The week Frank Lampard nearly signed
Monday 4 February
Europol pulled the rabbit of match fixing out of Uefa’s hat. A Champions League game in England is among hundreds of suspicious games played over the last few years – can we all guess which one was fixed? No, apparently they will not tell us until the legal process is complete.
Meanwhile in the treatment room: Petr Cech has a broken finger and Demba Ba is still waiting for the swelling to go down around his nose.
Tuesday 5 February
The Europol case is apparently not Chelsea against Barcelona but Liverpool against the Hungarian side Debrechen. It would have been consoling to think that Øvrebø had, at least, a financial motive.
Nat Chalobah replaced Josh McEachran late in the game as both played a part in England U21’s 4-0 drubbing of Sweden. Josh even volunteered to take a spot kick but fluffed his line and still has no senior goal to his name.
The FA youth cup game against Barnsley will be at Staines Town on Friday 15 February – in fact everything will be that day – every last event that can be squeezed into the winter is going to happen on Friday 15 February.
The women’s team have their fixtures out: starting in late March and with five new players and a new coaching set-up they will be hoping to challenge Arsenal and Everton more closely. We don’t often take much note of the women’s side of Chelsea – because we are a bit old fashioned and sexist – and because they haven’t exactly pulled up trees. We will try harder this season.
Give us all something to watch in a summer without other sport.
Wednesday 6 February
England 2:1 Brazil
Chelsea had so many on each side we both won and lost at the same time. Ashley Cole didn’t get booed on the occasion of his 100th cap. Frank Lampard scored a breathtaking winner and Oscar shone from both wide and as a number 10 but could not lift a lacklustre Brazil. Luiz Felipe Scolari has a lot of work to do between now and next summer. David Luiz shook off his ankle problem to play the whole game.
Elsewhere on another continent: Victor Moses, Obi John and Ken Omeruo all made it to the final of the Africa cup of nations as Nigeria tonked poor Mali 4-1. Burkina Faso await in the final after they were denied by referee and linesman a clear win in normal time over Ghana. They also saw their best player sent off for diving when he was tripped in the box.
In other friendlies: Cesar Azpilicueta made his debut as Spain beat Uruguay 3-1 in Qatar. Juan Mata also played. The Belgian boys secured a late win against Slovakia. Eden Hazard opened the scoring from an early penalty.
Thursday 7 February
Just when rumours that Frank Lampard is in negotiations with Chelsea arise so they are squashed.
The one move that would make up for the Benitez appointment is snatched away before it has bloomed. Someone inside the club needs to get a hold of a few Chelsea fans and run some ideas past them.
Friday 8 February
Nathaniel Chalobah is having a good season – voted England young player of the year last week he scored in front of the Sky cameras this. His Watford side were held by Crystal Palace in a clash for an automatic promotion spot.
Hulk Hogan clearly thinks we’ll do well tomorrow; predicting a 40-1 home win against Wigan. Hulk, who has never heard of Mark Lawrenson, was taking part in the BBC website’s weekly predictions.
Imagine living in a world where Mark Lawrenson did not exist – bliss it was in that dawn to be alive.
Saturday 9 February
Chelsea 4:1 Wigan Athletic
For once we actually added goals as the final whistle approached instead of shipping equalisers we extended our lead. Frustration was almost boiling over before we did.
With Demba Ba in a mask and John Terry on the treatment table the team almost picked itself. Eden Hazard returned from his absurd ballboy ban and David Luiz was trusted with the midfield role everyone wants to see.
We looked to have all the usual pomp at the start. Torres fed a delightful ball to Ramires for the opener before the half-hour. 1-0 and Eden Hazard moved us to the jittery score of 2-0 just before the hour, heading in a cross form the bright Azpilicueta.
Sadly the tem that has collapsed late in games so often under Benitez almost did so again. Two minutes later, Shaun Maloney swerved round Cech with our defence absent. 2-1.
They had a shout for a penalty which Foy and Clattenburg would have been delighted to give but Mike Dean is a better man than both.
Thankfully, Frank Lampard is still on our books. Eden Hazard squared and Mata stepped over for Frank to lash the ball in for goal 198 but more importantly 3-1.
The stadium took a deep breath.
Suddenly we hadn’t screwed up – for the first time since winning at Arsenal we had breathing space.
Marco Marin came on and scored his first in this injury-hit season for 4-1. And suddenly everything looked so much better.
Benitez was left to field questions about Frank and his contract. Those in charge of Stamford Bridge public relations might deem now a good moment to offer a two-year deal to write your own cheque. It is the news we all want to hear. They could confirm that Benitez will leave in the summer and we’d all be satisfied.
“What? Grateful to Benitez that at least we didn’t screw up this week?” No.
Those trying to attend the launch of the Chelsea Supporters Trust probably wanted to share similar sentiments. The event was poorly advertised and the need for an invitation wasn’t widely understood.
Crystal Palace U18 1:5 Chelsea U18
A thumping away win for the U18 is the first since the post Christmas split. Jeremie Boga with two, Connor Hunte, Tome Howard and Chike Kandi raced us into a dominant position.
Sunday 10 February
Nigeria are African Champions after beating Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final. John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Kenneth Omeruo can all now flash their medals on their return to Cobham as the first Chelsea players with a trophy this season.