Monday 20 August
Josh McEachran has been loaned to Middlesbrough for the season. The 19-year-old would have been hoping for a Premiership loan after five appearances for Swansea City last term but is still in the club’s plans if he can shine in the North East.
In the evening game Everton completely overpowered Manchester United. 1-0 flattered the visitors.
Tuesday 21 August
Josh made a very impressive debut at the Riverside as he pulled all the strings in the whole of Boro’s 3-2 win over Burnley.
Wednesday 22 August
Chelsea 4:2 Reading
There was a great sense of relief around the ground after this performance that veered between genius and shambles.
The spark was there from the start again, as Hazard continued to soar into the hearts of the faithful – thumping a shot wide after only a few seconds.
Ramires shot when he should have squared to Torres who was dispossessed himself a moment later. Then Hazard danced into the box and was simply and unfussily fouled – penalty – dispatched by Lampard 1-0.
What came next was quite shocking as we sat back and invited pressure and Reading thrived. Suddenly they visitors looked the better team – Chelsea hesitant and shaky at the back.
Ashley Cole could not stop the cross and nobody got in the way for the header from Progrebnyak. 1-1.
Petr Cech will want to forget the next as a soft free-kick slipped through his grasp. 1-2. Suddenly we are looking ragged and any but Champions of Europe.
Just before the break our offside trap doesn’t deserve the name as Reading players are lining up to convert but thankfully none can connect with the cross.
The second period started with Reading hiding deep and Chelsea marshalling possession but few chances were made before Gary Cahill decided to thrash one from distance only to see the equaliser bobble in off a weak dive. 2-2.
With renewed bite Chelsea dominated the end of the game as moves started to cut through their backline again. Torres did look offside as he converted Cole’s cross following another thrusting move. 3-2. And our top scorer from open play – Branislav Ivanovic – tucked in his second of the season at the death.
Chelsea might have wobbled but we now sit three points clear at the summit having played a game more.
Thursday 23 August
Archange Nkumu has taken the well-beaten path to the West Country to join Rohan Ince with Yeovil Town. He will act as cover for the Glovers defence and midfield for the next moth possibly longer. Nkumu was a regular in the reserves last season.
Friday 24 August
Victor Moses has finally joined from Wigan for about £9m. At least we got a chance to see what he can do last weekend and he will find many more heads for those crosses now he is a Chelsea player.
Also joining today – to hails of delight from the commentatoriat – is César Azpilicueta. The right-back from Marseille originally comes from Spain and played for them in their underwhelming Olympic bid. He is our fourth Spaniard.
Saturday 25 August
Chelsea 2:0 Newcastle United
This was immense: in terms of turning round results from last season comfortably beating Newcastle is a very good place to start. It helps that we are top of the league with three wins from three.
Newcastle were harder to crack that Reading but the same combinations looked to stretch and then punish them: Mata, Torres and Hazard buzzed the ball between them and the Toon stood and admired before someone called Anita tripped Torres in the box and Hazard stepped up to do Frank’s job. 1-0. A first goal in blue for a young man who has already created five goals for others.
Lampard was being rested John Terry had an injury and Drogba has, of course, gone so Chelsea shaped up against last year’s surprise package without the outfield spine and yet comfortably dominated. Their one first-half chance came when Luiz decided to dribble out of the box and was dispossessed and Newcastle were under constant threat from precise attacking movement; Mata fed Torres who found Hazard on the edge of the box his backheel was slammed into the top right-hand corner by Torres – genius. 2-0.
Newcastle strove harder in the second-half and we will have to get used to this Chelsea side shutting up and settling for what they have. We broke a few times in the second period but surrendered possession and territory perhaps just to test our defence but there were no chinks in the armour and when they did eventually wriggle through Cech sprawled on the ball.
An excellent win from a side that is gelling in front of our eyes. We take over at the top again from Swansea who had a comfortable time knocking in all the presents West Ham could gift them and Everton who looked ruthless beating Villa.