Friday 2 April
Chelsea U18 2:0 Fylde U18
The FA Youth Cup has been away for months after covid restrictions shut the competition down in December after we’d beaten Barnsley 8-1 the month before.
So Good Friday had a youth team game and a frustrating but dominant first-half led to Bryan Fiabema breaking the deadlock. And while Lewis Bate missed a penalty, Ben Elliott netted our second moments later and while the dominance continued there were no more goals.
Saturday 3 April
Chelsea 2:5 West Bromwich Albion
Losing to the Throstles used to be a sackable offence for a Chelsea manager.
The stupid thing about this result is that it is exactly what you expected. Sam Allardyce has had two weeks to rest and prepare his squad for this early match. We have had no time to prepare after virtually the whole squad returned from international duty.
We were always likely to struggle.
Thiago Silva was unlucky that his momentum from an attempted block caught Okay Yokuslu on 29 minutes and just after we’d taken the lead. You could argue that the contact was accidental, not reckless and a lot less deserving of yellow than some of West Brom’s hatchet jobs on Christian Pulisic but, in the end, a Brazilian international with that much experience should have known better.
Worse, it was Thiago’s first start in weeks and the coach was probably trying to save the legs of some of those returning from international duty. Christensen came on in any case to a defence that, unforgivably, started to play like a bunch of strangers. West Brom just passed around them on the break as if they were not there.
Jorginho was missing in midfield all afternoon, he misplaced passes, wandered out of position and looked a real liability. For all his attacking potential, performances like this are all too common. With N’Golo Kanté injured after the internationals, Billy Gilmour, fresh from a two-week break, watched on – it was a missed opportunity.
Mason Mount scored a late consolation but this fiasco was down to Tuchel not reading the circumstances of the match, not deploying the correct personnel and underestimating the Baggies.
Christian Pulisic seems to have tweaked his hamstring… as if the weekend could be worse.
Tuchel can pull it back in midweek but Porto look like a different prospect if we are going to play like this.
The worst thing about losing the Saturday lunchtime fixture is that football for the rest of the weekend is stinging, painful experience that never seems to end.
Sunday 4 April
Chelsea 6:0 Birmingham City
Sam Kerr’s first, of three, was a poacher’s finish of the highest class. From an acute angle the Australian lashed the ball back across goal and into the top corner. Leading 1-0 on the stroke of half-time Emma Hayes would have given the team an earful about commitment and application, luckily for them Sam nodded in another two before the end of first-half injury time.
Fran Kirby netted two in the second period and Guro Reiten scored the other.
There is a two-week international break for the women ahead of the resumption of the FA Cup.
Sadly, the weekend has been overshadowed by more racist bullshit, this time aimed at West Brom’s Callum Robinson. This shame has infected Chelsea since morons sold National Front newspapers outside the ground in the 1970s.
We should be ashamed of the pathetic way we surrendered to West Brom but we are more ashamed of anyone who calls themselves a Chelsea fan who is pathetic enough to insult anyone because of the colour of their skin.
