Tuesday 1 August
China 1:6 England
Lauren James is making this tournament her own. Playing in an advanced 10 role Lauren scored another two. She would have had a hat trick but her second goal was disallowed.
There were some extremely erratic decisions, Lauren’s goal was disallowed for an offside, and a ball that clearly hit Lucy Bronze’s chest was adjudged handball and a penalty awarded.
Niamh Charles came off the bench in the second half at the same time as old-girl, Beth England. Millie Bright and Jess Carter were played at the back from the start, with Alex Greenwood forming a working three.
Earlier Portugal hit the post right at the death, a goal would have eliminated the USA but they limped through behind the Netherlands who beat Vietnam 0-7 in the other match.
Chelsea U21 5:1 Brentford B
Ben Elliot opened the scoring before Ronnie Stutter improved his already good pre-season with two before the break. His hat-trick came early in the second. Harvey Vale added a fifth. After games against National League sides, Chelsea played their first pre-season game against opposition in the same age group and dominated.
Newcastle United U18 0:5 Chelsea U18
Ato Ampah hit two, Harrison McMahon, Shumaira Mheuka and Donnell McNeilly as our U18s hit some form in pre-season.
Lesley Ugochukwu has been confirmed at £23m from Stade Rennais. The young midfielder is in the States but Pochettino said he was unlikely to feature against Dortmund. The deal is seven years with an option.
Wednesday 2 August
Levi Colwill signed on the dotted for a new six-year deal with an option. It puts to bed Brighton’s hopes of buying the player who starred on loan at the AmEx last season. To underline that he isn’t moving he sent a thankyou message to Brighton and their fans.
The summer’s speculation will have added to the pressure the youngster will feel. We look forward to seeing how he does.
The U21 fixtures have been published. Nine days before kick-off, Blackburn Rovers will have to organise a coach to Kingsmeadow. Brighton and Hove Albion visit the following Friday. Both games are at 7pm. Our first away trip is to Norwich.
The new format for the U21 league makes no sense to anyone, involving seeding pots and randomised draws. We play ten of the category one academies at home, another ten away and we don’t play six teams, but will be drawn against some of them later. At the end of the season there will be an elimination playoff based on a league in which every team has played a random selection of other clubs.
Brazil are out of the World Cup. Jamaica, featuring Drew Spence, only needed a draw to progress at the expense of the Seleçâo. 37-year-old Marta bows out after five World Cups and 17 goals.
France toped group F after an entertaining 3-6 win over Panama. Eve Perisset started as a right back.
Sweden also progressed but made load of changes with their place safe, Zecira Musovic and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd started on the bench. Sweden progress to face the USA. France will have to wait until tomorrow for the conclusion of group H. South Africa beat Italy 3-2 in the other match to progress.
Thursday 3 August
Borussia Dortmund 1:1 Chelsea
Mason Burstow will not forget this one but his story might be overshadowed by an injury to Christopher Nkunku.
The knock appeared to be a knee problem, following a tackle in the 22nd minute. The pitch was in poor condition but Pochettino afterwards blamed the surface by saying “we cannot complain about the pitch and to blame the pitch for why he suffered the injury”. He hoped afterwards that it was a minor problem.
The match started fairly even but as the half wore on Chelsea started to dominate. Colwill, Jackson and Sterling had great chances to put us ahead and we should have had an early penalty when Nkunku was brought down. Carney Chukwuemeka had a chance to make his pre-season mark but the shot was blocked.
BVB scored late, against the run of play, when a corner was only partially cleared and Marius Wolf slotted the ball from an offside position.
Chelsea had been dangerous on the break throughout but right at the end Mason Burstow nodded us level from a free-kick. Mason had worked really hard during his time on the pitch this month and deserved his goal.
The pitch was so poor the match was played below the usual pace. But this lot beat Manchester United 3-2 earlier and we controlled the match, we looked fitter and sharper than top European opposition. We controlled the game to the extent that Kepa didn’t muddy his gloves until after they’d scored.
The penalty shootout, mooted if the game was a draw, didn’t happen.
We have a deal with Brighton… for Robert Sanchez. The goalkeeper fell out of favour at Brighton last season as Jason Steele became the first choice. Ben Roberts, goal keeping coach who arrived with Potter worked with Sanchez at Brighton but £20m, rising to £25, is a lot for a back-up ’keeper and one Brighton didn’t want, they left him out of their pre-season tour.
