Friday 1 December
England 3:2 Netherlands
Thrilling stuff as England fought back from 0-2 down with Lauren James setting up two of the goals. We needed a two-goal lead to top the group so qualification for the Olympics is still in the balance. England play Scotland, while the Netherlands face in form Belgium next Tuesday.

Saturday 2 December
England have been drawn to play Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia in group C at Euro 24. Scotland got Germany but on form will fancy qualifying with Hungary and Switzerland along side them in group A.

Sunday 3 December
Chelsea 3:2 Brighton & Hove Albion
It wouldn’t be Pochettino’s Chelsea without turning a comfortable, dominant performance into a struggle but this is a home win.
We started very well, creating chances with Sterling flying we took the lead from a corner when Badiashile hooked the ball back in and Enzo Fernandez headed in.
It was two minutes later as Levi Colwill needed the bleep from the goal-line technology to confirm his first goal for Chelsea.
Things then started to get fractious after they pulled one back Gallagher slid in o win the ball cleanly from Billy Gilmour only to see a second yellow just before the half-time whistle. There was contact but it wasn’t a booking.
Caicedo then tried to get himself sent off for a second, after picking up a first for dissent he charged into several tackles that could have seen another card. Discipline is a real problem with this squad at the moment.
Enzo Fernandez slotted a penalty to restore the two-goal cushion, when Mudryk was clattered and VAR sent the ref to his monitor. Only for a prolonged display of attack against defence see us hold out despite a very late goal back.
The ref proved his competence at the end by awarding Brighton a penalty for handball when a cross cannoned into Levi Colwill’s face. VAR corrected him.

The FA Cup third round draw handed us a home tie against Preston North End. Proper football club, who have had a good start to the season, even if the wheels have come off in the last few weeks. Ties as always first weekend in January.

The U21s game against Middlesbrough was called off at the last-minute die to a frozen pitch. That is a long way to go, for a long journey home.

Monday 4 December
Sky has written another big cheque for the four years following the 2024/25 season. The rights remain largely the same, Sky and TNT share the same live games with the BBC keeping Match of the Day. The dough might bail out the owner’s long contract scheme. Might.
More games will be shown, with all the Sunday 2pm kick-offs after a European week being screened.

Tuesday 5 December
Lauren James chipped in with two and Fran Kirby also scored as England beat Scotland 6-0 but missed out on the Olympics as the Netherlands beat Belgium 4-0.

Manchester United raised their level of disorganised paranoia by banning Sky, ESPN, Manchester Evening News and the Mirror from a press conference. Ten Hag has twisted his knickers because the journalists printed stories about him losing the dressing room “without contacting us first to give us the opportunity to comment, challenge or contextualise.” Without realising that it gives an impression of him losing control completely.

Wednesday 6 December
Manchester United 2:1 Chelsea
One of these clubs is having their worst start to a season in a generation. Their manager is a paranoid, gibbering wreck, who has lost the dressing room, fallen out with several squad members… and yet they are eight-points clear of us.
United missed an early penalty and dominated the first half hour. We were fortunate to have Cole Palmer on form for an equaliser and Broja brough a couple of saves late on but this performance lacked ambition and we got what we deserved.

We have no options, the way to correct what the Owners have got wrong cannot be to buy new players or change managers. We have to hope this works eventually. But it refuses to show any positive signs. We were actually better than this under Graham Potter.

The government announced earlier, while Boris was lying his way through the Covid enquiry, that the Hillsborough families have been let down again.
Covering up a, much delayed, announcement of failing to fully implement the recommendations [made five years ago] that followed the unlawful slaying of 97 football fans and a systematic, deliberate and prolonged cover up is form for this government.
Labour have pledged to implement, the change of culture in public bodies that would see the Hillsborough law implemented in full.

Friday 8 December
Leicester City U18 1:3 Chelsea U18
The FA Youth Cup campaign started well as Donnell McNeilly, Michael Golding and teenage-goal-machine Shim Mheuka scored the goals.
Everton or Stockport County in the next round.

The Preston FA Cup tie will be live on the BBC iPlayer, 5.30 Saturday 6 January.

Saturday 9 December
Manchester United, who had a record number of shots on target as the dominated us in midweek, were thrashed 0-3 at home by Bournemouth. The Cherries turned up at Old Trafford with a tactical plan, worked hard and defended well. One wonders why Pochettino didn’t think of trying that.

Omari Hutchinson scored a great goal as Ipswich maintained the pace at the top of the Championship by beating the Smog Monsters.

Sunday 10 December
Everton 2:0 Chelsea
Pochettino is living Graham Potter’s nightmare. All he can do is prattle about how we deserved more out of a game where we rarely threatened and allowed Everton a comfortable home win. Without their 10-point deduction Everton would be four points ahead of us. As it is we sit in 12th 14-points behind the Champions League place we need to balance the books.
Reece James limped off with a recurrence of his hamstring troubles, Robert Sanchez limped off too, handing a debut to Djordje Petrovic. Marc Cucurella also limped off with an ankle which should hand a chance to Ian Maatsen.

