Monday 16 September
We will be without N’Golo Kanté and Antonio Rüdiger on Tuesday as Frank Lampard prepares his first Champions League side. He said he would be reminding his squad that their concentration needs to be at its peak and that Valencia might have had their own problems recently – none of their squad would speak to the media yesterday – but that external pressures can bring a squad together.
Frank set the target of getting out of a tight group and with difficult trips to Amsterdam and Lille coming up we’ll need a good result tomorrow night.
Der Spiegel are reporting that we might have broken the rules on under age transfers – again. This time they have fairly detailed evidence from Football Leaks that we signed Thierno Ballo at the age of 14 while he was a Bayer Leverkusen player and parked him with a German fourth division side, Viktoria Koln until he was old enough for us to sign him in January this year.
Given how well the squad is shaping up under the transfer embargo we are currently serving many will shrug and almost welcome a further ban. But Fifa might get a bit heavier with their punishments next time.
Tuesday 17 September
Chelsea 0:1 Valencia
“There will be bumps in the road for any team, especially us with the youth and the changes we are making,” Frank Lampard summed up a disappointing night.
We kept the team and formation that performed so well at the weekend but a horrific Coquelin tackle took Mason Mount out of the game, and probably the weekend, with an ankle injury. The ref and VAR decided the tackle only warranted a yellow. So, we lost a player and they received a minor rebuke.
Pedro replaced the distressed Mount and for all his hard work he looked rusty all night, passes going astray and he never found the wavelength with either Willian or Abraham.
When we did break through their stubborn defence the chances were wide or saved. Willian had a couple of clear shots one he shinned after the slightest push in the back, again VAR ignored the situation, the other well saved.
We had lost the rhythm expected from the weekend’s performance but we did have the chance to show how well Fikayo Tomori is adapting to Premiership and now Champions League standards. Abraham and Mount might have stolen the headlines but Tomori looks an accomplished defender against some of the fastest and most incisive attacking we have faced.
The second-half was much like the first until Lampard gambled with a switch to a back four and Olivier Giroud up front. Almost immediately they scored from a free-kick routine that caught us asleep; just as Frank had warned the squad they might.
The penalty that followed was firmly and confidently struck by Ross Barkley but against the bar.
We keep saying this is a transitional season, this group is growing together and we have progressed after losing the first home game before.
The optimism does not dim after one small set back. And we have N’Golo Kanté, Antonio Rüdiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi to fit back into the picture.
Chelsea U19 3:3 Valencia U19
The afternoon match swung wildly as we clawed back two equalisers from two penalties. The visitor’s number 8, Koindredi, was the match’s outstanding player hitting one from 25-yards in a flash and then equalising at the death from a free-kick after Armando Broja had given us the lead from our slickest passing move of the match.
Liverpool screwed up their trip to Napoli, again, this time 2-0. In our group’s other match Ajax rolled Lille over 3-0.
Wednesday 18 September
Fernando Ricksen died today after suffering from motor neurone disease. He was just 43. The Dutch midfielder played for AZ Alkmaar and Rangers has been working to raise funds and awareness of the disease for the last six years.
PSG beat Real Madrid 3-0, Spurs threw away a 0-2 lead to draw with Olympiacos, while City beat Shakhtar Donetsk.
Thursday 19 September
He’s one of our own – for at least five years more – he’s one of our own… Callum Hudson-Odoi finally put pen to paper on a new contract. Bayern München put in several serious bids for the 18-year-old of up to £35m but we stuck to our guns. If it hadn’t been for the injury at the end of last season pressure over the summer for a European move might have been irresistible but the new season has brought a new coach and a new emphasis on youth and that seems to have tipped the balance.
He’s all on his own – a Portuguese journalist, Rui Pinto, has been arrested for being part of the Football Leaks team that have exposed corruption and malpractice at PSG, Manchester City and others including Chelsea.
Held in Hungary since January he was deported on Tuesday to face trumped-up charges of extortion, violation of secrecy and illegally accessing information, Pinto is .
Moronic authorities in Portugal are trying to charge him with 147 offences but all he is guilty of is exposing criminal corruption inside Uefa and flagrant breaches of the rules and national laws by leading clubs. Pinto is a whistleblower and his rights are protected under EU law, the extortion charge is thrown in to try to get around the whistleblower protection directive.
We will keep you informed about petitions and support.
Saturday 21 September
Chelsea U18 2:1 Reading U18
Ed Brand’s side sit top pf the table with five wins from six games. Dion Rankine opened the scoring with a confident finish and George Nunn headed our second. They pulled one back meaning the final minutes were not easy but this was another confident performance.
Southampton U23 0:2 Chelsea U23
The importance of this morning’s match was in checking the fitness of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James. Both managed 75-minutes without adverse reaction so their preparation switches to the League Cup match with Grimsby on Wednesday.
Hudson-Odoi did more than work on his fitness as he opened the scoring with Clinton Mola adding the second.
The win takes us two points clear at the top of the table. Next up for the age group is an away trip to Brentford in the Football League Trophy on Tuesday but some will be hoping for call for the game on Wednesday.
Watford sought to bury the memory of being beaten 6-0 in the FA Cup final by falling to an eight-goal mauling at the Etihad.
Sunday 22 September
Chelsea 1:2 Liverpool
It is not often a team is applauded from the field after failing to win any of their first four games at home.
Liverpool played well but were second best for long periods of this match and relied on VAR to rule out a perfectly legitimate equaliser. VAR brought play back for an offside thirteen touches and several second after Liverpool had regrouped and the game had started a different passage of play. You’ll remember that VAR allowed Norwich’s goal against us because despite the clear and obvious foul on Tammy Abraham the game had entered a different passage of play.
The double standards prove what we have said all along – the R in VAR stands for referee and they are as incompetent watching a match on video as they are running around a field.
N’Golo Kanté provided a cheer as he pulled one back and we had the chances for a second equaliser but they just wouldn’t fall for us.
The applause was for a young Chelsea side who looked better than opponents challenging for the league.
Chelsea 2:0 West Ham United
Beth England is having a good start to the season, she scored again today as Chelsea beat the ‘Ammers in the women’s league cup. Guro Reiten has been credited with the second but the ball might have gone in off their goalkeeper.