Tuesday 17 September
Jose Mourinho was babbling about nurturing young eggs at his press conference today as he was invited to extend the analogy from his first spell about not being allowed to buy his eggs in Waitrose. He was a little more prickly when reminded that we’d not made a glittering start to the season.
It seems Marco Marin is so popular out with Sevilla the locals are trying to find him a girlfriend to persuade him to stay beyond the end of the season. We couldn’t make this up, so we are indebted to the Daily Mirror who made it up for us.
In tonight’s European football Madrid turned out in their away kit that looks like it would make a perfect Chelsea home strip. Ronaldo was in show off form scoring a hat-trick against woeful Galatasaray. Manchester United beat Leverkusen thanks to the referee allowing Rooney’s opening goal. Strangely commentators and journalists alike imagined the Germans were complaining about offside, when Valencia clearly fouled the Leverkusen ’keeper as he tried to save the shot. Barging the goalkeeper is clearly back in the laws of the game.
Wednesday 18 September
Chelsea 1:2 FC Basel
Crisis, what crisis? Jose held himself responsible after we dominated possession but created few chances. We started brightly as always but it wasn’t until the stroke of half-time that Oscar thrashed in a low shot to open the scoring 1-0.
Basel seemed to have come with a plan; to defend deep in the first-half and hit us on the break in the second. As such, the plan was not so much of a surprise that we could not respond to it for a second match in a row was. Jose Mourinho’s teams are supposed to be made of sterner stuff.
The night started brightly but without the goals, or shot on target to relieve the tension. Oscar was consistently a live wire but Willian and Van Ginkel looked the part.
The second-half looked to be progressing the same way until Basel suddenly came to life, flicked a few passed left to right down field and Mohamed Salah curled in the equaliser. 1-1.
To that point you could have been fooled into think the visitors were incapable of anything so direct. After that they tore forward in search of a winner. That it came from sloppy defending from a corner was worse. Marco Streller benefiting from Cahill running into Eto’o. 1-2.
Our attempts to claw the game back were as ragged as they had been on Saturday and were ultimately futile. After the match Mourinho’s pre-match remarks about a young, developing side were put into context by the average age being 28.
This is far from a crisis, we are only three point off the top of the league and are not yet out of Europe but the few who chose to boo at the final whistle, while obviously a tad tongue in cheek, might get louder and less ironic if this form continues.
Thursday 19 September
Nathaniel Chalobah has been loaned to Nottingham Forest for the season. Many were expecting a Premiership berth for Nat but Forest are pulling up, erm, trees so far this season so it should be a good fit.
Friday 20 September
Josh McEachran will get the chance to blossom under the tutelage of Gianfranco Zola at Watford this season. There are a few who enjoyed watching the hornets last season with Nat Chalobah, who will be delighted at the chance to follow Zola’s young side again.
The loan is initially until January with an extension possible if all are happy.
In his news conference Jose finally talked about Juan Mata and explained that he wants him to knuckle under to the new style he wants Chelsea to play before he can command a place in the side. He also challenged anyone to say that Oscar had not been Chelsea’s best player so far this season and it is hard to argue.
Saturday 21 September
Chelsea 2:0 Fulham
What you need in a crisis is a visit from your friendly neighbours. A scrappy game in which Fulham came to attack on the break eventually fell our way after a couple of close range goals.
We started without either Liz or Mata in the squad. Jose Mourinho seems to have a grudge against Juan Mata that will take some time to heal. Lampard was on the bench but a midfield of Ramires and Obi John looked defensive.
The first-half can best be summed up with our attempts to break down a committed defence and Fulham’s one effective break. That came when Cech raced out to block Darren Bent’s shot and that was all we got from the visitors. For our own part Mourinho’s new Chelsea was not really evident. We were too narrow and too slow.
The second-half could have drifted in the same direction but for Oscar’s bundled effort after shots from Eto’o and Schürrle had been blocked. 1-0.
The identity of the our second scorer finally paid out for those dedicated few who bet on him to score every week – step forward John Obi Mikel for his first goal in the Premiership in nearly two hundred attempts. The substitute Fernando Torres had a header saved and from the corner John Terry, captain for the 450th time, nodded back for Obi John to hook the ball in. 2-0.
Fulham looked exhausted and further goals could have come but in the end the points were what we needed.
Jose said that Mata could prove himself away at Swindon on Tuesday night.
It was good to see Bobby Tambling back on his feet and saying thank you for the support. He responded well to treatment over the summer after being inspired by the reception he got in April as Frank Lampard neared his record.
Everton’s new striker, Romelu Lukaku made an impressive debut – scoring with his head and being knocked out in the same action. He terrorised the West Ham defence.
Blackburn Rovers U18 2:5 Chelsea U18
Chelsea dominated from start to finish only to find ourselves down 2-1 at half-time; Ambrose Gnahore scored a scorcher from distance our opener. The second-half restored your sense of proportion as further goals from Dominic Solanke (x2), Kasey Palmer and another form Gnahore wrapped up an impressive performance.
Sunday 22 September
On the first mega-stupendous Sunday Manchester City edged a close run derby 4-1, the same weekend that Moyes started denying that Alex Ferguson was influencing the team. Tottenham scored a streaky late winner at Cardiff after battering the home goal and Arsenal again fluked a home match with Stoke City who dominated the ball for large stretches but couldn’t score.
Oh, and Sunderland sacked Paulo Di Canio who’d have thought that a fascist who can only communicate by shouting wasn’t cut out for top flight management.