Tuesday 28 August
Chelsea U19 1:2 CSKA Moscow
Well, the NextGen series is underway but Chelsea are going to have to finish better than this to progress.
Patrick Bamford nipped in to give us the lead but we’d surrendered it by letting in two quick goals before the break.
Jeremie Boga – still a schoolboy – looked the part in midfield as Chelsea completely dominated the second-half but couldn’t find an equaliser.
Thursday 30 August
Champions League group draws pit us against Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and Nordsjaelland in Group E.
Turin is a great place to visit but few locals could claim the same of Donetsk on the far side of the Ukraine or Nordsjaelland who live in Farum near Copenhagen.
Manchester City got the really interesting group in Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund – although Celtic went close with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow. Arsenal drew their usual French cousins, a Greek side and the easy Germans, s that is them out and Manchester United bombed so badly last season they have to play Sporting club Dipsy, Laa-Laa and CFR 1907 Po.
Don’t forget that the wizards at the FA decided today was a good day to draw the league cup fixtures – nobody could possibly over look those while they are in Monaco – Wolves at home in case you hadn’t heard.
Six Chelsea players in one England squad is also quite noticeable. Terry, Lampard, Cole, Cahill, Sturridge and Bertrand all meet up next week for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and the Ukraine.
Friday 31 August
Chelsea 1:4 Atletico Madrid
While ITV commentators wet themselves over Madrid this was a farce. Chelsea turned up for an exhibition game and were kicked and pushed off the ball with every possession for the first thirty minutes while the referee and linesman decided that rules and offsides weren’t necessary.
By the time Chelsea realised that this wasn’t a friendly but a war, we were 0-3 behind. It could have been worse.
Every time a Chelsea move developed in the opening exchanges a Madrid player would come through the back or side – playing the man not the ball time and again. Chelsea players were trying to avoid injury ahead of serious competition couldn’t compete. It was like watching Liverpool play us in Europe all those years ago or Manchester City in the last three seasons. Kick-you-up-in-the-air-take-the-ball-thank-you-ref.
That said Di Matteo’s side does have shambolic defending to draw on when things are tough – look at Reading – but this took things to new levels of inept. The two screening midfielders in our doughty 4-2-3-1 seemed completely absent up field whenever a break was on.
Deadline day deals took Michael Essien to Real Madrid on loan for the season where he links up with Jose Mourinho again. Gianfranco Zola is also on the old boy network and takes Nat Chalobah to Watford until just after Christmas. Loans for others too saw Gaël Kakuta join Vitesse Arnhem, also in the Netherlands Amin Affane joins Roda JC Kerkrade. Thorgan Hazard will play in the Belgian top flight with Zulte Waregem. Finally… Yossi Benayoun has been loaned back to West Ham.
Saturday 1 September
Chelsea U21 5:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers U21
Starting to find their feet in the new league Chelsea’s U21 squad contained at least one school-boy but were still too much for Wolves.
Lucas Piazon opened the scoring before adding a late penalty. In between we had goals from Jeremie Boga, Aziz Deen-Conteh and Lewis Baker. Smashing entertainment for the decent crowd as the U21 played at Stamford Bridge for the first time. You might have to wait a while for the next.
Chelsea U18 2:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers U18
An altogether harder task in the morning as a stubbornly defensive Wolves U18 were finally beaten with goals from Islam Feruz and John Swift.
Sam Hutchinson scored his first professional goal for Nottingham Forest and it was some goal, he charged up the pitch controlled a through ball and slotted in one movement.