Wednesday 2 December
Sevilla 0:4 Chelsea
Olivier Giroud finished four times but it was our dominance that really impressed. Sevilla made some changes but were aiming for a sixth win in a row. Our nine changes worried a few before kick-off as it looked like Frank had selected a Chelsea B team.
We needn’t have worried, what we got was an almost totally dominant performance against the side currently fifth in La Liga.
Kovačić impressed in midfield, Callum Hudson-Odoi made a strong case for starting at the weekend but it was Giroud who won all of the awards.
His first saw him finish Havertz’s short pass by tapping the ball back onto his left which opened the goal for the finish. The debutant goalkeeper, Alfonso Pastor, could only watch.
For the second he took Kovačić’s pass dummied the defender and then the ’keeper to make a really difficult chance look easy.
Hat-trick header came from N’Golo Kanté’s cross and there was time for him to tuck away the penalty he won from a tiring defence.
Edouard Mendy needed to be sharp about his business at times but the home side rarely threatened. Our closing down and pressing with a scratch side was testament to the training they have been putting in at Cobham. They did exactly what was asked of them and the minutes in the legs of Christensen, Emerson, Rüdiger, Havertz, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi will be invaluable for squad morale.
There was time too for Billy Gilmour to get a run. His six minutes and as many touches will, perhaps, have been the most welcome.
Christian Pulisic managed 67 hard-running minutes, some thought we’d signed an Ewok, it turns out the American has grown a beard.
We win the group with this result and should congratulate Krasnodar who beat Rennes 1-0 to secure their Europa League place, before travelling to London for our last group game in Tuesday next week.
Friday 4 December
Chelsea U23 2:1 Leicester U23
Myles Peart-Harris took his opportunity in a dull first half but Leicester finished that period strongly and carried on in the second, the ball eventually squirming in through our ’keeper’s grasp for an equaliser. Henry Lawrence smashed the ball in at the death to take us into second in the table.
Saturday 5 December
Chelsea 3:1 Leeds United
The first Chelsea crowd since March and with the kneel for black lives matter impeccably observed – Millwall covered themselves in the usual slurry of shame earlier in the day – was settling in to their first match in 272 days when Patrick Bamford popped up to poop the party.
Our old boy and Leeds’ top scorer beat Kurt Zouma and the unusually hesitant Edouard Mendy to the ball and finished neatly.
Timo Werner managed to hook the ball off the line while trying to tap in Giroud’s header from a corner, hitting the crossbar from virtually on the line.
There wasn’t much space against a tight Leeds defence and tireless closing down until Giroud intercepted a pass out from their keeper but flashed the ball wide. It didn’t matter because the big Frenchman got a boot on the end of another excellent cross from Reece James to make it 1-1 just before the half hour.
Leeds’ desire to pass out from the back led to a few wayward passes but we couldn’t capitalise. Their pressing made fluid attacking more difficult but for all the possession and attacking Bamford’s strike was the only time in the match they managed any penetration.
Timo drew a double save on the hour from the excellent French ’keeper Illan Meslier but it didn’t matter because Zouma powered in the corner.
Did the crowd make a difference? Reece James, for one, seemed to respond directly to the recognition of his defensive work and there was just the hint that breaks happened faster. With only 2,000 in the acoustics of the Bridge did them proud.
As the second-half wore on we adjusted to the man-to-man marking and started finding space and beating the man more often than not. Afterall we had a crowd to entertain, while Leeds did little better than persevere. Mendy had a couple of routine saves to make, Frank and Jody will be as proud of the shape we maintained throughout as with the late clincher when Werner unselfishly fed Pulisic making the American the 13th different player to score for us in the league this season.
We are top of the league for the first time since we last fitted into our short trousers.
The only downside to the evening was Ziyech feeling a hamstring after half an hour but it did give Pulisic the chance to have a run.
For all the singing, urging, heckling, cheering, booing, clapping and what have you the first clear ‘carefree’ sent tingles down your spine.
Sunday 6 December
Chelsea 3:2 West Ham
Sam Kerr started to rack up the goals this afternoon with three against West Ham. Fran Kirby set her up for a sliding first-half finish and she restored our lead in the second tapping in the rebound from a Pernille Harder shot. The third came from Kirby again and while Kerr did limp out of the action with a hip problem she is finally having the impact we expected.
