Monday 21 March
Wigan Athletic reserves 0:1 Chelsea reserves
Not a bad afternoon’s work. Wigan were unbeaten at home before today and a first-half strike from Billy Clifford, followed by some staunch defending, was enough to keep the reserves positive run going.
Sadly, some git brought a laser pen with them to yesterday’s match and we will be investigated. Lyon were fined by Uefa a few years back when one was used to target Ronaldo but it is impossible to see how the club can control something like this. They cannot conduct body cavity searches on everyone going into the ground. This is not celery, that at least people are likely to wave above their heads, although it is about as dangerous. Recent medical evidence suggest that the victim of a laser pen attack needs to, er, blink to protect themselves.
Tuesday 22 March
Wednesday 23 March
Thursday 24 March
Denmark U21 0:4 England U21
Daniel Sturridge was on target tonight as Ryan Bertrand played the whole game and Jack Cork and Josh McEachran both got runs in Stuart Pearce’s team.
Fabio Borini played from half-time down in Italy as their U21s overcame Sweden in a friendly.
Sam Walker has gone out on loan for the rest of the season. He joins Barnet under new manager Martin Allen’s side just in time to face league leaders Chesterfield.
Friday 25 March
Another new recruit, this time a young Brazilian called Lucas Piazón who will join in January next year from Sao Paulo. The 17-year-old attacking midfielder is currently with the Brazil squad at the South American U17 championships. The fee is rumoured to be around £5-8m depending on the usual clauses.
There were wins for France, Spain and Serbia tonight as Florent Malouda, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic all finished on the winning side. Petr Cech made a string of fine saves to keep the Czechs in it against Spain but two David Villa goals handed the World and European Champions a 2-1 win. France beat Luxembourg, you don’t say, and Serbia, playing behind closed doors beat Northern Ireland 2-1.
Oh dear the usual suspects have been handed jail sentences after last year’s Cardiff City FA Cup match. While nobody condones public punch-ups the CCTV footage released suggests not much more than a group of adults taunting each other and a lot of running and shouting. One police officer is said to have broken his jaw, probably after falling over. The competence of the police, both Met and South Wales, is such that after a lunch time kick-off with thousands of officers present they couldn’t prevent a bit of an off. They even wheeled out a woman who cried that she had to flee because she feared for her life and that of her unborn child. Oh come on. Fighting at football has never been directed at anyone other than the opposition and certainly not pregnant women. I hate to draw conclusions on flimsy evidence but if she was typical of the SW6 female she would have been more concerned about having to pick bits of football fan out of the tyre treads of her Range Rover.
Saturday 26 March
Wales 0:2 England
John Terry returns triumphant from Cardiff. Not only did England win the game comfortably but the boos were sporadic. Frank Lampard netted an early penalty and England looked to have a much better shape than in recent games with ex-Blue Scott Parker holding with Lampard and Wilshire attacking.
Yuri Zhirkov didn’t have such an easy time as Russia were held 0-0 by mighty Armenia. Yossi Benayoun was on the bench as Israel beat Latvia.
Watford youth 2:1 Chelsea youth
Marko Mitrovic scored his first goal in three appearances since returning from injury but two goals for the hosts, the second a debatable penalty, settled things. To be fair Steve Holland admitted they deserved to win despite the penalty.
Sunday 27 March
Scotland 0:2 Brazil
Ramires is growing on many at the Bridge and here he showed just the frustrating mixture of good and bad that divided opinion since his arrival from Benfica in the summer. At times he was neat and forceful in regaining the ball but at others he was caught dawdling, so of the runs were thrilling but few ended with chances. It was a difficult game to judge because Brazil appeared to do just enough not to embarrass their hosts. David Luiz had a rest on the bench.
Didier Drogba is back to his old scoring ways with two as The Elephants came back to beat Benin 2-1 in African Cup of Nations qualifying. The home game, played in Ghana because of near chaos in the Ivory Coast, also featured Salomon Kalou who had a first-half effort disallowed because Didier was offside.
John Obi Mikel’s Nigeria romped to a 4-0 win over Ethiopia to strengthen their chances.
John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have been released by England and will not feature in the team to play