Monday 1 September
A quiet deadline day only a few loans and a chance to gawp at those who leave their major business very late indeed.
Marco Van Ginkel joined Fernando Torres on loan at AC Milan. We needed to cut one foreign player from the squad to get down to 17 and Marco needs playing time after last season’s knee injury.
The pick of the opportunities goes to Nathanial Chalobah who joined Burnley until January. Nat has been growing in stature both on loan and in U21 internationals. At just 19 he is getting a chance in the Premier League with an ambitious but realistic club. He should thrive.
Middlesbrough added Jamal Blackman to Kenneth Omeruo and Patrick Bamford but also added Jelle Vossen from Genk an international striker who might push Patrick down the pecking order.
Islam Feruz has taken the first steps to a full professional career, albeit on a less trodden path to Greek football with OFI from Crete. Also going are Matej Delac and Ulises Davila: the former to Arles-Avignon in the French second and the latter to Club Deportivo Tenerife.
Meanwhile in the surreal world, Manchester United – who you will remember don’t sack managers or buy success – topped £150m spending to bring in Radamel Falcao. For an already unbalanced squad in need of a holding midfielder and a few defenders this looks like a reckless, desperate punt. Falcao has been a hugely impressive striker everywhere he has been but hasn’t played since recovering from nearly a year out with knee ligaments.
Tuesday 2 September
Cesar Azpilicueta signed a new five-year deal that will keep him here until he is 30. Cesar changed a few minds last season in making left-back his own and is possibly the best deal we’ve done in recent times at £6m from Marseille.
Wednesday 3 September
England 1:0 Norway
Gary Cahill was captain for twenty minutes of this match and he will cherish the memory, there was precious little for rest of us. As many as 40,000 made their way to Wembley to watch Roy Hodgson take us further backwards. Most could barely be bothered to turn on ITV let alone find £60 for this crap.
Failing against extremely poor opposition is par for the course with Roy in charge and he bravely decided that with a new generation of young and exciting attacking talent he would make captain the most lumbering and ineffective unit and teach the bright young things of the team how to play 4-4-2.
It wasn’t pretty and will not work. England are poorly organised and poorly motivated and will be until a new manager is appointed. Hodgson’s England will lose to Switzerland next Monday and he will scratch his head and wonder how he still has the job.
Andre Schürrle scored as Germany slumped to a 2-4 home defeat to Argentina. Odd choice of opponents considering they have a point to prove. With a new manager and without the burden of always passing to Messi, Argentina were thrilling.
Andreas Christensen was on target for Denmark U21as they beat Russia.
Thursday 4 September
Loic Remy didn’t wait long to start impressing his new boss. He drilled in the only goal as France beat Spain. Costa, Fábregas and Azpilicueta all played a part for Spain.
Thibaut Courtois kept a clean sheet for Belgium as they overcame Australia 2-0.
New boy Mario Pasalic won his first cap for Croatia as they warmed up against Cyprus.
Friday 5 September
Diego Costa is out of Spain’s qualifier against Macedonia with a thigh muscle problem. It is a concern because of the problems he suffered toward the end of last season with Atlético and Chelsea will be keen o get him back and treated ahead of an intense period of away games.
England U21 1:0 Lithuania U21
Nat Chalobah played as Gareth Southgate’s side made a meal of beating a limited Lithuanian side. Nat had to be alert to block their best effort but it was a night of toil and few chances.
Saturday 6 September
Nigeria slipped up at home beaten 3-2 by Congo. John Obi Mikel and Kenneth Omeruo started.
Better news for Bertrand Traore as Burkina Faso beat Lesotho 2-0 on his19th birthday.
Christian Atsu played the first hour as Ghana drew one all with Uganda.
Sunday 7 September
Andre Schürrle played all but the last few minutes as Germany finally hauled themselves past Scotland with a controversial 2-1 win.
Meanwhile Loic Remy for France and Branislav Ivanovic and Nemanja Matic for Serbia shared and friendly draw.