The U18 fixture list is out. We start at home, Cobham, Saturday 19 August, against Crustal Palace. This will be Hassan Sulaiman first full season and the promise of the last campaign and the quality of the new group means many are expecting a great season. We sit out the first round of fixtures on the 12th, possibly because the club doesn’t yet have an away kit.
At the World Cup, Germany are dumped out as they could only draw with South Korea while Morocco beat Columbia to go through second in the group behind the Columbians.
Melanie Leupolz, Ann-Katrin Berger and Sjoeke Nüsken all watched the disaster from the bench and fly home with the Canuks Jessie Fleming, Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence.
Who would have forecast that Canada, Brazil and Germany wouldn’t make it out of their group?
Newcastle United have bought Tino Livramento from Southampton for £40m. The right-back was sold out from under our academy to help fund Lukaku for only £5m. Out with an ACL last season, Newcastle are taking a risk but we will be interested to see how he does.
Emily Orman, will spend her season between Reading’s posts as the young ’keeper signed a year extension and moved on loan.
Sam McClelland, released by Chelsea earlier in the summer, has joined St Johnstone’s struggles in the Scottish Premier League starting on Saturday.
As the public pre-season comes to a close Chelsea are in a much more positive position than 12-months ago.
Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku looked to form a pairing in attack. In defence Levi Colwill and Malo Gusto proved their place in the squad.
Ian Maatsen, didn’t play at the back but elevated himself into the squad.
Reece James looks like a Chelsea captain.
On the downside, Raheem Sterling still looked a little hesitant but knows how to contribute, Marc Cucurella didn’t look like a player with two years Premier League experience – he was out of position and responsible for a couple of goals. Kepa Arrizabalaga still doesn’t look like a goalkeeper.
Friday 4 August
Axel Disasi has been confirmed a £38.6m move from AS Monaco. The 25-year-old signed a six-year contract as cover for Wesley Fofana but is also a former team mate of Benoit Badiashile.
Mia Fishel has signed as well. Mia signed for Tigres in Mexico and sounds like a real Chelsea girl: “I have been a Chelsea supporter since I was about seven years old. My brother and my Dad would put on the Premier League and I would be like, ‘Chelsea is my team,’ and Eden Hazard was my favourite player growing up”.
She would have loved Clive Walker.
Football is back; newly relegated Southampton beat newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Saturday 5 August
Chelsea XI 7:0 Phoenix All Star Academy
Jimmy Morgan, Brodi Hughes, Ben Elliott and Joe Haigh among the scorers, apparently. No match reports or video for academy and youth pre-season games is frustrating.
Manchester City U18 2:1 Chelsea U18
No information on scorer or team.
Guro Reiten scored but Norway are out after an irrepressible Japan notched three. In the other tie Spain thumped Switzerland 5-1.
The Game for Ukraine at Stamford Bridge was an honourable two-all in very damp conditions. It was a good chance to see Gianfranco Zola, Joe Cole, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink among many others.
Sunday 6 August
While Aniek Nouwen watched the Netherlands beat South Africa 2-0 from the bench, the real news came from Melbourne as Sweden held the United States all the way to a penalty shootout, which they won. The four-times champions and holders are out. Chelsea’s Zećira Mušović kept the USA at bay for the 120-minutes. She pulled off a couple of great saves to win player of the match.
Penalties were chaotic as the first four were missed and Sweden’s decider appeared to be saved but goalline technology had it 1mm over.
Monday 7 August
England 0:0 Nigeria
(England win 4-2 on penalties)
By the skin of their teeth. Lauren James lost her cool and was sent off for treading on an opponent towards the end. Nigeria came with a plan and dominated the match and extra-time only to lose a shootout. England’s previous experience at penalties really showed.
Lauren was closed down and fouled throughout and the physical side of the game has not been addressed by officials at this championship. Domestically, brute force is not used and not allowed by referees, this world cup cycle has seen more cards and harsher tackling. Northern Ireland’s warm-up game was cancelled for being too rough. Nigeria were not over the top but were allowed a degree latitude England are unused to.
Australia beat Denmark in the other game. Sam Kerr made it on to the pitch for the last ten minutes. Pernille Harder proved her class by leading Denmark but they couldn’t really threaten.