We stand with Callum Robinson and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, Jess Carter, Antonio Rüdiger, Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy, Reece James, Drew Spence, Emerson, N’Golo Kanté, Kurt Zouma, Emerson, Eni Aluko, Marc Guehi. Michy Batshuayi, Tariq Lamptey, Willian, Victor Moses, Nat Chalobah, Nathan Ake, Christian Atsu, Jérémie Boga, Loic Remy, Dominic Solanke, Fikayo Tomori, Juan Cuadrado, Ola Aina, Obi John Mikel, Ramires, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kenneth Omeruo, Izzy Brown, Didier Drogba, Ryan Bertrand, Ashley Cole, Patrick van Aanholt, Michael Essien, Gaël Kakuta, Bertrand Traore, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o, Florent Malouda, Romelu Lukaku, Daniel Sturridge, Alex, Jose Bosingwa, Ramires, Nicolas Anelka, Michael Mancienne, Jeffrey Bruma, Solomon Kalou, Scott Sinclair, Alex, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Lassana Diarra, Glen Johnson, Claude Makélélé, Liam Bridcutt, Anthony Grant, William Gallas, Geremi, Carlton Cole, Celestine Babayaro, Marcel Desailly, Mario Melchiot, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Bernard Lambourde, George Weah, Michael Duberry, Andy Myers, Eddie Newton, Ruud Gullit, Mark Stein, Frank Sinclair, Terry Phelan, Scott Minto, David Rocastle, Paul Parker, Paul Furlong, Paul Elliot, Ken Monkou, Clive Wilson, Keith Dublin, Paul Canoville. We stand with those players, among the biggest names in our history. We’ve omitted many astounding players who have not made as much impression on the first team and the coaches who have helped shape the culture of the club behind the scenes… and the players from around the world, those players have come from Egypt, Italy, Slovakia, Ghana, France, Cameroon, Germany, Denmark, Albania, Brazil, Finland, Argentina, Spain, Ukraine, Portugal, Nigeria, Wales, the Czech and Irish Republics, Belgium, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden, Jamaica, Israel, Norway, Russia, Australia, Ivory Coast, Bosnia, Canada, South Korea, Romania, Liberia, Croatia, Serbia, USA, Uruguay, Columbia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iceland, Morocco, Senegal, and (briefly) New Zealand and Chile.
If you are racist you are not Chelsea
Monday 5 April
Kepa and Antonio got into it in training yesterday. Pushing and shoving is reported but it was all smiles before the end. It always sounds worse than it really is, unless they start kicking, punching and biting, this kind of thing happens every other week.
Tuesday 6 April
West Ham United U23 1:1 Chelsea U23
George McEachran’s late penalty earned another point against bottom of the table West Ham.
Andy Myers’ side have fallen into the habit of drawing games, rescuing them after sleepy defending. It will be interesting to see how Myers addresses the problem.
Andy made his Chelsea debut 30 years ago to the day – we fought back from 0-3 down to Luton Town to draw 3-3 with ten-men. Graeme Le Saux smashed his elbow into a Luton defender after scoring our first.
Wednesday 7 April
FC Porto 0:2 Chelsea
Mason Mount continues to impress, this time he took the European stage in his stride, out of his feet on the turn and finished across the goalkeeper. Real Madrid, in more usual time, would be bidding £180m in the summer.
Ben Chilwell also scored his first in the Champions League to give us a bit of late insurance but Porto rarely threatened, Azpilicueta blocked from Corona before Edouard Mendy pulled off his only real save of the night but we fought a huge rear-guard action to pull this off.
We pumped dozens of balls long over their back line but every effort was over-hoofed until Corona slipped and let Chilwell run in behind.
Christian Pulisic had just rattled the bar with an effort that deserved a goal.
Darren Fletcher announced toward the end that we had the weekend off having been knocked out of the FA Cup so our next match would be the second-leg. Perhaps Mr Fletcher is clairvoyant or knows the competition is rigged this season, either way we do have a semi-final Saturday week against man City.
Saturday 10 April
Crystal Palace 1:4 Chelsea
The first really fluid, attacking masterclass under Tuchel and Kai Havertz’s first demonstration of the true value of his transfer.
In Germany Kai was a slow starter but always finished the season on fire. Given his difficult start and covid infection Kai has done well to keep his confidence and determination and his goal was a result of both.
Pulisic had a chance well saved but as the ball broke to Havertz he slipped it to his left foot and bent a shot into the corner with Guaita clutching thin air.
Kai then set up Pulisic for a thunderous shot from yards out that nearly took the net off.
The keeper did better when Havertz flicked the ball over his head and hit the volley sweetly but the save denied the German a classic goal.
It didn’t matter as our breathtaking passing had Palace running in circles and Kurt Zouma, having just missed a similar chance headed in Mason Mount’s free-kick.
It wasn’t all plain sailing after the break, a mis-week fixture always slows you down and, of course, Benteke, who hasn’t scored for months, got his head on one.
Christian Pulisic wasn’t having that and tapped in our fourth and it could have been so many more.
More performances like this and the cautious, defensive manager we got three months ago might just turn out to be something.
