Wednesday 11 August
Chelsea 1:1 Villarreal
(Chelsea win 6-5 on penalties)
This was some pre-season friendly, for a start it wasn’t that friendly as tackles flew in, bumps, kicks, pulls the whole works on show and a relaxed ref who saw no problem with most of the fouls.
We started in commanding fashion, dominated but a few Kovačić-sips allowed Trevoh Chalobah to make an impression on his debut. Whenever the Spaniards got the ball Chelsea’s covering, pressing and tackling were spot on.
We need to get wide to beat the eight-man defence the Yellow Submarine strung across their box, Havertz illustrated the point on 26-minutes as he pulled the ball back for Ziyech to finish. It has been a productive pre-season for the Moroccan and his, innocuous looking, shoulder injury was concerning.
They did draw a save from Mendy and hit the bar just before the break but Chelsea were the better side.
The second-half was another tale. We started to look leggy and like a team a few weeks away from fitness. Mendy had to tip one effort on to the post after he slipped on a routine clearance and we were getting so sloppy around the hour mark that N’Golo Kanté gave the ball away.
Jorginho, Mason Mount and Christensen came on to provide fresh legs and a bit of spark but Moreno played a neat one-two with Boulaye Dia, whose backheel was worth the admission, for the equaliser.
Pulisic did his best to prize the game open again but extra-time came with Rüdiger, Chalobah, Alonso, Kovacic and Havertz playing the whole match.
The extra period reflected the match as we dominated possession in the first period, with Pulisic going close, before they created chances on the break. The last of which was pushed away by Kepa Arrizabalaga. The substitution was made as penalties loomed and the Spanish ’keeper proved his mettle by saving two after Kai Havertz dabbed a weak effort into their ’keeper’s midriff with our first kick but Azpilicueta, Alonso, Mount, Jorginho, Pulisic and Rüdiger scored for us.
And so, we won the Super Cup. For the first time since beating Real Madrid in Monaco back in 1998. Having pretended losing to Atletico, Bayern and Liverpool, always by narrow margins, always unlucky, didn’t hurt this trophy will reinforce the winning mentality in the squad even if it drained the legs of a few ahead of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Altogether now – amarillo el Submarino es, amarillo es, amarillo es…
Thursday 12 August
Rangers 1:4 Chelsea
The new ‘Watford’ kit got a run out as the women started their post-Olympic pre-season with a comfortable win. Pernille Harder scored two before the break and Beth England and Emma Thompson added two in the second-half.
Romelu Lukaku is officially back at the club for £97.5m. The hulking Belgian striker returns ten years after he first signed and is officially the most expensive footballer in history if you add together all of his transfer fees he has cost over three hundred million.
Weirdly the official photo had Romelu dressed in last season’s kit, as if the Poundland-duvet-cover strip we have to buy this season isn’t good enough for our new signing.
Friday 13 August
Brentford Hey Jude-ed their way back into the top flight with a confident 2-0 home win over Arsenal.
Weymouth are visiting Cobham on Sunday for a behind closed doors friendly to get minutes into legs, for both sides as Weymouth’s season doesn’t start for another couple of weeks. It is unconventional to carry on pre-season games after the season has started but with such an unconventional season it is to be expected. The Weymouth website is pinching itself with glee.
Coventry City snapped up Jake Clarke-Salter for the season. Jake is very highly thought of at the academy after a very successful spell last term with Birmingham City. He will be reunited with coach Adi Viveash who is assistant boss at the Ricoh and Ian Maatsen who joined the Sky Blues on loan earlier in the summer.
Saturday 14 August
Chelsea 3:0 Crystal Palace
Trevoh knows how to make an impression. Given a debut in midweek the 22-year-old Trevoh Chalobah handled the pressure of the Super Cup and brought that confidence into his Premier League debut.
The team stamped their authority on this match from the start and early goals from Alonso, a fine free-kick and Pulisic’s dinked finish allowed us the stroll through the second period.
Chalobah’s performance in defence against Wilfred Zaha and Benteke was nearly faultless and just after the hour as he strode forward again the crowd invited him to shoot. Not many can find the bottom corner from 25-yards and the young man didn’t know what to do. He barely had time to raise his arms before teammates mobbed him. It was some introduction.
After a summer where we have seen the crown jewels of the next generation sold to afford a big striker it is great that one more Cobham graduate can have an impact. Marc Guehi playing his first competitive game for Palace could only look on at the opportunity grasped by Chalobah.
The real story was the return of a near capacity crowd. Incomplete rail seat installation kept number down but football is football again with singing and chanting. We have missed crowds so much that even whooooah… you’re… shit… ahhhh… had the power to bring a tear to the eye.
Billy Gilmour did his best to carry Norwich but Liverpool were too good in the evening game and the Canaries lost 0-3.
