Sunday 1 November
Arsenal got a penalty at Old Trafford and won 0-1. What might we have had last weekend?
Keeping tabs on our loan players Iain Maatsen was man of the match for Charlton, Marc Guehi has been so consistent for Swansea he has been tipped as a Premier League starter ‘for sure’ next season and Armando Broja blasted in another two to raise Vitesse to the top of the league.
Monday 2 November
FA Youth Cup final
Chelsea U18 2:3 Manchester City U18
We couldn’t see it through as City’s youth had us on the backfoot after we’d taken the lead through Marcel Lewis and the late, frankly bizarre own-goal couldn’t take us the final step.
The academy can be proud of getting to the final in a disjointed season and a settled squad might just see us win it again this season.
Tuesday 3 November
Chelsea 2:0 Tottenham Hotspur
You’d be forgiven for forgetting the women were still playing, their last match was postponed and the international break means they haven’t played for three weeks.
Tottenham put up a sturdy performance but obdurate defence wore out on 70 minutes when Erin Cuthbert lashed in a long shot and a late penalty gave us the points in this league cup, mini-league, Group B, sponsored by Continental Tyres.
The women are back in action against Everton behind the BBC’s red button.
Wednesday 4 November
Chelsea 3:0 Stade Rennais
The new handball rule scuppered Rennes. They started closing us down in the midfield and making inroads down our left and if it weren’t for the first penalty we wouldn’t have had a chance on target. Kurt Zouma had his, now customary, header from a corner but we struggled for any of the penetration we’d found in the last couple of matches.
The second penalty for handball was absurd as the ball flicked up off the boot he used to block the shot before hitting his arm. The ref compounded matters by issuing a second yellow.
Timo Werner has been itching to take penalties and he struck both perfectly, first low and left the second left and high. We don’t think there is much this young German cannot do.
The visitors deserve plaudits for continuing to close and intimidate throughout. They were superbly organised but with ten they couldn’t stop the burgeoning confidence of Reece James who crossed for Tammy Abraham to tap home.
At the end the whole of the Rennes squad stopped to exchange fist bumps with Edouard Mendy. It looked like he was a really popular guy at the Brittany club.
Kai Havertz was absent as he has tested positive for covid and will be isolating for two weeks. It will, doubtless, happen to many other players and other clubs this season but we feel it at the moment as the side was starting to gel. Obviously we all wish Kai well and for a speedy recovery but coming just before an international break we should have Kai back for the end of the month. It is a sobering reminder that if professional footballers, who live in bio-secure bubbles, can still contract the disease what chance us with a small square of plastic and string between us and a deadly pandemic.
Good news for Sheffield Wednesday whose points deduction for financial shenanigans has been cut in half. They are still bottom of the table but with five points rather than minus one.
Thursday 5 November
The pay-per-view experiment looks to be over. After the international break the hated £14.95 charge will be dropped. Plans for how the games will reach fans haven’t been finalised but £300,000 has been raised for charities as fans put their £14.95 in the food bank and waited for Match of the Day.
Isn’t something else supposed to be happening today, we never can remember.
Saturday 7 November
Chelsea 4:1 Sheffield United
So, we finally conceded a goal and the cute finish might have induced panic in this team twelve months ago, this time we stuck to our game and goals from Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell, with Ziyech prominent in both, sealed a half-time advantage.
United are not as bad as their league position and tested our backline regularly but couldn’t fashion another chance.
The second period was one of those where we camped in one half attacking the Matthew Harding and the ball only really passed half way as a move was rebuilt from the back.
Last season Frank Lampard’s side would have been caught on the break at least twice and there was one moment when Silva had to race across the turf to cut out a potential break. He seemed to start his run before United’s Rhian Brewster was even aware he was in a race. It is debatable for how many games we can use the Brazilian but his influence can only be immense for the younger defenders.
We lost Matteo Kovačić to injury with twenty minutes to go and we finally worked out that he looks like Eamonn from the Albert in Brixton all those years ago.
Ziyech’s delivery for the third was wicked, as was Zouma’s block to allow Thiago Silva a free run to score his first for us.