The Crown Prosecution Service has laid out the punishments for tragedy chanting – they even explained what that means – but we don’t need telling. Runways, murders and Istanbul are out of bounds from now on. You will be banned, not just from the stadium, but from going to a pub to watch football too.
That news comes the same day that Chelsea banned, for life, a fan found guilty of posting antisemitic rants on social media.
Tuesday 8 August
The FA are investigating Abramovich era payments to offshore entities that didn’t appear in the books. Uefa fined us for the same offences last week but the FA have the power to issue points deductions. No charges have yet been brought and the owners fessed up the discrepancies they discovered during the takeover.
These are not on the same scale as Manchester City. The most damning so far outlined is employing Andreas Christensen’s father, then a coach at Brøndby, for £650,000 over four years as a scout. But we should expect more damning revelations.
Christopher Nkunku will miss the first three months of the season, at least, after his knee turned out to be a serious problem. Th wisdom of playing friendlies on atrocious pitches has done for another promising recruit.
You’ll remember that Ruben Loftus-Cheek ruptured his Achilles in Boston during the Game Against Hate back in 2019. Now Nkunku has done his knee at Soldier Field in Chicago. Perhaps, American football pitches are not ideal for soccer.
The squad numbers have been announced. Many stayed with their usual number, Mudryk opted for the 10. Levi Colwill confidently took the 26 made famous by John Terry.
There are no numbers Cesare Casadei, probably out on loan or for Lukaku, Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech.
Tea leaf readers might greet Angelo Gabriel’s move to Racing on loan means that other midfield recruits are imminent. But transfer speculation is endless.
Newcastle United confirmed the signing of Tino Livramento from Southampton for an initial £32m.
Columbia will play England in the quarter final on Saturday with the winners playing either France or Australia, after Columbia beat Jamaica 1-0 and the French humbled Morocco 4-0.
Wednesday 9 August
Reece James is Chelsea captain. The announcement was made this morning and the boy will be beaming from ear to ear for some time yet. The move is expected but is still thrilling. Cobham have produced a Chelsea captain.
We have been drawn at home to AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the league cup. We can’t remember when we last had to play a second-round league cup tie, probably 2011.
Ross Barkley is back in the Premier League, the former Chelsea and Everton midfielder signed for Luton Town. He is still only 29 and a free agent after leaving Ligue 1 Nice
Roman Abramovich has been served with notice that Fordstam Ltd is going to be struck off. Fordstam was the company Roman used to own Chelsea. The complications from sanctions and the ultimate destination of the money the owners used to buy Chelsea, means that Fordstam has been in legal limbo for a year and now the authorities are getting tough. In order to avoid being struck off the companies list Fordstam needs to submit accounts within the next two months. If they don’t the crown will take all the money from the takeover.
Thursday 10 August
Lauren James can play in the final, if England get that far. Her two-game ban was confirmed by Fifa this morning. The press are still routinely referring to the stamp but Lauren didn’t stamp on her opponent but stepped over her. Disrespectful, certainly, but not a stamp.
Gabriel Slonina has confirmed a loan to the Belgian side KAS Eupen. The USA goalkeeper
Friday 11 August
Chelsea U21 6:1 Blackburn Rovers U21
A blistering start under lights at Kingsmeadow. The first half Blackburn played some good football but Ronnie Stutter was hungry and smashed in just before the break.
The second period was different, Leo Castledine curled in a free-kick for the second, Stutter continued his good work with a second. The fourth was a back pass that went all the way in, before Castledine chipped the penalty he won over the bar. Blackburn nicked one back but Donnell McNeilly and Zac Sturge had the last word. The additional time could be very useful.
Diego Moreira came on for the last half hour and looked to drive forward and find a pass. The lad, recruited from Benfica, looks a real talent.
Chelsea U18 5:1 Manchester City U18
The usual blackout but the U18s last pre-season game. Both sides are not involved in the opening fixtures this weekend and we lost up there last week. So, two from Reiss Russell-Denny and others from Michael Golding, Tyrique George, and Jimmy-Jay Morgan, probably feels like early revenge.
Moises Caicedo is still keen to come to Chelsea, despite Liverpool agreeing a £111m deal with Brighton. No good could ever come from a Nelson. We wait to see if the situation is resolved today/tomorrow/before January. Roberto de Zerbi said that he had already forgotten Caicedo “the big clubs can buy our players but they can’t buy our soul. That’s not on the market.” Which is a weird and pompous statement from a club that is close to taking £200m from us in three windows.
