Thursday 1 February
After all the recent spending, and points deductions for FFP infractions, it is hardly a surprise that every club has reigned in spending.
Armando Broja has been touted to anyone who would spend and because no one is, he will spend the rest of the season across Bishops Park at the Cottage. Well, deal-sheets have been submitted, he has passed a medical but we’ll have to wait for the early hours for confirmation.
It is not immediately clear how the potential £4m loan fee will balance the books. Fulham have beaten us down to paying the whole fee only if Broja plays most of the remaining games his season.

Andrey Santos has been shuffled off to Racing. After a woeful loan to Forest, he should at least get match time in Strasbourg.

Friday 2 February
… Armando Broja is a Fulham player for the rest of the season. The deal done in the wee-small, while sensible people sleep.

Chelsea U21 3:3 Leeds United U21
This is actually the end of the PL2 Cup group stage. Zain Silcott-Duberry opened the scoring and Jimmy-Jay Morgan scored the other two – he usually does. Leeds hit a couple of belters themselves in an entertaining run out.

Millwall beat Coventry in the FA Youth Cup. Which means we will play them, away, if we beat Crystal Palace. We aren’t sure if we’ve ever had an FA Youth Cup campaign without a home game.

Saturday 3 February
Chelsea U18 1:2 Leicester City
A very frustrating exit from the U18 Premier League Cup. Reiss Russell-Denny put us ahead in a mixed first half. But Leicester hit us with two in quick… Once Donnell McNeilly was sent off there wasn’t a way back. It wasn’t clear what the red card was for.

Sunday 4 February
Chelsea 3:0 Everton
A couple of penalties saw us ahead of an incredibly hard-working Everton. Guro Reiten slotted both. A late super strike from Erin Cuthbert gave the crowd a real goal to cherish as we one-touched our way into space.
Mayra Ramírez made a real contribution on her first start, powerful and quick she won one of the penalties, even if she wasn’t exactly fouled.
The first penalty was also controversial, although VAR might have issued a red card as well for a follow through.
Everton’s manager did walk for two yellow cards. Oddly the Toffees actually had a lot to take away from the match.
League Cup action against Sunderland next for Emma Hayes’ side.

Chelsea 2:4 Wolverhampton Wanderers
There isn’t much left to say. Being thrashed at Anfield is shameful but being humiliated by Wolves at home is beyond even that. Anger at the owners, the money spent, the vandalism, the wreckage of the culture of the club, cannot change anything in the short term. This is where the owners have taken us. It is a deliberate project but one that appears to be going nowhere.

Monday 5 February
Katerina Svitkova has gone back to Czechia to play the rest of the season with Slavia Prague.
Katerina was settling in well last year until a knee injury and she will continue her rehabilitation nearer home.

Tuesday 6 February
Ajax in the next round of the Champions League. If Emma Hayes’ squad get through that, they will face the ultimate test in Barcelona, or SK Bran, in the semi-final.
We visit the Netherlands first third week of March before the return a week later.

Pochettino received a “very good text” from the owners after the disgrace at the weekend.
Whether you want him gone or want to give him time, we cannot afford to sack him. FFP means we would have to sell a player before we could buy off Pochettino’s contract. We’re stuck with him.
He added: “The fans need to understand when they go to Stamford Bridge it’s a different Chelsea, a different project, a different everything. It’s the responsibility of the players and the staff to create a connection, something in between they appreciate.”
Which sounds like the team are going to try to develop a coherent attacking strategy and a stable defensive model that we can connect with. No word on why they haven’t done either of those things yet.

Leeds needed extra time to get passed Plymouth but won convincingly in the end.

Wednesday 7 February
Aston Villa 1:3 Chelsea
Who saw that coming? We were at it from the start, front foot, not allowing Villa to play, taking our chances and Chelsea voices filling Villa Park.
Conor Gallagher, Enzo and Moises Caicedo finally put in the dominant midfield performance we have been expecting and Conor scored the first after Jackson and Madueke worked him the narrowest opening and he found the top corner.
Jackson then had the easiest header to put us two up and silence the home fans. This time Madueke fed Malo Gusto and Jackson just had to steer in the cross.
Enzo’s goal was pure class, the finish from a freekick. Th Argentinian placed and replaced the ball in order to get just the right blade of grass. He then curled his effort over the wall and right into the top left-hand corner. Where that has been is almost as mysterious as the form we showed tonight. Totally dominant against high-flying Villa, after being abject against Wolves.
If it is a turning point and we can build from here, Chelsea might just rescue something from 2023/24.
Leeds United in the FA Cup for the first time since 1970 next. On a Wednesday night at the end of this month.

