Friday 1 August
Lokomotiv Moscow 1:1 Chelsea
Lokomotiv win 5-4 on penalties
Another defeat on penalties in Moscow, as Bridge and Shevchenko miss. The game was much more of a contest with Lokomotiv being in the middle of their season it was a test of stamina and one the manager at least was happy with. Essien’s superb volley was cancelled out by a late free-kick which Cech should have saved but his positioning was awry. In fact his efforts in the penalty shootout were again disappointing. Could Cech’s days be numbered? He has looked distinctly ordinary mover in the last few games for club and country.
Pick of the action was Ricky Carvalho’s pitch-length run and chip that Anelka just got under a little too much.
This result means we play AC Milan who lost 1-0 to Sevillia earlier.
Chelsea U16 4:1 Swindon Town U16
At last, it has been a bit of miserable Milk Cup for the youngsters, but his result means we don’t finish last.
Saturday 2 August
Chelsea youth 1:1 Brighton and Hove Albion youth
Close fought game against a fit and determined opposition; they hit the frame of the goal three times to our one. Brighton took the lead just before the break with a scrambled effort. The promising Fabio Borini equalised after the break.
Sunday 3 August
AC Milan 0:5 Chelsea
Oh dear, you have to feel sorry for AC’s keeper as a series of mistakes led to a complete humping; Kalac by name, Kalac by nature. Some of the goals we can call all our own work, lets say two of them, but they kept dropping gifts at our feet.
Nicolas Anelka scored four, the third and fourth of which weren’t directly as a result of goalkeeper or defensive error. Frank Lampard opened proceedings direct from a third-minute in-swinging free-kick and Anelka just filled his boots with the other four. Volleying home a poor clearance on seven-minutes, tapping in after their keeper air-kicked a back pass and heading in powerfully at the start of the second period, before finishing a flowing move involving Ashley and Malouda with another tap in.
The most satisfying thing about the afternoon was that AC Milan couldn’t mount a serious threat on our goal; okay, they are two-weeks behind our fitness but class will out. Branislav Ivanovic played right-back and foraged forward to good effect, he has almost been the invisible man at the club since January, you could always find him at Griffin Park with the reserves but he looks a powerful option player.
Scolari already seems to be getting more out of Malouda and Anelka and performances like this really whet the appetite for the new season. With Drogba to come back in ahead of the Tottenham game given today’s report on his knee and Ballack getting fit we have strength and options, could be a good season.
The squad fly straight home and will probably rest before completing pre-season at Cobham. They could throw us a pre-season home game from time to time. I know a lot of people with kids who’d love the opportunity to take them to a match on the cheap.
Monday 4 August
Shaun Cummings has signed on loan with the MK Dons. Seems we broke that news early but we got the nod from the excellent chelseayouthandreserves.wordpress.com which might be a mouthful but you only have to type it once, or copy and paste it. The site is full of detailed news of the young blues and is invaluable.
Wednesday 6 August
NK Maribor 3:2 Chelsea reserves
This was an enormously impressive performance from the reserves; to peg a senior side in the middle of their domestic programme is an achievement. Miroslav Stoch and Jacob Mellis scored to bring us back from 2-0 down before shipping a late goal.
Sam Bethell and Patrice Evra denied misconduct charges at the FA today. No date has been set for personal hearings. Another slow news day, makes you wonder if writing a Chelsea blog would take up much time.
Thursday 7 August
We have announced an official bid for Robinho but not quoted an exact price. The papers have it at around £19.4m that doesn’t sound like enough. The real surprise is that we’ve made the offer public; wonder why?
Salomon Kalou’s Cote D’Ivoire side are beaten by a Lionel Messi inspired Argentina in their first game. Barcelona, Werder Bremen and Shalke 04 have all just successfully challenged Fifa’s edict that they should release their players at the Court of Arbitration in Sport (Cas) and won, they can withdraw their players whenever they like; only they haven’t, which makes you wonder why they paid so many lawyers so much money. Cas found that Fifa’s requirement for clubs to release players was a convention and had never been written into the rules. A review will now take place to close all further loopholes.