Arsenal 4:1 Chelsea
We have been sketchy after the international breaks this season but playing sides that couldn’t take advantage. Arsenal did, bullying us off the ball and deserving their win.
“I won’t sit here and make any excuses. That’s as bad as I’ve seen us in any game,” Emma said afterwards. “If we want to compete, we have to be better than that. The better team won by a country mile. They bullied us. They dominated in the duels. All phases of our play were poor”.
Asked if there were any positive to be taken from the afternoon, Hayes said “I’ve got a 20-minute drive home”.

Tuesday 12 December
Luton Town U21 1:2 Chelsea U21
Zain Silcott-Duberry put us one up, Tyrique George scored a screamer to make it two and Luton’s late goal back didn’t mean much. The pouring rain at Kenilworth Road saw Dutch international Tim Krul line up for the Hatters but a young Chelsea side didn’t look troubled as the development squad won four out of four in the group stage of the Premier League Cup.

The women drew West Ham United at home in the FA Cup, Sunday 14 January.

As if the weekend wasn’t bad enough, Chelsea said that Lauren James was subject to racist abuse. We’ve said before that racist have no place as Chelsea fans. Given all the players and fans from almost every nationality and background you can think of, what makes racists support Chelsea?

Thursday 14 December
Chelsea 0:0 Hacken
A really frustrating night for Emma Hayes and her squad as domination wasn’t turned into goals.
Erin Cuthbert rattled the crossbar in the first half and Sam Kerr’s header deflected away in the second but we couldn’t find the right touch.
Held in an echoing Stamford Bridge, this game would have been better staged at Kingsmeadow.

Saturday 16 December
Chelsea 2:0 Sheffield United
A home win in a game that kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday are now so rare as to deserve special mention.
Sheffield were largely compliant in our win as they kept trying to play out from the back and allowing us to nick the ball off them.
Conor Gallagher had an early dig, Nicolas Jackson curled one wide and the frustration of trying to break down a low block wasn’t resolved until Cole Palmer thumped in a well worked effort in the 54th minute.
Jackson tapped in after a scramble and Armando Broja scuffed one wide as Stamford Bridge went home thanking Sheffield United for being very poor.
Petrovic was probably thankful United didn’t test him more than once on his full debut.

Chelsea U18 9:1 West Bromwich Albion U18
Frankie Runham, Donnell McNeilly scored one each before the break but Shim Mheuka bagged a hattrick.
The second half was almost as good, Harrison McMahon scored a peach, McNeilly grabbed a second, Chinonso Chibueze made it eight before West Brom hit a goal of their own against the run of play. Chibueze had time to score a ninth.

Strasbourg won again for their first back to back wins of the season. This time they beat Lorient away.

Sunday 17 December
Bristol City 0:3 Chelsea
Lauren James really is a class apart, even in a strong Chelsea squad. Her opening goal, lashed in from distance, was all her own work. Erin Cuthbert and Sam Kerr scored the other two as we got back to winning ways. James had another effort in the second half that rattled the bar.
Niamh Charles walked for a second yellow right at the end but results elsewhere re-established our three-point gap at the top of the table.

Liverpool U21 2:1 Chelsea U21
Dylan Williams scored for us to level things up but a last-minute goal robbed us of a deserved point.

Tuesday 19 December
Chelsea 1:1 Newcastle United
(Chelsea win 4-2 on penalties)
Mykhailo Mudryk stole in with 92nd minute equaliser after a dreadful display. The shootout win was easier as we didn’t slip.
We handed Newcastle most of their goals in a 4-1 hammering at St James Park and handed them the lead here as first Silva and then Badiashile fluffed the chance to clear.
Newcastle learned the simple lesson that a low block and catching us on the break is all you need to do and but for a loose ball and Mudryk’s finish we would have been out.
Kiran Trippier flashed his penalty wide and Nkunku scored his confidently, Mudryk tucked his away and Djordje Petrovic palmed away their fourth to send us through.
Fulham are also through to the semi-finals, so a west London derby at Wembley is still on.

Chelsea U18 3:2 West Bromwich Albion U18
After a 9-1 being 2-0 down at half time was a bit of a wake up for the lads. But wake up they did and Travis Akomeah dragged us a goal back. A schoolboy we’d never heard of before, Rio Ngumoha, on debut levelled before grabbing an assist as Somto Boniface scored a very late winner. Character building stuff.

Further vindication of Nike as Mary Earps won Sports Personality of the Year. Nike refused to release a Mary Earps goalkeeper kit ahead of the women’s world cup. Sadly, we are lumbered with the Elon Musk of kit manufacturers for years to come.