Up to fourth until Leicester capitulate to West Ham tomorrow.
Aston Villa U18 0:7 Chelsea U18
That will feel better as the U18s finally stick a performance together. Myles Peart-Harris scored a hat-trick, Joe Haigh, Jayden Wareham, Charlie Webster and Jude Soonsup-Bell bashed in the goals that move us above Villa in the table.
Tuesday 13 April
Chelsea 0:1 FC Porto
This was not the prettiest Champions League ‘home’ tie but the job was more comfortable than the score suggests.
We set up deep and defensive and largely controlled a Porto side with the attacking assets returning.
They got past Ben Chilwell once but put the effort over the bar while at the other end we struggled to construct an attack as Porto kicked, fouled, pushed, pulled and obstructed. Christian Pulisic will be black and blue in the morning but the referee wasn’t interested – probably a friend of Anders Frisk.
Mason Mount had the chance to kill the tie but a superb Wilson Mafana block saw his effort balloon wide for a corner but it didn’t matter as their solitary strike, a true worldy from Mehdi Taremi, came too late to influence the tie.
Whisper it but this defensive display with a deeper central three and N’Golo Kanté springing forward from midfield on the break looked like a dress rehearsal for the weekend.
It is our first semi-final for seven years, our eighth in total and our opponents decided tomorrow, either Real Madrid of Liverpool. The Reds face a 1-3 deficit but stranger things…
Wednesday 14 April
Liverpool and Real played out a draw so we will face the Madrid club for the first time since 1971 and the two matches at the Karaiskakis Stadium – ask your grandfather.
The Super Cup in ’98 doesn’t really count.
Thursday 15 April
Chelsea U18 1:2 Everton U18
The FA Youth Cup was our domain for so many years that losing in the fifth round seems strange.
An even first-half saw few chances but the one that came they took and while we improved in the second period and Joe Haigh levelled the scores we fell to a goal with just two minutes to go.
Better luck next year.
Friday 16 April
Chelsea 5:0 London City Lionesses
This was always going to be a stroll but the girls needed to be professional and they pulled it off.
The impressive Niamh Charles scored the opener before setting up Jess Carter from a corner. Melanie Leupolz hit one from 35-yard to make it three at the break.
Drew Spence scored her goal in the second before Leupolz added her second and our fifth.
All the goals tonight were well made, well taken and any would be a contender for goal of the month.
Saturday 17 April
Chelsea 1:0 Manchester City
We dominated this so much you barely worried. It is weird but the morning of a FA Cup semi-final used to be the nerviest day of the year. Rare the chance to play one and nothing more than a trudge home if you lose. But in lockdown we almost missed kick off finishing a few things in the garden.
City made eight changes, Tuchel only three with Kepa coming in in goal and Timo up front as we looked to catch them on the break.
We didn’t need to break through them, although Ziyech finished a move from a Werner pass but the German had been marginally offside.
We dominated possession and chances as City failed to have a chance on target in the first-half.
Ben Chilwell scuffed one and James bent one wide of the post but just like Tuesday night we controlled the tempo and
Mike Dean spent the first-half ignoring City fouls. In one instance Fernandinho thrust his studs into Mason Mount’s face. The gesture was worthy of a red card, he pulled his boot away at the very last millimetre but the aggression should have seen him walk. That the same player then brough Mount down again to prevent a break and still no card was issued you have to wonder how Reece James was booked after cleanly winning the ball and making minimal contact with his opponent.
City played the second half with their full-backs pushed on and it didn’t get any better.
In a mirror image of the finish disallowed for offside Ziyech finished a simple ball from Werner to give us the lead. Ziyech stuck his next effort against the ’keeper…
The goal had come with the best part of half an hour left and we looked to play out the time with a keep-ball session. When City got the ball they couldn’t find an angle or a runner. They looked knackered and we controlled the match. You had almost forgotten that Kepa Arrizabalaga was in goal until he deflected a late chance.
A word on Jorginho, we are usually very critical of the Italian midfielder but he has developed in a defensive role. Kanté beside him helps but much of the eye-catching closing and tackling came not from the Frenchman but from Jorginho.
