Sunday 5 September
Obi John and Nigeria are off the mark in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, beating Madagascar 2-0.
Monday 6 September
Liam Bridcutt the 21-year-old released by Chelsea in the summer joined Brighton at the end of last month (we know, keep up, keep your eye one the ball). Many players released by a club might have reason to be bitter but not Liam: “I have still been training for three weeks back at Chelsea. They were happy to have me back to keep fit. They really helped me a lot, allowed me to go in and train so that when I got an opportunity I am fit and ready to go … they have helped me all the way, even though they let me go in the summer. They are really nice and genuine people there who want to help so I am grateful to them” Apparently Gus Poyet phoned Ray Wilkins looking for a holding midfielder and things went from there, Liam has a five-month contract and is hoping for big things.
Next time a pub meathead feels he needs to slag off John Terry as a greedy adulterer you should show them this other quote from Liam’s interview (with The Argus): “The captain, John Terry, is a massive influence on the young players. He is a great leader and if you ever needed someone to talk to he was always there.” Yeah, selfish, greedy millionaires the lot of them.
Tuesday 7 September
Switzerland 1:3 England
Ashley Cole had another fine game for his country, constantly attacking, defending superbly and setting up the final goal. England were sparkling in the first-half but were rattled by ten-man Switzerland for ten minutes either side of their goal. Even Joe Hart who everyone wants to be ultra reliable fumbled and flapped like a young David James.
Elsewhere: Florent Malouda scored the second goal for France as they beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-0. Yuri Zhirkov played for Russia and picked up a card as his side lost 1-0 to a Miroslav Stoch goal for Slovakia. Lithuania added to Petr Cech’s misery as they won 0-1 in Prague. Yossi Benayoun’s Israel drew away with Georgia.
All the England U21 boys saw some of the action as they qualified for the play-offs by beating Lithuania 3-0.
Wednesday 8 September
Rhys Taylor has impressed Crewe so much they will keep him for the rest of the season. The club announced an official extension until the 21st of March but it will be season long in all but name. Rhys is really impressing he has played all seven games this season for the Railwaymen including a 1-0 defeat of Derby County.
Meanwhile, there is a rumour that Jose Bosingwa has been spotted training this week.
Thursday 9 September
Brian Laudrup has been diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully the former Blues midfielder has been given a reasonable prognosis from his doctors for recovery from mild lymphoma.
Friday 10 September
Finally it is back: proper football returns after the most boring international month in years (we know international week, but with nothing but the supposed activity of a certain strikers’ penis, it has been dull). Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that Frank Lampard will be spared the yearly Hammers chorus, as he recovers from his surgery.
He added an enticing few words about Gaël Kakuta: “He will be involved tomorrow in the game. Now he is first team, he will have the same opportunity as the other players and he deserves to play because he trained well, he is focused and concentrated. He will play and we now have to consider him not a young player but a player in the first team.”
Sadly tomorrow’s match is likely to be a draw: Ancelotti received the August manager of the month award today.
Saturday 11 September
West Ham United 1:3 Chelsea
It has come to something when Chelsea can turn up at the home of one of their traditional rivals and win without breaking sweat. It helps if you have a Michael Essien to head (yes, with his head) you into a second minute lead. West Ham simply didn’t mark his prodigious leap from Didier Drogba’s corner. 0-1.
Ivanovic was back in the starting eleven after back problems but looked more with it than during his last outing. He came in for Alex to allow the Brazilian some rest after the midweek internationals.
Ramires take Frank Lampard’s place in midfield and Kalou is in for Malouda.
Robert Green then presented us with another. Drogba lined up a central free-kick from an exceptional distance, and while it swerved a bit Green appeared to have it covered, yet somehow as he flopped forward it squirmed free of his grasp. Even then most assumed that Green’s erstwhile England colleague, Matthew Upson would clear, only for his attempt to hit Salomon Kalou’s heel and loop over despairing Hammers and into the net. They all count Salomon. 0-2.
That was on 18 minutes, and while everyone on the Hammer’s side was straining every sinew they couldn’t seem to get close. Victor Obinna, on loan from Internazionale looked the part but then there have been any number of promising Irons strikers in recent years who fizzled out.
Obi John cracked an effort off the post; Mikel is still in search of his first league goal in blue.
West Ham tried hard for the rest of the half but they seem to have no width and attacking through the middle of the champions is not the most productive route. Although Carlton Cole thought he’d scored just before the break, only to see a linesman’s flag.
Ramires, who had been tidy and efficient before half-time, decided to get some shooting practice after it. For a spindly thing he packs quite a punch but both his efforts were off target.
Kalou tried to curl one and the odd scruffy half chance came and went before substitute Kakuta slipped in Drogba but the big lunk couldn’t finish.
It looked another 0-2 scoreline to keep the season symmetrical before Essien, with his head again, met Ferreira’s first-time cross. 0-3.
We conceded the first goal of the campaign when Scott Parker lobbed into the net after Cech’s punched clearance a minute later. 1-3. The defence and ’keeper were furious at losing their perfect record.
It could have been worse. Carlton Cole had a chance before Piquionne somehow headed against the bar with the goal gaping.
Everything seems to have fallen into place for Chelsea at the start of this campaign. Ancelotti will have been delighted to be able to rest players and still achieve such a comfortable result. But he sees no room for complacency: “We have started better than Manchester United, but it will be a long race. I said last year that the race is only decided at the end of the season. I will say the same this year”.
Now, how do you get home from here?
John Terry got a dig in the ribs and is doubtful for the MSK Zilina game in Slovakia on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, those who stayed in the pub were treated to two late Everton goals as the toffees came back from 1-3 down to earn a draw with Manchester United. Man City also lost ground as they fumbled a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn.
Chelsea youth 1:0 Cardiff City youth
Phillip Prosenik scored to equal his goal tally from the whole of last term but the real story, in a game almost completely dominated by Chelsea, was the commanding form of Jamal Blackman. The young goalkeeper made some cracking saves but marshalled his defence and dominated his area with an impressive authority. His distribution was another eye-catching element of his play. He could be one to watch.