Friday 1 October
Reece James will not be linking up with England. Thomas Tuchel confirmed the wing-back will be missing with injury and announced himself confused that James had been selected from the treatment room.
Saturday 2 October
Chelsea 3:1 Southampton
Phew, the Saints recently won a point at the Etihad and looked to be pressing us just as hard after winning the penalty that saw them back into the game. We had a sending off to thank for reducing their numbers and an inspired substitution for the goal that won the points.
Thomas Tuchel rang the changes in a side that lacked energy in its previous two outings. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ben Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Trevoh Chalobah all came in to add verve and Chalobah provided the stooping finish to Ruben’s flick on from a corner for the lead.
Southampton didn’t lie down and had a couple of half-chances, Lukaku had a good effort struck out for offside before Timo Werner’s first goal of the campaign was incorrectly ruled out by VAR. A marginal foul by Cesar Azpilicueta, six passes and two chances to clear the ball for the defence before the German nodded in was given as the reason for the decision but spite was evident. Tuchel picked up a booking from the cretinous official for complaining.
Ben Chilwell gave away a penalty early in the second after the excellent Tino Livramento turned him inside out. Rusty from Chilwell but James Ward-Prowse equalised.
The visitors grew in confidence but over stepped when Ward-Prowse lunged into Jorginho and a VAR check later and the Saint was off.
Werner had already drawn one world class save from Alex McCarthy when Ross Barkley, on as a sub, played the best pass of his career to Azpilicueta and Timo was on the end of the first-time cross. It was a goal of singular beauty.
Chilwell atoned for his mistake by lashing in a goal awarded by the technology to wrap things up. The goal will chiefly be remembered for both Lukaku and Azpilicueta hot the post before the ball fell for out left-back’s volley.
On the evidence of this match Ruben Loftus-Cheek is starting to assert his position in this squad. He was a driving force in midfield, marked, tackled back, almost volleyed in a classic and gave the kind of all-round display that saw him called up for England back in 2017.
We sit top of the heap ahead of the City/Liverpool game at Anfield tomorrow.
Chelsea 3:1 Brighton and Hove Albion
The women kicked-off early at Kingsmeadow but Guro Reiten was in gear by the ninth minute when the ball broke for her to open the scoring. Sam Kerr headed the second but a goal back for the visitors, who sprang a surprise in the fixture last season, induced a few nerves before Beth England muscled in the third.
Chelsea U18 1:2 West Ham United U18
This was a lesson in the wind and rain as both sides struggled to play football in the conditions. West Ham won thanks to a swirling corner and the softest of penalties. Our goal back came from Charlie Webster.
Sunday 3 October
Chelsea U23 0:1 Blackburn Rovers U23
An early penalty and a second yellow card for Xavier Simons made this one difficult and handed Rover’s their first win of the season.
Elsewhere, City and Liverpool fought out the draw that means we are top of the table by a point going into the international wilderness. From which Thiago Silva will be slow to return. The Brazil defender has been called up for three qualifiers and will return the day before the Brentford game. Quarantine means he will definitely miss our first league meeting with the Bees since 1947.
Monday 4 October
Claudio Ranieri is back, this time as Watford boss. The revolving door at Vicarage Road swept Xisco Munoz out of the door yesterday and Clownio … sorry, old habits… Claudio in. At 69 Ranieri is still young enough for the job and he has been consistently underestimated and should at least get the Hornet clear of relegation.
Wednesday 6 October
Chelsea 3:3 VfL Wolfsburg
The women are nothing if not entertaining and if we hadn’t committed the defensive blunders that led to goals from Tabea Wassmuth and two from Jill Roord then Pernille Harder’s last gasp equaliser wouldn’t have been necessary.
Sam Kerr lobbed us into a deserved lead and we dominated so completely that an equaliser could only come from a mistake. And mistakes came in quick order. After losing the final last year and then at the Emirates last month to mistakes and incisive breaks, you’d think the club would focus making sure it couldn’t happen again.
Beth England stabbed us back into the contest before Harder’s last gasp leveller.
Emma will have been furious and extra training will be on the cards but it is only two points dropped at the start of a very long competition.
Spain with Azpilicueta beat Jorginho’s Italy as the European champions lost their first match in three years.
Thursday 7 October
Romelu Lukaku thrashed in a blistering second as Belgium looked to shake off their reputation for bottling it only for France to storm back to win at the death. Belgium didn’t turn up for the second half.
Ethan Ampadu played well as Wales should have beaten the Czech Republic bit for the clumsiest own-goal in recent goalkeeping history they would have done. They had to settle for 2-2.
Newcastle United are finally free of Mike Ashley as Manchester City’s Abu Dhabi backers lose the title of most offensive owners overnight to the Magpie’s new Saudi owner. On terms of human rights abuses at home and murderous illegal wars abroad Saudi Arabia dwarfs Abu Dhabi and while Newcastle’s long-suffering fans will be relieved to be rid of the Sports Direct stain, they’ll regret getting into bed with the Saudi government.