We looked to have a few walking wounded at the end, Mason came of limping and Thiago Silva clutched his back on and off throughout and surrendered to it with only five minutes to go.
Earlier in the day West Ham did us a favour by repeatedly throwing or dropping the ball into their own net and getting a player sent off in losing 3-2 to Newcastle United.
Sheffield United depart the Premier League after failing to beat Wolves. They’ve matched a record by departing with six games left to play. Blades might take heart in Norwich City who will be back with us next season after they won promotion before kicking a ball as Swansea City and Brentford both drew.
Sunday 18 April
Our name is linked with a European Super League, again. Liverpool, the Manchesters, Arsenal and Tottenham have all been linked with the pointless, money grab by moron clubs.
We are ashamed that Chelsea’s name has been connected with such an absurd proposal. Spurs and Arsenal are both midtable and it isn’t clear why Leicester and West Ham haven’t been invited. Our six clubs are to be joined by six other European clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Uefa have said they will ban clubs involved from their competitions and the FA have said they will not sanction involvement.
It seems the statement is designed to overshadow Uefa’s planned expansion of the Champions League due this week. Itself likely to further concentrate power in the hands of the usual suspects.
During the summer, when we were first linked, the clubs backtracked from breakaway when they saw the reaction around the country.
Gary Neville went straight to recommending that Liverpool, United and Arsenal should be relegated and fined if they have signed any agreement. And we agree.
Uefa, the FA and the Spanish and Italian federations issued this statement – “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.” We think the Chelsea squad would walk away from the club and their contracts in protest and we would walk away from the Bridge for good. This move shames this football club and might be the death of it.
Joel Glazer, representative of the family that has sucked over a billion pounds from Manchester United issued a deluded and monomaniacal statement: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season. The Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.” What a cunt.
Lets pick it apart: the world’s greatest clubs include Boca Juniors, Corinthians, Wolves, River Plate, the Hartlepools, Flamengo, National, as well as Bayern Munich, Roma, Dortmund, PSG, Lens, Torino, Ajax, Leicester City, PSV, Celtic, Dundalk, Luton Town, Everton etc.
Of course, many of these clubs already play each other throughout the season. The domestic leagues and international competition allow the best footballers to compete for their clubs and nations, against each other and win trophies that mean something.
The Super League will not open a new chapter on anything apart from greed. World class competition already exists, the idea that facilities are still a problem suggests that Mr Glazer hasn’t been to the toilet in a football ground recently.
The idea that a small number of clubs playing each other in midweek fixtures with no relegation will increase financial support to the pyramid cuts directly against experience. It is somewhat hypocritical of Sky to forget that they championed the Premier League from the start and used the then top six, which didn’t include Chelsea or Manchester City but did have Everton and Villa. How times change.
Leicester City beat Southampton to play us in the final of a competition that is 150 years old. 1871 we started playing the FA Cup. 34-years before Chelsea were founded. According to Roman and Bruce that is not important any more.
Tottenham Hotspur U23 1:4 Chelsea U23
There is a winning feeling around the place this weekend as goals from George McEachran, Thierno Ballo, Harvey Vale and George Nunn sealed an impressive away performance.
Monday 19 April
Jose Mourinho has been sacked by Spurs but that news was buried by the avalanche of disapproval about the European Super League. Someone pointed out that Liverpool need to beat Leeds tonight to help their fight to finish fourth, next season this fixture will be meaningless – Liverpool will already be in the ESL. Permanently.
Jurgen Klopp came out against Liverpool’s owners and confirmed that he opposes the super league before his side were held one each by Leeds. Confirming that this has been cooked up behind the backs of player sand staff Klopp added “”People are not happy with it, I can understand it. I can’t say a lot more because we were not involved in the process – not the players, not me – we didn’t know about it”.
Thomas Tuchel appears to be in the same boat: “Clearly I was not involved, and my players were not involved in this decision-making” but he didn’t condemn the proposal, instead fencing around without saying much.
