Monday 29 November
Chelsea reserves 1:3 Sunderland reserves
A very strong stiffs line up inexplicably folded at home . Gokhan Tore scored the opener after good link up play between Kakuta and Lalkovic but the visitors came out after the break in a more physical frame of mind and found three goals in fifteen minutes to settle things. Chelsea tried but chances were few.
The first team had to take a bus home, five-hour trip, after yesterday’s fixture at St James’ Park because snow stopped their plane leaving Aberdeen. Perhaps they should be forced to coach it back after every disappointing away performance.
Tuesday 30 November
Training in the snow but results and form have been so poor recently that nobody is allowed to be pictured throwing snow balls, instead training is in shorts out, doors until the snow covers the pitch completely and everyone retreats inside. Nobody, it seems, is going to be allowed to have fun until we break this poor streak.
West Ham United seem to have turned a corner with a win at the weekend they ripped apart their Carling Cup quarter-final opponents 4-0, it was a very sorry Manchester United side that traipsed away in the snow.
Jose Mourinho is not having a good week: his Real Madrid side were taken apart by Barcelona yesterday and this morning he is given a two match ban for instructing two of his players to pick up Champion’s League red cards to wipe their records clean for the start of the knock-out stage. There were fines as well but people that rich spend CHF 53,000 on a light Muscatel to go with desert.
Wednesday 1 December
Ray Wilkins and the club have both announced their satisfaction that an amicable settlement has been agreed over settlement of Ray’s contract. Ron Gourlay took the opportunity to show how out of touch he and possibly the board are over the sacking of a well loved club figure when he said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ray for his service to the club and wish him all the best for the future”, well Ron you could have done that so much better by letting him see out the last months of his contract and then presenting him with a gold watch. Not call him into your office and sack him half way through a reserve match.
The annual statement of monies paid to agents is out and we are top of the league again. £9.29m found its way from Stamford Bridge to plump up the bank accounts of agents, surprisingly Liverpool came second at around £9m. The fees don’t directly relate to transfers of course and we have been renegotiating contracts of most of the squad. Manchester City’s bill fell by £7m despite the revolving door at Eastlands – perhaps their warm up for the Uefa finance regulations involves sharpening the creative side of their bookkeeping.
Thursday 2 December
Fifa prove themselves as corrupt and imbecilic as we have all come to understand. Awarding the 2018 World Cup to the highest bidder in Russia is merely greedy and inconsiderate: matches in Russia will be thousands of miles apart in six different time zones. That decision is merely cfcukwitted. The decision to award 2022 to Qatar apart from being as corrupt as they come, hmm the richest most corrupt states bidding won, but will actually put peoples lives at risk, Average temperatures are 41C, at match time you are talking 50C for fans struggling to the air conditioned pitches in humidity so stifling most people leave the country. Crowds will be miniscule as 99% of the world’s population cannot afford to get to Qatar. Perhaps the greedy scum at Fifa will be kicked out after another disastrous World Cup.
Friday 3 December
Carlo Ancelotti has laid into the players for the first time, saying they lacked desire: “There wasn’t a 100% desire to win at Birmingham, where we played very well, or at Newcastle. You can have desire at 99%, but it’s not enough. At this particular moment of our season, when we are having a bad time, you have to have the desire to move on 100%. Terry could make the difference perhaps, but we have to play as a team and have the support of everyone. We have to do our best and feel able to look ourselves in the mirror with a clear conscience. Because, if we have the same December as we had in November, it’s obvious we’ll struggle to win the title.” He added: “The next month could define our season. If we’re not able to be competitive in this period … well, we need to change this moment. The Everton match could be the most important game of the season, to allow us to move on quickly and look forward. We have to finish this bad run because, afterwards, we have to play against three teams who think they can win the title – Tottenham, Arsenal and United. For us, we must improve our confidence, our atmosphere. Now is not a good moment, but a victory would resolve everything
Alex has had his knee surgery back in Brazil and will stay there another couple of weeks before flying back to Cobham for rehabilitation. It is a shame that the club couldn’t trust Jeffrey Bruma over the last four weeks because Alex could have had his surgery and be on the mend by now if Ancelotti had faith in the young Dutchman.
Saturday 4 December
Chelsea 1:1 Everton
This is getting ridiculous. Everton came and scrabbled for a point after a ropey second half display during which you have to say they got away with murder and could have finished the game with eight men.
John Terry and Michael Essien were both back for this match but confusingly Essien seemed to be deployed as a second holding midfielder and as it turned out neither he nor Obi John seemed to know who was responsible for what.
Saha tried to emulate his early cup final goal in the first minute but Cech blocked. The rest of the early play was muddled and we had little to show for the first ten minutes but we started to dominate possession and territory without creating too much. That was until Phil Neville imploded. He started with a nasty kick on Florent Malouda to which the Frenchman retaliated. The ref kept his cards in his pocket but both should have been booked.
John Terry feeling his way back into the captain’s role decided enough was enough; his first effort from a corner was cleared off the line only for the returning general to gather the rebound and see his effort smack off the bar.
Neville was back at it moments later swinging an arm into Drogba’s face for which he only received a yellow. There was time for Essien to remind everyone he was on the pitch by blocking a Saha shot on the line.
Neville then played Anelka in only for Tim Howard to charge out of his box and flatten the striker. Straight red – the Everton goalkeeper only saw yellow. And to think they complained after the game that they didn’t get the breaks. Drogba lashed home the penalty. 1-0.
In the second-half we simply imploded. Didier had a shot on the turn and that was about it.
Everton came out determined to hassle and harry and Leighton Baines found all the space he needed to fling in a succession of crosses. Chelsea simply were not there, the best we could muster was aimless punts for the front two and Everton snapped up possession and set off again and again.
One head from the substitute Beckford came off the post and flew across the goal when thankfully a Chelsea boot cleared.
The most obvious sending off of the day happen when Cahill broke forward chasing a ball that Cech gathered cleanly before the Australian’s boot, studs up, landed in his face. Accident or design the laws on dangerous play are clear Cahill should have walked. That Cahill got up and raised his hands to John Terry just compounded the offence.
Our only convincing attack of the second-half followed as Ferreira crossed from the right Ashley Cole was about to pull the trigger when he was clattered from behind but the ref waived play on.
We have seen a series of incidents recently when fouls have been ignored and penalties not given. It seems to be open season on Chelsea players as if referees have decided that anything goes against the champions.
Their goal came from a simple move that saw Baines cross from the left and Beckford head in the knock back. 1-1. But you have to ask if nine men would have been pressing so late in the game?
More dropped points and a woeful second-half performance speak of a deep malaise at Chelsea. We have misplaced our goal scoring touch and
lost our aura of invincibility. Ancelotti said afterwards that he didn’t know why, which is, in itself, as worrying as the form. Carlo is a good honest manager and whether he is struggling with a small squad or simply a lack of belief he needs to change the course of this run with Spurs Manchester United and Arsenal in the next three matches we’ll either see a concerted revival or a switch in emphasis to Europe.