Monday 3 November
John Terry has responded to the furore about atmosphere by offering to take the issue of ticket prices to the board himself. He responded to a fan on Instagram who had pointed out that away fans in the Shed didn’t help, that safe standing and singing sections would be a bonus but mostly that he had to pay £50 to watch Hull.
The huge increase in television money was supposed to help ease the cost of tickets instead of finding its way to agent’s pockets. Perhaps with JT’s help we might get something back.
Tuesday 4 November
Liverpool did us the big favour of resting key players in Madrid ahead of their big game at the weekend. They lost 1-0 to Real but the performance suggested that if they had played their full side they might just have got more.
Arsenal are everyone’s favourite comedy act this season and they threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Anderlecht.
Wednesday 5 November
NK Maribor 1:1 Chelsea
“Many times surprises happen when people are not fully focused”, Jose summed up after this disjointed display. It didn’t help that we had a winner chalked off for a fictitious offside and missed a penalty.
Jose started with a strong team but found Maribor in tenacious mood and buoyed by a thundering crowd they played their socks off. We didn’t fully wake up, didn’t attack with enough pace on the break or enough width until we’d fallen behind.
Eden Hazard looked good with every touch but was doubled up and channelled effectively and after a strong start we drifted. Andre Schürrle looked off the pace and thrashed shots around when others were better placed. The referee didn’t help by waving play on when clear fouls happened and waving cards when the ball was cleanly won. He didn’t get a single decision right but was equally bad for both sides.
Jose was so disgusted with the first-half that Diego Costa and Oscar came on for Willian and Schürrle.
The arrivals didn’t have much immediate impact as Agim Ibraimi curled in one of his favourite long shots. 1-0. On the basis that if you keep trying you deserve to hit the target one day, then his day finally dawned after more than a dozen tries.
We looked stung but it took another twenty minutes of huff and puff before Matic thrashed John Terry’s header from a corner over the line for the equaliser. 1-1.
Hazard then tried a cute flick rather than select the power button and allowed their ’keeper to smother when clean through.
Diego Costa poked us into the lead from a Fábregas pass only for the dozy lineman to put his flag up. There wasn’t even a hint of offside in the move.
Hazard was then bundled off the ball for a penalty but Handanovic has been watching Eden’s technique and saved a tame effort.
That was it, we fashioned a few more half chances but the roar from the crowd at the end showed the pride they are taking in their team and achievements. It would be churlish to deny them the point.
Jose was cross afterward that we will have to work for qualification but praised the application of hosts that have now taken a point from each team in the group.
NK Maribor U19 0:7 Chelsea U19
The academy managed to qualify for the knockout phase by winning in emphatic fashion.
It started well as Dominic Solanke collected and dispatched a sliced clearance from their goalkeeper. 0-1. Charlie Colkett dispatched a penalty. 0-2. Charly Musonda thrashed on a shot from range, 0-3, before Colkett buried one from further out. 0-4. Ruben Loftus-Cheek then set up Solanke for is second for a 0-5 lead at the break.
The second-half was a little more disjointed. Our hosts were reduced to ten late on and Alex Kiwomya and Tammy Abraham added late strikes.
Friday 7 November
Diego Costa will start against Liverpool after a first-half rest in Slovenia but he will miss Spain’s games against Belarus and Germany. Jose welcomed the news that our new striker’s troubled tendons will have fifteen days to rest and recover. Expect him to be fresh as a daisy when Chelsea football returns in two weeks time.
We begin our defence of the FA youth cup away at Leeds United on the Saturday before Christmas.
Saturday 8 November
Liverpool 1:2 Chelsea
No late equalisers, no dramas, just three points from Anfield and a new title: champions of autumn.
After resting players against Real Madrid Brendan Rodgers really needed a positive result in this one. But this Chelsea are stronger than that, recovering from an early setback they equalised, assumed the lead and cruise to the victory.
Liverpool started with a fluke goal. We gave Emre Can too much room to advance but his shot took a colossal deflection off Gary Cahill’s shoulder to beat Courtois. 1-0.
It was difficult to keep Cahill out of the match. His next act was to atone with the equaliser. Ivanovic won a corner, Costa and Terry headed it goalwards and Cahill was on hand to blast at Mignolet from point blank. The referee’s watch pipped goal even though few could be sure the ball had crossed the line. 1-1.
Liverpool had enough belief to press forward. Balotelli tucked one in from an offside position before they started wailing about penalties. Raheem Sterling had a shot that struck Cahill clearly on top of his shoulder. With all the anatomical knowledge of a first-year medical student, the locals cried handball.
Spats and handbags kept interrupting the flow of the match and chance were few and far as we started to dominate. Mignolet was doing just enough to keep us out but Liverpool fade as an attacking force.
The locals cried foul again as Ramires sought to fend off Sterling and caught him in the face. As the ref gave us the free-kick for Sterling’s clumsy block the contact was of his own making.
The second-half started as the first had finished with relentless Chelsea pressing and attacking – odd, they’d accused us of parking the bus last season – but an uncertain Liverpool hung on until…
Willian sprayed a long pass for the returning Azpilicueta to race onto. Liverpool eased as they thought the ball would go out but Cesar juggled it on the touchline and race into the box. His cross missed Hazard but deflected to Costa who slapped it in from ten yards. 1-2.
The best a poor Liverpool could muster in the closing stages was another shout for a penalty. This time is was, oh, actually it was Gary Cahill throwing himself in front of a Gerrard shot and the ball clipped his arm. Not really a penalty but referee’s can be swayed so Gerrard got right in his face about it.
Asked afterwards if we would remain unbeaten all season, Jose sighed and repeated that there was a long way to go. “Perhaps we are champions of autumn”, he said.
Sunday 9 November
Chelsea U21 1:1 Manchester United U21
A bit of flop of a match, with Andreas Christensen heading an equaliser after they’d won a penalty for a foul outside the box.
We were the dominant side but didn’t do quite enough to win it.
After Arsenal had thrown away any points by allowing Swansea to come back from one down, Arsène Wenger said Chelsea couldn’t be caught and that we were on course for 100 points. If them is mind games we are not sure what he is trying to do.