Monday 21 February
Aston Villa reserves 2:2 Chelsea reserves
Nat Chalobah continues to play as this group’s outstanding prospect. The schoolboy, still only 16, has been making regular appearances at this level and marking some of the bigger names in the game. He was joined in defence by Tomas Kalas making his debut after his loan to his parent club, Sigma Olomouc, came to an end. The Czech youngster was involved in a bit of early confusion when Villa could have scored but settled to the conditions and the pace of the game on a cold and damp night.
Chalobah equalised for us from a corner and just at the death after they has scored what they thought was a winner, Adam Philip cropped up for a second leveler. Villa had far more first team experience than our young side but we were the better team in the second-half even after Gokhan Tore got himself sent of for a tiff with a Villa player who was only booked.
Tuesday 22 February
FC Kobenhavn 0:2 Chelsea
So the experiment continues, this time gone are the wide attackers and diamonds, this will be a rigid 4-4-2. Anelka and Torres started together at the front with Malouda and Ramires wide, Essien and Lampard paired in the middle. And it worked, after a fashion.
Copenhagen were not a very good side to judge the effectiveness of the new way of thinking, they dropped off and watched our approach play in much the same way as the crowd in the stands. This was, after all, their first game back after a three-month winter break and they were extremely rusty.
The new system started brightly with plenty of long balls pinged forwards. Within a minute Torres set up Malouda but the Frenchman shanked the effort well wide. The chances kept coming: Lampard had a pop, a free-kick landed at Torres’ feet but the keeper smothered and Torres pinged a beautiful ball to Anelka but the angle was against him.
He didn’t have to wait long. Old boy Jesper Gronkjaer had a rush of blood and played a reverse pass straight to Anelka who drifted into the box and lashed in an easy chance. 0-1.
The Danes struggled to mount attacks with any conviction and we dominated possession without creating too many chances. On the half hour Anelka broke into the box but opted to try to feed Torres rather than shoot and the FCK ’keeper saved.
The second-half was much the same with our position growing stronger as the Danes wilted. We were guilty of slowing down breaks to enable colleagues to catch up instead of driving at their defense. Until Lampard breaks into the centre and facing left has a simple pass to Torres, instead he reverses it to Anelka who shoots first time. 0-2.
The rest of the match is an exercise in setting up Torres but despite looking sharper than in either of his previous two games the ball will not break for him and his efforts are either saved or cleared off the line. Drogba joined the fray in place of Anelka but doesn’t join in the side’s attempts to get Fernando off the mark, instead he chose one move to shoot from 30-yards out.
No game at the weekend means our new Spaniard will have to wait for Tuesday’s visit of the bloated behemoth from Salford for his first goal. Winner against Manchester United for your first goal; it would certainly endear him to the paying public in both West and North London.
Saturday 26 February
Chelsea youth 3:0 Ipswich Town youth
With the youth cup game against Watford next week Dermot Drummy played a strong academy side and was rewarded with three first-half goals from Billy Clifford, Nat Chalobah (his second in a week) and Anton Rodgers.
The manager made changes after the break to rest a few before the big night on Wednesday. Somehow he forgot to play a striker but we sailed this thanks to Jamal Blackman in goal. With Aziz Dean-Conteh going off, presumably to rest we were down to ten for the last few minutes but while Ipswich sniffed a chance Chelsea stood firm.
Elsewhere, Daniel Sturridge continued his miraculous form with a leveller for Bolton away at St James’ Park to make it four in four.
Jack Cork scored a spectacular winner for Burnley as they beat Preston North End. Jack started the move from deep and ran on the plant a diving header into the net and himself into Burnley folklore. Preston are the devil in Burnley although as the rivalry started in the nineteenth century nobody can remember why.
Sunday 27 February
The News of the World have laid off us for quite some time, (half their staff are too busy preparing for a prison stretch for hacking into mobile phones) but we are back in the scandal sheet because Ashley Cole shot someone. Carlo Ancelotti needs this like a hole in the head.
Ashley was messing around with an airgun and shot a work experience lad called Tom Cowan. Who will for the next ten years have to explain that yes, he is the one shot by Ashley Cole.
Sanity and wisdom exploded from every message board as a number of well balanced individuals made a series of impartial and considered comments on what is, after all, an extremely important a grave issue.