Friday 8 August
Latest news about the Old Boys v the Ladies game is that the FA have banned the game because girls aren’t allowed to play boys after the age of eleven. We’d like to point out to the FA that rule is designed – wrongly, many feel – to stop pubescent teenagers playing with each other; in short to keep good girls out of competition with boys because the FA are not serious about the development of the game for women. The rule is not designed to prevent an exhibition match for charity.
Real Madrid have of course rejected our offer for Robinho and said that he is vital to their plans. You can understand how he feels being vital to Madrid’s plans but being a makeweight in the Ronaldo transfer saga.
Franco Di Santo has been given the number 9 shirt for this season. It would be good to see a young striker getting regular action.
Sunday 10 August
Chelsea Ladies 1:6 Chelsea old boys
In a spit in the eye for the FA the club held the game behind closed doors, so no money for the Past Players’ Trust because of some FA idiot or indeed, a collection of them.
David Lee and Clive Wilson put the old boys ahead before the break and Clive Walker, Gary Stanley, David Lee (again) and Gareth Hall made it 0-6. We should mention that the women were playing with a very young team with a few new signings getting match practice. Dunia Susi pulled a goal back before the end. The size of the win was also down to the incredible reflexes of Dave Beasant, one who can certainly still hack it after all these years.
Kalou’s Cote D’Ivoire won 4-2 against Serbia but we’re buggered if we can find any coverage of if Salomon played or scored or picked his nose on the bench. A truly 21st century event these Olympics.
Monday 11 August
Fun day at the Bridge with about 14,000 people turning up all of the stands had to be opened generating huge cheers and plenty of waving and autographing. Bosingwa trained and could be fit for Portsmouth, which means we’ll have to adjust our fantasy team, yet again.
Didier Drogba confirmed he will be staying by giving an interview to France Football a few weeks ago, why didn’t he just tell us directly?
Tuesday 12 August
John Terry repeated the suggestion that Manchester United have peaked. It is only slightly foolish to openly dismiss the chances of our nearest rivals.
Rhys Taylor has been called into the full Welsh squad for the friendly against Georgia.
Wednesday 13 August
Frank Lampard and the club have buried their differences and he has signed a new five-year contract. Both sides talked about the need for compromise, which has been evident to all of us, and Frank talked of being confident about maintaining his level of performance for the whole of the new deal. Which would take him past 200 goals for the club.
Salomon will be away a little longer as he bagged the winner against Australia to put Cote D’Ivoire through to play Nigeria in the quarters.
Thursday 14 August
Adrian Mutu has been ordered to pay Chelsea £13.68m in compensation. Earlier reports that he would be ordered to pay about £9m were unofficial but Fifa handed out the penalty officially today. He will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Friday 15 August
Luiz Felipe Scolari started the season on a friendly note, he said: “I want to wish all my colleagues the best. Some I know, and others I have not yet met, but I wish the coaches and teams all luck for the season”, it seems a simple thing to be so polite, yet we’ve never heard the like.
Claudio Pizarro has gone to Werder Bremen for a year. Both Stoke and Hull wanted his experience ahead of the coming season but couldn’t afford his wages. The name Claudio hasn’t been wreathed in success at Stamford Bridge but this one wasn’t given quite as long to fail as the last.
Jose Mourinho has been saying that fate will pair Chelsea and Internazionale; confirming that Jose is an avid reader of this column.
Saturday 16 August
Chelsea U18 4:4 Wolverhampton Wanderers U18
A first game on the new youth team match pitch at Cobham and another goal fest as we clawed our way back from 2-4 down to draw. Scolari and Clarke watched and will have been impressed by Fabio Borini as well as the visitors’ wide play.
Salomon will be coming home without a medal after Nigeria beat Cote D’Ivoire to qualify for the semi-finals.
Sunday 17 August
Chelsea 4:0 Portsmouth
After a very long summer we are back with an awesome performance against a disjointed Portsmouth. Sound defensively last season, Pompey couldn’t live with the midfield movement and variety. Deco caught many people’s eye but Ballack was our most creative player until leaving the scene with an ankle, Lampard’s movement was a revelation but many people had Obi John in the holding role as man-of-the-match.
Ballack’s superb first-time ball over the top set Joe Cole on his way for the first.