In Australia/New Zealand, Sweden beat Japan to progress to face Spain who overcame the Netherlands after extra-time. Zecira Musovic and Joanna Rytting-Kaneryd both started for Sweden. Maika Hamano stayed on the bench for Japan and missed out on an appearance at this tournament but is only 19. Aniek Nouwen came off the bench for the Netherlands but Spain have been impressive.
The semi-final is on Tuesday next week.
Wednesday 30 August for our first competitive game with Wimbledon since 2000 and our first against AFC – 7.45 kick-off.
Saturday 12 August
England beat Columbia 2-1 to book their place against Australia in the World Cup semi-final. Millie Bright and Jess Carter played throughout as England recovered from a goal down to pounce on goalkeeping and defensive mistakes.
Australia beat France on penalties after a 0-0. Sam Kerr came off the bench for Australia and Eve Perisset for France as a tense game headed for spot-kicks. The shootout was chaotic, the Australian ’keeper made four saves, including a kick retaken because she’d moved early, Perisset was one of the French players who missed as Australia won 7-6.
Sunday 13 August
Chelsea 1:1 Liverpool
A very promising start. Mauricio Pochettino picked a conservative team. With Kepa on his way to the Bernabéu, Sánchez started in goal, a back three surprised some, Colwill, Dasilva and Axel Disasi, with James and Chilwell wide.
The system meant we started with only Gallagher and Fernandez in the middle and we started without the ball and in the middle . Colwill and Chilwell looked off each other’s radar as Salah set up Diaz for the opener. Reece didn’t track the run.
Nicolas Jackson was a handful down the middle but linking from Sterling was erratic and slowed the pace. Chukwuemeka had his moments but we got better as the half progressed. Conor Gallagher was playing as the pivot in what at times was 4-2-3-1, and grew into the contest. By the end he was tackling back and containing Liverpool.
Salah’s armpit away from 2-0 down, we combined to set Disasi, we had five in the box for the second ball in after a corner was half cleared and Disasi was light on his feet and reacted quickest.
Ben Chilwell scored a quick second but VAR ruled it out.
Enzo looked let off the hook and started to run the show as we started to dominate but as a first match of the season drew to a close the quality fell off.
Gusto came on for his debut as James limped out of his first match as captain. It didn’t look too bad but he will be disappointed.
We did see debuts for Ugochukwu and Ian Maatsen. Ugochukwu’s first touch was to deflect a curling shot wide. Mudryk also came on with lively runs and some penetration. One Jackson run burst open the Liverpool defence only for the square ball to take Mudryk wide.
Overall, this was a huge improvement on where we finished last season. We might have to ditch conventional system numbers and accept that, from front to back, we are going to be fluid and flexible. These players are still growing together as a team but everything looks to be facing in the right direction.
Moises Caicedo is on his way for a medical on Monday as the clubs agree a £100m up front with £15m in addons. A British record transfer. Mauricio was hinting that the deal was done in his post-match interview but Daniel Sturridge stole that show by singing and hugging Roy Kean. The 21-year-old Ecuadorian international signed and eight-year deal with an option.
Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace 2:1 Olympique Lyonnais
Straight after the Chelsea game we got a chance to watch Patrick Viera’s Racing in their first home game. Lyon played well early on but second-half strikes from Bellegarde and Mothiba made for a safe looking scenario for ngelo Gabriel to come on for his first game on loan. Only for Lyon to grab a goal back and apply unrelenting pressure for the rest of the match so Gabriel, playing on the far side, barely got a kick but the home side hung on for a win..
Monday 14 August
Moises Caicedo is a Chelsea player. The £100m deal was finalised after a medical this morning at Cobham. The Ecuadorian international is probably the closest to a direct replacement for N’Golo Kanté available in the market and it appears Pochettino is really pleased with the player. He signed an eight-year contract with an option.
Moises showed a still of himself and his mum sitting on the back of their car, he was wearing a 20020/21 shirt. Inspired by Makelele and Kanté, it seems Moises is home.