Sunderland 0:5 Chelsea
Emma Hayes will be well pleased that we maintained momentum and scored five on a potentially tricky night in the northeast. The women’s league cup has been good to us, up to the final, in recent years and progress tonight was emphatic.
Sjoeke Nüsken headed in a couple, Aggie Beever-Jones went for goal of the game and Fran Kirby nicked two in a comfortable performance.
Emma made 11 changes from the weekend to keep everyone involved and seemed delighted that we scored two in the first half against a determined low block.
Quarter-finals next. London Lionesses and Arsenal will have to try again after a water-logged pitch, with Manchester City and Aston Villa already in the draw.

Nigeria will play Côte d’Ivoire in the Afcon final on Sunday, after two really draining semi-finals.
Nigeria looked to have scored a second against South Africa when VAR pulled the match back to the other end for a South Africa penalty. The resulting shootout went the Super Eagles way despite old boy, Ola Aina skying his kick.
Ivory Coast had a more straightforward win with a home crowd delirious after their dreadful start to the tournament.

Thursday 8 February
Crystal Palace U18 1:2 Chelsea U18
FA Youth Cup action at Selhurst Park playing for a place in the quarter-final. Tyrique George and Jimmy-Jay Morgan are both having great seasons and supplied the goals that beat Palace. They’d started the stronger team but both sides had chances in the first half. In the second we struck two from distance and, despite a goal back, booked a trip to the Den, with all the happy memories.

England will play the Republic of Ireland in Group B2 in the Nations League. Relegated last time out England should be able to progress in a group with Greece, Finland and the Republic.
Journalists with long memories have already brought up he trouble in 1995. We don’t need to point out that was a generation ago.

Ifab decided that, rather than fix mess they’ve made of handball, they will further screw up football with blue cards for ten minute ‘sin-bin’ offences.
This pointless gimmick will further drain joy from the game.

Friday 9 February
West Ham United U21 0:2 Chelsea U21
This was a really impressive result against a strong Hammers side. It helps to have Ronnie Stutter back from injury and tearing half the length of the field to slot a superb goal. The second came for Leo Castledine from the spot.

The women drew Manchester City away in the semi-final of the league cup.

Sunday 11 February
Chelsea 1:0 Crystal Palace
So that is what Mayra Ramirez can do. A first goal for our new signing and a timely intervention as the tie looked to be drifting to extra-time.
We had an earlier effort disallowed but one goal was always going to be enough against visitors who showed plenty of defensive solidity but no ambition.

Coté d’Ivoire won their Africa Cup of Nations after coming from behind to beat Nigeria. It wasn’t the best final but the host will not care.

Monday 12 February
Crystal Palace 1:3 Chelsea
A dreadful first half, lacking the energy and spark of the performance at Villa, was swept away by a second bookended by goals.
From the kick off, our worst habits were on display. With plenty of possession hundreds of passes, no penetration or direction.
We conceded when Madueke and Caicedo muddled possession between them and allowed Jefferson Lerma space to curl a superb effort into the top corner. Palace had showed so little ambition it was as surprise to see them that far up the pitch.
Clearly told off at half-time, we came out with Nkunku on for Madueke and a more direct approach. It worked, two strikers distracted the Palace defence, allowing Conor Gallagher space to meet Gusto’s cross. The control on the volley suggests he has been working on his finishing.
It was the young midfielder’s second in a week but we had to wait an age for his third. Just as the clock ticked round to the 90, Sterling, on as a sub, did well in midfield to find Palmer’s run and Conor was lurking at the edge of the box to finish.
The third came on the break, as Palmer again, found Fernandez and he sat his defender down and hit the near top corner.
Our midfield clicking and getting amongst the goals is really positive. The season-long discipline problem was again as the already subbed Jackson was booked for running across the pitch to celebrate the late strike.

