Monday 20 January
Wolverhampton Wanderers U21 1:2 Chelsea U21
Wolves were a stern test for the U21 but we recovered with two goals from Islam Feruz to earn a valuable win. Islam missed a penalty at the death that would have given him the hat-trick the ball is still travelling and is expected to make low earth orbit on Thursday.
Earlier in the day Sam Walker made his loan with Colchester permanent. Dermot Drummy praised Sam as a model young professional: “Sometimes you need to take one step back to take two steps forward and I’ve no doubt Sam can go on to play at a higher level in the future.”
Jose had a minor operation on his elbow today and expects to be back at work tomorrow.
Tuesday 21 January
Chelsea’s community teams keep growing. The club announced adult and youth teams for people with Down’s. The new teams will be a wonderful opportunity for anyone with Down’s to play and train within their own disability group.
Wednesday 22 January
Manchester United finally made a bid for Juan Mata. The bid is only £35m. Insiders talking to Sky sports news suggested that Chelsea would agree to £40m but that Mata had to ask for a transfer.
Let’s just hope he wants to stay.
United proved their need for reinforcements by bungling the home leg of the league cup semi with Sunderland, Winning the game 2-1 but losing the penalties by the same score.
Thursday 23 January
It seems Juan Mata said goodbye to every one at Cobham yesterday and leaves for Manchester United for as little as £37m. It is hard to know whether it is worse that we are losing one of our best players for peanuts or that we are giving a shot in the arm to the fading United.
It is a bad business all round.
We usually give fulsome praise to departing players and wish them well. Juan Mata certainly deserves the former, having twice been our player of the year on the way to successive European trophies, but any future silverware he enjoys will be heavily resented.
Mohamed Salah arrived in the afternoon from Basel for about £11m with both United and Chelsea still not confirming the Mata deal. Salah played very well against us in the Champions League late last year but has been criticised for a lack of consistency. The 21-year-old Egyptian international already has 27 caps.
Arsène Wenger complained that by selling Mata to them Chelsea were attempting to strengthen United ahead of games against his Arsenal and Manchester City. We think that is probably too Machiavellian even for Mourinho.
Josh McEachran signed for Wigan for the rest of the season where we hope he has a better time than his disappointing Watford loan.
Friday 24 January
Michael Essien is in Milan ahead of securing a deal with AC. Clarence Seedorf took over at the struggling Rossoneri recently and needs some steel in his midfield.
Michael is just the nicest bloke to have played here. He seemed to be permanently smiling and never had a bad word to say about anyone – even Chris Foy. Versatile in any position he gave us strength and direct running and an underestimated amount of craft with the graft. We wish him all the best.
Saturday 25 January
West Ham United U18 2:0 Chelsea U18
A rare defeat for the youth squad as a strong Chelsea team never got started. The pitch was heavy but it was the same for both sides as early goals punished us.
Juan Mata completed his move to Old Trafford.
Sunday 26 January
Chelsea 1:0 Stoke City
The magic of the FA Cup was reserved for the wettest weekend since Noah and for once our inability to put the ball in the net did not count against us.
The game was sealed by a sublime free-kick but was won by graft in the midfield and constant probing from wide.
Stoke offered practically nothing, once Peter Crouch had headed wide there was only a few routine takes for Mark Schwarzer. At the other end the goal lived a charmed existence. As everyone in the stadium moaned that David Luiz hadn’t scored a free-kick in ages the Brazilian defender made a dummy run wide and Oscar curled a perfect strike in off the post. 1-0. It was a beautiful free-kick, one worth the sight of Luiz thwacking the wall time and time again.
Oscar also had the best chance to make it safe before the break as he shuffled a bit of space on the break and thwacked it against the post. Lampard failed to connect with a low cross but the comical inability to flop it in the onion bag came in the second-half…
We camped outside the Stoke box in the second-half and refused to go away. Begovic saved well from Lampard before Schürrle thwacked the post again and Eto’o sliced wide. Well that doesn’t do the miss justice: Hazard raced to the byline and his cross was somehow tipped backward by Ramires and then wide by Eto’o. It was just not our day for a large haul.
The feeling was confirmed when David Luiz actually got one of his free-kick’s over the wall but Begovic made a desperate flying save.
Special mention to Nemanja Matic – Portuguese food really agreed with him, the skinny kid who left has become a big ‘un – he was an impassable object in midfield. He seemed very left-footed but then pulled off a couple of surprise passes with his right, he looked so much more assured than our defensive midfielders have in recent times. All in it was a very impressive second debut.
The draw for the next round paired us with Manchester City away. It could have been easier. Arsenal will play Liverpool in the other semi-fina… er, actually it appears to be only be the fifth round.
Juan Mata posted an emotional blog to say thank you to everyone – yes, even Jose Mourinho – and it is difficult to think ill of the little man. He could truly show his gratitude by refusing to score against us in his whole time as a Manchester United player.
Mohamed Salah is officially a Chelsea player for £11m from pesky Basel. He will wear the number 15 shirt for the next five-and-a-half-years.
Happy birthday to Jose Mourinho, 51 today.