Monday 19 August
Chelsea U23 3:0 Liverpool U23
A great reward for all those who paid their fiver to watch the reserves.
Antonio Rüdiger came through the whole match as part of his recovery from a meniscus tear in his right knee. Marc Guehi enjoyed having him around to upstage as the youngster looked to impress the watching Frank Lampard.
Tariq Lamptey had a cracking game as the side turned on the flicks and tricks, bamboozling Liverpool as they went. Michy Batshuayi scored the first two as he looked to make his case for first-team involvement and Tino Anjorin scored the other.
The side were impressive from front to back and many will be hoping for a call through to first-team training tomorrow.
Tuesday 20 August
Israel 1:3 Chelsea
Unusual to play a national side as part of the pre-season but Chelsea have made a real commitment to tackling anti-Semitism and the visit by the
women’s squad this week is a large part of that initiative. It also gives Roman a chance to watch the team he backs without the Home Office looking over his shoulder.
The game itself went in fits and starts, we had ample possession but, after Beth England tapped us into an early lead, we struggled to turn that
possession into clear chances.
That didn’t matter too much as Magda Ericsson thundered in volley for the second and the third was a keep uppie juggle releasing Sophie Ingle for a really classy finish.
We still look a little behind on fitness but there are still a few weeks before the women’s season starts in earnest.
Bethany England’s goal capped a fine day as she was named in the full England squad in the morning.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was back in first-team training today. On the way back from an Achilles tear Callum has been doing some fitness work with the U23 squad recently and is looking good for a return soon.
The draw has been made for the snappily titled U18 Premier League Cup. We the first one a few seasons back and will play Blackburn, Wolves and Arsenal from late September to late November.
Wednesday 21 August
The open training session proved valuable. Callum Hudson-Odoi, who joined training yesterday was there but so where youngsters Marc Guehi and Tariq Lamptey who both impressed for the U23s on Monday.
Whatever the results so far this season the good feeling between supporters, management, players and board has surely never been higher.
Given that it is our job to add regular, sarcastic jibes about the goings on in SW6 we are in danger of writing ourselves out of a job.
Davide Zappacosta signed an extended deal and promptly headed off to Roma on loan. It is a huge vote of confidence in Reece James that the club
would allow an established right-back to leave. James is still out with an injury but is expected back at the start of next month.
Davide is probably the best defensive right-back we have on the books so quite what the club achieve by extending the contract of a 27-year-old and then loaning him out is unclear.
It must be nice to be Manchester United; a day after Paul Pogba was racially abused for missing a penalty and United called for social media companies to take action, Twitter announced that they will meet the club. Nearly a week after Frank Lampard made the same call there is no word from the social media giants about Tammy Abraham.
Thursday 22 August
Maurizio Sarri will miss the start of the season as Juventus boss after being diagnosed with pneumonia. It was initially thought to be flu and our ex-boss is on the mend but it can be a debilitating illness and he will need time to recover. Which is hardly ideal when starting such a stressful and high-profile job. We wish him well.
Friday 23 August
Manchester City U23 2:2 Chelsea U23
Billy Gilmour from the spot and Marc Guehi clawed a point back after we’d been two down.
Tottenham visit Aldershot next Friday – live on the tablet device of your choice.
Saturday 24 August
Norwich City 2:3 Chelsea
Oh, Tammy, Tammy … and it all starts to come together. Norwich were bright, lively and menacing throughout but we have started to gel and never really looked like not winning.
Tammy Abraham’s first goal was taken with assurance after only three minutes and it didn’t really spoil the moment when they equalised almost
Mason Mount did brilliantly to cut inside and curl the ball in at the far stick to put us back ahead but Abraham’s second answered all his critics as he held up the ball beat the defenders and lashed in from the edge of the box. The ball came through from Kovačić who, in the absence of N’Golo Kanté, ran the midfield and kept us on the front foot. For a player who has met mixed fortunes with us it was another impressive display to add the Uefa Cup final.
VAR is either corrupt and incompetent or drunk: PGMOL have effectively closed it down as a useful tool for correcting refereeing errors by interpreting the ‘clear and obvious’ mistakes to mean the on-field referee is always right.
Tammy Abraham was hacked off the ball in the lead up to Norwich’s first goal but the ref employed by BT Sport said that because the ball had been passed backwards during the attacking move the subsequent attack represented a ‘different phase’ of play. Therefore, the foul on Abraham – that left him in a heap at the edge of the pitch – wasn’t a factor. This is the kind of dishonest reasoning has long been a part of PGMOL’s delusional insistence that referees never make mistakes.
VAR failed again when Azpilicueta was clearly hacked in the area. It was a penalty from any angle you chose to look but not clear and obvious enough – referees probably cannot see the nose on their own face.
When Kurt Zouma poked the ball in for a late fourth VAR ruled the goal out for a foul on the ’keeper – which, to be fair, it was – but they tried to pretend the on-field ref had awarded the goal and they were chalking it off. Martin Atkinson had not indicated that it was a goal at all.
Frank Lampard was delighted afterwards but he knows there is almost a whole season ahead before he can look too chuffed.
Elsewhere, Manchester United lost at home to Crystal Palace and David Luiz managed the most obvious shirt pull in recent history to hand Liverpool a penalty as Arsenal lost at Anfield.
Southampton U18 0:1 Chelsea U18
Lewis Bate sealed this one with a smash from a long way out. It was the most difficult strike of the half-dozen chances we created but the good start to the season rumbles on.
Sunday 25 August
Amazing how quickly you can get out of the new Three-Point Lane, judging by how many empty seats there were at the end of Tottenham’s defeat against Newcastle United.
Spurs are feeling the after-effects of their appearance in one of the big finals by struggling in everything they do.
To be fair, they could have had a penalty when Kane was rugby tackled in the box but referees are now like the gods, they are omniscient and omnipotent, they see all and never make a mistake – so, VAR said the sudden change of codes was alright.