Monday 29 August
Raul Meireles is being whispered about more and more as Modric seems unable to find a way out of White Hart Lane.
Stoke City asked nicely if they could borrow Lukaku but the club, and probably the player, said no.
Tuesday 30 August
Chelsea reserves 1:1 Blackburn Rovers reserves
A slightly frustrating home point for the stiffs but given a number out on international duty and a stubborn Blackburn side, a draw is probably fair.
Jacob Mellis scored our opener only for the visitors to equalise on the hour. Sam Hutchinson played the long pass for Mellis’ goal and is said to be testing his knee to see how much it can take, while studying for his coaching badges.
Wednesday 31 August
Raul Meireles did finally make it for £12m from Liverpool. The 28-year-old Portugal international would seem to be direct competition for Frank Lampard.
Meireles joined Liverpool at the start of last year and despite a shaky start became an important part of their midfield.
Yossi Benayoun was moving out at the same time, this time on loan to Arsenal, as Wenger decided to flood the squad with oldsters after last Sunday’s drubbing. Yossi’s time with Chelsea looks to be one of the shortest on record, injured early last year he made only a handful of appearances before this season, when, after a constructive pre-season, he has played a solitary minute. AVB is new to this job but many have been surprised that Chelsea have been scrapping so hard for Luka Modric but refusing to build the team around the nearest they have to the Croat, namely Benayoun, to see if the system would work.
Loan moves for Patrick Van Aanholt, to Wigan and Gaël Kakuta to Bolton should bring both on. Bolton has been a proving ground in recent seasons with Jack Wilshire and our own Daniel Sturridge blooming under Owen Coyle. Let’s hope he can finally bring out the talent we all know Kakuta has. Patrick is another case, he already has the form and confidence to perform at the top but he needs games because warming the bench waiting for Ashley Cole to get injured is a thankless task.
Meireles will wear the number 16.
Friday 2 September
Bulgaria 0:3 England
Finally out of the dark ages, England lined up with an adventurous 4-2-3-1 and it showed as we took every opportunity going. Frank Lampard made a late appearance but Terry and Cole played the whole match.
Romelu Lukaku played and hour as Belgium were held 1-1 in Azerbaijan.
Branislav Ivanovic played in Serbia’s slightly lucky 0-1 in Belfast against Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, the Champions League squad has been announced for the group stage and Lukaku, Ryan Bertrand and Michael Essien are all missing. Michael for obvious reasons will hope to join in later, Ryan has been out on loan so often that he doesn’t count as home grown under Uefa’s rules, it is a bit harsh on both player and club as we loaned him out to develop him into a left-back capable of covering Ashley only to fall foul of the regulations. Lukaku was unlucky as a result as AVB had to include cover for Cole and plumped for Paulo Ferreira.
Saturday 3 September
Chelsea youth 6:2 Birmingham City youth
A second-half hat-trick by Alex Kiwomya contributed to Adie Viveash’s side completing a thumping first win.
Swedish youngster Anjur Osmanovic gave us an early lead but we slipped 1-2 down despite Lewis Baker driving everything creative through our midfield.
This academy side is probably closer to the FA youth cup team for this season with few reserve games around and having Jamal Blackman, Todd Kane, Rohan Ince and George Saville steo down helped the side to five unanswered goals.
Sunday 4 September
John Obi Mikel’s Nigeria scraped a 0-2 win against woeful Madagascar on a appalling pitch.
Josh McEachran has come home from England U21 duty as a precautionary measure to protect a tight ham string. He didn’t feature in last week’s 6-0 home win over Azerbaijan.
Salomon Kalou scored in Ivory Coast’s 5-0 win in Rwanda.