Bosingwa crossed 15-minutes later for Deco to nod back and Anelka to nod in. The penalty was a correct decision as Frank made it three from the spot before half-time.
The second-half was a little bit tame, it was harder for us to find openings but the good football continued. Deco slammed in a 25-yarder right at the death and the score-line had a truer ring about it.
There is plenty we can improve on; Deco gave the ball way far too often and his discipline could be a problem; if any of the other premiership referees saw his lunge tackle on Diarra after only a minute; some of the defensive play was sleepy and three clear one-on-one’s with James failed to produce a goal.
All in all, with Manchester United scraping a home draw against an improved Newcastle it couldn’t have been a better opening weekend.
Monday 18 August
Manchester United reserves 1:0 Chelsea reserves
United pinched a close game but we don’t have to wait long for revenge; the replay is at Cobham next Tuesday. This was a weakened Chelsea side after loans and international calls. Danny Drinkwater scored the only goal and has a name that explains perfectly what his ancestors did but not why.
Mutu is going to appeal – you’d guessed already – he says that the £13.68m fine is inhumane. The European player’s union, FIFPro, are backing the appeal on the basis that he wouldn’t have been fined if he had a British passport because the FA Premier League has no provision for such a fine in their rules. Mutu has therefore been discriminated against because of his nationality. This will run and run. You have to agree that £13m for a line of coke is a bit steep.
Lee Sawyer joined the Shrimpers for three-months. He’ll partner ex-Blue Anthony Grant in the Southend United midfield.
Mondays were made for this: enjoyed the papers this morning enormously, its great to sit in a café with a coffee and leave the back page on display as you finish your breakfast; as if to say “Chelsea are back”.
Tuesday 19 August
JT is still England captain. Capello made us wait all summer as he dicked around with one captain after another only to settle for the one he had when he started. He probably had a bet on over the last few days as pretty much every paper had Ferdinand favourite and Gerrard a possible.
Michael Mancienne played the full game as England U21 came from a goal down to beat Slovenia 2-1.
Paul Smith lost his case at the employment tribunal for alleged ‘unlawful deductions’. Smith was a group business affairs director but never actually signed a contract. He alleged that Peter Kenyon promised him a £250,000 bonus while ‘hungover’. Smith was awarded part of his costs and now intends to take the matter to the high court for breach of contract. He was entitled to reasonable notice according to the tribunal; another that will run and run.
Wednesday 20 August
England 2:2 Czech Republic
Well, Petr had a good game and Joe Cole scored a last gasp equaliser but anyone looking for improvement or optimism was in the wrong stadium. This was the same rubbish England served up under McClaren, inept in midfield bereft up front and wobbly at the back. We’ll be charitable and say it was an early season encounter with superior opposition.
Jose Bosingwa was forced off with injury in Portugal’s 5-0 drubbing of the Faroe Islands.
Thursday 21 August
Chelsea youth 2:2 Crewe Alexandra youth
Tough game in which we came back from two down to earn a draw The goals came from Jacopo Sala and Ben Gordon in the second-half. The youth team will be hoping for an improvement in the Cobham Cup at the weekend, with Ajax and River Plate among the visitors.
Jack Cork, Scunthorpe’s player of the year on loan last year has joined Southampton until the turn of the year.
Shevchenko’s move to AC Milan has been reported as immanent all week is now looking less likely, although every time an Italian sport newspaper tells you something is true you’ll be needing salt.
While Corky and Sheva are off through one door, through another comes Sporting Clube de Portugal’s 20-year old Fabio Paim on a season long loan, we know nothing about him.
Friday 22 August
Shaun Cummings has his loan at MK Dons extended to January; he must have impressed. Meanwhile Robinho rumours persist, he told Spanish television that he wants to leave and Kenyon is supposedly in Madrid talking terms.
