Tuesday 3 January
John Terry’s face has mysteriously appeared on a packet of Indian burn with the logo ‘smoking kills’. Given the various appearances of Jesus and Virgins that appear in toast, tea towels, grease stains etc, it is not yet clear whether John Terry is not a naughty boy; he is the messiah.
Thursday 5 January
New deals abound today; Nat Chalobah, George Saville and Adam Phillip all got new contracts. Nathaniel Chalobah’s first professional contract is a natural step for the gifted defender-come-midfielder who has spent the last year captaining England and scoring goals. Comparisons with John Terry are no exaggeration.
The train to Cardiff has been cancelled. Not enough takers.
Friday 6 January
Patrick Van Aanholt will be raising a few glasses of non-alcoholic beverage as his miserable loan to Wigan has been terminated by mutual consent. Patrick played well when he was given the chance but a struggling Wigan relied on Figueroa despite a tide of fan opinion that Van Aanholt was the better player.
Saturday 7 January
Chelsea youth 2:3 West Ham United youth
We’d become so accustomed to battling wins from Adi Viveash’s youngsters that we assumed that this score was the wrong way round. After a number of early misses and slips we had to come from behind twice (no, snickering at the back) as Amin Affane and Nathan Ake scored to bring us level. Only for Jamal Blackman to make the calamitous decision to pick up a back pass – he doesn’t have the excuse we do because he was born after the back pass rule came into effect, probably – West Ham walloped in the free-kick through the crowd.
Sunday 8 January
Chelsea 4-0 Portsmouth
The last ten minutes might have put a gloss on another struggle but you have to look on the bright side and say two games and two wins in 2012.
AVB played the strongest side available to him and was rewarded with a result that was never easy but never really in doubt.
We struggled to create chances in the first-half, a Torres header that was pawed away at full stretch is the only real threat that comes to mind. While Portsmouth created little of their own we seemed determined to hand chances to them. Cole twice in explicably passed straight to a Portsmouth player.
Suitably chastised at half-time Chelsea’s players looked more focussed and with more speed. Malouda glided to the touchline and pulled back for Mata to score. 1-0.
David Luiz was in his usual form first giving away a free-kick and then losing possession to concede a chance that Terry eventually cleared off the line.
Everything was huff and puff until Malouda came off for Romeu and Ramires was pushed up on the right. Suddenly the game was easy Mata’s cross was headed on by Torres and Ramires toe-poked in. 2-0. With 84-minutes on the clock we’d certainly been made to wait for healthy lead. But it got better. The next move saw Torres break and Ramires speed beyond him and flick a delightful finish past the Pompey ’keeper. 3-0.
And the, just as you were edging to the exit, Frank Lampard cropped up to drive a low chance beyond a dispirited Portsmouth defence. 4-0
The draw could have been kinder as we’ll play away at either one of QPR (charming place, charming people) or Milton Keynes (football’s pariahs). Still the completely arbitrary and fair draw spat out Liverpool v Manchester United. Aren’t ITV lucky to keep getting these plum draws?
Manchester United had beaten their city rivals, er, City after defoying a secret weapon: Chris Foy decided to send off City’s Vincent Kompany but only after Wayne Rooney reminded him of the arrangement. Kompany’s crime was to win the ball cleanly and make no contact with his opponent. If the letter of the law says that was a red card then the letter of the law needs changing. It is more probable that Foy was looking for any excuse, as usual. Foy also failed to act before being told to by a United player. To act in collusion like that invites charges of