Monday 29 October
The Clattenburg saga starts with confirmation that he will not referee a game this weekend – or probably ever again, after all, the chant “the referee’s a racist” would appear to have been dreamt up for this very situation.
Marchester Unitenburg as he is known to his friends, has been fast-tracked by the referee’s community which, as always, means they didn’t think they has a decent ref in the system so they clutched at straws. Throughout his career he has looked out of his depth and shown staggering ineptitude, often to the good fortune of Manchester United.
Plod has now been informed of the incident have decided on an investigation. Bill is also having a go at the incident when a steward was bundled out of the stands and did his knee as tactless United players chose to celebrate their offside goal against nine-men in front of Chelsea fans. No action will be taken against the Salford club.
Tuesday 30 October
It seems both the linesmen and fourth official will be standing by Mark ‘monkey’ Clattenburg. Have you ever heard a referee criticise a colleague. They will rely on the fact that the comments in question were not recorded to present a united front.
The referee’s have made it clear that we cannot expect a fair game anytime soon and will receive no penalties between now and the end of the season. Leading referees have already called for us to be punished for reporting the use of the word monkey to John Obi Mikel. It puts us in an impossible position: either keep quiet an accept any abuse referees dish out or complain and have the whole refereeing community against us.
Funny how John Terry was guilty even though he was proved innocent whereas Clattenburg is assumed to be innocent and we are guilty of trying to besmirch his name. Referee’s can never lie appears to be the rationale but I was brought up to believe that policemen never lie and it turns out to be hard to find one who hasn’t changed a statement or accepted money from the press. Assuming British referees are a clean as snow is a mugs game.
Reading and Arsenal served up a mildly diverting match for everyone turfed out of their living room by Autumn Watch: our London neighbours played extra-time to sneak past the provincial Premiership new boys 5-7. Our old cup foes, Middlesbrough are also through after beating Sunderland.
Wednesday 31 October
Chelsea 5:4 Manchester United
As if to prove what should have happened at the weekend another Chelsea side took on another Manchester United side and without the referee’s help they lost.
Praise where it is due for Lee Mason who was, if not always right, was at least even-handed in everything tonight.
With so many changes it was almost like a B match. Cech, Luiz, Mata and Obi John all started but there was little in the way of concentration.
Victor Moses was determined to show what he could do and one delightful through ball found Daniel Sturridge in acres of space only for young Daniel to put his foot on the ball rather than through it and the chance was gone. Oh, how they laughed on Halloween the club had decided to let in 6,000 ghouls who sang rude songs and unfurled banners that really tickled the ribs but they all went home so quietly in the end.
Chelsea are a team that has shipped an early goal through carelessness in the last two matches, so it was somewhat bewildering to watch them do it again. This time Cech passed to Romeu who was promptly robbed by one of the three red shirts around him and Giggs finished. 0-1.
Having screwed up and presented them with a goal, again, we set about redressing the balance eventually Moses was hacked down in the box and David Luiz took his long run up and beat the ‘keeper’s dive. 1-1.
So having fought our way back into the game we’d not hand back the advantage by being sloppy at the back.
We were then sloppy at the back: Luiz ran half the length of the pitch to surrender possession and a couple of quick passes and they are grinning again. 1-2.
Daniel Sturridge showed himself out of touch as first he dithered when he didn’t have time and then flashed when he had space and missed both efforts but from the resulting corner Gary Cahill headed the ball over the line. 2-2. Just to confound bloggers who suggested we’d get nothing from officials all season the ball was headed out from in the net but the linesman gave the goal. A penalty and a close call – perhaps our luck is changing.
Of course it was not long before our bewildered backline let them in again. This time they were all in the right place but not making tackles and the charming Nani chipped past Cech. 2-3.
We appeared to have dominated a game only to throw it away with shoddy defending. We pressed, and probed – Azpilicueta who was strong in both attack and defence had a chance to level but put his header over before a Manchester hand stopped Mata’s cross but no penalty, even though hand appeared to move toward the ball.
It all looked forlorn until they decided to barge Ramires over in the box and this time Hazard finished coolly down the middle. 3-3. Just as they were singing “time to blame the referee”.
Extra-time started with a few misjudgements from Daniel Sturridge before he picked himself up accepted a poor defensive back header and rounded the goalkeeper to score. 4-3.
United suddenly had to start attacking and the space in behind them opened up and we found it easier and easier. They should have had a man sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity but Luiz hit the bar from the free-kick.
Eventually another flowing move saw Hazard tease the defence until they cracked and he fed Ramires to score. 5-3.
They got a late penalty for falling over near a Chelsea player to complete the scoreline but we were in the hat for the next round. They all traipsed off to the underground to head back to the home counties.
The quarter-final draw could have been kinder as we’ll have to travel to Leeds for a midweek match. Still it will be good to see the old pirate and what a success he has made of his latest club.
Earlier in the day the independent review of the evidence by external legal counsel means that we have dropped the allegation that Clattenburg called Juan Mata a “Spanish prat” but that we do have evidence to pursue the monkey reference to Obi John. A formal complaint has been filed with the FA.
Molde U19 1:1 Chelsea U19
A little out of sequence with others in our NextGen group we keep the chance of qualifying open. That commentator’s dream Isak Ssewankambo scored our equaliser.
Thursday 1 November
Our League Cup game with Leeds will be on Wednesday 19 December a few days after we fly back from Japan and the World Club Cup Thingy.
Friday 2 November
FA Youth Cup draw pits us against Faversham Town or Colchester United away – yes, football doesn’t get more glamorous than this.
Saturday 3 November
Swansea City 1:1 Chelsea
Roberto Di Matteo put out the strongest side in the circumstances but the spark and zip that have marked recent games was missing in a subdued first-half. Azpilicueta, Moses and Romeu all kept their places from midweek but things just wouldn’t gel up front.
Torres had a couple of near misses, one cleared off the line which Ivanovic would have tapped in if an inch taller but their second-choice goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make.
It should have been very different when Williams pushed Hazard over in the box but the referee waved play on. Expect no penalties. To be fair to the ref we have been denied four clear penalties this season before reporting one of their colleagues.
The second-half had better penetration and a few more threatening efforts the best of which was Hazard’s free-kick which Tremmel in the Swansea goal turned round for a corner.
Gary Cahill had been impressive at the back but is always a towering figure at corners and it was his header that glanced off the top of Victor Moses’s head for a unusual goal. 0-1.
Swansea didn’t have much in reply, Cech had to stand up and at one stage back pedal furiously but as the sleeting Welsh rain started we slipped and Swansea finally produced one fluent move and Hernandez rifled in from the edge of the box with Cech blinded. 1-1.
A disappointment to be sure but after the week we’ve just had at least Swansea were on-side when they scored and we finished the game with all of our players on the pitch.
Manchester City U18 0:2 Chelsea U18
The storming academy boys romp on and seem destined for big things. Adi Viveash has managed to keep things fresh with many of the lads away in Norway this week for the draw with Molde.
Charlie Colkitt and George Cole scored the second-half goals in a dominant performance.
Sunday 4 November
Manchester City U21 2:3 Chelsea U21
Perhaps the corner has been turned for the U21 as Patrick Bamford and Islam Feruz sneaked us into a 0-2 half-time lead and an own goal kept our noses ahead. This result will be a big lift for our young squad and hopefully they can push on from here.