Saturday 23 August
Chelsea U16 2:1 River Plate U16
The start of the Cobham cup gave young Swede Marco Mitrovic a chance to shine with two goals; the boy is on fire. Even though it is a youth tournament to christen the ground it is still a thrill to see a Chelsea team play River Plate. In the other matches, all 30-minutes each way, the snappily named Disney Soccer Showcase All-Stars defeated FC Tolyatti from Russia 2-1. Our old Korean friends Suwon Samsung Bluewings won 5-0 against a side called Al-Nejmeh (Right to Play Lebanon), these are kids brought together by our charity partner to play football and you have to say giving Lebanese kids this kind of experience proves that it isn’t all about massive salaries and baby Bentleys in modern football. Ajax beat Bayern München 1-0 after taking an early lead.
There were plenty of dignitaries around for the opening ceremony, it wasn’t quite Bejing and after the architectural awards for the main buildings these look like the builders made them up as they went along.
Shevchenko is going home after all. Milan and Chelsea have worked out a deal that takes Andriy back to AC. We have had a series of failures with players from Italy not really wanting to be here but Andriy tried his best in difficult circumstances; he was pitted between manager and owner, constantly struggled with injury and was way past his best. We wish him well because he was always striving to recapture his form for us but it never quite came. No contract details have been announced so we don’t know how much we’ll be paying to get shot. Oh, and Arsenal lost to the Cottagers 1-0 after we’d said they’d have an easy start to the season.
Note to self: never break the transfer record for a striker because it’ll all go Robert Fleck. Talking of the devil, Robinho has been told he can leave by Real Madrid…
Sunday 24 August
Wigan Athletic 0:1 Chelsea
Far from the classic we were all hoping for, this game was a struggle and should have underlined what the side need to do on the road. You can’t sniff at three-points but the performance was well below par. Deco got us off to the perfect star, he angled a free-kick over the wall into the top corner of the Wigan net just as their keeper took a step the other way.
What followed was a struggle; we kept possession well in the second-half but that is the best you can say about the whole performance. Cech had to be alert to four stinging shots and Wigan were unlucky not to have a tap in from a rebound. They had penalty shouts as well. We got lucky.
Hopefully we can put this down to fatigue from the mid-week internationals and a few players carrying injury into the game. The Wigan midfield closed down superbly all afternoon, Lee Cattermole is not a player Frank will want to play every week but if we’d matched the movement on show last week we should have created more.
With Wigan having shown the rest how to play against us the real measure of Scolari’s renaissance will come at home to Spurs next weekend. 1.30pm kick-off, again; see you there.
Meanwhile Shevchenko was on a plane to Milan to end one of the worst Chelsea careers in recent memory. He was unlucky with injury but never found the pace of the Premiership. He was a nice bloke though. Just as one goes there are rumours that Newcastle want Malouda to add to their collection of former Chelsea players. About £10m has been mentioned and a wad of cash just might make the Robinho deal go more quickly.
Back at Cobham and the young blues cruise to two wins beating Suwon Blue Wings 2-1and Al-Nejmeh a mere 8-0. The semi-finals are tomorrow.
Monday 25 August
Chelsea youth 0:1 River Plate youth
Missed out on the inaugural Cobham cup, they are already talking about making it an annual event – to the same River Plate team we beat in the first game.
In our semi-final (Chelsea youth 3:1 FC Tolyatti youth) we played out a hard game, with the visitors heading in a corner to lead at half-time. It took a Knott penalty to get us back into it. Josh McEachran slotted our second before the man Marco Mitrovic sealed things.
Tuesday 26 August
Chelsea reserves 2:2 Manchester United reserves
United pegged this one back in the last few minutes from a penalty after we’d totally dominated. With a forward line of Sinclair and Stoch supporting Di Santo we could have witnessed the shape of Carling Cup games to come. The full-backs pressed on well, as is becoming the fashion but it was Jacob Mellis who opened the scoring and Scott Sinclair put us two ahead before the break.
They pulled one back with a 25-yard blast from a full-back and the late pen.
Wednesday 27 August
Robinho looks likely to be at the club by the weekend. Although Real Madrid’s proposed replacements both signed contract extensions with their current clubs.
Peter Kenyon was making a quiet announcement about how much we give to charity with the publication of the annual corporate social responsibility report but all anyone wanted to talk about was Robinho. Personally we think you should keep your charity and community work private, especially because some tabloid hack always works out how many weeks it would take Frank Lampard to raise the same sum. Given that sum in question was £4.36m it might take even him a spell.