Chelsea have not expanded on their reasons for joining the circus but Uefa are investigating the possibility of banning the players and coaches from the pariah clubs, dirty dozen from all Uefa competitions including Euro 2021.
Aleksander Ceferin, Uefa president described the move as: “disgraceful, self-serving” and a “spit in the face of football lovers”, which about sums it up. He added that Ed Woodward was a snake and a liar, which about sums it up.
Tuesday 20 April
Chelsea 0:0 Brighton & Hove Albion
The victory in this match came before kick-off and an under-cooked Chelsea predictably drew with Brighton.
“I was affected so I think the players were affected. I mean, we talked of nothing else than super league and in between we prepared the match.” Asked if he had ever experienced a build-up to a match like this, Tuchel replied “Ja” – Jonathan Pearce had clearly forgotten that Tuchel’s Dortmund team were targeted by a roadside bomb and they had to play 24-hours later.
We are very proud of everyone who marched to the ground tonight to protest about our involvement with the planned super league. Fuck super league, indeed, Chelsea announced they were withdrawing from the super league as the protesters were gathering. It was clear everyone has missed the chance for a get together and the relief when the news broke that first Chelsea and then Manchester City were withdrawing from the set up was clear. Although “we saved football” might be a bit of an exaggeration.
It feels like we can take a breath again after celebrating qualifying for the Champions League semi-final and the FA Cup final we have been plunged into a maelstrom of negative headlines, over a move that would have rendered all of that achievement null. And for what?
A special mention to the Metropolitan Police who didn’t treat demonstrating fans they were a bunch of peaceful NHS nurses or middle-class women who needed the full baton and dog treatment, instead plod treated fans with understanding. Possibly aware that Sky cameras were capturing every moment the Police bottled it an allowed the protest to take place.
Early in the morning Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid’s president burbled some nonsense about shortened games to attract younger fans and confirmed that all of the clubs had signed binding contracts and could not leave.
Over the course of the day the 14 Premier League clubs and the league themselves met without the six breakaways and threatened to take action. The statement ran: “the Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing, as well as holding those shareholders to account under its rules”. Under its rules, hinted at expulsion under rule L9 for joining a competition outside Premier League or FA control without written permission.
The 14 clubs apparently made it clear that they are happy to welcome back the six clubs but not all of the owners and directors responsible for the breakaway proposal. Board members of the six have been involved in committee meetings of the Premier League and have been privy to commercially sensitive information.
The government and opposition have offered complete support for the FA and league as they try to stop the breakaway as well as consulting fan groups. They have offered to drop ‘a legislative bomb’ to stop it from happening.
Pep Guardiola came out against the plans, Marcus Rashford tweeted against it and it was good to hear Pat Nevin’s opposition to the proposal.
Jordan Henderson posted a message from the Liverpool squad saying “we don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is out collective position. Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional.” And then Liverpool withdrew and then Manchester United, then Spurs and Arsenal trailed in last. But the Gooners did say sorry in their statement.
After midnight Internazionale also withdrew and the league effectively collapsed. The other clubs involved have not issued statements and the company set up to run the competition wasn’t answering the phone. Florentino Pérez, who had been named the Super League’s first chairman in the morning had nothing to be chairman of less than 24 hours later.
What punishment will follow for the six isn’t clear but Ed Woodward is leaving Manchester United, which unfortunately means they might hire a competent replacement. Other heads will have to roll. The Glazers at United, Stan Kroenke and John Henry all look vulnerable to fan anger. Roman probably less so. And Sheik Mansour doesn’t care what City fans think.
Arsenal U18 2:1 Chelsea U18
The anticlimactic slide at the end of the season for the U18s continues as Jude Soonsup-Bell’s opener was quickly cancelled out and overtaken in the second period.
We play Arsenal next in the reverse fixture on May 1st.
Wednesday 21 April
Manchester City 2:2 Chelsea
Oh so close to wrapping up the league but a 75th-minute equaliser denied us reward for taking the game to City from the start.
Sam Kerr had another decisive contribution, smashing in a header from a corner for the lead and she led the City defence a merry dance. They are probably not used to being muscled off the ball or hacked down.