Ziyech then set Werner free but the German lofted his chance wide, before a blocked challenge saw the ball break for the German to score his eighth of the season.
Ziyech was the undoubted star today but with the talent swirling around the squad they might have to take turns in the limelight. Whispers are already suggesting that the slight Moroccan forward might grow to be as influential as a slight Sardinian who signed for us back in 1996.
Weirdly, our record for consecutive clean sheets (nine) is held by William Fatty Foulke, who we signed from Sheffield United 115 years ago.
VAR was almost completely absent from our match this afternoon but starred as Crystal Palace thrashed Leeds 4-1. Patrick Bamford was adjudged offside because his arm was pointing to where he wanted the ball played. The finish was brilliant but VAR has been on the sauce again and determined that his t-shirt line was beyond the last defender.
It is time to sack English referees, import officials from Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands and instigate a new training regime with new recruits.
Referees are not honest, impartial or trustworthy.
Chelsea U18 8:1 Leicester City U18
Jude Soonsup-Bell scored four and strikes from Silko Thomas, Joe Haigh, Ben Elliott and Harvey Vale put Leicester to the sword on Saturday morning.
Sunday 8 November
Chelsea 4:0 Everton
You can see by their work ethic that Everton are going to challenge this season. We took a handy lead when Ji So-Yun capitalised on an early defensive blunder. The goal meant Everton had to come out of their shell and the rerunning Beth England skewered them twice in the second-half before Pernille Harder flashed in a late fourth.
This was Everton’s first defeat of the season. As Manchester United beat Arsenal in the other major game of the day we are three off the lead with a game in hand.
Do you miss crowds at the football? Villa thrashed Arsenal at the Emirates 0-3, with one chalked off for a Ross Barkley offside. It is shame that no Gooner was present to walk out before the end.
Liverpool and Manchester City drew at the Etihad leaving Leicester top of the league, with seven penalties so far this season, they beat Wolves 1-0. We are three points behind in 5th.
Everton U23 2:0 Chelsea U23
Most of this squad were runners up in the FA Youth Cup last week and they faded in the second-half as Everton scored two without reply.
Panic about a new covid strain supposedly sweeping Denmark from mink farms means Andreas Christensen will probably not travel for the international round. Denmark have at least half a dozen English based players who would all have to self-quarantine on their return from the internationals… as would the Swedes based here due in København for a friendly.
Monday 9 November
Samuel Eto’o is stable with head injuries after a car crash in Cameroon. Our former striker was apparently on his way home from a wedding on Sunday when the crash happened. There were no other casualties.
Tuesday 10 November
Greg Clarke resigned as FA chair after using the term coloured to describe black footballers. To be fair he must have had media training at the FA and still, in under two hours, managed to blunder into stereotyping and offend black players, homosexuals, Asians and women.
Clarke was giving evidence to the digital, culture, media and sport select committee and has form, describing institutional racism as fluff three years ago to the same committee. That gaff surfaced in the investigation into Mark Sampson’s offensive comments to Drew Spence and Eni Aluko, offensive remarks the FA did their best to cover up.
Wednesday 11 November
Liverpool’s defensive injury list grows: Joe Gomez limped home from England training with a serious looking knee problem.
Thursday 12 November
England 3:0 Republic of Ireland
Awful England shirt. Shiny badges used to be restricted to Panini stickers and Spurs training kit, some wonker in the marketing department decided that polo shirts were fashionable with skinheads forty-years ago and those are the sort of people who watch footy. They wouldn’t really know because they prefer Twickenham.
Blue and red training kit, blue and red Crystal Palace training kit. Shocking.
Unfortunately, England friendlies are still on ITV who have kept the same screeching violin theme for the last ten years at least.
The football was largely forgettable; Reece James played the whole match ahead of suspension for the competitive fixtures, Tammy Abraham had a late stroll and Mason Mount was the mainspring and driving force of another intricate as clockwork England performance. Jude Bellingham became the third youngest footballer to make a full England cap.
Steve Clarke achieved the impossible by steering Scotland to the European championships next summer. Scotland nearly threw it away but came through on penalties in Serbia following a one-each.
