Monday 29 September
Chelsea have asked about hiring Twickenham for a season as the plans to redevelop Stamford Bridge take shape. The RFU are such a bunch of stuffed shirts that it probably will not happen but it is an interesting insight into the club’s plans. We’d all have a bit of space as well as Twickers holds 80,000.
Jose and the squad are in Portugal where Jose revealed that Diego Costa has barely trained with the squad because of his hamstring problem. He was hinting that the Spanish international should be let off Spain duty for the next qualifiers. Some chance.
Diego has travelled with the squad to Lisbon but Didier Drogba and Ramires both stayed at home with injuries.
Tuesday 30 September
Sporting Lisbon 0:1 Chelsea
Rui Patricio will remember tonight with a degree of pride as he kept the score down single-handed. He started in the first minute when Diego Costa burst free of a square high backline all waving their arms in the air for an offside that never came. Patricio saved with his feet. He smothered a further six efforts from Costa, Schürrle, Oscar and Salah.
It took the altogether more pragmatic Matic to deal with Sporting. A Fábregas free-kick, lofted to perfection, found him looping his header over the ’keeper and in. 0-1.
The biggest laugh of the evening came from former Manchester United showboat captain and pain in the arse, raced to the edge of our area and played a cunning back heel to the referee.
That we carved out a dozen more chances without scoring will not matter too much to Jose on his first winning return to his home town.
Costa came through a whole match in mid-week without breaking down and so we’ll just have to keep our own sinews and tendons crossed he can do it again on Sunday.
Sporting Lisbon U19 0:5 Chelsea U19
A thumping good win for Adi Viveash and the U19 squad. The whole thing got rolling as early as the third minute when Charlie Colkitt thumped home a penalty. Further first-half strikes from Charly Musonda, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke gave us a commanding first-half lead.
Tammy added a second for himself just after the restart and the intensity drained out of the match.
Andy Myers, assistant manager, was delighted with the performance of his very young squad and on Adi Viveash’s 45th birthday to boot. Andy revealed that the squad had suffered with a virus that meant they travelled separately from the first-team and it kept Jeremie Boga out of the side and meant Izzy Brown came off early.
Thursday 2 October
Lewis Baker, at the tender age of 19 has been called up to the England U21 squad for the play-off ties against Croatia starting next week.
Saturday 4 October
Norwich City U18 1:2 Chelsea U18
Tammy Abraham is tearing up this age group with two again today he deserves the new professional contract he signed this week. There are other names starting to immerge from this group among them Miro Muheim, Jay Dasilva, Jake Clarke-Salter and Charlie Wakefield.
It is a tribute to the academy system that each group that comes through looks stronger than the last.
Sunday 5 October
Chelsea 2:0 Arsenal
Chelsea are simply too powerful for Arsenal at the moment and, although it took and age to break them down, this result was never in any doubt.
Eden Hazard’s penalty and Diego Costa with his ninth in the league scored the goals but the effort an application came from all over the pitch. We fought for each ball so hard that even Oscar was booked.
Last season this fixture caught fire early and kept on burning as we put six past them but this match started tight and niggly as tackles upended anyone with the ball.
Inside ten-minutes and Sanchez barges into Thibaut Courtois who was instantly, though briefly, knocked cold. Sanchez ran off with a shrug but Courtois had to be replaced after an attempt to play on, by Petr Cech. Honestly, for all Petr had to do he could have spectated from the bench as effectively as between the sticks. Neither of our goalkeepers had a save to make.
Arsenal tried to press Matic and Fábregas deep only for Schürrle and Hazard to pop into space. Andre Schürrle had his moments but Eden Hazard wrote the script. Drifting in from his wing he found floundering Gooners scattering in front of him.
There was sporadic threat from those in red but Arsène Wenger took exception to an iffy tackle by Gary Cahill. The Arsenal manager ran down the touchline to push Jose in the chest and distract the referee from booking Cahill.
Hazard decided it was time to unpick the defence and fed in midfield he charged around a couple of half arsed tackles from Cazorla and Chambers before Laurent Koscielny tripped him in the box. The referee got the penalty decision right but only issued a yellow to Koscielny. It begs the question as to what an obvious goalscoring opportunity really is.
Eden rolled in the penalty with little fuss. 1-0. Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the wonderful players Jose puts on the park, we should pinch ourselves.
Arsenal continued to work hard and you have to tip your hat to Wenger for finally setting up a team to compete defensively but they still weren’t up to scratch.
They huffed and puffed but could find no rhythm and the second-half dragged. Much of the crowd had to wait fifteen minutes to get into the ground while rumours of flares and turnstile fractures floated in the afternoon air; Mesut Ozil and Danny Welbeck waited around all day and still couldn’t get into the game.
It took Cesc Fábregas – who used to play for Arsenal, if you had not already heard – to loft a ball over the high defence for Diego Costa to chest down and lift the ball over the Arsenal ’keeper and that was that. 2-0.
Thibaut Courtois was taken to hospital for a scan that was described as routine.