Conor Gallagher scored again for West Brom, last week he grabbed the winner, sadly, this week he scored the one in a 5-1 home drubbing by Crystal Palace.
Monday 7 December
World Cup draw for Qatar 2022 and England bagged Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino. Andorra and San Marino! With these tiny European principalities you are really spoiling us! A simple group that shouldn’t present any problems.
Tuesday 8 December
Chelsea v. FC Krasnodar
This was another job for Chelsea B as Tino Anjorin made a full-debut, Billy Gilmour his first start since his injury back in June and Kepa Arrizabalaga got a game between the sticks.
Gilmour was played in the more advanced midfield role and showed all the artistry and precision that won him two man-of-the-match awards last season. The speed of his decision making and first touch put him in a different class.
With this experiment in front of them Krasnodar decided to take the lead. Neat movement wrong footed our defenders and Kepa could only sprawl as the ball was whipped in at his near post.
The penalty that levelled things up was dispatched by Jorginho, the little skip was slightly higher for the first chance since losing the main penalty taking role to Timo Werner.
Tino Anjorin had a number of positive touches playing in a wide role where he switched sides with Havertz. The attack lacked some cohesion having never played together before and Krasnodar didn’t need to be much better than organised to keep us at bay. The referee allowed the Russians a free-kick every time they threw themselves to the floor, screaming in pain when replays showed little or no contact.
Everyone seemed to have at least one mistimed or clumsy attempt at the Krasnodar goal. Possibly why the 2,000 in the ground were slightly less noisy but then it was bloody freezing.
Abraham too looked rusty as a defender handed him the ball, just after the hour but Tammy couldn’t beat the goalkeeper. Anjorin then played Havertz in but a heavy touch allowed Gorodov to make yet another save.
Frank threw on Giroud, Werner and Kanté but the refereeing became more and more erratic and no more clear chances came.
Tino Anjorin came through the experience with credit growing into his role and looking more at home as the evening wore on. It is difficult to deny that Billy Gilmour shone once again, quick, talented and insightful our young Scot has lost none of his verve in his months recovering from knee surgery.
Manchester United will have to struggle through the Europa League after losing away to RB Leipzig.
In the same group PSG and Basaksehir walked off the pitch in reaction to a racist comment from the 4th official. We already knew that our officials are incompetent, mean spirited, gutless, alcoholics but Sebastian Coltescu has beaten even our VAR officials. Demba Ba was a witness to the Istanbul side’s coach Pierre Webo being abused and there seems little doubt about what happened. Webo was sent off as the official tried to cover his tracks and players from both teams walked off after less than 15 minutes.
The match will be replayed tomorrow after a new group of match officials have been found.
Wednesday 9 December
S.L. Benfica 0:5 Chelsea
Fran Kirby beat Eni Aluko’s scoring record when she notched her 69th strike with a second-minute tap in.
Our return to Champions League action couldn’t have been better as Fran added her 70th to give us a 0-3 lead, Millie Bright headed in the second. Pernille Harder also scored before half-time with Guro Reiten supplying three assists.
Beth England got among the goals in the second-half but we had switched down a gear by then and saw out the match at a stroll.
Kirby, who signed from Reading five years ago, praised the support and inspiration offer by Aluko: “People will ask me why one of the reasons I joined Chelsea, and this amazing woman was definitely one of them … to overtake not just a Chelsea but a women’s football legend is extremely special. The support Eni Aluko has given me throughout my career goes unmatched,” and so say all of us…
Friday 11 December
Fulham U18 2:1 Chelsea U18
Difficult to get started on a damp and windy night where Joe Haigh’s header wasn’t enough.
The FA Cup tie with Morecambe will be in Sunday 10 January with coverage on the red button on BBC.
Saturday 12 December
Everton 1:0 Chelsea
A misfiring night on which we failed to create enough chances. Their penalty was clumsily given away by Mendy who was clearly still feeling the effects of being winded in a fall.
In reality a few thousand fans in Goodison Park had a galvanising effect on a team that had looked hopeless in recent weeks and Jordan Pickford who has been falling over, gifting possession and having the ball ricochet in off his arse, instead pulled off a couple of great saves.
Sunday 13 December
Brighton & Hove Albion 0:1 Chelsea
Made to work very hard for this result as Sam Kerr headed us into a lead but Brighton scrapped and fought all afternoon to keep the score down.
