Thursday 1 October
Group E in the Champions League with last season’s Europa League winners Sevilla, Krasnodar and Edouard’s old side Rennes.
It’s a decent draw, Krasnodar is a million and half miles away, Rennes are very well known to us and Sevilla are excellent at European football. It is a good time to draw Krasnodar as none of us are likely to be going to any of these exotic places.
Friday 2 October
Chelsea U18 0:1 Crystal Palace U18
You cannot stress too often just how young Chelsea’s squad is at this level and how competitive despite the disadvantage. Ed Brand’s team were unlucky not to take the lead when a header appeared to cross the line and battled back after conceding on the break.
Saturday 3 October
Chelsea 4:0 Crystal Palace
A real game of two 45-minute periods as we failed to move the ball quickly enough in the first and then exploded in the second.
Ben Chilwell slammed in his first and had a positive influence throughout, delivering the corner that Kurt Zouma headed home. The two penalties were the result of some determined attacking by Tammy Abraham and Kai Havertz. Jorginho buried both in an identical fashion. Tammy forcefully volunteered to take the second but Cesar Azpilicueta stepped in to make a captain’s decision.
Captain America came off the bench for his first run out of the season as the squad inches toward fitness and form. The international break should allow those still out the time they need to get fit.
For all the enjoyment the goals brought the nil will have been the most satisfying part of today’s game for many.
Sunday 4 October
Birmingham City 0:1 Chelsea
Only one, they all count but we all tuned in to watch another thrashing. Fran Kirby scored to make sure we took all the points and stay in touch with Everton, City and Arsenal.
We had chance after chance but one effort was incorrectly chalked off for offside and in another incident Beth England looked to have tapped in from inches in front of the line only for a defender’s leg to deflect the ball to her ’keeper.
Chelsea U23 3:0 Arsenal U23
Ian Maatsen scored in the first-half and late Bryan Fiabema and Tino Livramento put a bit of gloss on a dominant display. It sometimes takes a few weeks for the youngsters to gel at this level and this performance and the midweek against Walsall, looks like the group is coming together.
We did have a few self-inflicted defensive problems but nothing Arsenal forced us into.
Ross Barkley had an eventful start to his Villa loan. The decisive on-loan midfielder scored one and could have had a hat-trick as the hosts beat Liverpool 7-2. With Spurs win at Manchester United 1-6 earlier in the day and City’s capitulation at home to Leicester, seven points from four games and no thrashings is a good return.
There are two factors making the difference: most sides are still in their pre-season – although that shouldn’t apply to Liverpool – and the absence of fans. It is easier for heads to go down with nobody there to remind players that they are
Covidiot Tammy Abraham was joined by Jadon Sancho, Ben Chilwell and more than three others for a surprise birthday party – Tammy was 23. The surprise was that football players, by definition in the public eye, thought it a good idea to have a party with more than six attendees.
Abraham later said he was unaware the party was planned but should have known better than to let it go ahead.
Given the Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood incident in Iceland don’t expect any of these three to take party in the England games this week. The quarantine period should see all the players back just after the international break.
Monday 5 October
Reece James has been promoted to the full England squad for the first time. More invited to train than expected to play but it is progress.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek will spend the season on loan at Fulham. Ruben proved his quality at Palace a few years ago and earned an England call up on the strength of his performances but has had injury set-backs since the pointless game against New England Revolution before the Uefa Cup final in 2019. Tiemoue Bakayoko moved to Napoli on loan to link up again with Gennaro Gattuso who was in charge of AC Milan when the big Frenchman was there on loan… and Marcel Lavinier has joined Spurs as a free agent after we let him go in the summer, er, that’s it.
As we predicted Abraham, Chilwell and Sancho have been told to stay away from the England camp – for now. Southgate obviously wants to keep his options open if we stink against Wales.
Boris ‘the fat slob’ Johnson drooled out some more advice if you want your family to be infected with covid. Dominic Cummings’ sock puppet urged the UK to infect themselves at the cinema, at the same time attending outdoor football matches is banned.
The logic of this, but what are we saying, there is no logic to government pronouncements.
Tuesday 6 October
We have snapped up a French goalkeeper Sami Tlemcani from Paris FC. The Ligue 2 club had the 16-year-old in their first team squad but he has little experience.
Malang Sarr signed for Porto until the end of the season. The promising French defender already has over a hundred appearances for Nice and eight U21 caps. If only we could get Portuguese football on the telly.
Marco Van Ginkel’s injury nightmare appears to be over as he restarts his career with a return loan with PSV Eindhoven.
Juan Castillo joined Dutch club AZ Alkmaar. The winger was on loan at Ajax II last season.
Timo Werner will miss Germany’s first game of the international break tomorrow with flu-like symptoms.
Wednesday 7 October
Chelsea 4:1 Arsenal
The first game in the Continental League Cup and no television coverage at all. All we could get was twitter up dates.
Magdalena Eriksson with the opener before Arsenal levelled, two from Guro Reiten and a 50th goal in a Chelsea shirt for Beth England.
Kai Havertz set up two as Germany were held by Turkey, three each. Olivier Giroud was captain on his 100th appearance for France and scored a brace against Andre Shevchenko’s Ukraine. It was a bad night for the Ukraine as France put seven past them. N’Golo Kanté sat on the bench.
Kepa Arrizabalaga has something to smile about as he kept a clean sheet for Spain in a nil all with Portugal.
