Monday 5 May
FA Youth Cup final 2nd Leg
Chelsea 5:3 Fulham
(Chelsea win 7-6 on aggregate)
What a cracking game of football. Fulham had us done and buried by half-time but somehow this young side blasted back to claim the cup.
Leading 3-2 from the first match Fulham scored an early goal tonight, a header from a deep cross, gave them a two-goal cushion. 0-1 (2-4). We dragged ourselves back into a lead with a Charlie Colkitt penalty and a Jordan Houghton shot. 2-1 (4-4).
Our defending was a bit soft and Fulham shot themselves back ahead by half-time 2-3 (4-6). The second was a flashing drive from Patrick Roberts that really stunned the 13,000 inside the Bridge
The referee was in particularly generous mood to our visitors as two reckless studs up challenges brought only one, yellow, card. Perhaps the occasion got to the official but the victim of the second assault, Jake Clarke-Salter, limped to half-time and played no further part.
The second-half started brighter for the Blues with three subs providing pressure going forward and more control at the back.
Isaac Ssewankambo fashioned the leveller on the night by finding himself room to shoot from 25-yards. 3-3 (5-6).
Dominic Solanke had looked dangerous all night and it was his head that delivered the leveller on aggregate from a deep cross. 4-3 (6-6).
The winner came as Izzy Brown fed Charlie Colkett who had the awareness to backheel the ball to Solanke who switched feet and blasted the ball into the roof via a slight deflection. 5-3 (7-6).
The boy celebrated wildly as we secured our fifth FA Youth Cup from our third final in a row.
That is almost that for the academy – just the end-of-season play-off for he U21s at Old Trafford to determine the champions of the U21 league. The game should have been at Stamford Bridge but the pitch is coming up to be relayed.
Frustratingly, Liverpool drew 3-3 with Crystal Palace meaning a win on Sunday would really have kept us in with a shout.
Tuesday 6 May
Wayne Bridge retired from the game today after failing to overcome a knee problem. Wayne wasn’t, erm, um universally popular in these parts after his absurd spat with John Terry about his ex-girlfriend. We can only hope he is a happier person and less inclined to believe tabloid twaddle as he enters retirement.
Andre Schürrle has won a prestigious ambassador award in Germany for being the footballer who projects the most positive image of Germany abroad. We are struggling to imagine what an English version of this award would be like.
We will have a full compliment of Nigerians in the provisional World Cup squad as Kenneth, Obi John and Victor all made the cut.
Wednesday 7 May
Petr Cech has a new shoulder after surgery to correct the injury he suffered in Madrid. The prognosis is ten weeks off so he will be just about back for the new season.
Gus Poyet and the Black Cats will be playing Premiership football next season after they reached 38 points with a win over a poor WBA. Albion are significantly ahead of Norwich in both points and goals so should stay up too.
Oh, and Manchester City fail to lose to Villa 4-0 meaning we cannot pull off any last minute, at the death, who’d thought it league win. And, yes, it was there in the back of your mind. You asked your gods and rubbed your lucky amulets and still we didn’t make it. Perhaps it is time to put away all the lucky underwear and traditions and face the next season superstition free.
All four of our Brazilians will be packing their clovers and crossing themselves ahead of the World Cup as they all made Phil Scolari’s squad.
Thursday 8 May
Jose Mourinho has been fined £10,000 for congratulating a referee after the Sunderland game and had his £8,000 for condemning a referee at the Villa game confirmed. The humourless slime that decide that anything a manager says about a referee is bringing the game into disrepute really need to be introduced the article 10 of the European convention on human rights.
Jose might not like being cheated by referees but he has an absolute right to say so.
Greg Dyke was busy outlining his plans for a Chelsea B team to play in a new division 3 between the existing division two and the conference. The idea is to provide a proving ground for players aged between 18-21 who clutter up academies with no first team football to play. His commission has at least produced an idea but an expensive and unpopular one. True to form the press conference to announce the wheeze involved Dyke, and those progressive beacons of English football Howard Wilkinson and Danny Mills.
In the play-offs, Patrick Bamford’s Derby beat Brighton 1-2 on the South coast to gove them an advantage into the second-leg next week.
Friday 9 May
Wigan and QPR couldn’t be separated at nil each so we’ll have to wait for the second-leg.
Saturday 10 May
Get used to it Saturdays will be like this for the next three months – no football. The World Cup is never anything more than a sticking plaster over the hole.
Sunday 11 May
Cardiff City 1:2 Chelsea
A fair result as the title is won by Manchester City with a four-point advantage. Our final total of 82 is a better return than any since we won the league in 2010.
Cardiff had the audacity to take the lead when Craig Bellamy’s shot took an absurd deflection. 1-0.
We fannied about not taking shots when another pass would do, Salah and Oscar were both guilty of wasteful play. Half-time came but brought more of the same until Andre Schürrle came on and caused a shaky Cardiff defence a few more problems. The leveller came when Azpilicueta had a shot saved, the ball rebound off the bar from his follow-up and Schürrle stepped in to net the loose ball. 1-1.
The goal came at a good time as Cardiff’s fans had sung out their opposition to their owner and more than reminded him that they play in blue.
Fernando Torres then scored a farewell goal tipping the ball in from very close range, he held up his hands by way of a celebration that many interpreted as a sign he was leaving. 1-2.
There was a run out for Nathan Ake and John Swift as a reward for their progress and Nathan for filling the bench so often.
Jose Mourinho said afterwards that we have had our transition season and that we will be challenging for the title next year, if. The if implied that we need to do the right business in the market and soon. He confirmed the Samuel Eto’o, who has been a delight to have in the side, would be leaving but that Ba and Torres could stay. About the rebuilding he said: “We don’t need a new spine, the structure is there. We need a couple of players to help the team … it’s about the right choices and trying to be successful.”
Derby County will have a shot at the Premier League after thrashing Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 in the second-leg of their play-off.
Ashley Cole announced his international retirement after being left out of the England squad for the World Cup. Cole has played on three tournaments and won 107 caps. It seems Luke Shaw will be going in his place.