Billy Gilmour’s return to action with Scotland’s U21s against Serbia ended early, thankfully not with an injury but a red for foul and abusive language.
Nine minutes into a substitute appearance, Billy was whistled for an innocuous shoulder-to-shoulder challenge and apparently said something out of place.
With Reece James off in the last international break for something he said to the officials, we have to hope Cobham training sessions don’t include ‘getting it off your chest’ and ‘saying what is really on your mind’.
Friday 13 November
England U21 overcame the might of Andorra 3-1 at home and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored one from the spot on the way. Conor Gallagher gave away the penalty from which the Pyreneans scored their goal. With old boys Eddie Nketiah, Rhian Brewster, Tariq Lamptey, Jonathan Panzo, Jamal Musiala as well as on loan Marc Guehi on the bench Cobham had an influence on eight players in a 20-man match day squad.
Two goals and an assist for Hakim Ziyech as the Atlas Lions beat Central African Republic 4-1. Hakim played as a striker.
Magdalena Eriksson signed a new contract. The women’s captain will be with us until 2023.
Liverpool’s woes continue as Mo Salah tests positive for covid. Two weeks isolation means he will miss at least next weekend’s Leicester game and probably the Atalanta game in the next midweek.
The U18s will play Barnsley in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
Saturday 14 November
France look on course for the Nations League finals after beating Portugal to pull three points clear with an away goal advantage on their nearest rivals. The French were the more creative on the night and their strike came from N’Golo ‘goal-machine’ Kanté with his second international goal.
Timo Werner scored twice as Germany topped their group by beating Ukraine, from behind, 3-1. Antonio Rüdiger player the whole match in a three it was his second match in a week after Germany beat the Czech republic in midweek. We will need a sharp defender as Thiago Silva was on duty for Brazil again and will probably miss our trip to Newcastle after playing the whole game against Venezuela.
Sunday 15 November
Arsenal 1:1 Chelsea
Our unbeaten run in the WSL was in doubt as Arsenal took the lead in this one with four minutes left of the 90. We snatched the equaliser when Pernille Harder’s deflected that looped into the far corner just as the clock ticked round. There was still time for Sam Kerr to lob an effort agonisingly wide but a draw is the forgettable result of a match smothered by Arsenal’s morose defensive tactics.
We sit third in the table with a game in hand on Manchester United who are top.
We had to wait long into the night to watch England’s usual failure. Worse news was Ben Chilwell’s injury when he left the field with a back injury after half and hour against Belgium. England’s negative midfield and lack of creative spark have held the team back in the nations league. Scoring just three goals, two penalties and Mason Mount’s deflected effort against Belgium at Wembley.
Ray Clemence the Spurs, Liverpool and England goalkeeper has died at the age of 72. Clemence won 61 caps during a long career and it would have been more save the period when he shared the role with Peter Shilton in the 70s and 80s.
Tuesday 17 November
Germany needed a point in Spain to top the group and narrowly failed by every one of six goals on the night. Timo Werner played.
Better night for Giroud and France as the striker scored two in a 4-2 win over Sweden.
Mateo Kovacic scored two too but his Croatia lost 3-2 to Portugal but avoided relegation as Sweden went down on goal difference.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored another for the U21s in a 5-0 win over Albania. Hakim Ziyech notched another for Morocco as the beat the Central African Republic 2-0.
Wednesday 18 November
Papa John’s Trophy
Bristol Rovers 4:3 Chelsea U21
A brave effort that saw both Danny Drinkwater and Billy Gilmour start their first match of the season in Blue.
Tino Anjorin hauled us level in the first-half only for the hosts to take a 3-1 lead early in the second. Marcel Lewis got us to within one and Henry Lawrence’s shot deflected in from Anjorin’s back but a Rover’s winner late on undid all the hard work.
Billy Gilmour got an hour and cleared one off the line in an end-to-end encounter that certainly tested his stamina. We will have to wait a few weeks before he is match fit but our promising young Scot is on the way.
Tino Anjorin is looking closer to the finished article and should press for a place in the first-team squad.