Sunday 15 August
Chelsea 13:0 Weymouth
Weymouth were pinching themselves in delight at landing this friendly, they’ll, perhaps, be more circumspect on the way home, 13 goals stings a little. Callum Hudson-Odoi opened things up after four minutes and we didn’t look back. Michy Batshuayi scored five, Ross Berkley got a hat-trick, Thiago Silva scored on his first outing since the Copa America final, Hudson-Odoi added another and Reece James wrapped things up.
Chelsea U18 5:2 West Brom U18
The spring in everyone’s step around the place continued as the U18s handed out a trouncing to a Baggies side that never stopped threatening.
Leo Castledine opened the scoring at the second attempt and Ronnie Stutter marked a fine performance by tapping in a rebound for two.
The visitors nicked one back at the start of the second period but Lewis Hall converted a penalty and Zain Silcott-Duberry tapped in another rebound before Stutter wrapped things up.
Tammy Abraham is going to Roma and has passed a medical. One of our best home-grown strikers of all time will have a £68m buy-back clause if we want to haul him back within the next two years. It is clear that Jose Mourinho still knows talent as the new Roma manager saw off interest from Barcelona for the Cobham graduate.
Monday 16 August
Tottenham Hotspur U23 2:2 Chelsea U23
Harvey Vale started the academy season with a brace and while we allowed Spurs back from two down we did deny them the win with a late penalty save.
Tammy to Roma is official as we scoop another £34m to help balance the books. Thomas Tuchel was honest in admitting that he had not given Tammy a fair chance since he took over but the buy-back clause suggests the club realise that they might well need Tammy again some time soon.
Tuesday 17 August
Romelu turned up at training for the first time as his isolation period finished.
Lyon are in the frame to buy Emerson as the squad fire-sale continues. The third choice left-back was always likely to be a reasonable player to sell and we should get a fee for a key player in Italy’s Euro 2020 winning side.
Wednesday 18 August
Sean Lock, morose comedian and Chelsea fan, possibly morose because he watch Chelsea in the late 70s and 80s, died at the age of 58. It is ridiculously early to shuffle off and we will miss him.
Michy Batshuayi extended his contract and will spend the season with Besiktas. Ike Ugbo could go to Genk for £5m, Kurt Zouma also looks to be on the way as we line up a deal for Sevilla centre-half Jules Koundé.
Kenedy did much the same as Michy signing a new deal and heading to Brazil and the Maracana to play out the season with Flamengo.
Thursday 19 August
NK Rudar Velenje, Slovenian second division, have landed Karlo Ziger on loan. The young ’keeper signed a new contract and headed for a tricky season. The Slovenian second tier is a headscratcher and a challenge to anyone who wants to follow the loan army.
Alaves will be easier to find for Matt Miazga who is in Spain ahead of a loan.
Spurs didn’t take their Europa Conference League qualifier seriously, playing a completely changed side from the weekend and losing to Paços de Ferreira. Uefa will be pissed, this club after all, self-elected to the European super league.
Friday 20 August
Chelsea U23 1:1 Manchester United U23
A Harvey Vale penalty gave us a lead that was cancelled out by an Alvaro Fernandez equaliser. We were down to ten by the time we scored as Josh Brooking collected all of Dillon Hoogewerf who was clear on goal. Honours even as we are really still getting minutes into legs, Sam McClelland came on and impressed in the half hour he had.
The squad head back to Exeter for whatever the Football League Trophy is called this year. Honestly, we should open a training base down there with holiday chalets to rent out when we aren’t down for the Papa Freight Johnson’s Windscreen trophy.
Christian Pulisic will miss the weekend’s Arsenal game with Covid. Everyone who assumes they are immune because they are vaccinated should think again, Christian has had both jabs.
Arsenal have been moaning about having three out for last week’s humbling by Brentford but it seems covid absence will just become part of the ebb and flow of the game.
At the press conference Thomas Tuchel confirmed that Trevoh Chalobah will not be going out on loan: “He went out for loans, he had the minutes he needed to develop and now it’s a good moment for him to stay with us and to be part of the group and take further steps to fulfil his dream, which is to be part of a strong Chelsea squad, which he is at the moment. We trust him and he deserves this, it is not a gift.”
For all the regrets about the way Frank Lampard left you have to say that Tuchel can explain what he is doing and instil confidence.
Emily Orman, promising young goalkeeper, will spend the season in the women’s championship with Crystal Palace. She joins Aggie Beever-Jones at Bristol and Charlotte Wardlaw at Liverpool in the Championship on loan.
