International Break and Losing to Liverpool
Monday 14 November
Josh McEachran again played a prominent part for England U21 but sadly they fell for the sucker punch and lost 2-1 away in Belgium.
Oriol Romeu played the first-half as Spain beat Switzerland 3-0. Connor Clifford had a good night as the Republic beat Liechtenstein 2-0.
Milan Lalkovic played an hour as Serbia U21 lost 2-0 in France with Gaël Kakuta on the bench.
Finally, on U21 duty, Patrick Van Aanholt came on as a second-half sub as the Netherlands lost to Scotland. They must be putting something in the porridge.
David Luiz played the full 90 for Brazil in Doha as the comfortably beat Egypt 2-0.
Tuesday 15 November
England 1:0 Sweden
John Terry returned to take the armband in the lowest of low-key friendly internationals. That we finally overcame Sweden for the first time since colour television was introduced made this a landmark but it was an extremely boring experience. Even the goal to mark England’s 2,000th was a deflected own-goal. Daniel Sturridge will not care how dull the evening was as he won his first cap as a second-half substitute.
Petr Cech made a handful of saves as the Czech Republic won 1-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate to book their place next summer at the expense of Montenegro.
Raul Meireles is going as well; Portugal beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-3.
Juan Mata and Fernando Torres on the other hand flew all the way to Costa Rica for a 2-2 draw.
Thibaut Courtois made his debut for Belgium tonight at they held the French 0-0 in Paris; Malouda was a second-half sub.
Charming news that one of our own fans called Daniel Sturridge a monkey at the Genk game. Chelsea say they’ll investigate and ban the wanker if they find out who it was.
We have a fighter: Andre Villas-Boas will contest the FA charge for his comments after the QPR game. He has already submitted his defence.
Wednesday 16 November
Guus Hiddink is out of a job after Turkey’s failure to beat Croatia in the play-offs. AVB will be delighted when the papers start suggesting that Guus is hovering in the background.
Thursday 17 November
Dennis Wise has rejoined the board of the CPO at the invitation of new chairman Steve Frankham. Dennis said he was reconnecting with his football family but he’ll need to be savvy and diplomatic if the proposal to buy out the company comes up again soon.
CPO also announced that the AGM will be in January not December.
Saturday 19 November
Charlton Athletic youth 0:1 Chelsea youth
Adi Viveash is slowly getting these boys to play as a competitive unit. This win makes it four out of five and a battling performance by all. After Islam Feruz put us ahead ten minutes into the second-half we still needed a penalty save by Jamal Blackman to keep us in the game but against big a direct opponents our defending was up to the job.
Sunday 20 November
Chelsea 1:2 Liverpool
Another defeat and another ragged first-half display means Andre Villas-Boas will now have to reassess the direction he is taking the team. This result also leaves Chelsea twelve points behind the leaders.
We started with so much optimism as well: AVB put out a side to try to nullify Craig Bellamy and Luis Suarez so David Luiz started ahead of Alex. Meanwhile Ramires seemed to have been given a role of closing down Charlie Adam early in the match: could Chelsea be reverting to Mourinho’s tactics? Sadly, Liverpool were far more negative, every time we got the ball they were smothering the play, seeming intent on tripping and pushing their way to victory as they did last year. Defend deep, get away with what you can in the tackle and get lucky on the break: it seems Kenny Dalglish is a tactical genius.
Sure enough Cech bowls a simple ball to Mikel who, admittedly dithers, but is then pushed off the ball from behind by Adam who finds a swarm of colleagues and Maxi Rodriguez scored 0-1.
Chelsea’s passing was sloppy throughout the first-half; too many balls lumped forward under pressure from Bellamy, Suarez and Kuyt as supply lines to Mata were blocked.
At the start of the second AVB acted decisively he took off the clearly floundering Mikel, brought on Sturridge and moved Mata inside to create behind them in a 4-2-1-3. The effect was immediate as Mata found Drogba but the turn and shot were, er, a bit of a waste.
Malouda then snuck out wide and his cross was perfect for the on-rushing Sturridge to bring the equaliser. 1-1.Given how often we have had to battle back into games this season what happened next was hardly unexpected. First we had a great chance to take the lead as Drogba’s free-kick is headed straight at Reina in the Liverpool goal. Ashley Cole then fizzed a ball across the box and Mata chipped in to Malouda but the overhead kick is just wide.
The kick in the teeth though was coming and as against Arsenal being the stronger side doesn’t count of your defence goes missing on the break. Glen Johnson of all people controlled a high ball inside Ashley Cole and then simply ran all the way to stick it in with Chelsea players backing off and falling over themselves to get out of his way. 1-2.
Another crappy afternoon at the Bridge the first time we have lost two in a row at Stamford Bridge since Abramovich took over and the press have decisively moved on from Lampard being over the hill to Terry being a racist, now the only sound you’ll here around the club will be when will AVB be sacked and replaced by Guus?
Usually when a manager produces a string of results like this we’d be screaming from the roof tops that he should be replaced and have a good idea who should take the post. But this time we think the club will hold firm and stick with him. It is not as if he inherited a winning side and he’s trying to mould something very different from the Mourinho inheritance.