Liverpool had another bid for a player accepted, as Southampton agreed to accept £60m for Roméo Lavia but the player has indicated that he too wants to join Chelsea
Tuesday 15 August
The deal for Romeo Lavia has been agreed. Southampton get £53m with £5m in add-ons. The deal is a bit of a puzzle. If we just wanted to annoy Liverpool we are going about it the right way. But with Caicedo already in and Gallagher already at the club this looks an unnecessary signing. That said, the least heralded signing in a window often turns out to be the best club servant. Cesar Azpilicueta signed at the same time as Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses and Demba Ba.
The medical is due tomorrow.
Spain beat Sweden in the first semi-final in Australia. Spain scored their first late in the second period and Sweden equalised quickly but conceded a corner almost immediately and never recovered. Spain won 2-1. Zecira Musovic has made her name on the world stage and Joanna Rytting Kaneryd has been influential. Both will hang around for a third-place playoff.
Cesare Casadei will spend the season at Leicester City on loan. The big Italian made an impression in pre-season and will flourish at the King Power if he gets the minutes.
Harvey Vale has joined Bristol Rovers on loan for the season. There is a January break clause if a switch up to the Championship is needed. The Gas are a Chelsea stamping ground as they beat Charlton Athletic 1-2 at the Valley with goals from Scott Sinclair and Luke McCormick. Harvey came on for the last twenty minutes.
Ben Elliot has been sold to Reading. Ben is a very promising young midfielder, now a Cameroon international, who has rebuilt his career after knee problems. He will do well.
Wednesday 16 August
Australia 1:3 England
England are in a world cup final for the first time since 1966. Goals from Ella Toone in the first half and then from a defensive mistake Lauren Hemp restored our lead and Alessia Russo added the cherry.
Sam Kerr, starting her first game of the tournament equalised with a 25-yard screamer and had a chance to head them level but got under the chance when it needed a glance.
The final, against Spain, is on Sunday.
Crystal Palace are grumbling about tapping up in the proposed move of Michael Olise after we triggered the £35m release clause in the 21-year-old’s contract. There is a possible channel for behind-the-scenes conversations because Michael was at Cobham until he was 14 and his brother is currently at Chelsea coming through the age groups.
Galatasaray had a bid accepted for Hakim Ziyech. Criminally underappreciated during his time at Chelsea Hakim was the first purchase we made after the transfer ban was lifted in 2020. He blew hot and cold for Chelsea but we rarely handed him consecutive games. Injuries played a part but he showed what we were wasting at last year’s World Cup, steering Morocco to a semi-final with France.
Hakim has seen moves to PSG and Al Nassr fall through recently so nothing is done until the medical and paperwork are filed.
The club are offering ‘early access’ to purchase the home shirt. How they are defining early is surreal. The season has already started and the home kit is not available and the away shirt hasn’t yet been released. West Ham away sometimes means we can wear blue but if the referee is a stickler we’ll have to play in the training kit.\
Caicedo is not modest. He took the 25 last used by Gianfranco Zola all those years ago. If Moises has half the impact on the club Zola had he will have justified the fee.
Thursday 17 August
Michael Olise signed a new contract with Crystal Palace. After the thunder of the last few days with Palace complained about us finding out about his release clause. Olise had a new four-year contract.
Meanwhile Romeo Lavia is having his medical today ahead of a move from Southampton. The medical department is busy with Brazilian wonder-kid Deivid Washington in having a medical ahead of his move from Santos in Brazil. The 18-year-old prodigy only has a handful of appearances in Brazil but he caught the eye in the U17 league.
Friday 18 August
Chelsea U21 2:3 Brighton & Hove Albion U21
Ronnie Stutter couldn’t have had a better summer and start to the season. He has been scoring freely and two here were calm and opportunistic. Brighton were the better side on the night and one back before the break turned into two more in the second. We had chances to level but Brighton deserved this one.
Romeo Lavia is confirmed as a £53m purchase from Southampton. We’ve talked about his qualities before but as a promising defensive midfielder, Romeo is direct and looks to advance play. He is a great buy. He wears 45 on his back but that might change over the seven-year contract.
Sadly, rumours that Lewis Hall was off to Saudi-on-Tyne were true. Newcastle are right up against Uefa FFP rules that don’t affect us at the moment, so they have taken Lewis on loan with an obligation of £28m next summer to which there are performance add-ons.
Emma Thompson has been sold to Southampton. The young striker was top scorer in the WSL academy league and will thrive in the women’s championship. We wish her luck.