Saturday 21 August
Tottenham Hotspur U18 2:7 Chelsea U18
Ronnie Stutter opened proceedings, Lewis Hall converted a penalty before a penalty brought Spurs back into the match. At the start of the second Hall slotted another penalty, Jimi Tauriainen got on the sheet next to make it four. Spurs thought they would help by reducing their numbers when Donley was red-carded for an awful challenge.
We immediately allowed them one back but Malik Mothersille and, probably the pick, Derrick Abu took us to six before Edwin Andersson rounded the afternoon off.
Levi Colwill knows how to make an impression, moments after Sheffield United equalised in stoppage time against Huddersfield he broke clear and scored a scorching winner.
Conor Gallagher couldn’t play last week against his parent club but wasted no time on lighting up Selhurst Park and came closest to a winner as his shot rifled away off the underside of the bar in a nil-each with Brentford.
Sunday 22 August
Arsenal 0:2 Chelsea
Awful weather. 14 minutes, it took Romelu Lukaku 14-minutes to sink Arsenal and announce his dominance of the English game. If we can continue to feed him the ball we will challenge.
Arsenal started brightly with a young side and a home crowd roaring them along but the wind went out of the sails when Lukaku held the ball up and burst into the box, brushing aside defenders to be first to reach Reece James’ cross.
It could have been two moments later but James hesitated and pull the ball back for the influential Mason Mount. An understanding will come as they train and play together but the early signs are purple.
The second goal did come when Alonso and Havertz worked the ball down the touchline and Lukaku drew the Arsenal defenders to himself like a blue magnet and Mount found Reece James’ run. The control and finish were superb from a player who last scored at Brighton twelve months ago.
Arsenal briefly sparked into life, one lung busting run from a defender gave the home fans something to cheer by all Mendy had to cope with was a deflected Saka shot.
Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno thrust up a strong glove to parry Lukaku’s second-half header onto the bar but for all our pressing the rest of the goals just didn’t come, Havertz tried to nutmeg the ’keeper late on as the lively Ziyech returned from a shoulder injury to make angles and dangerous crosses – he is going to love Lukaku as a target.
Even the home stadium seemed to acknowledge our dominance as the advertising hoardings kept switching to royal blue with a message, in bold yellow, “the pitch is ours” and we owned it, 22 attempts at goal, dominating from first to last and looking to have gears to go through.
There are bad haircuts and there is Emile Smith Rowe’s Barnet.
Elsewhere Tino Livramento made an impressive Southampton bow and played his part as the Saints held Manchester United to a draw.
Tammy Abraham made a positive start to life as a Roma player against Fiorentina. He was brought down in the incident that saw I Viola’s goalkeeper sent off and provided two assists in a 3-1 win.
Tuesday 24 August
Exeter City 1:1 Chelsea
(Chelsea win 3-4 on penalties)
The Papa John’s Trophy provided a good lesson – don’t give away last minute penalties. We were leading through a Bryan Fiabema goal amid a host of great chances created throughout the match and had a late shout for a penalty only for the Grecians to win one of their own to take the tie to penalties. Ed Brand will be very happy at the performance and possibly also the late lesson. So, we took two points after the shootout. Teddy Sharman-Lowe saved two.
The remaining group fixtures are at Bristol Rovers in October and then then Cheltenham a month later.
Charlie Watts, drummer with the Rolling Stones and long-term Chelsea fan has passed. Joining the Stones in 1963 Charlie and the band squatted in Edith Grove and attended Stamford Bridge as the club started its rise in the early 60s. Charlie will be missed.
Davide Zappacosta has re-joined Atalanta where he played until a 2015 move to Torino. Davide hardly played for us, mostly as a sub or in domestic cups, in the four-years he was at the club but will live forever in the history of the club for belting the ball in from full-forty yards against Qarabag back in ’17. The deal is rumoured to be around £8m and will further ease the wage bill.
Wednesday 25 August
Chelsea XI 1:0 Brentford B
Brentford don’t have a conventional academy side, relying instead on their B side who are always up for a midweek behind-closed doors exercise.
And this was so behind closed doors that the Brentford site’s match report managed not to mention who played for Chelsea. Rumour is that it was development squad players and a few needing minutes in their legs ahead of loan moves.
Aston Villa at home in the League Cup, Norwich City against Liverpool and Manchester United against West Ham United are the other all Premier League ties. We haven’t won the league cup since thrashing Spurs in 2015 which feels like a long time ago.
Armando Broja scored two as Southampton beat hapless Newport County 0-8 to record their record away win. The Saints are rewarded with a trip to struggling Sheffield United.
Ike Ugbo has joined Genk in Belgium on a permanent deal. On loan in the Belgian second division last season the prolific Ugbo scored 17 for Cercle Brugge. It has been common this summer for players who have been around for years to move on and we wish them all well.