The win takes us second in the league with a game in hand on leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.
The men’s first team lost yesterday but the rest of the results means we don’t fall so far back. Liverpool drew one each with Fulham, while Spurs losing at home to Burnley to record their worst start to a season since 1974/75.
Monday 14 December
Chelsea U23 3:2 Tottenham Hotspur U23
A convincing comeback after slipping to a 0-2 half-time deficit. Myles Peart-Harris and Marcel Lewis supplied the goals he winner coming with just two minutes left.
The other notable aspect was Petr Cech’s first game in Blue since 2015. Let just say he looked a little rusty.
Atlético de Madrid, again, in the draw for the last 16. With easy fixtures like Leipzig, Lazio and Atalanta we couldn’t have picked a more familiar and formidable opponent. Atleti knocked out Liverpool last season just before the lockdown and we will have to be at our best but the away leg being played first will be help, with the first-leg matches being played 16/17 February.
Gerard Houllier has passed on aged 73. The eccentric Liverpool manager got the better of us on occasion but was clearly a gentleman and was widely respected.
The experiment with small crowds has ended in London as we are placed in tier three restrictions from Wednesday night.
Tuesday 15 December
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2:1 Chelsea
Another disappointing night as we fell back into the mistakes of last season – caught on the break at the death.
Giroud’s strike to give us the lead was a beauty but we’d spent the first half stuck in gear and not making sufficient progress.
Frank was level-headed at the end, pointing out that we are missing personnel and still trying to find the gel that makes this squad tick. Many players who come in to the Premier League take a season to adjust and blossom in their second term, given that our new imported players arrived under covid restrictions and have been isolated from their families and usual support networks we should all be more understanding and patient however frustrating nights like tonight can be.
Wednesday 16 December
Chelsea 3:0 Benfica
The women cruised into the last 16 with two goals from Beth England and Sam Kerr adding the other. We could have had many more, created the chances but a 5-0 first leg lead can take the edge off urgency.
Everton beat Leicester to prove the weekend performance against us wasn’t a one off and Liverpool beat Spurs to go clear at the top of the table.
West Brom rewarded Slaven Bilic for the draw yesterday with Manchester City by sacking him and appointing Sam Allardyce – pints of white wine all round.
Friday 18 December
Chelsea U23 6:1 Manchester United U23
We blew United away at Kingsmeadow with two goals in the first three minutes, first Marcel Lewi then Jude Soonsup-Bell scored his first at this level. Tino Anjorin got two on the night before Lewis grabed his second and Charlie Brown netted the last.
How consoled United will be on their long journey back up the M1/62 is anyone’s guess.
The women signed a new goalkeeper, this time from Rosengard in Sweden Zecira Musovic is 24 has won the Swedish league four times and even captained her country at U19.
The players have voted to continue to take a knee in support of black lives matter. Morons have booed at some EFL games and a muppet spokesman for the Millwall Supporters Club said that the booing was not motivated by racism but “in opposition to the political views held by the Black Lives Matter organisation”. Which just goes to show that Millwall fans are as mired in racism as ever. Let’s be clear: there is no such thing as a Black Lives Matter organisation. Not only is there no central organisation but they have no ‘political views’ to which the pin-brained Millwall scum could object.
It is racist to boo an act of solidarity with the black community and their fight for their basic right not to be discriminated against. We have been very proud of Chelsea fan’s support of the players taking a knee and reiterate that Chelsea players, staff and fans come from every community, race, caste, religion, region, skin colour and nationality, if you are racist you are not Chelsea.
Equality is not a cake, if one community gains a more equal place in our society it does not reduce the amount of equality available to the average Millwall fan but increases equality for everyone.
Saturday 19 December
The club announced a covid outbreak in the women’s squad and the postponement of tomorrow’s game with Spurs. The last round of tests proved at least eight positives in the group but there is no word now many players have been caught.
Monday 21 December
Chelsea 3:0 West Ham United
Tammy Abraham wrapped up a challenging match with a late brace as the squad felt their way back towards form.
The first half Thiago Silva header should have settled nerves and given us a lift but the ‘Ammers have been in form and pressed, harried and threatened. They were a good test of our defensive shape and Frank will, as usual, be as pleased with the nil as with the goals.
Ben Chilwell on his 24th birthday limped out of the action early, replaced by Emerson.
