Tuesday 26 October
News breaks that Paul the pain-in-the-arse Octopus has died. Expect black armbands at all Premiership grounds as clubs continue the bizarre recent trend for overblown public mourning.
What must that be like; you are a psychic octopus and death is looming but you are powerless to stop it?
Meanwhile Didier Drogba has been nominated for the Ballon D’Or but there isn’t a single Englishman on the list. Carlo Ancelotti has been nominated as coach of the year but expect that to go to Mourinho.
The papers will make much of how far the English game has fallen and how quickly – no Champions League semi finalists last season, no Ballon D’Or contenders this – but you have to remember that the rest of the world watched what happened in Bloemfontein too. One good European Championship and a strong showing in this year’s Champions’ League and John Terry, Frank Lampard and the rest will be back on the list.
Carling Cup update: Manchester United limp through against a tough Wolves side with a last minute winner, sadly, saving them from extra-time. Birmingham City, Ipswich Town, West Brom and Wigan Athletic also progress.
Wednesday 27 October
Carling Cup update: Newcastle got a tonking from Arsenal at home, West Ham picked up a win against Stoke, Aston Villa had a streaky win at home to Burnley for whom Jack Cork played a blinder.
Thursday 28 October
Just when you thought things were getting quiet around the place the news wires light up – in order then:
Albert Ferrer will be the new Vitesse Arnhem boss. Albert was an integral part of the success of Gianluca Vialli’s Chelsea and is now in charge of the three Serb-o-Croat loan prospects, namely: Matej Delač, the young keeper, Nemanja Matic and Slobodan Rajkovic.
Guus Hiddink was back at the Bridge this afternoon, supposedly looking after a few Turkish U21 prospects but really he is here for the love. It was a stunning afternoon as well for a group of seriously ill Chelsea fans to find the squad in good heart and two Chelsea managers in fine form.
Saturday 30 October
Blackburn Rovers 1:2 Chelsea
For the second weekend on a row Chelsea were forced to scrap for victory and fight they did maintaining a five-point gap at the top of the table and coming from behind for victory for the first time this season.
Blackburn started this match like a train. They fought for every ball and lured Chelsea forward looking to hit on the break. Some of their approach play was as good as anything that Chelsea have produced this term.
Our early passing produced a dangerous Ivanovic cross that skidded off Didier Drogba’s forehead and wide but after that it was all Blackburn.
Possibly trying to impress their new owners Sam Allardyce’s Rovers played football: Bret Emerson was first to show but couldn’t find space for a shot, John Terry’s sliding tackle denied Mame Diouf, before Petr Cech’s slip almost allowed the same player to chip a first goal. The big Czech stuck up a paw and Alex turned behind for a corner.
El-Hadji Diouf was providing a string of excellent crosses and it was from his wing the ball arrived for Benjani to beat both Terry and Alex to the cross with Cech out of position. 1-0.
Cech dealt with a few more scares before punting the ball half the length of the field for Malouda to control first time and send an arcing cross for Didier to nod down to Anelka to finish for the equaliser just before the break.1-1.
The second-half was a little more to our liking as Ashley Cole skewed wide when well placed and Daniel Sturridge had a blast just past the post and into the side netting. We couldn’t stop them creating at the other end. Mame Diouf flailed at a knock down that went wide and Jason Roberts, on as a sub and causing all sorts of problems for tired Chelsea defenders, controlled a cross stepping inside Alex but curled his effort wide.
Many had settled for a point at that stage but Anelka fed the excellent and improvisational Zhirkov who wriggled some space wide in the box and with Blackburn defenders closing he managed to chip a cross back to Ivanovic to head home, 1-2 and pandemonium in the away end. A victory this hard won must have an effect on those chasing as well as on the confidence of the squad.
In the last few weeks we have struggled as teams seek to challenge us to a game of football and it is an enormous credit to the side that without Frank Lampard, Ramires and Dorgba for half that time we have maintained our distance at the top of the table. Without Ramires and Lampard Michael Essien has played without a break for the last few months and it has shown as first Wolves and now Blackburn found our midfield lighter than usual. The good news is that Frank might be fit for the trip to Anfield next week as matches against Manchester United and Spurs loom in December.
Elsewhere, the strong Wolves team that battled us so fiercely last week beat an unsuspecting Manchester City 2-1 at Molineaux. Manchester United on the other hand were handed a victory when Spurs should have been awarded a free-kick which the ref failed to blow for Nani kicked the ball into the net and the linesman put up his flag. Incompetent ref Mark Clattenburg, later claimed that he had allowed Spurs the advantage and waived play on. Obviously it was hugely to Spurs advantage to concede a goal so the referee was happy with his work. They will make the usual excuses but Clattenburg should have booked Nani for the handball and he should have booked the same player in the first half for a clear dive.
Chelsea youth 2:2 Crystal Palace youth
We opened the scoring and equalised late on with a Todd Kane 35-yard screamer, in between a very young Chelsea side with up to six schoolboys coped extremely well with a difficult and spiky Palace side.