Callum Hudson-Odoi came on for the end of a 3-3 draw for England U21 with Andorra. We have long campaigned for Aidy Boothroyd’s replacement with a proper coach at this level. He gets results but more because of the players available than any actual added value.
Thursday 8 October
Reece James made an England bow. The surprise first cap came in a 3-0 friendly win over Wales. Mason Mount was the best player on the pitch when he appeared at the same time as James. Forward momentum was in short supply against a scratch Welsh side for whom Ethan Ampadu did his best in midfield.
Michy Batshuayi scored for England’s next opponents Belgium but they conceded a late penalty equaliser against Ivory Coast.
Covid can strike at any time: England U19 were already 3-1 up in their match at St James’ Park when Scotland’s manager Billy Stark got his positive covid test through. The match was immediately abandoned and the second game scheduled for Sunday was also called off.
It means the whole of the Scotland U10 squad will be isolating for the next two weeks. Dynel Simeu, Levi Colwill and Lewis Bate were all in the England squad but no news about isolation.
Friday 9 October
The Premier League announced pay-per-view prices for the matches in October not selected for regular screening. They imagine we’ll be able to find £14.95 for each match on top of Sky and BT subscriptions.
The principle has been that as fans are unable to attend due to covid restrictions that all matches should be available to fans.
Until now they have been free to subscribers or on in the pub until now but the league clearly feel the need to scrounge more money from us just as our income tanks.
It the matches were cheap £4-7 per match more of us could accept a charge but £14.95 a week on top of limited incomes is astronomical.
The Football Supporters’ Association pointed out that the move for PPV would be more acceptable if club’s hadn’t just spent £1bn in transfer fees.
Hakim Ziyech played half an hour tonight for the Atlas Lions, Morocco, and set up a goal in a 3-1 win over Senegal. It looks like our first summer signing is getting closer to turning out for us.
Nathan Baxter joins the Accrington Stanley loan army with Tariq Uwakwe and Jon Russell already at the Crown Ground.
The women’s game against Villa due a week on Saturday is off. Covid isolation means the Villans next two are off.
Edouard Mendy has returned to the club from international duty with Senegal with a thigh injury.
Saturday 10 October
Jill Dawson, our matchday safety officer for the last twenty years has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list. Jill retired last year but headed a team, that she dedicated the award to, over the most spectacular period in our trophy winning history. It is good to see key-workers in our industry getting recognition.
New year? It did seem that this nightmare was crawling by.
Germany have broken their seven-game losing streak in the Nations League by crawling past the Ukraine. Antonio Rüdiger played the whole game, set up a goal with a darting run and pass, Havertz and Werner came on towards the end of a 2-1. France did the Ukraine 7-1 at the weekend.
Tranmere Rovers came from two down to earn a draw away at Salford. The effort was commendable because they lost a sizable chun of their first-team to covid and isolation but were forced to complete the fixture by drafting players from the youth team.
The EFL said that clubs are guilty of failing to fulfil a fixture “unless circumstances are out of the control of the club”. Covid is, by definition, out of the control of the club. But having a stiff-arsed policy towards points deductions means clubs might be tempted to allow players to turn out for a match if they are asymptomatic and announce the test results after full-time.
Sunday 11 October
Chelsea 3:1 Manchester City
Emma Hayes keeps challenging her squad to improve and they keep responding.
Today we faced the best financed team in the league and dominated. All over the pitch we controlled the ball, smothered attacks and controlled world-class opponents.
Much fuss will be made about the penalty that opened the scoring because the ref booked the wrong player but the hands were up and blocked the shot so Maren Mjelde was in her rights to give us a lead at the half.
Sam Kerr has been feeling some pressure but finished smartly from Fran Kirby’s cross and Kirby finished the scoring after they’d smuggled a penalty.
Mason Mount scored the winner – it ballooned in from a huge deflection – as England beat the world’s number one side, Belgium. Both teams were missing personnel and while any win is a good result this was one of England’s worst performances in living memory… or are we forgetting the boredom of the last international break. Probably blocking out the tedium. Three at the back with two holding midfielders is a waste of the attacking talent on the bench.
Project power grab: Liverpool and Manchester United published proposals to change the game that would damage English football. The Daily Telegraph tells us that under the cover of trying to help the EFL clubs during the current crisis the stitch-up would reduce the Premier League to 18 but concentrate voting rights in the hands of clubs with “long-term shareholder status” or the top six.
In other words, one team one vote would be scrapped in favour of the nine longest serving teams having control. This would include Chelsea but would be disastrous for football, oh, and you can kiss the League Cup and Charity Shield goodbye – Liverpool and United are not interested in those anymore. Instead they have concocted a Premier League summer tournament – as if there weren’t enough summer tournaments to be played – Nations League, European Championships and the World Cup.
The Premier League was originally set up by small minded, money grubbing marketing men… the argument back then was that it would benefit the national team, remember that lie? This time they promise to redistribute some of the money they took from the English game in the first place in return for dictatorial powers.
The big clubs have long yearned for control of the game to enhance their profits and would abuse this power form the very start. Even the Premier League came out and said the ideas were dangerous for the game and that discussions should take place through the usual channels and not in the pages of the Daily Telegraph.
At the moment Liverpool and United will need 14 turkeys to vote for Christmas in the knowledge that two of them will be permanently excluded from the feast.