- Missing Link
- The Club
Tuesday 6 November
Stamford Bridge will host the final of the final of the Women’s Champions League in May. There hasn’t been a senior cup final at Stamford Bridge since 1922 and the last neutral game was the Charity Shield in 1970 or the FA Cup semi in 1978.
Wednesday 7 November
Chelsea 3:2 Shakhtar Donetsk
The heart just can’t take this too much longer; we grabbed a vital win with the last touch on another pulsating night of poor defending and thrilling attack.
Perhaps you have to be as calm as Roberto Di Matteo to handle a whole season of this style of football but a comfortable 2-0 win would suit us at the moment.
It all started so well, as well: Torres was unlucky not to get on the end of Oscar’s cross but as he turned for the goalkeeper to restart play he was suddenly charging down a poor back pass and the ball ricocheted in. 1-0.
Suddenly we had a position to build on they had to come out and attack and couldn’t just reply on the break. Sadly we let them straight back in as Bertrand slipped they had a simple cross and Willian stepped away from Cahill too easily to score unmarked. 1-1 and not yet ten minutes gone.
The slapstick defending continued as Ryan Bertrand headed a corner back toward Cech and the big goalkeeper could only palm the ball to a striker who fluffed in his surprise and cleared it for us.
Di Matteo’s decision to leave John Terry on the bench looked more risky with each passing moment.
Suddenly they abandoned the slick passing and a booming long ball was headed on for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to shoot inches wide of the post.
We settled into some sort of rhythm long enough to retake the lead. Sadly it was ot mesmerising play but a poor headed clearance from their goalkeeper which found Oscar 40 yards from goal. Stamford Bridge actually seemed to hold its breath to watch what would happen: the spirited young playmaker lent back and volleyed the ball cleanly into the net. 2-1. The lad cost a bomb in the summer but what a talent.
We reached the break ahead but folded back right at the start of the second. Willian again started a flowing movement and as the ball went wide our defence piled in toward the goal the Brazilian calmly stepped back into the free space and scored with absurd ease. 2-2. It is hard to blame any one defender for the headless chicken defending but most of the goal scored against us in recent game have been tapped in from around the penalty spot by strikers standing where Gary Cahill should have been.
After that we exerted a bit more control and took the game to the Ukrainians but still had the headache of potential breaks. Then Obi John Mikel did something he never does – soaring to meet Mata’s curling free-kick with a powerful header into the bottom corner – only, the linesman has his flag up. Poor old Obi John.
Ramires was then bundled over in the box but no penalty was awarded. Six legitimate penalties and counting.
The tie looked more and more like a draw, with Juventus easily winning their game against Nordsjaelland we would need to beat the Italians ain Turin to go through.
It could be worse as David Luiz seems to lose the plot altogether and starts hacking players all around him. Shakhtar have a few late blasts that need to be blocked in the box. The ball breaks and we flood forward for a late corner. Mata pings the ball in and Victor Moses, not the tallest man in the squad, heads his second goal in a week. 3-2.
It has been a long time since the old stadium exploded in relief quite like this. I means our destiny is on our own hands again and four point will see us through this stage.
Thursday 8 November
Chelsea U19 6:0 Molde U19
It took a late equaliser to snatch something form the return fixture in Norway but goals kept flying in as the U19 team started to look as accomplished as the U18 have done. Goals from Islam Feruz (of course, scored two), Alex Kiwomya, Reece Mitchell, Lucas Piazon and finally George Saville celebrated making the first-team bench recently by firing in the last.
Two games against the mighty Ajax of Amsterdam follow to determine if we qualify.
Mark Clattenburg has been at the FA giving his version of events and here is a rumour the FA want to have the whole affair wrapped up before the weekend so they can start punishing Chelsea early and often.
Friday 9 November
We are in the black. For the first time in living memory Chelsea posted a profit of £1.4m. The figure is derived from a turnover of £255 obviously helped by European Cup win. There is more booty on the horizon as the recent sponsorship deals kick in and the new multi-billion TV deal starts next year.
Roman has taken the last of the loans off the club by converting the sums into shares. Meaning he isn’t going to leave us with any debt. The bet is that the Guardian will continue to list us as owing £500m.
Saturday 10 November
Crystal Palace U18 3:3 Chelsea U18
The academy side just keep marching on Alex Kiwomya and Chike Kandi pulled us back to 2-2 at half-time and George Cole levelled things up at the end.
We also now know that Colchester United will host the academy in the FA Youth Cup in early December after the Essex side beat Camberley Town
Ulsan Hyundai will play Monterrey on Sunday 9 December for the right to meet us in the semi-final of Fifa’s Club World Cup. The South Korean franchise club (est. 1983) beat the Saudi team Al-Ahli 3-0 on their own patch to win the Asian Champions League.
The FA have wisely decided not to postpone our game against Sunderland that weekend to allow us to acclimatise we will have only three days to absorb a nine-hour time difference.
Sunday 11 November
Chelsea 1:1 Liverpool
Another wretched result drops us to third in the table after City beat Spurs in the lunchtime kick-off.
It should have been a solid win for all of Liverpool’s possession they hardly had a shot and when they did they had to foul a Chelsea player to get it.
This all started with Liverpool bossing the ball with three at the back and wingbacks they had plenty of bodies in the middle but no penetration. Whereas we couldn’t get the ball off them but cut their defence to ribbons whenever we did. Oscar had the first really clear chance that he lifted just too much over the advancing goalkeeper.
John Terry got fed up with all the fancy approach play and bulleted in a header from a corner. 1-0.
Liverpool had no response. They kept to their patterns ambling around the pitch while we cut through them. Torres curled an effort that was saved and the rebound just eluded Hazard who could only hook wide.
Just as things are set up to start going our way something happens: today it was Suarez colliding with John Terry’s standing leg. The collision was sickening and the stretcher might mean ligament damage.
Mata had a glorious chance to put us two up at the break but somehow rushed a shot when he was clear with Hazard in support.
The second-half was much like the first. Torres had a head well saved and was then fouled as he tried to reach the rebound. Seven legitimate penalty shouts and counting.
We pressed but just wouldn’t find the right touch to go two ahead and inevitably when Liverpool produced their first shot on target Suarez proved how easy football is if you are allowed to foul your marker. 1-1.
Liverpool positively perked up after their good fortune and threatened late on but despite the disappointment we managed to hold them off.
That is seven points we have dropped in the last three games; well you could argue the five of those were taken from us.
Fernando Torres had another miserable afternoon – some players don’t celebrate when they score against their old club, Torres doesn’t try to score – he might have been sulking because Didier Drogba dropped in to remind everyone of the weapons we used to have.