The club confirmed that Reece James will miss a ‘few weeks’ with his latest injury. We’ve been here before, so will just wish him well for his recovery.
Saturday 19 August
Chelsea U18 2:1 Crystal Palace U18
There were so many early chances but Palace made the most of one of theirs. We needed two late goals, very late goals, from Donnell McNeilly and had half a dozen decent chances. The ref added absurd amounts to the end of each half, as Palace players were dropping with cramp. The new time keeping regulations are as cloth-eared as most new rule from Ifab. Players suffer.
Cesare Casadei is starting to enjoy his time on loan with Leicester. He scored his first coming off the bench to hand the Foxes a home win over Cardiff City.
Zecira Musovic and Joanna Rytting Kaneryd both played as Sweden beat Australia to finish third at the world cup. Sam Kerr looked heartbroken at the end but Australia had their best tournament. Sam also appeared to have a leg muscle problem towards the end but stayed on.
Sunday 20 August
West Ham United 3:1 Chelsea
A dreadful performance, lacking all of last week’s promise, against a shambolic West Ham. Given a free week to work on our attacking play and shape, we walked slowly forward with every attack, midfield and attack almost completely static.
And we handed goals to West Ham, the first as Conor was eased out of the way at the back post from a corner where we had no cover. Possible penalty was immediately turned down for offside. We were really static in possession and although dominating statistics didn’t look like scoring.
Carney Chukwuemeka made up his mind to chang things by driving into their box, to blast his way through and hammer his first Chelsea goal.
Enzo probably isn’t going to be the penalty taker after waiting for the keeper to move. VAR overlooked that the ’keeper did move before the kick and the West Ham player who encroached. Sterling’s run won the kick and the little England man seemed on a mission after a series of unpunished tackles eventually led to a yellow for Emerson.
Chukwuemeka limped out with what looked a twisted knee as the first half drifted to a close, to be replaced by Mykhailo Mudryk.
We still look a work in progress as early second-half attacking moves petered out, when from nothing Antonio thrashed the ball in to restore West Ham’s lead.
Moises Caicedo came on for Ben Chilwell on the hour. He got stuck in straight away, trying to win the ball back and even lashing a shot over.
Down to ten when Nayef Aguerd sliced down Jackson for his second yellow, West Ham got more bloody-minded. Stopping the play, disputing everything and slowing the pace. Against ten we couldn’t so much as fashion a shot on target.
And then, Caicedo gave away the penalty that saw the owner’s expensively assembled spare parts thrashed by mediocrity like West Ham. Given a full preseason and all the signings he wanted Pochettino hasn’t yet produced a coherent side.
We started with three wins out of four last year and that saved us from relegation.
All of it overshadowed Mason Burstow’s brief debut.
Spain 1:0 England
England just couldn’t get into the right gear and Spain ran out world champions. Lauren James came off the bench but hope was already ebbing away. Spain were the better side on the night.
Hakim Ziyech has moved to Galatasaray on loan. The £3m loan deal has an option to buy for £2.8m next summer. Hakim has been hanging around since January and rally deserves some time playing football where he is appreciated. Chelsea never found a niche for the Moroccan, who showed what he was capable of when trusted, leading his country to the semi-finals of the World Cup in December.
Uefa stipulate only seven overseas loans. Ziyech is our fifth.
AS Monaco 3:0 Racing Club de Strasbourg
A thumping poor afternoon for Racing but TNT’s promised live coverage turned out to be international surfing. Bring back BT Sport.
Monday 21 August
Carney Chukwuemeka will be out for weeks with a knee problem. A positive force in pre-season and scorer of a great equaliser on Saturday, Carney joins our lengthening injury list. Perhaps city-hopping pre-season publicity jaunts are less useful than a six-week training camp.
With Lewis Hall going the other way, Ollie Harrison has arrived from Newcastle. The midfielder, who has just turned 16, is highly regarded and something of a steal considering his dad, Steve, is a Newcastle youth coach.
Tuesday 22 August
Lewis Hall’s move to Tyneside is complete. Another bad day for Cobham as the owners use our homegrown players to balance their spending. Having so many involved in recruitment means splashing unsustainable sums on players who are promising youngsters, just not necessarily any better than those already in the building.
