Monday 15 November
Adam Phillip has joined Yeovil Town for a month. Adam has been injured for the best part of the last two years and will be hoping for both goals and games at Huish Park. Yeovil will be hoping so too being second bottom of League 1.
Tuesday 16 November
Time for Jeffrey Bruma to stand up; John Terry and Alex will be missing for the best part of two months. John has a nerve problem that he medical staff cannot diagnose and Alex will have exploratory surgery on his knee in the next few days. Both miss the internationals this week but more worryingly may be out until after Christmas. Expect plenty of press stories linking us with every member of every Champions’ League club’s back four and then hope we get Phil Jagielka.
Germany U21 2:0 England U21
Bit of a shabby night but a game spoiled by the referee producing a red card when England’s goalkeeper, Jason Steele, made contact with an already tumbling German forward. Steele was a half-time substitute for our other goalkeeper, Scott Loach, so Henry Lansbury played the rest of the match between the sticks. For those who criticise our academy Ryan Bertrand put in a good shift at left-back. Michael Macienne played both centre-half and holding midfield, Jack Cork set up some of our best attacks in the middle, Scott Sinclair played down the wing and Josh McEachran, still only 17, came on for a brief cameo.
Meanwhile in Africa, thousands turned up for ‘A Day with Michael Essien’ in Awutu Breku. Multiple competitions for local teams from five local schools culminated in a win in the football competition for the host club managed by Michael’s old coach. Oh, and Sulley Muntari pitched up to show his support.
Wednesday 17 November
England 1:2 France
For the first time in years there were no Chelsea players in the England squad but there was another glittering performance from Florent Malouda who supplied the pass for their first goal and played 76 minutes. England fielded a sprinkling of youngsters but shown little or no tactical awareness as France were allowed to dominate midfield. Another bad night for Sig. Capello’s reputation, he actually had us hoofing long balls to Andy Carroll.
Petr Cech saved a first-half penalty as the Czech Republic drew 0-0 with Denmark. Jose Bosingwa played for Portugal in a 4-0 demolition on Spain; it should have been five or six. Ramires’ Brazil lost to Argentina in Qatar and surprisingly Alex warmed up and was named on the bench. Yuri Zhirkov’s Russia were spanked 0-2 by Belgium. Rhys Taylor, Fabio Borini, Patrick Van Aanholt and Jeffrey Bruma all played for their U21 sides and all won.
Happy Birthday Oscar.
Thursday 18 November
Ray Wilkins’s successor as assistant first team coach will be Michael Emenalo who currently scouts our opponents. Michael doesn’t have his badges yet and this will be his first coaching position. He has been with the club since October 2007 so at least everyone knows his face. Emenalo was a Nigeria international during his playing career.
The defence of our FA Youth Cup will begin on Tuesday 7 December in the glamorous surroundings of the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground if you are making the trip to Sunderland.
Friday 19 November
Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t seem happy. He revealed that Michael Emenalo will not take part in coaching, Paul Clement will take charge of training, and that the appointment was not his decision.
“I am not here to explain how I feel at the moment, because it is not the right moment. I’m professional. I will continue to work. I want to stay focused on my team. The club made this decision [to promote Emenalo] after the decision on Ray. But nothing has changed, for me. Emenalo has been working with me before. He started when I came here last year. He was the opposition scout and was supporting me. He’s not been involved in the training, and won’t be, because Paul Clement has been and will remain doing that. But nothing changes. It was not my decision, but he is working with me for a year and a half anyway.”
He did reveal that John Terry’s back problem has been identified and can be treated, suggesting that our captain may be back with days rather than weeks. Alex is delaying surgery to play against Birmingham
Conor Clifford’s loan at Home Park has been extended to Monday 20 December. He has played five games in the month he has been a Pilgrim winning two and losing the rest.
Saturday 20 November
Birmingham City 1:0 Chelsea
More misery on our travels means we have lost three of the last four and managed only one goal in those games.
Birmingham City must have been licking their lips all week as stumbling Chelsea turned up but what they faced was determined and fluent attacking football from the start. The real mystery is how Chelsea failed to score from countless chances. From ten decent efforts on target a combination of the woodwork, poor finishing and Ben Foster kept us out.
Kalou started the game by very nearly getting on to a Drogba knockdown. Both attacker and goalkeeper appeared unsure where the ball was as it bobbled wide.
Didier Drogba looked to be back at the races as he broke clear and forced a low save from Foster. A fully fit Drog would have slotted the chance but, unlike the shambles against Sunderland last week, at least we made the opportunity.
But suddenly Birmingham spring to life, Cameron Jerome heads down to the unmarked Bowyer and Cech is helpless. 1-0.
Didier was putting in the effort to get us back in the game one shot was too comfortable for the ’keeper but a crashing header demanded the very best of Foster on 23 minutes.
When Foster saved Ashley Cole’s near-post effort everyone’s mind turned to last season when Joe Hart spent 90 minutes stopping everything that came his way.
Foster was alert enough from a Drogba free-kick but was saved by the crossbar from a flicked header from the big Ivorian. It just wasn’t happening despite almost complete control of possession.
The second-half started with more Chelsea possession and space down the wings but few sniffs of a chance until the hour when Ramires broke into the box and was just beaten to the ball by the defender, just. It looked a penalty to most but highlights later suggested the defender got the ball.
Kalou intercepted a back-pass but Foster was again there to thwart any danger and Alex and Ivanovic both had presentable chances but the game closed with four Chelsea strikers on the pitch but no goals.
After the match Ancelotti displayed so of the strains of the last few days: “You have to compare me with [Sir Alex] Ferguson, it’s a different position. It is different because Ferguson has total control of the team. I am just [providing] technical direction. Full stop. OK.”
Ray Wilkins issued a statement in the morning through the League Managers Association (LMA): “I am very disappointed that the board decided that I had no further contribution to make at Chelsea Football Club which has played such a huge part in my life”, he said “The LMA’s legal advisors are assisting me in obtaining answers to a number of questions arising from my undoubtedly unfair dismissal, and all efforts are being made to reach an amicable solution. I therefore will be making no further comment at this stage”.
A Chelsea statement read: “We are having amicable discussions with Ray’s legal advisors. Although the matter is confidential, we can say that we have told Ray and his advisors that we will honour the termination provisions in Ray’s contract.” So we will not know until the autobiographies come out.
Portsmouth youth 1:4 Chelsea youth
Perhaps the only ray of sunshine this weekend was the academy side away at Portsmouth. They contrived to fall behind early doors but an equaliser before the break was followed by three unanswered after.
Sam Walker was back in goal and Milan Lalkovic was back at the spearhead.
Billy Clifford got the leveller with a powerful header before Lalkovic hit a twenty-yard effort to give us the lead. Todd Kane hogged the rest of the limelight with a well taken one on one and a late penalty.