Tuesday 13 February
West Ham United U18 2:3 Chelsea U18
The impressive results keep coming for the age group teams. This time it was the U18s coming away from a difficult trip east, two goals from Frankie Runham and one from Reiss Russell-Denny saw us through.
It was a battling performance at times, coming from a goal down to lead at the break and persisting when we conceded in the second.

Wednesday 21 February for the FA Youth Cup quarter-final at The Den, 7pm kick off.

Thursday 15 February
Chelsea U21 1:2 PSV Eindhoven U21
PSV looked the slicker and more accomplished side but we still deserved better.
We took the lead through a glorious break as Washington’s ball found Ronnie Stutter, his first touch had him away from his marker and his low finish was emphatic. Only recently back from injury, Ronnie is really impressing.
The equaliser came after PSV reasserted their control but their winner came from a completely avoidable penalty.
We lacked a bit of experience and polish in this competition but it is all good experience. Jong PSV play in the Dutch second division and the difference in competitive preparation was clear.

Roy Hodgson was taken to hospital from the Crystal Palace training ground. He was later reported as stable in hospital but players were distressed at his collapse.
Rumours that he was about to be sacked and replaced by former Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner, probably didn’t help the stress levels of the 76-year-old. Hodgson’s contract runs out at the end of the season and it is unlikely he will be able to complete his spell.
We wish Roy well and a speedy recovery. Yes, we didn’t want him in the England job but we’ve always valued him as a club boss.

Friday 16 February
Chelsea 0:1 Manchester City
Emma shrugged off the disappointment of dropping points at home but this will have hurt. Denied a obvious penalty in the first half, we let a goal slip in a tight game and will have given City a confidence boost. They have been strutting about being the best team in the league all season. How Emma takes them down a peg will be interesting.

Saturday 17 February
Manchester City 1:1 Chelsea
A much better performance from Pochettino’s side and, as he pointed out, it needed to be.
The early play was characterised by discipline, concentration and no little skill. It almost looked like two top teams going head-to-head. We haven’t been able to say that since Thomas Tuchel left. Every feint was countered, each thrust parried. Both sides balanced and, if anything, Chelsea looked a little surprised to be the better attacking team.
Jackson had an excellent opportunity smothered at his feet by Ederson.
Ahead through Raheem Sterling’s finish, found by Palmer’s break and Jackson’s cross-field pass, we expected and got more pressure in the second period.
City had more chances but not clear ones, while we missed a couple of chances for a second. It took a late deflected effort to equalise.
We brought on Nat Chalobah, for his first appearance in months and trusted Cesare Casadei with the last ten-minutes.
Ishé Samuels-Smith and Ollie Harrison made the bench.
Overall a much-improved performance.

Tottenham Hotspur U18 1:4 Chelsea U18
This was a dramatic statement from the U18s. Spurs had been top of the table but Trique George ran rings around them. Setting up Frankie Runham for the first before a slip let in Reiss Russell-Denny for the second.
George scored his own after the break as the domination continued and Josh Acheampong wandered forward to head in George’s cross for the fourth.
A late, scuffed effort. Gave Spurs something but we had the better chances from there on.
Real progress in both U18s and U21s in recent weeks. With players getting onto the first-team bench as well, perhaps Cobham is fighting back.

Monday 19 February
Leeds United U21 0:2 Chelsea U21
Leo Castledine in the first and a glorious move for Ronnie Stutter’s second-half strike sank Leeds. It make four league games in a row for the academy team.

Tuesday 20 February
Sam Jewell, one of Brighton’s talent scouts, has been put on gardening leave ahead of joining Chelsea. Another Brighton signing, how has that worked out so far?
We shouldn’t criticise, we don’t know the guy, but the recruitment office is getting busy.

Wednesday 21 February
Millwall U18 1:1 Chelsea U18
(Millwall won 4-2 on penalties)
A really frustrating result given recent form but credit Millwall for frustrating our style and getting lucky.
We didn’t start well but with the hosts failing to threaten looked to have Harrison Murray-Campbell nicked the ball in from a corner but a mishap let them straight back in. The penalties didn’t go well.
We often talk about learning experiences and this will be a bitter on for this squad, considering what they are capable of.