Wednesday 23 August
Alsu Abdullina is going on loan to Paris FC. Finishing third in the league last year Paris are in the champions league qualifiers. Alsu made an impression with us last year, setting up some important goals. We wish her well in France.
Thursday 24 August
Deivid Washington is officially a Chelsea player. The 18-year-old will cost £17.2m from Santos. The Brazilian side already sold us Angelo Gabriel this summer.
Friday 25 August
Chelsea 3:0 Luton Town
Raheem Sterling’s night and his first two goals of the season. Nicolas Jackson grabbed his first on a night when we finally got into gear.
Raheem’s first goal as he shimmied into the box dribbled past four and finished across the ’keeper, was the touch of class we have been lacking.
Sterling was pushing wide and dominating attacks but also peeled inside to finish his second from and central position.
Jackson’s came from a Sterling cross and the whole team celebrated with him. Obviously liked, pressure off Jackson will make the team better.
Ben Chilwell was fluent getting to the box but chose to pass in front of an open goal. Caicedo fitted into the midfield smoothly and kept that ball moving with a degree of his usual elegance. Enzo thrashed a few efforts over but pulled his usual strings.
Luton haven’t been to Stamford Bridge in the league in a generation and enjoyed their time back. They sang throughout and ‘Conference champions, you’ll never sing that’, is the best so far. Their team was direct and tested our defence without actually threatening a goal. They had given Brighton a few scares on the opening day and we controlled them well. Just what we needed.
Norwich City U21 3:2 Chelsea U21
Jimmy-Jay Morgan pulled us level after a goal against the run of play but the first half deteriorated and a late Ronnie Stutter strike wasn’t enough to rescue a point. Stutter is in such good form a place in the league cup squad in midweek against isn’t out of the question but another 3-2 defeat is a bit of an early jolt.
Mike Dean has admitted that he ignored the hair pull on Marc Cucurella last year because he want to spare his mate, the referee Anthony Taylor, going to the screen to save him from grief. “I didn’t want to send him [to the monitor] because he is a mate as well as a referee and I think I didn’t want to send him up because I didn’t want any more grief than he already had.” Most cheats don’t admit their crimes but Dean cheerfully admitted his to Simon Jordan’s Up Front podcast. If he hadn’t cheated, Cristian Romero would have been sent off, Kane wouldn’t have equalised and the win would have helped Thomas Tuchel relax and improved the team moral.
PGMOL compounded the sense of injustice by lying and trying to refute that VAR make decisions based on anything other than the laws – “We strongly refute any suggestion that VARs do not intervene, for whatever reason, when they have identified a clear and obvious error”. Given that a VAR has literally just admitted that they do, PGMOL are clearly unfit for their role.
Andrey Santos will spend the season with Nottingham Forest on loan. The young Brazilian showed great promise in pre-season and the club want him to have plenty of playing time in the Premier League. How well he will do at struggling Forest is anyone’s guess.
Saturday 26 August
Aston Villa U18 1:5 Chelsea U18
A thumping win for Hassan Sulaiman’s side. Ato Ampah enjoyed Villa’s high line to help himself to a hat-trick, Tyrique George and Harrison Murray-Campbell with the others.
Djordje Petrović signed a seven-year contract after a £12.5m move from New England Revolution. The 23-year-old goalkeeper has two full Serbian caps and a successful full season in the MLS. Kevin Hitchcock was his coach in Boston. Hitchcock is 60 and has been teaching Djordje cockney.
On loan – Harvey Vale scored for Bristol Rovers. David Datro Fofana was injured as Union Berlin visited Darmstadt, his replacement was also injured and Union had a man sent off before the half hour and still won 1-4.
Sunday 27 August
Racing fans held up a banner: “Non à la multipropriété”, which loosely means “get lost BlueCo” in French. Behdad Eghbali was sitting in the stands.
Racing beat Toulouse 2-0 but a large number of fans are not happy about BlueCo ownership.
There is an unpleasant strand of opinion that accuses Racing fans of not being grateful. They should consider that Clearlake haven’t shrugged off the accusation that they are largely capitalised by the Saudi PIF. So, we might be a subsidiary of Newcastle.
Monday 28 August
AS Roma have signed a deal, in principle, to sign Romelu Lukaku on loan for the season. They will be paying a loan fee and picking up his wages. Rumour is that the Belgian striker is taking a pay cut. The loan fee is around £5m, not the widely reported £8m (there are performance related bonuses), but his wages have gone and he will face a pay cut if he returns next June. There will be a release clause of £38m to buy the Belgian striker when he returns.
