Monday 2 February
Chelsea U21 5:3 Southampton U21
With everyone tuned in to deadline day on Sky the U21s had to work hard to grab some attention. They did so with on of the most entertaining games of the season. We raced into a 5-0 lead with Kasey Palmer, Izzy Brown and Dominic Solanke among the usual suspects and debutant at U21 Tammy Abraham slapping in a couple more. We then watched nervously as the Saints periodically reduced the arrears but thankfully stopped at just three. Now, have you heard that Bolton are after…
Transfer deadline day actually had a few deals for us this year: Andre Schürrle followed Kevin de Bruyne to Wolfsburg for an initial £22m and that allowed Columbian speedster Juan Cuadrado to join from Fiorentina for an initial £23. The Viola took Mohammed Salah on loan as a replacement.
With wingers winging to various places it was almost possible to overlook Ryan Bertrand’s £10m permanent move to Southampton. The fee is the biggest haul for the academy in recent years and will keep them in bibs and cones for a few years.
Andre Schürrle blew through the club in his time here scoring important goals – the hat-trick at Fulham stands out along with his opener this term from Fabregas’s perfect dink – but he never looked to fit in with the new tika-taka and always looked for goal rather than a pass. Wolfsburg are an ambitious club who will get the best years of our latest World Cup winner.
Salah always looked dangerous against us for Basel but word was that he ran hot and cold and he rarely sparked, he will though fit in well in Italy.
Cuadrado, if the show reels from the Brazil last summer are to be believed, is the most exciting winger you could ever wish for. We hope he fits in quickly. He is a big statement buy and should give the team the boost it needs in the closing stretch.
Tuesday 3 February
Alex Kiwomya will stay a Tyke until the end of March as Barnsley extended his loan deal.
Wednesday 4 February
The Ivory Coast have reached the final of the Africa cup of nations but they have so often before and then it all goes wrong. Christian Atsu and Ghana are up tomorrow.
Thursday 5 February
Ghana managed a 0-3 win over Equatorial Guinea to reach the final at the hosts expense but that doesn’t really tell the story as major biff blew up from half-time onward as people ran around and stuff was thrown. The local riot police caused their own problems before everything settled down and the match could resume.
Comments that it was a war zone were inappropriate on a continent that has had a few real wars in recent years.
Saturday 7 February
Aston Villa 1:2 Chelsea
Of all the bogey grounds we are perhaps luckiest to get a win from this one.
For some reason, often Foy shaped, we have donated more points at Villa Park than seems reasonable over the years but Jose and the team were determined to end that record. Jose had never won at Villa.
It all started with the sweetest passing move. Oscar Hazard and Willian did the dance toward the box and it was the Belgian making the run and applying the finish to Willian’s perfectly weighted pass. 0-1.
Everything from then on though seemed to stagnate in midfield. They had lots of willing effort but few passing options forward so they settled for stifling us instead. The fired in a few crosses and attempted to hassle Courtois off the ball but, despite a few flaps, the young ’keeper coped well enough.
We could have extended our lead but Didier Drogba swooped in to deflect the ball when Eden was better placed.
Villa’s one bright spark was Carles Gil a recent arrival from Valencia. His probing runs kept Azpilicueta and Willian busy and it was from his cross early in the second-half that Okore scored their equaliser. 1-1.
It seems the locals were suddenly very pleased with themselves but then you can forgive them because they haven’t seen a Villa goal since before we put the tinsel up.
Azpilicueta got his own back on Gil as he glided into the box bounced the ball off every defender in their and somehow still managed to chip the ball to Ivanovic. The big Serbian unit then executed a perfect left-foot volley to send the ball, unstoppably, into the top corner of the Villa goal. 1-2.
Cuadrado made a late bow and had few touches and no time to impress, more from him on Wednesday perhaps.
The news coming from Manchester that Hull were beating City was only tempered at the end when the Citizens managed a late equaliser. The result still leaves us seven-points clear.
Chelsea U18 2:1 Brighton and Hove Albion U18
This result means the youngsters will be in the elite group when the regional leagues split next month.
Hubert Adamczyk and Isaac Christie-Davies did the first-half damage and a young squad with a smattering of U16s held on well after the break.
Sunday 8 February
A really dull Africa Cup of Nations final as Cote d’Ivoire finally lifted the trophy beating Christian Atsu’s Ghana in the least thrilling final in finals history. Ok, the 2000 FA Cup final runs it close but that had a goal.
Atsu fired a brilliant shot against the post but that was the only action of a turgid game.
The penalties were much more interesting as Ivory Coast missed their first two only to storm back and score eight in a row.
Didier Drogba will be pleased but might reflect that for once he wasn’t involved and they only went and won it.
Christian didn’t look especially pleased with his man of the tournament award but he can take a lot of personal pride in his performances, now if only he can get a start for the Toffees.