Danny Drinkwater had his moment too. It is a shame to see such a player helping out at U21.
Mason Mount scored for England as they won 4-0 in the dead rubber against Iceland. Declan Rice scored the opener and the two got the chance to muck about afterwards. It is easy to forget how young this England team are.
The 3-4-3 remains a burden to the side but Phil Foden brought a new dimension to the midfield as well as scoring twice. With Mount and Grealish we might be tiptoeing to a working three-man midfield. It is, apparently, the first time three players aged 21 have scored for the three lions since the enlightened days of mid-Victorian England when William Cobbold, Oliver Whateley and Frank Pawson scored against Ireland in 1883.
Wales beat ten-man Finland to win promotion in the Nations League group. Ethan Ampadu has been rock-solid this week in everything he does for Wales in defence and at the back. He will be another great asset next season.
Scotland blew it though losing 1-0 to Israel and missed out on what had seemed certain promotion to the top tier.
The North of Ireland drew with Romania and are relegated, news came through before the subdued match as Uefa awarded Romania a win in their cancelled Norway tie earlier in the day. They slip into the third tier of the competition having lost eight and draw two of their games in tier two.
Italy, Belgium, France and Spain will contest the finals next year… before or after the delayed Euros.
At least we can now return to proper football but the women’s match at the London City Lionesses has been postponed. A slight mystery as the match was due to take place at Dartford’s state-of-the-art stadium but positive covid tests for some lionesses players means they were unable to fulfil the fixture. There has been little consistency or guidance about when fixtures are replayed or decided.
Thursday 19 November
Fifa managed to find a male employee to announce that women have been given some maternity protection by the governing body. The rules stipulate a minimum of 14 weeks maternity leave on becoming a mum on at least two-thirds of salary. Clubs can be more generous if they choose… hear that, Chelsea, be more generous. Clubs will face a transfer ban if they sack a player for becoming pregnant.
The move was welcomed in some parts but you could also look at these protections as the least they could do and very late in the day.
Friday 20 November
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham tried hard to prove that privileged white guys really do run the world by saying that black, ex-player candidates for chair of the Football Association lack the financial and business experience he thinks necessary for the role.
Sadly, shitwits like Bellendingham think that a candidate who ‘can run the board of a $450m business’, is qualified to run football. You wonder why the wrong manager is always appointed to the England job, why grassroots development has been left to rot in favour of marketing wheezes – the game in England is run by marketing men.
Paul Elliott is currently on the board but doesn’t have voting rights and if Mark Bullshittingham has his way, it will remain so
Saturday 21 November
Newcastle United 0:2 Chelsea
This win was more dominant than the score suggests. We took and early lead when Federico Fernandez could only bundle the ball into his own net under pressure from Chilwell. The rest of the first-half passed with almost total dominance, 80% possession, numerous chances but we had to wait until Tammy Abraham strode onto Werner’s pass to add a second.
Timo was immense without scoring, running the Magpie defence ragged but seemed to have forgotten how to shoot.
St James’ Park has been a poor venue for us in recent years and the fear beforehand was that a tired squad just back from far-flung internationals might blunt our good form. We needn’t have worried.
The win put us top of the table for a few hours before Manchester City capitulated at White Hart Lane. We play Spurs next weekend.
Chelsea U18 2:4 Aston Villa U18
Jude Soonsup-Bell scored another brace to make it ten goals for the season. The only problem was that Villa had a 1-3 lead at half time and we couldn’t claw it back.
The development squad is all about development and defeats for a very young squad are character building.
Sunday 22 November
Manchester City U23 2:2 Chelsea U23
A goal each from Billy Gilmour and Myles Peart-Harris dragged us back into a game we’d let slip. The sides were very evenly matched but we did have the ball over the line, only for the linesman to be blindsided by the goalkeeper’s body.
The real story was another 95 minutes for Billy Gilmour as he comes back from injury.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored his first for Fulham but it made little difference as the Cottagers missed a penalty in losing 2-3 to Everton.
Liverpool overtook us in the table as they plastered Leicester City.