With Ziyech, Arrizabalaga and Lukaku on loan, that means the club only have four international loan slots available. So, players that might get plenty of minutes in a competitive side abroad, might now have to settle for a place on a Premier League side’s bench.
Tuesday 29 August
Milton Keynes 4:1 Chelsea U21
A bit of a hammering in the end, against the side currently top of League Two. Jimmy-Jay Morgan equalised for us in the first half, against the run of play and we had chances to grab a goal back after they retook the lead but they then took advantage as we pressed forward. We drew good saves and had chances but this was good experience for the academy.
The owners, deciding they were too popular, have decided to drop subsidised coach trips to away games. Declaring the subsidised travel as “not financially sustainable” the owners have perhaps forgotten the British transfer record signings. The wages saved by sending Lukaku on loan could have subsidised away travel for the next quarter of a million years.
The club does have a hollowed out feel. We have no sponsorship, the club shop has nothing but Nike’s idea of merchandise and no away shirts nearly a month into the season. The website no longer covers the U21 or U18s. There are no age group videos, at all, on the site. It is always true that nothing is as good as it used to be, Chelsea’s attitude to its supporters is drifting back to the Ken Bates era.
To shame the club into reconsidering this appalling decision, the Chelsea Supporters Trust has stepped in to subsidise travel to the Bournemouth game.
Wednesday 30 August
Chelsea 2:1 AFC Wimbledon
Narrow win over League Two Wimbledon but a victory.
A young side started for Chelsea, gained much of the possession, Conor Gallagher and Noni Madueke were to the fore but for all the positives going forward we gave away a penalty and struggled to get back level.
Madueke converted his own penalty before the break and it was tribute to AFC that we needed to bring on Jackson and Fernandez and eventually the Argentinian slotted a loose ball from a defensive mix up.
Marc Cucurella made a surprise appearance. Rumoured to be on his way on loan to a needy northern outfit who are unable to afford signings, Cucurella is now cup-tied in the League cup.
Levi Colwill – called Caldwell throughout by Paul Merson on Sky – had to be lively but looked assured in fending off Wimbledon breaks. Diego Moreira had a lively debut, with some good touches and Mason Burstow got some minutes but not much service.
Our reward is a home draw against Brighton & Hove Albion. Brighton and Chelsea have been linked in many ways in the last year but we haven’t done well in the transfer market, with coaches or on the pitch.
Lauren James won the PFA young player of the year award. The awards are usually handed out in May but a marketing man has revamped a once respected institution so now they are handed out
Thursday 31 August
The Lukaku loan has been confirmed. Roma will cover his reduced salary for the coming season. He’ll probably score 30.
Zac Sturge has joined the Posh for the rest of the season. The versatile defender will have his first taste of football under Darren Ferguson at Peterborough.
Tino Anjorin will play his football at Fratton Park with Portsmouth. Anjorin has been on loan before in Moscow and Huddersfield and will shine on the south coast. He is probably too good for this level but is coming back from injury.
That is now four League One clubs on our loan list – Exeter, Bristol Rovers, Peterborough and Pompey.
The League Cup tie against Brighton will take place on Wednesday 27 September. It will not be televised.
Oh, and the new, dark blue, away kit made a formal bow. Being blue we will need a third kit but Nike burbled about a geometric design paying tribute to our kits of the ’90s (how?) and the “glamour of the King’s Road”. Now many things; fashion, the World’s End, the Chelsea Kitchen, punks with mohawks spring to mind about the King’s Road but geometry isn’t among them. In short it is the usual Nike rubbish. But, unusually, it is available to buy.
The England squad contains a few surprises. Levi Colwill makes his first squad but Raheem Sterling misses out. Southgate thought that only three league games wasn’t enough to change his mind from the squad he picked in the summer. An unconvincing bluster from the England manager considering he did have space to include Eddie Nketiah.
Harry Maguire keeps his place, despite being a barely mobile roadblock and having played no football this season. Southgate said letting down the LGBTQ+ community wasn’t intentional but he picked Jordan Henderson who represents a repressive regime. His feigned confusion about the offence he had caused by picking Henderson was breathtaking in its insincerity.