Monday 6 January
Chelsea U21 2:1 West ham United U21
Sam Allardyce started five of his U21 squad at Nottingham Forest in the Cup yesterday so there were changes for this Under 21 Cup match from November’s 3-3 draw.
We managed to score all the goals with Isaiah Brown’s opener cancelled out by an own goal as a series of deflections left Mitchell Beeney with the last touch.
Nathan Ake supplied the winner with a low finish as the first-half wore on. The front four of Brown, Boga, Swift and Baker swirled the ball between them like magicians but no more goals came.
West Ham for their part were competitive throughout and could well have earned a draw from their second-half chances. It is further testament to the durability of our U21s that, as well as their attacking flair, they held their shape and nerve to win this one.
Lots of coming and going and indeed staying today:
Milan Lalkovic is staying at Walsall after a number of bright displays and four goals for the Saddlers. His place in the team is more secure now and he seems to be completely over his injury problems, he will prosper there until June.
Patrick Bamford, as expected steps up to the Championship with Derby County. He could have stayed in Milton Keynes where he has already netted 17; his last a parting gift to level MK’s FA Cup tie against Wigan at the weekend. The challenge now is to break into the Rams side under Steve McClaren but we’d back him to thrive.
Josh McEachran has returned from Watford after a largely unsuccessful stint trying to influence the Hornet’s wretched season.
In happy holiday news: the people of Bournemouth have raised £3,000 to help Burton Albion fans with travel for their re-arranged FA Cup tie after the original tie was called off just an hour before kick-off.
Tuesday 7 January
Kenneth Omeruo has joined Middlesbrough. The promising Nigerian needs half a season of conditioning ahead of the World Cup where he should be a star.
Meanwhile George Saville will stay at Brentford until the end of the season. The 20-year-old Saville has had a bright start at Griffin Park making 24 appearances and scoring 3 goals.
In league cup news: Manchester United suffered their third defeat in a row when they succumbed to Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.
Wednesday 8 January
West Ham saved their first-team in defeat at Forest in the FA Cup because they had a difficult game against City midweek; they lost 5-0 at the weekend and 6-0 tonight.
Thursday 9 January
John Mikel Obi came second in he African Player of the Year awards. Manchester City’s Yaya Toure won.
Obi John scored his fourth goal for Chelsea in his 300th appearance at the weekend and runner-up is a great achievement for he Nigeria international.
Friday 10 January
Chelsea U21 2:2 Reading U21
Caught on the hop in the first-half Chelsea battled back to draw. We genuinely seemed surprised at the attacking intent of Reading as the match started and fell two down by the break. Goals, first, from an Andreas Christensen header and finally a last gasp penalty slotted by Lewis Baker ensured the draw.
In his press conference this afternoon Jose Mourinho announced that Kevin de Bruyne could be sold this month as bids from Germany creep up to a good deal. He stressed he would prefer that Kevin stay but seemed resigned to the reality of the situation.
Saturday 11 January
Hull City 0:2 Chelsea
Petr Cech will remember this game the most as he set a new clean sheet record of 209. He beats Peter Bonetti’s record after just 459 appearances.
The match itself was as predictable as the last few away matches: a goalless first-half followed by a comfortable second period. We might not be threatening to score sixes and sevens but we are moving through the games as efficiently as possible.
Hull were a tough nut but they stifled us for much of the first period. We created just the one clear chance as the ball fell to Oscar in front of goal but the young Brazilian’s shot was too close Allan McGregor in the City goal. In reply they managed just two long-range punts that Cech dealt with more or less comfortably. Their best chance was fashioned by John Terry as he tried to thread a pass out of defence only for an interception to hand the ball to Yannick Sagbo who flashed his effort across goals and wide.
The second-half was ten minutes old when Hazard exchanged passes with Cole and worked his way across the front of the box, dummying once to avoid a block and slotting into McGregor’s bottom corner. 0-1.
That was effectively the match as Hull offered little to threaten the lead and Torres fashioned a second as a late run opened up space and the Spaniard slipped the ball in at the near post. 0-2.
The result takes us top of the league and having a laugh.
Chelsea U18 2:1 Norwich City U18
The youth team have had a three-week break and both sides looked a little rusty. Adi Viveash will have been delighted that two Dominic Solanke goals either side of an equaliser was enough to earn three points.