The academy’s success means that we have to say goodbye to talented youngsters every summer but the number of Youth Cup and Uefa Youth League winners who have gone this season has been higher than normal. New loan regulations and generating funds doesn’t explain every move but the economy of football has changed, summers like this will become more common,
Thursday 26 August
The draw for the European Cup was made at tea time and put us in the last group, group H. Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg and Malmo. In group A Manchester City drew the shorter straw of Paris St-Germain, RB Leipzig and Club Bruges. Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto and AC Milan looks to be a good group while Wolfsburg will be pinching themselves to be drawn out of pot four against Lille, Sevilla and FC Salzburg.
Mason Mount and Reece James are our only two representatives in the England qualifiers next month. Ben Chilwell misses out on Hungary, Andorra and Poland. Cobham can take a lot of credit for the progress of Patrick Bamford who is the only uncapped player in the squad but Southgate clearly doesn’t rate Mason Greenwood who misses the squad despite a good start to the season in Salford.
Kurt Zouma has left us for West Ham in a deal that enables the pursuit of Jules Koundé from Sevilla. The Spanish club are not convinced by Chelsea’s early valuations but the sale of Zouma should free up enough cash.
Kurt joined us from Saint-Étienne back when John Terry still ruled to roost and has been a mainstay of the defence since returning from the second of his loan spells with Everton in 2019. The Frenchman was always fast, positionally sound and good in the air Koundé is apparently fast, positionally sound and good in the air but four years younger.
Koundé has a £68m buy-out clause in his contract but is expected to make the switch for less.
If that deal goes through we will just have a loan deal for Saúl Ñíguez from Atletico to sort out. A mattress maker since 2010 Ñiguez is also chased by Manchester United this summer. A loan with a view to a permanent deal for the winner.
Friday 27 August
The England U21 squad was announced for Lee Carsley and Ashley Cole’s first games but Callum Hudson-Odoi’s name was absent. Possibly the rumours of loan interest from Dortmund has turned Callum’s head but snubbing the U21s isn’t usually seen as a good move. Loanees Levi Colwill and Conor Gallagher are both in the squad for the games against Romania and Kosovo.
Saturday 28 August
Liverpool 1:1 Chelsea
The handball law was changed to exclude instance where the ball deflects off another part of the body before incidentally striking the arm. Reece James was red-carded for accidentally handling the ball by a referee who only glanced at a still image of the incident before bailing out Liverpool by awarding a penalty and sending James off.
For the record the Ifab rule is that: “Where a player denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by a handball offence the player is sent off wherever the offence occurs”. What Anthony Taylor and refereeingkind, in their single-minded pursuit of stupidity, fail to apply is what defines handball.
Taylor has done us one favour as the rearguard action that robbed the home side of two points will only have increased the air of invulnerability surrounding this squad. Thomas Tuchel, while critical of the decision, could barely disguise the smirk at winning a point against the odds.
Kai Havertz has been a little overlooked in all the transfer fuss but it was his glanced backward header that gave us the lead and for the rest of the half we looked to have the hosts on the backfoot. Havertz wouldn’t have found that much space if the Liverpool defence wasn’t so focussed on Van Dijk winning his duel with Lukaku. Romelu can win matches without touching the ball.
Mason Mount enjoyed the freedom the big Belgian afforded, he had Trent Alexander-Arnold stumbling backwards more than once but put his one clear chance wide.
Liverpool didn’t look like getting back into the match until the penalty handed them the equaliser and momentum but the second-half story was of Chelsea’s defenders and the sterling saves of Edouard Mendy. When we managed to make chances in the second half they fell to Kovačić and Alonso.
All the hosts really had to show for the match was a bright performance by Harvey Elliot who made an impression last season on loan at Blackburn.
We might have lost two points but we’ve gained a reputation for battling that will strengthen the collective.
Sad news that Kurt Zouma is now a West Ham player after he finalised a move for around £30m. The news is particularly frustrating as Sevilla are refusing to accept less than £68m for Jules Koundé.
Elsewhere, Conor Gallagher really stamped his authority on Crystal Palace by scoring both goals in a 2-2 with West Ham in the London Stadium. The second was a beauty as he dragged back in a crowded box and slotted the finish before the defence could react. The boy is already a star and a good season at the Palace will only strengthen his case for a first-tam place next season.
Billy Gilmour’s start at Norwich has been more difficult but the Canaries are improving and should have had a draw with Leicester after VAR ruled out an equaliser.
Levi Colwill at Huddersfield is playing in a back three and kept another clean sheet as the Terriers won 4-0 at home to Reading.
Sunday 29 August
West Ham United U23 2:1 Chelsea U23
Bryan Fiabema’s strike was not enough as the development squad suffered their first loss of the season. Conceding one at the start and another at the death wasn’t in the plan but in between we were denied one by an offside flag and created the better chances.