Monday 28 October
Jose announced his team for tomorrow night by saying that he would rest everybody who played yesterday.
Tuesday 29 October
Arsenal 0:2 Chelsea
Everyone was looking forward to tonight – 9,000 Chelsea made the trip – but few expected a walk on their park.
Jose lived up to his promise by changing the entire side (except Gary Cahill) but the changes didn’t dent the system and with Mikel and a rejuvenated Michael Essien running the midfield we dominated.
Arsenal managed possession as you would expect from a table-topping team on their own ground but we were the more effective going forward with Willian, De Bruyne, Mata and Eto’o doing all the damage.
The goal came, predictably, from an Arsenal corner. Eto’o bringing the ball up field, his pass to Essien was blocked and, as the ball span up into the night air, Jenkinson had the decision either to clear the ball or to dab it weakly back toward his own goal. He chose the latter and goal-machine Cesar Azpilicueta blindsided the defender and beat the advancing ’keeper. 0-1. Cesar had scored just the one goal before tonight so lay off the bets on Saturday morning.
Arsenal looked stunned.
As the second-half wore on without any real chances at either end – Eto’o flashed one wide but that was all – Arsène Wenger decided to reintroduce his first-team so Mesut Özil and Oliver Giroud joined in. Chelsea were so concerned they increased their lead. Eto’o working the ball to Mata who took one touch and trashed the ball in. 0-2. We controlled much of the rest of the play. So much so that we got to see large swathes of those big comfortable seats empty out as the home fans left early to beat the rush.
Wenger still has not beaten a Mourinho side and it seems organisation and hard work is enough to nullify all their tricks.
Elsewhere in thrill-a-minute-league-cup-action, Manchester United, West Ham, Leicester City and Stoke are all in tomorrow’s hat.
Wednesday 30 October
Man City and Tottenham both eventually made the hat. City being taken to extra-time by our next opponents Newcastle. The draw for the quarter-final threw up Sunderland or Southampton away. They play next week for some reason.
Thursday 31 October
Whoooo is that on the mat this morning but Bertrand Traore. A brand new work permit in his pocket Bertrand toured with the first-team in the summer and scored a couple of well-taken goals. He is already a full Burkina-Faso international and will be eager to get his blues career up and running.
Friday 1 November
Chelsea U21 3:3 West Ham United U21
The stiffs scrapped to get back into this seemingly on the back foot from the start. Goals from Lewis Baker and Jon Swift pulled us back into the contest from 0-2 down and Nathan Ake equalised again in the second-half.
Saturday 2 November
Newcastle United 2:0 Chelsea
This was pathetic. Take nothing away from Newcastle for being well organised at home. We had no penetration, no urgency, no guile, this list could go on… Jose said afterwards: “I was expecting to lose my next game when the opponent was fantastic or when we were very unlucky – a match where we fought to our limits and couldn’t get the result.”
Newcastle did very little in the first-half other than kick us up in the air without punishment. Eden Hazard was clumsily taken down almost at will by a string of defenders. Arsène Wenger used to ask for more protection for his players and finally we are starting to see what he meant. It was almost as if the ref was thought, “if you’re so good you could play despite this.” Lee Mason was content for Newcastle player to run through Chelsea but not the other way round.
On 68-minute he handed Newcastle a free-kick and for some reason the Chelsea defence switched off and watched Yoan Gouffran head in. 1-0.
We struggled to get out of first gear even with Willian, Eto’o and Schürrle on the pitch we plodded forward. Eto’o could have had a penalty and Willian had a shot saved but we had done too little to rescue things when Loic Remy added a second at the death. 2-0.
Jose was furious afterwards but his team were half asleep. We will need to improve away from home.
Oddly for the torpor on display and the spineless nature of the performance we didn’t slip down the league. Arsenal are a few points further on after beating Liverpool and the pack are a few points nearer but the damage was limited.
Over in the Netherlands Vitesse fielded a near full complement of Chelsea players this week as they won in the cup and beat Ajax away to briefly top the table. Sam Hutchinson made his season bow in cup action during the week got a late sub appearance in Amsterdam and Gaël Kakuta also made is first appearances scoring twice in midweek. His season has also been disrupted by injury.
Sunday 3 November
Kenneth Omeruo has been recalled by Nigeria for their second-leg against Ethiopia next week. Ken only made it back from shoulder injury on Friday at home to West Ham’s U21. He was expected to feature this season but injured his shoulder in the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Romelu Lukaku clashed with Hugo Lloris as Everton were held by Spurs. The big Belgian goal machine was forced off ten minutes after the clash but the Spurs goalkeeper stayed on.