We have had plenty of practice in recent weeks of sitting behind the ball and stifling our opponents and City just didn’t have the guile to deal with the tactic.
Kirby slipped Kerr in again just before the equaliser but the Australian was wide. The City goal came when we allowed them to run the length of the field and then missed clearing the cross. It was a soft goal but we were back in front a moment later when Kerr was upended in the box and Pernille Harder rolled the ball down the middle.
A stark difference between the men’s and women’s games is that the City goalkeeper wasn’t even booked, let alone red-carded for deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.
City tried and tried in the second period, bolstering their midfield by taking off their leading scorer, but they needed to be handed an equaliser when Kirby played a needless loose back pass and Millie Bright fluffed the clearance against her standing leg.
Ann-Katrin Berger coped comfortably with everything else City had in their locker and we had a couple of chances to win the game.
Emma Hayes was clearly jubilant at the final whistle, a point here means the title is in our hands.
Attention turns to Bayern München on Sunday and our last two matches against Spurs and Reading.
The club came out and completely explained and justified, apologised for and sought to make amends to fans about the super league fiasco… oh, actually they didn’t they slapped this up on the website: “As reported earlier this evening [sic], Chelsea Football Club can confirm that it has begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group developing plans for a European Super League.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully and have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community.”
So, that is all clear then, not contrite, not ashamed, not humiliated and not aware of how leaden their statement is.
Thursday 22 April
Brilliantly Sergio Perez, chairman of what he insists is not dead European Super League has branded Chelsea fans ‘stooges’.
In the run up to the Real Madrid presidential election someone described Perez as an idiot and his remarks over the last few days confirm the fact.
Asked about the demonstration at the Bridge, Perez said “There were 40 of them and if you like I’ll tell you who brought them there” when asked who had placed the handful of fans outside our ground he started talking about the organisers of t-shirts word at Spanish league matches: “Like the one who organised the T-shirts in Cádiz. The same, the same. This isn’t normal.”
That a couple of thousand Chelsea fans gathered it is not clear how many were paid directly by Spanish t-shirt manufacturers but if you were please return all bribes and baksheesh at once.
Friday 23 April
Manchester United U23 4:2 Chelsea U23
A sending off meant that goals from Myles Peart-Harris and Henry Lawrence were scant consolation on a dreadful night.
The board issued an apology of sorts for the super league fiasco. They indicated that they joined in because they didn’t want the club to miss out on the opportunity and regretted that they had not consulted fans: “The Owner and Board understand that involving the Club in such a proposal was a decision we should not have taken. It is a decision we deeply regret”.
A sentiment that would hold more weight if we hadn’t been caught in October backing Project Big Picture in which the Premier League sought to buy off the Football League in return for the top six clubs enjoying enhanced voting rights. The same six clubs backed that tawdry little scheme against the other 14 and back then, in climbing down the same six clubs feigned regret they had not consulted their fans.
The crocodile tears are for being caught.
Saturday 24 April
West Ham United 0:1 Chelsea
Timo Werner has had to wait for his strike but this one was clearly special to our German striker.
A flowing move down the left that Werner started by out-muscling a defender allowed Chilwell’s cut back to find the German to open the scoring.
For all the threat of West Ham threatening us for fourth they couldn’t get into gear and for all the possession they hardly threatened. In fact Cesar Azpilicueta’s first half blundered clearance was the closest they came to scoring.
Werner had another chance but sliced wide after Mason Mount’s effort was parried back out. And that was really all that happened.
Thomas Tuchel was really positive about the performance as his players were confident enough to stroke the ball around at the London Stadium and let Weat Ham struggle to get the ball of us. It looked like a dress rehearsal
Earlier in the day Watford beat Millwall 1-0 to return to the Premier League alongside Norwich who were confirmed last weekend. Hull City were promoted to the Championship.
Florentino Perez will not let it go. He says the clubs that signed up for the super league have binding contracts and cannot leave. He said it wasn’t true that JP Morgan had abandoned the project, rather the US bank have “taken some time for reflection”. Someone have a word and see if someone can’t get him away to the beach for a few week’s rest.