Mia Fishel suffered an ACL tear and will miss the rest of the season. Mia was away with the USA squad and joins a lengthy list of ACLs, in the women’s game over the last three seasons. We used to have to spell out what ACL stood for…

Millwall sacked Joe Edwards and Andy Myers after six defeats in seven. Joe should have been given longer, but Millwall was possibly not the side to join to implement a new philosophy. Former boss Neil Harris will be given the job of making them less adventurous and more likely to stay up.

Thomas Tuchel has, after three poor results in a row, announced that he will leave Bayern München at the end of the season.
Our former boss hasn’t had the impact many expected but it is unusual for the club to ditch a project with so much of this campaign yet to play and the side still in the Champions League.

Friday 23 February
Middlesbrough U21 1:3 Chelsea U21
Behind for most of the match, we snatched it at the end with goals from Deivid Washington, Leo Castledine and Ronnie Stutter. All of them in the last five minutes.

Saturday 24 February
Chelsea U18 2:0 Aston Villa U18
Donnell McNeilly and Shaun Wade with the goals in a difficult scrappy game in which we missed a penalty, took advantage of a defensive slip and capped things on the break. A good night for the U18 who move second in the table with games in hand.

Stan Bowles has left west London football and we raise a glass. QPR’s greatest player lit up 1970s football and should have been an England regular.

Sunday 25 February
Chelsea 0:1 Liverpool
A mess, not a disgrace. We started brightly, created all the decent chances, but showed no ambition in extra-time leaving us looking stupid. Klopp trusted his academy players, Pochettino didn’t.
Liverpool had much trumpeted injury problems ahead of the final but have been functioning at the top of the league all season. They are a well drilled team and squad. We are nothing like that.
Liverpool brought on youngsters as the match went on. We had Billy Gee and Jimmy Tauriainen on the bench but neither came on. Our midfield looked all-in during the final stages and we didn’t replace them. We also named two goalkeepers among the subs, again. Pointlessly limiting the number of places on the bench is usually inexplicable but looked insane after extra-time.
Having created most of the good chances and dominated open play, we looked timid and tired in the extra period. Liverpool didn’t.
Gary Neville opened his gob to say “Jurgen Klopp’s kids beat Chelsea’s billion-pound bottle-jobs.” He has form, but much of the media fell on his with glee. Even the BBC led with the headline, not as a biased opinion but as sneering fact.
Pochettino didn’t cover himself in glory. His instructions in extra-time, appearing to play for penalties, not bringing on subs, shows just why he has never won a cup (outside of France).
We have now lost the last six domestic cups. It is a record that only Newcastle can ever beat.

Monday 26 February
Everton’s ten-point penalty for profit and sustainability rule breaches has been cut to six. Everton were accused of not ‘acting in good faith’ in the original case but have been cleared on that count and the punishment reduced to be in line with previous judgements. The Toffees move away from the relegation zone but they face being punished for the same offence again, as the accounts roll over for three seasons.
If City are guilty of the 120 counts against them, they be looking at a 660-point deduction.

Wednesday 28 February
Chelsea 3:2 Leeds United
Conor Gallagher in the ninetieth minute. It was only just enough to save the night from further ignominy.
We gifted Leeds an opener as Caicedo and Disasi clumsily passed the ball to a Leeds shirt in their own box. After the weekend, the crowd needed something to get behind, only for us to fall behind.
The equaliser was at least swift as Nicolas Jackson ran through and finished from a simple lay off.
Mykhailo Mudryk has been criticised for his finishing since he joined, but his low finish for his first of the year was clinical from Sterling’s pull-back.
This Chelsea cannot shake their sluggishness and Leeds were the better side at the start of the second half and were level and threatened a lead.
Gallagher’s turn and strike dug us out of a difficult situation as the tie looked to be going to extra time.

Having only just beaten one flying championship club we face leaders, Leicester City, at home in the next round.

Thursday 29 February
Brighton might get another few million from Chelsea after compensation for Shumaira Mheuka and Zak Sturge was set at up to £7.65m. The payments are dependent on their progress into the first team. Both have looked good value for money so far.