Not many chairmen of British clubs have ordered the execution of journalists investigating their corrupt regime.
Friday 8 October
Germany crawled back from a goal down to beat Romania 2-1 all of our German boys played some part with Havertz having a positive impact from the bench.
Ethan Ampadu was his usual solid self as Wales returned from the Czech Republic with a point
Saturday 9 October
England bored their way to a dull 0-5 in Andorra. Yes, five goals can be boring. Ben Chilwell opened the scoring after a VAR review and Tammy Abraham was a handful all night and finished is chance nicely.
More fun in Glasgow where Billy Gilmour was man of the match as Scotland scored a winner deep into injury time to make Hampden explode with joy. It was the first full-house at the stadium since the pandemic and Israel didn’t stand a chance… well, they took the lead twice but the story of this win was written.
Just when you think you have seen it all and Northern Ireland actually had a player sent off for delaying a throw. 36 minutes into a match in Switzerland, Jamal Lewis had already been booked when he took a few seconds too long over a throw and Slovenian, soon-to-be-former, referee Slavko Vinčić flashed another yellow for time wasting, in the first-half. It proves that all the incompetents aren’t in English football.
Romelu Lukaku has withdrawn from the Belgian squad with muscle fatigue and will not take part in the dead rub… er… third place play-off against Italy on Sunday.
He could fly back to Cobham and help Kanté with the cones as the French midfielder returned to training after covid – get vaccinated.
Sunday 10 October
Chelsea 2:0 Leicester City
Two late goals spared our blushes as Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby both scored in the last ten minutes to secure the points. Arsenal marched on but Spurs fell at Brighton so we sit second in the league.
Alonso and Azpilicueta both played for Spain but France won 2-1 in the nations league final. Earlier in the day Michy Batshuayi thrashed a shot against the bar but it was Jorginho’s Italy that clinched the all-important third place title.
Tuesday 12 October
England 1:1 Hungary
The Hungarian fans appear to want to provoke either a permanent ban on their fans or expulsion from the tournament. Some actively seek martyrdom and the sight of woodentops with their batons out bravely retreating brought back memories for all of us who watched football in the 70s.
The football was awful.
Wednesday 13 October
Juventus 1:2 Chelsea
Europe provides a real challenge to the women. If many of their league games are straightforward then European nights bristle with dangers. Tonight it was a Bonansea equaliser after Erin Cuthbert waltzed through their defence to give us the lead. The two strikes were barely five minutes apart.
The challenge to break down a very resolute home side was finally met by Pernille Harder slamming in a deflection from a Sam Kerr shot. Sam was later denied by a fine, flying save but Emma was pleased as punch after the match especially with the growing influence of Harder.
Bristol Rovers 1:2 Chelsea U23
Through to the next round already with another really mature showing. Trailing to a long-range shot we equalised through an own-goal and snatched the lead as a George McEachran corner was flicked in by Lewis Baker. We had plenty of chances to secure the win but didn’t need them to progress from Group E with the game against Cheltenham Town later this month a dead rubber.
Saturday 16 October
Brentford 0:1 Chelsea
We were forced into changes but Thomas Tuchel’s luck holds in the games following the international break. Malang Sarr came in for his debut as Silva and Rüdiger were out. Andreas Christensen showed his maturity in marshalling his novice colleagues through the game and will probably captain the side before too long.
Brentford have already shocked Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham but we showed class in dominating the first 70-minutes of the match. We didn’t create as many openings but Romelu Lukaku’s presence drew the entire Brentford defence to him allowing Ben Chilwell to maintain his three-game scoring streak. The volley was superbly controlled.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was a notable presence throughout beating men to make space to drive the side forward but it was Matteo Kovačić whose substitution changed the match.
Suddenly we couldn’t get the ball in midfield, couldn’t relieve the pressure, Brentford stepped up and thrashed chances toward our goal and Edouard Mendy earned his man-of-the-match award. They hit the post twice, Mendy stopped one with his face tipped another away and when he missed Chalobah raced back to clear off the line. The last-minute, overhead volley spun towards our ’keeper he palmed the ball over.
There are matches that make goalkeeper’s reputations and Edou has been the new boy for long enough, today was his graduation.
Fulham and QPR staged their own west London derby earlier in the day as the Cottagers ran out comfortable winners. It must be galling for our little neighbours to watch the proper west London derby.
Elsewhere, and Armando Broja scored another, after one in the international break for Albania his goal beat
Reading U18 2:3 Chelsea U18
Ed Brand took his charges west for a Premier League 2 league cup match against Reading. Caught on the hop twice in the first half the young Blues were thankful for second-half strikes from Edwin Andersson, Malik Mothersille and Louis Flower for the win.