Sunday 25 April
Bayern München 2:1 Chelsea
Argh, Emma will be furious that we allowed an early ball into the box and watched it over the line after Ann-Katrin Berger could only flap at the cross.
We have been here before in semi-finals, losing our heads, playing nervous football and paying the opposition too much respect.
That we clawed out way back and created good chances before a Bayern clearance looped into their net for the equaliser.
Hanna Glas provided the cross for their first and scored their second to hand them the advantage ahead of next Sunday’s second-leg at Kingsmeadow.
Emma Hayes said before we left for Germany “Sometimes when you don’t play your game plan exactly how you want to you have to dig yourselves out, you have to gut something out” and we have placed ourselves in that position. It will be a brilliant achievement if we can qualify from here.
It finished 1-1 as Barcelona played PSG in the other semi.
Boris Johnson is a lying twat. The prime minister posed and preened his defence of football against the breakaway six without mentioning that Ed Woodward was in Number 10 days before the announcement having a meeting with Johnson’s chief of staff, Dan Rosenfield.
Woodward and Johnson briefly met leaving Woodward with the impression that Johnson backed the scheme. It would be stretching credulity to breaking point to suggest that the United’s executive vice chairman had not shared details of the new league with Rosenfield and received Number 10’s blessing.
Tuesday 27 April
Real Madrid 1:1 Chelsea
We lit up the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano tonight. After the pasting we received in last year’s quarter final and the experience of this Madrid squad few held out realistic expectations of a good result tonight. But Thomas Tuchel has never lost a semi-final and we were at it from the start.
Mason Mount, playing off Modric’s shoulder all night, broke through in the tenth minute, his cross ballooned to Pulisic who set up Werner only for Thibaut Courtois to brilliantly block the shot.
We looked to be pulling them apart Werner flung himself at a cross but missed by inches before Mount set another move going that led to a corner. Madrid looked rattled.
And Pulisic made them pay, the wee American waltzed into the box, went around Courtois and smashed his finish down the middle.
That Madrid are a bunch of thugs was confirmed when Nacho planted his knee in Christian Pulisic’s back in retribution and the jinky wee winger turned him inside out moments later. Referee’s treat Madrid with awe and never issue cards.
Time and again those matches where we have worked the ball from front to back through close press paid off as we wriggled through their midfield to create chances.
Their equaliser came as a surprise, despite the earlier effort that Benzema kissed the outside of the post, as our defensive work completely stifled their attacking as the home side, it came from a set piece worked back across and thumped in, off balance, before our defence could blink.
We weren’t all flowing moves and penetration and Madrid found their passing rhythm at times but we looked the better side.
The weak link in our play was at wing-back as Chilwell was hesitant and Azpilicueta defensive.
The second-half descended into a much tighter game of chess as we sat deeper and smothered their attacking, slightly slower into the press but rarely threatened.
With Ziyech, Havertz and James on we regained the initiative and camped for periods on the edge of their box but eyes were drawn by the introduction of Eden hazard at the same time but that magician needs a few more minutes on the pitch to make a real impact.
The rainy stalemate that followed mean we are all looking forward to next week back at the Bridge.
The rain in Spain falls mainly on Valdebebas…
“Lovely one-touch football from Chelsea.” Glenn Hoddle
Wednesday 28 April
We won the important coin toss ahead of the FA Cup final, we will play in our home kit and Leicester will be in their maroon number. It means that peach coloured abomination will not be used.
Manchester City beat PSG in the first leg of their semi in Paris. Playing the FFP cheats from Abu Dhabi in the final would be distasteful. Sheikh Mansour’s puppets have no right to be in the competition this year after being found guilty of cheating and wriggling out of the punishment on a technicality.
Thursday 29 April
Bruce Buck has been kicked off the FA’s audit and remuneration committee as executives involved in the super league proposal were summarily dismissed from FA committees. United and Liverpool representatives were kicked off the club broadcast advisory group and Arsenal and City also lost representation. Officially they all resigned their posts but the reality is they would have been shunned had they tried to carry on.