Monday 23 November
A desperate Prime Minister, sinking under the weight of his own incompetence, grasped at the straw of allowing fans back into stadiums from Wednesday 2 December. A ham fisted tier system means tier 1 stadiums can have 4,000 fans, tier 2 areas 2,000 and tier three will still be closed. The tier your club falls into depends on the level of covid infection in the local community and how much Daniel Levi whines.
Given how difficult it was to get tickets before covid, good luck getting your hands on one in December.
Tuesday 24 November
Stade Rennais 1:2 Chelsea
We qualified for the knockout stages by dint of Olivier Giroud’s noggin nodding us a late winner.
Giroud was a 69th minute substitute and a much-needed presence after we had conceded a late equaliser.
Our start was purposeful and direct as we limited Rennes to their own half and fashioned a handful of good chances. Timo Werner can forget the one he scooped over the bar in the fifth minute from the impressive Hudson-Odoi’s cross because ten minutes later Mason mount played a sumptuous, weighted pass onto Callum’s instep and the youngster ran on to finish.
The best of the rest fell to Mason who had a snap chance from a Chilwell pullback but Alfred Gomis was well placed to save.
Our hosts grew into the match, or rather we allowed our hosts to grow into the match. Edouard Mendy wasn’t tested that often and Frank and Jody will be pleased that our pressing and shape kept the French side at arms-length but will be annoyed by the equaliser.
It came from a corner and was just the kind of free-header we have been tearing our hair out over for the last eighteen months.
Giroud saved the lurching ship by heading in the rebound after Werner’s shot had been saved.
Mendy had a great chance to show his bravery as he clung on to an earlier corner and was almost bundled into the net by his former team mates.
The win means we have qualified for the last 16 in all but one of our last 17 attempts.
Given that Rennes play in red and black we didn’t need to use the Manchester City kit.
Wednesday 25 November
Diego Maradona has died at the age of just 60. Maradona was a giant, able seemingly to do miracles on the pitch while self-destructing off it. He inspired a young Gianfranco Zola at Napoli and for that we will always be grateful.
Thiago Silva is already negotiating and extension of his one year deal to tide him over until 2022. Sceptics who thought he might be too old for the Premier League have dwindled and the Brazilian’s beneficial influence on those around him is clear.
Liverpool lost at home to Atalanta in the Champions League and now, could, conceivably, possibly, might not qualify from the group. But probably will.
Thursday 26 November
The tiered arrangements for fans returning are being leaked, London and therefore Chelsea will be in tier 2 and which means 2,000 lucky blues should be able to watch our home game with Leeds United on Saturday 5 December. Manchester, Newcastle and a host of other areas will be in tier 3 but the restrictions are going to be reviewed fortnightly.
Saturday 28 November
Chelsea U18 8:1 Barnsley U18
A walloping for poor old Barnsley who were not seven goals worse than this Chelsea IX but took a lesson in finishing. Jude Soonsup-Bell scored four, Tino Livramento, Ben Elliott, Harvey Vale and Lewis Bate added the rest.
The 2,000 tickets for the Leeds and Krasnodar games will be allocated through a lottery of 2019/20 season ticket holders. £75 for the West lower seems a bit steep but on the other hand the lucky winners will be the first Blues based in the UK to witness a live match since March and will have a story to tell their grandchildren.
West Brom loanee Conor Gallagher scored his first in the Premier League by blasting the ball through the proverbial forest of legs to notch the one that gave the Throstles their first win of the season against luckless Sheffield United.
Sunday 29 November
Chelsea 0:0 Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs came and worked very hard at not conceding as the doubled up on every player with admirable discipline. That said, Frank will be very frustrated that we didn’t score from a host of good crosses from Reece James and might reflect that Giroud might have been the more experienced pick ahead of Tammy Abraham.
The stalemate leaves Spurs top on goal difference from Liverpool on 21 we are back in third on 19.
Edison Cavani is in trouble with the FA for posting “gracias negrito” on Instgram. Cavani was thanking a follower for congratulating him on his performance for United as they came from two down to beat Brighton. The term became famous when the FA refused to believe Luis Suárez that the phrase means mate or pal in Uruguay.