Chelsea U23 2:0 Derby County
They left this one very late with George McEachran scored in the last minute and Bryan Fiabema ended any debate. Harvey Vale had a mixed night, putting a penalty high over the bar with ten-minutes to go but playing Lewis Baker in with a deft touch in the first half. That effort came off the post.
Sunday 17 October
The new regime at Newcastle got off to a predictable start, getting stuffed by Spurs. One dysfunctional squad of misfits and spare parts manage to get it together for one afternoon to beat another stuttering collection of defective, disorderly shambles. Both clubs have a long way to go. The game was suspended in the first half as a fan received medical treatment and he wasn’t the only one leaving early as the Saudi state backed club finished the afternoon to boos and empty seats.
Monday 18 October
Palace and Arsenal drew two-each but the manner of the last gasp equaliser – the referee allowed as much time as Arsenal needed, Fergie time is real, only it now works where ‘top’ clubs need more time – will have done the Gooners’ self-confidence the world of good.
Newcastle United at least gave Steve Bruce his 1,000th game as a manager on Sunday but the shambles inevitably meant Bruce was sacked in the morning.
Given the purchasers had 18-months to plan their £300m purchase of the club, Newcastle fans will be dismayed their new board doesn’t have a manager lined up to replace Bruce.
Tuesday 19 October
Eighteen of the Premier League’s clubs voted to ban clubs from signing sponsorship deals with companies linked to their owners. The temporary move is an attempt to prevent Newcastle engaging in the kind of corrupt, fake sponsorship deals that Manchester City pulled. The City deals, securing ‘Etihad’ sponsorship of their academy building, stadium and kit at ludicrous rates, turned out to be almost entirely funded by the Abu Dhabi government not the Etihad airline.
Predictably City and Newcastle were the only clubs to abstain from the vote but at least the warfare is in the open and the majority are not going to allow Newcastle the same £400m advantage City enjoyed.
Wednesday 20 October
Chelsea 4:0 Malmö FF
Losing Lukaku and Werner in the first half didn’t stop the goals rolling in. Andreas Christensen opened the scoring, Jorginho netted the penalty resulting from the incident the floored Lukaku.
At the start of the second Havertz dinked one in from a tight angle and then got flattened for the second penalty.
Aside from the injuries – Lukaku ankle, Werner hamstring – it was a comfortable night. Malmö, conquerors of Glasgow Rangers, looked willing but limited and Chelsea were professional and composed.
We have used the analogy of the wettest day since Noah but tonight really was a bit rainy.
Juventus scored the only goal in Russia as Zenit strove hard but barely created a real chance. Which means the Italians sit top on nine and we are second on six.
Chelsea U19 4:2 Malmö FF U19
Down by two early in the second half, the U19s responded to score four magnificent goals from Dion Rankine, Xavier Simons, Bryan Fiabema and Silko Thomas.
Saturday 23 October
Chelsea 7:0 Norwich City
This afternoon was a delight. Norwich might have been woeful but with both strikers injured in midweek and memories of West Brom still raw many were concerned that we might fire blanks.
We needn’t have worried, from Mason Mount’s driven opener after in the ninth minute to his hat-trick goal at the death we menaced with every attack. Callum Hudson-Odoi was at his most direct and merited his strike, Reece James delightful chip was probably the pick of the finishes and the own-goal and retaken penalty added the others. Kai Havertz didn’t score but his mobility, passing and control were the reason we ran rings around poor Norwich.
The tribute to Matthew Harding before the match was moving and fitting. It is sobering to realise that it has been 25-years.
The win moves us four clear of Liverpool who play tomorrow. Man City moved into second with a win at Brighton. Fans at Crystal Palace are being investigated for a banner that listed Saudi crimes against humanity during their one-each with Newcastle. How beheadings, murder, terrorism, civil rights abuses, censorship and persecutions are deemed offensive on a banner but not offensive enough to disqualify Newcastle’s new owners is anyone’s guess.
Leicester City U23 1:1 Chelsea U23
Bryan Fiabema with the goal in a match that was a bit of a struggle. Lewis Baker struck the angle of post and bar from a first-half corner but there were few other chances. Fiabema scored just after the hour but Leicester were always in the contest and equalised five minutes later.
Fulham U18 4:4 Chelsea U18
One-nil up, two-one down, three-two up, four-three down four each, and we had time to miss a penalty in autumnal Motspur Park. Two each from Jude Soonsup-Bell and Edwin Andersson.
Elsewhere, Tino Livramento and Armando Broja scored for Southampton as they drew with Burnley. Beth England scored one and Beth Mead the rest in a 4-0 win for England women at Wembley over the north of Ireland.
Sunday 24 October
Liverpool humiliated Manchester United at Old Trafford. The 0-5 result doesn’t do us any favours, we would have preferred a draw, but we were laughing so hard by the end it didn’t really matter.