Friday 30 April
Chelsea U23 1:0 Blackburn Rovers U23
George Nunn supplied the finish as the U23 squad won in front of the watching Thomas Tuchel. A few stepped up from the U18s tonight and the game fluctuated but we took our chance. To go ahead of Blackburn into second in the table. One more away game this term is the reverse fixture with Rovers next Friday.
Saturday 1 May
Chelsea 2:0 Fulham
Fulham clearly need to win today but as they haven’t beaten us at home since 1979 and have won only twice at the stadium they turned down in 1905 there was an inevitability about the result.
Edouard Mendy had an afternoon of goalkeeping practice, turning over chance from Anthony Robinson before we’d really woken up.
But when we did start playing Mason Mount pulled a delicious high ball onto his instep and caressed the ball forward for Kai Havertz to score his first league goal at the bridge. It was a superb touch of control and skill from Mount who is maturing and improving week by week. There is no limit to the heights he could hit.
Mount set Havertz up for a second only for the linesman to put up his flag.
At the other end Billy Gilmour was being surrounds and harried and had to fight for every ball but came out of the experience with his head held high. From the scraps won Fulham brought saves from Mendy with shots from Lookman and old-boy Ola Aina when a deflection ment the Frenchman had to change direction.
For all the half-chances the Cottagers missed we never looked uncomfortable and we asserted our authority when Werner played in Havertz and the German showed why he is worth the money we paid last summer.
Sunday 2 May
Uefa Women’s Champions League
Semi-final, 2nd leg
Chelsea 4:1 Bayern München
(Chelsea win 5-3 on aggregate)
There will be at least one Chelsea team in a European Cup final this season. Emma Hayes has built a side that stands on the threshold of greatness but it was a bumpy road.
The match was one long nervy moment that lasted the best part of two hours, Fran Kirby did her best to settle the nerves as she linked with Sam Kerr with a series of passes that left the English striker to finish across their ’keeper to put us ahead on away goals.
Bayern are tough opponents and didn’t give an inch across both ties and wiped out our advantage when Sarah Zadrazil blooted one into the roof of the net from thirty-yards.
We welcomed Magdalena Eriksson back into the heart of defence and went with Jess Carter and Niamh Charles at full-back. The young pair excelled, especially when Charles blocked a certain Lineth Beerensteyn goal.
We were the better side and levelled things just before the break when Ji So-Yun’s free-kick fell back to her feet off the wall and she drilled her second effort low and onto the corner.
Bayern went hunting for the second away goal but it was Beerensteyn who provided the opportunity for the breakthrough by flying into a studs up tackle on Jess Carter. The resulting free-kick flashed past Benkarth in the Bayern goal as Pernille Harder met the free-kick with a deft header.
There were still six-minutes to play and those six-minutes took half a lifetime to pass. Magdalena proved her worth as captain by twice claring goal bound efforts wide for corners, one that looked stone cold a goal until our Danish hacked clear.
Emma and the staff looked frazzled but relief came when Kirby was sent clear to score a fourth on the day and a clincher in the tie with the game’s last kick.
Emma managed to moan about having a week to prepare for the match beforehand and asked what she had learnt about Bayern form the first leg she shot back: “that we’re losing, 2-1, and we need to score a goal. Let’s not complicate it.” And Emma was still biting her nails when she stepped up
Afterwards Emma said “I’m not going to sit and give you a load of crappy platitudes. I worked my whole life for today and I’m so fucking proud of the players.” We are too Emma, of you all.
Barcelona won the other semi and the final is in two weeks in Gothenburg (Göteborg – in Swedish) at the Gamla Ullevi.
Over in Salford and a bunch of anti-Glazer supporters flooded into the ground and the wet wankers at United called off the game. It looked like a family day out at Old Trafford for most as they popped up in a couple of locations over a couple of hours before the kick-off time… wet blankets at United…
Where is Jimmy Hill when you need him? The famously be-chinned former Fulham clogger used to talk about bringing back the birch and national service when things like happened. While Sky Sports and the league condemned the protest but Roy Keane, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville stood up for the rights of the protesters.