Thursday 28 August
Champions’ League draw day and boy do they string it out, between each draw they awarded the best goalkeeper, defender etc. awards, it didn’t hurt that they gave them to Cech, Terry and Lampard. Some snivelling cheat won the overall best player.
Out the hat first and into group A with AS Roma, FC Girondins de Bordeaux and Romanian giants CFR Cluj. We have moaned over the last few years that we don’t get to Italy as often as we should, so Roma is a welcome draw, Bordeaux will also be nice his time of year, the only disappointment then is CFR 1907 Cluj; Cluj-Napoca is not a big place although a former capital of Transylvania, so no jokes about not liking crosses. The club don’t have much of a history; they do have a development deal with Benfica so their first team is mostly Portuguese or South American. Their website reads like it was written by Alexei Sayle: “in June 2007, the club changed the field to higher quality turf, built a state of the art nightlight, our bathroom have hot water, our bathrooms…” they’ll beat us at their place after that.
Celtic and Manchester United get to share those special nights of mutual appreciation in group E with Villarreal and Aalborg. Liverpool get their usual doddle of a group D with PSV Eindhoven, Marseille and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal drew Porto, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kiev. We will be on ITV4 or SKY Sports2/Extra most weeks because we play on the same night as Liverpool, with Arsenal and Man Utd the next night.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have Shaun Wright-Phillips for about £9m. It is a shame we didn’t get more out of Shaun, he really could have been one of the greats but his time was mostly spent on the bench. We still have the warm feeling from his brace against West Ham two seasons ago now.
Friday 29 August
Tom Taiwo – no, we don’t know how to pronounce it either – joined Port Vale in League 1 for a few months of hard graft. Vale’s manager, Lee Sinnott, worked with Tom in the youth ranks at Leeds United before we snatched him from under Bates’ nose a few years back.
Saturday 30 August
Newcastle United youth 1:0 Chelsea youth
It was a touch unlucky for a very young team to travel so far only to be undone by an older and luckier Newcastle team.
Real Madrid have been harrumphing about Robinho staying put and being vital for their plans, this one will run and ru… only until Monday night.
Carling Cup third round draw time and we get Portsmouth away. It is a shame we didn’t draw some thing easier so those progressing from youth to reserves could get some practice in.
Sunday 31 August
Chelsea 1:1 Tottenham Hotspur
Frustrating was the best word for this patchy display. We got lucky for our opener and Frank was unlucky to play Bent in for their equaliser but the overall feeling remains from last term, we are no creating enough chances.
Play started brightly with Spurs sitting deep and allowing us on to them it took some time to build up a head, Frank Lampard’s chip on five-minutes needed a save from Gomes but we rarely broke down their defence for clear chances. When it came the goal was a little fortunate, Essien’s volley being cleared by Woodgate from Joe Cole who was offside. Belletti, playing the holding midfield role, stole in at the resulting corner to knee the ball in at the near post.
Why is it that Spurs’ defence is shaky all season until they play us? Woodgate and King rarely appear together until they play Chelsea and then they play out of their skins.
Tottenham couldn’t muster a decent chance the whole match, so it took Frank Lampard to deflect the ball through our defence for Bent to score.
That was unfortunate, what was worse was watching the side struggle to mount an attack in the second-half. We had plenty missing from midfield and few options on the bench; Kalou and Malouda both came on but achieved little. Franco Di Santo made his first team debut at the death but barely got a kick.
The struggle for creativity and imagination from midfield made it all the more galling to learn that Shaun Wright-Phillips scored twice on his second bow for City; just what we were missing. Our next match is against City in two-weeks time. Money on first goal scorer should be a must.
Earlier in the day Robinho, who could cure a few of these ills, held a press-conference. He laid into Real Madrid for the way they had treated him and attacked the manager and directors for not letting him go. He seems to have set a match to his bridges so we’ll see what the next twenty-four hours bring. Kettles and pots across Spain looked the other way as Real Madrid then got shirty with us about tapping up their player and advertising Robinho kit on the website before we’d signed him. Ignoring their behaviour over Robben and Ronaldo, you have to question how subtle Chelsea were in their illegal approach when they faxed it straight to the Bernabéu office.