Tuesday 22 December
West London, is wonderful… Brentford knocked Newcastle out of the league cup. The Magpies haven’t won anything since the FA Cup in 1955 unless you count the invitational Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in ’69 as a major trophy… tonight they started with a strong team but underestimated Brentford who have been on very strong form this season.
Saturday 26 December
Arsenal 3:1 Chelsea
Merry fecking Christmas to you too. This was unforgivable. Arsenal have lost seven games in a row and can only motivate themselves to play us. The evidence of the Cup Final was again clear as Arsenal haven’t put in a competitive performance since we played them at Wembley.
The penalty was a joke as Kieran Tierney brushed against Reece James, there certainly wasn’t enough contact to bring the player down, but when didn’t Arsenal dive for penalties?
The free-kick was well finished but you know it is a shit night when a cross arcs into the top corner.
Even then we should have had something from the match. Tammy grabbed one back but Jorginho spunked a penalty with a weak finish. Goalkeepers have worked out his technique and betting on him as a regular penalty taker appears busted.
What was really annoying is that you could have predicted that Arsenal, with six changes, would be rejuvenated and we turned up underestimating them and expecting an easy win.
We could have gone second with a win, so this shambles is really damaging to our season as a whole. We are literally the only team that couldn’t beat Arteta’s Arsenal and he isn’t now getting sacked in the morning.
Monday 28 December
Chelsea 1:1 Aston Villa
Another disappointing result as Giroud’s smart finish was cancelled out and we didn’t finish any of the presentable chances we made in the second-half.
There was a foul in build-up to the equaliser but VAR was not put on earth to dispense justice just to annoy.
Frank saw brighter signs in the performance but we, like everyone, have had a hard and unrewarding festive period and would like to get back to winning… transition season, bedding in new players, inexperienced coach and etc. and etc.
When we will get the chance to play another match is debatable with City cancelling their game with Everton with unspecified number of covid cases and FA Cup opponents, Morecombe, called off their next two league fixtures against Bolton and Bradford with the same.
Wednesday 30 December
Manchester City have reopened their training ground after clear Covid tests from the bubble. Kyle Walker, Gabriel Jesus will both miss the match with us on Sunday but it is unclear if the other cases are backroom staff or players.
Thursday 31 December
Tommy Docherty has left us at the age of 92. Tommy had been ill for a long time and will be missed by the game as a whole. The Doc was Chelsea manager from 1961-67 won us the League Cup and promotion. He rebuilt the Chelsea side into Docherty’s Diamonds and the core of those players went on to win the FA Cup in 1970.
His lasting legacy at the Bridge came in his decision to change the colour of the shorts from white to blue.
Sacked by Manchester United for having an affair with the wife of the United physio he went on to marry Mary Brown and lived with her for the rest of his life.
Tommy Docherty was a really nice guy, really funny and compassionate and will
Chelsea snuck out their financial results on the last day of the year but with fewer of us out throwing up in fountains more of us can pour over the figures instead. The headlines are a decline in revenue by about £40m as a direct result of the pandemic but a profit of nearly as much as a result of player trades and good housekeeping.
Jimmy Greaves has been recognised in the honours list with an MBE but it is too little for our former great. Greaves had a stroke back in 2015 and Sir Jimmy Greaves wouldn’t have been out of place for a record breaking striker who set an example by beating alcoholism and invented much of what football punditry became.
Friday 1 January
Covidiocy hasn’t gone away as Instagram pictures showed Tottenham’s Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani lo Celso at a party with West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini.
What, don’t the regulations apply to you because you are privileged, rich, and footballers? Grow up.
Sunday 3 January
Chelsea 1:3 Manchester City
This has been the worst Christmas in living memory. Aside from the three quick goals we allowed in the first-half they could have had a hatful more.
We stood and watched as the attacked. The first was a clinical turn and finish, but the second we had no defensive shape and the third came from our attacking free-kick.
Frank will cling to the fact we improved but the apathy at the back, the lack of a system, motivation, method are just the same as they were at Arsenal. Nothing has improved. We didn’t press, didn’t close City down, N’Golo Kanté played like an amateur. They say you cannot win the league at Christmas but you can lose it and we have let this league slip away.
And this City side were missing six through injury and could only name eight on the bench. They couldn’t name a recognised striker. Just think now much worse this could have been.
Pathetic. Frank needs to do something, he needed to do something after Arsenal and nothing has improved.