Wednesday 20 December
BK Häcken 1:3 Chelsea
Erin Cuthbert with two second half goals saw us finally assert some dominance in Group D.
Sam Kerr’s opener had been cancelled out by a rare Häcken break and a great headed finish. But our possession and movement wore them down.
Paris beat Real Madrid in the night’s other tie and so the Spaniards ar out but two points separate the three clubs at the top of the group.
Our next outing is at home to Madrid and we finish in Paris, Tuesday 30 January.

Middlesbrough in the League Cup semi-final. Liverpool, who thrashed West Ham, will play Fulham with the second leg at the cottage.

Chelsea U21 3:1 Celtic U21
Premier League international cup action for the stiffs and the visit of Celtic.
Jimmy Jay Morgan accepted a deft touch from David Washington and lifted it over the advancing keeper for an early lead. A gaff almost handed the advantage back and Celtic dominated possession and chances for the rest of the half.
So their equaliser at the start of the second wasn’t unexpected. Zain Silcott-Duberry curled in a loose ball after more good work by Washington and a third arrived when Jimmy-Jay Morgan had the ball rolled to him by their keeper and he scooped a finish.

Roman Abramovich has lost a court case to try to overturn European sanctions against him. The former Chelsea owner argued in court that he was “just a passive shareholder in a business sector with no connection to the war” and that he “does not have the ability to influence the decision-making of any government, including Russia, and has in no way benefited from the war.”
His lawyers criticised the court for uncritically accepting that the steel company, Evraz, was a major contributor to Kremlin funds and that he had financially benefitted from links to the Putin regime.

Thursday 21 December
The European Court of Justice have ruled that Uefa and Fifa abused their ‘dominant position’ in blocking the European Super League, last year.
The decision is legally perverse. That is, it is made in the face of the evidence and treats football’s governing bodies as if they were private companies. A bit like suing the UK government for holding a monopoly of power in the land.
Uefa stressed that the decision does not mean that a super league will start but the grubby little clique of clubs A22, gloated that “the Uefa monopoly is over, football is free”. It is hard to express the level of contempt football fans have for the Trumpian, simple minds that run A22.

Friday 22 December
Away at the Riverside on Tuesday 9 January, with the second leg Tuesday 23 January.

Saturday 23 December
The supporters trust unveiled a banner outside Premier League headquarters and Sky sports that said Christmas Eve football can get stuffed.
The trust said:” We have held this demonstration to remind the Premier League and its broadcasters that without match-going supporters, football is nothing – Christmas Eve Football Can Get Stuffed!
“Premier League CEO, Richard Masters, must ensure his words on supporter engagement are not hollow and must guarantee that there is meaningful dialogue and consultation with supporters on key issues relating to our clubs.
“Our message is clear – stop treating match-going supporters with total disrespect or risk stadiums becoming lifeless, soulless, and without passion.”
The trust is spot on and clearly doing a good job.

Sunday 24 December
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2:1 Chelsea
Merry bloody Christmas.
This is getting worse. Unable to play, showing no fight, no urgency, no skill, we stood and watched as Wolves absorbed the tentative pressure we tried to apply, nicked two second-half goals and will have a happy winterval.
Raheem Sterling even ignored two players square of him to shoot lamely at the ’keeper. This is not a harmonious squad.
The only bright spot was Nkunku, good movement and showed a desire to get in and score. His header at the end was a ray of light on a very dismal afternoon.
The result brings to a close the worst year Chelsea have had in a generation and there doesn’t look like any up-turn soon.

Wednesday 27 December
Chelsea 2:1 Crystal Palace
By the skin of our teeth. Noni Madueke hasn’t had the best luck with us since he joined but won the penalty and stood up to take.
This wasn’t a confident or clear-cut performance but was at least a win. With so many suspended Ian Maatsen got a rare chance and Alfie Gilchrist made a deserved debut as a late second-half substitute.
We started reasonably well and the lead was deserved. The much-improved Malo Gusto was a threat all night and squared for Mykhailo Mudryk to side-foot us into the lead.
The equaliser was against the run of play and entirely due to hesitancy in a changed backline. It would be hard to blame any of the players for lack of match action or continuity.
Nicolas Jackson thought he had restored our lead but was a victim of VAR only for Madueke to win his spot-kick after an intervention.
Nkunku looked lively and was unlucky not to score when heading over.

Saturday 30 December
Luton Town 2:3 Chelsea
Cole Palmer’s £42m tag is starting to look a good deal. The youngster has rapidly forged a place in our midfield, rocketed in one and strolled in another either side of Noni Madueke’s second of the week and we were in control.
That we nearly threw is all away led to an irate Thiago Silva storming at his colleagues. Luton used the simple expedient of running at the backline to confuse us, they hit the bar twice, had one disallowed for offside and scored two.
Alfie Gilchrist came on as a late sub and might get a game next weekend.
The kind of match that is usually described as a thriller. But A&E is full of guys our age who spend their weekend hooked up to an ECG, looking grey and not looking forward to Preston.

Millie Bright OBE, we’ll have you know. Millie is one of three lionesses in the new year honours list.