captain and the referee went to consult the pitch-side monitor – you don’t see that often.
The momentum we’d built towards that winner was released and Ajax came back with some chances of their own with only 9-men.
Ajax have always been a club proud to develop their own players and they are two years into the reign of Erik ten Hag, last season they deservedly reached the Champions League semi-final. We are just four-months into our own experiment with bringing our youngsters through and starting to see what Frank Lampard can do with them. We should be very proud of our ability to stand toe to toe with one of Europe’s best and live to tell the tale.
The only downside was the ankle injury that saw Mason Mount limp off. Lampard confirmed that the ankle was strapped and he hoped it was a minor problem.
Chelsea U19 1:1 Ajax U19
We had slightly more of the match than in Amsterdam last time out but that possession didn’t lead to more goal and Lille’s win in the other match means we need to win both of our remaining fixtures to go through.
Our goal was a peach as George McEachran curled a free-kick up over the wall and down into the near side of the net.
Their equaliser came from one of their few penetrating attacks as Guehi was drawn wide to cover and Terrence Douglas ran through to score.
Thursday 7 November
Callum Hudson-Odoi is back in the England squad. Having dominated in the U21s last time we had a couple of weeks off for international football, Callum was obviously going to be looked at for the main squad.
Tammy Abraham, Ross Barkley, Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount join Callum in the senior England squad which is the first with five Chelsea players in ages – no, we couldn’t find out exactly when, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill, Joe Cole were all in the squad together but that is going back a bit.
Friday 8 November
FA Youth Cup draw news and Huddersfield Town will be visiting either Aldershot Town or Kingsmeadow before the end of the second week of December as we look to regain our cup. Ed Brand’s side will be under a little pressure to get the cup back after our recent dominance in the competition. It is, perhaps, a little bit unfair but we have grown accustomed to the FA Youth Cup in the trophy room.
Meanwhile Frank Lampard has won the manager of the month award for October. We will not mention how unlucky that award usually is because Frank has been making his own luck.
“I have heard it,[the curse] I know of it. I am relatively superstitious and I always was as a player. I have carried that into my management, so hopefully the players can go and prove the curse wrong tomorrow because we want to keep our momentum.”
Saturday 9 November
Chelsea 2:0 Crystal Palace
This result settled a few nerves, Frank had, after all, just won Manager of the Month, we had a bruising match in midweek, we had Jorginho suspended and we have, in recent years, managed to lose at home to Palace twice.
As it was we need not have worried. The first-half, though goalless, was 45-minutes of total superiority as Willian dominated the midfield making a beautiful chance for Pulisic before firing a freekick just wide.
Reece James came into the side for his first Premier League start. The manager must have faith in him because his job was to nullify Wilfred Zaha and he did that superbly, if a little naively, he also made a nuisance of himself at the other end supplying the cross that Willian looked to have scored with until a grinning Gary Cahill blocked the effort.
It didn’t matter much as Tammy Abraham ran on to Willian’s deft touch to shoot across their keeper for 1-0. Pulisic drew a flying save before Palace realised they were in a match and managed to have a header wide.
Christian Pulisic then headed in a deflection from a Batshuayi shot for 2-0. It could have been more as Hudson-Odoi had a shot wide before Willian finished with a freekick just over.
The positives kept coming as N’Golo Kante slotted straight back into the midfield and we jumped into second place, ahead of Leicester’s home game against Arsenal.
Cahill got a very warm reception at the end and it was good to be able to say thankyou to one of our most bemedaled former players.
Tottenham Hotspur U18 3:5 Chelsea U18
Lewis Bate, Joe Haigh, Armando Broja (2) and Xavier Simons had us five up at half-time. We took our collective feet of the collective pedal in the second but we were far enough ahead to hold out easily.
The win means we stay second in the table, one-point behind Fulham who have played a game more.
The England women fiasco continued at Wembley as a near sell-out crowd watched Phil Neville crash to a fifth defeat in seven matches. The man is only still in the job because those who appointed him are ashamed to admit they made a mistake.
Sunday 10 November
The big showdown at the top of the Premier League is most often a dull nil-all but Liverpool appear to be in determined mood this year and streaked into a 2-0 first-half lead.
That VAR should have been looking at a handball while Liverpool were breaking for the opener was typical of the system.
The win means the Reds are eight points ahead of us ahead of the international break. City are a point back and we travel to Manchester after the break.