Monday 2 December
Newcastle United U21 1:1 Chelsea U21
All the way to Geordieland for a point. Jeremie Boga’s equaliser in the first=half earned us a draw that was won after we resisted second-half pressure from the hosts. Newcastle fielded seven players with regular first-team appearances so the point was well earned.
Wednesday 4 December
Sunderland 3:4 Chelsea
Anyone with a heart complaint should look away now. This was the most agonising three points we have won this season. Jose summed up best afterwards when he said our attacking display was the best since he returned but that we’d given away goals.
The faults started early: Jozy Altidore was allowed to latch on to a deflected free-kick and turn the ball in. 1-0.
We were stung into action as Mata wriggled his way through but only managed to win a corner. It took Eden Hazard’s intervention to kick start our night it was his clipped cross the Frank Lampard headed in. 1-1.
Eden then took charge of the match. His every touch was dangerous, he set up Torres with an delightful chance that went over and then used Azpilicueta’s outside run as cover to cut back inside and fire into the far corner from the edge of the box. 1-2.
We lead then at half-time but blundered away another goal soon after the restart. John O’Shea was allowed the scramble the ball home after both Cahill and Terry failed to block. 2-2.
Hazard was determined to make this his night and after feeding a short ball round the defensive cover for Lampard he broke on to the back heeled return, opened out the angle and slotted. 3-2.
Having fun yet? Demba Ba broke forward with Ramires for support but the little Brazilian didn’t need to finish as Phil Bardsley bundled into his own net. 2-4.
Sadly then we allowed Sunderland back again as Bardsley this time found our net after we failed to clear a third set-piece. 3-4.
Nerves and fingernails frayed but we held on to keep pace at the top.
Elsewhere, Man City and Arsenal both won easily while David Moyes finally got to experience what it is like for Everton to win at Old Trafford. He failed to win in all his time on the Gwladys Street but lost first time out as Manchester United manager.
Out in Japan the women’s team beat Sydney 3-2 – crazy game, as the Australians dominated the first-half of what was our first game of pre-season, before we raced into a 3-0 lead, only to nearly let it all slip. The women progress to a final against INSA Kobe Leonessa.
Nat Chalobah was racially abused last night. Guesses who the midfielder, who is on loan at Forest, was playing – yes, prizes all round it was our charming friends formerly from Cold Blow Lane. Some bring not the game into disrepute but the species.
Friday 6 December
Cardiff City U21 0:4 Chelsea U21
We dominated this first U21 cup match, settled early scored through a Lewis Baker penalty and own goal and an Alex Kiwomya strike. Jeremie Boga (probably the Bogaman in the tabloids soon) score as a sub in the second period.
West Ham at home in the quarter-final.
Saturday 7 December
Stoke City 3:2 Chelsea
To concede another three goals away – again form only three shots on target – has got Jose Mourinho worried. He admitted we are in trouble afterwards, which seems ominous.
Andre Schürrle gave us a deserved lead when he strode on and slotted into the far corner after only eight minutes. 0-1. Our domination of the match from then on was almost total. Stoke’s only ploy seemed to be to lump it long to Peter Crouch.
But we wasted a hat-full of chances again – the first-half at Everton and Newcastle come to mind – and comedy defending undermined us again.
This time Peter Crouch was allowed to control a corner, turn and shoot with Cech half way between ball and goal. 1-1.
Stoke looked like the believed in the second-half as we allowed Stephen Ireland of all people the time and space to curl one in. 2-1.
Andre Schürrle capped a fine individual performance by rifling in an equaliser with a cracking shot. 2-2. But it wasn’t enough as Oussama Assaidi smashed a Stoke winner. 3-2.
A win would have taken us to within one point of the leaders who can now move seven points ahead with a win over Everton.
Jose seemed rattled afterwards: “I don’t feel comfortable enough to tell you what I think about the game. We’re in trouble.”
We have now conceded more goals than we did in his first full season.
Whisper it but perhaps a back three with David Luiz as
Sunday 8 December
Women’s Club World Championship Final
INAC Kobe Leonessa 4:2 Chelsea
The women’s team put a flattering gloss on this match by storming back from 3-0 down but conceded another as the Japanese champions swirled the ball around us at speed. There will not be too much gloom as this was a pre-season match for Chelsea against the best club side of the country who are current world champions.
The third round of the FA Cup will be away at Derby County. We might not be on the telly though because Arsenal drew Spurs.
Everton and Arsenal had the decency to draw so yesterday’s defeat was not too damaging. Of all the teams that are at the top it seems the one challenging will be the ones who can sort out their defence first.