Tuesday 25 August
Chelsea reserves 0:4 Aston Villa reserves
Neither new reserve manager Steve Holland or new goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will ever want to reminded of this game against a strong Villa side.
Turnbull’s mistakes were legion. Balls slipped through his fingers or bounced out of his grasp. Daniel Sturridge and Gael Kakuta both looked lively but our shooting was mostly from distance as another experiment with the diamond floundered.
Steve Holland has only been working with the players since Thursday so he has time to improve the pattern of play before next Tuesday’s trip to Portsmouth.
In the morning, 8,000 gathered for the open training session. Most of the action was made up of possession exercises in fine sunshine. With those who played at the weekend excused after an hour it was down to a five-a-side game and then rounds of applause.
It was good to see all of our injured players training, Paulo Ferreira, Joe Cole, Juliano Belletti and Yuri Zhirkov all took part although most are someway off match fitness.
Thursday 27 August
A mixture out of the bag in the European draw in group D we are joined by Athletikos Podosferikos Omilos Ellinon Lefkosias, hence Apoel (it means Athletic Football Club of Greeks of Nicosia), FC Porto, again, and Atlético Madrid, none of whom should be underestimated.
Apoel beat Partizan Belgrade and FC Copenhagen to get this far; while Porto have won the Portuguese league four years in a row; Atlético are anyone’s guess depends how they feel on the night. We start against Porto at home on 15 September.
Manchester United got an easier draw with CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, German champions Wolfsburg. Arsenal will have no problems with AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos and Standard Liege. Depending on whether or not they recover from their crappy start Liverpool should have no trouble either with Lyon, Fiorentina and Debreceni.
Group of death goes to AC Milan, Real Madrid, Marseille and FC Zurich in group C.
During the draw ceremony John Terry, again, received the Uefa club defender of the year award to add to the two he already holds from last year and 2005.
Meanwhile Michel Platini revealed that he has Roman Abramovich’s support for new rules to limit clubs spending to their income. Peter Kenyon said of the plans which will be brought in for 2012: “The real work is in the detail and those discussions will continue in earnest over the next 12 months. I don’t think anyone could disagree with the broad principle.” Platini said Man City would be welcome to spend £300m but they wouldn’t be allowed into Uefa competitions if they did.
Friday 28 August
Carlo said today that Andriy Shevchenko can leave the club before the transfer window closes. It will end another unhappy chapter for the Ukrainian striker who looked another Robert Fleck from the moment he took the field, yet always tried his hardest. His form at Chelsea is one of the biggest mysteries of recent times.
Saturday 29 August
Chelsea 3:0 Burnley
Bright sunlight and a bright performance takes us clear at the top with a perfect twelve points.
Many fretted before the match about Burnley’s impressive start to the season, win against Manchester United and Everton saw the Clarets with six points more than preseason predictions, but the ease with which Chelsea controlled and ultimately beat Burnley suggests, for now, that we have over come some of last season’s failings.
Nicolas Anelka started us off with a shot inside two minutes and it carried on from there; Drogba fired a free-kick over, Anelka ran from the half-way line but stumbled into the big Dane Brian Jensen in the Burnley goal.
It looked one way but then our Achilles heel reappeared as Burnley should have scored from their first attack: Lampard was robbed while dithering near the box and simple pass meant Patterson must score – but he hit his shot wide.
Drogba was looking strong and our next chance came from the corner after his shot was deflected – Terry shooting straight at Jensen.
Essien had a blast, as usual, but the ball broke for Terry to set up Lampard and Jensen saved again.
The goal, when it came, was beautifully simple; Essien’s pass scythed open the defence, Drogba ran on and Anelka met his cross to bundle home off the woodwork. The collective frustration born of six home draws last season evaporated and the mood was optimism at half-time.
It was well place as Ballack headed us two ahead, he sprinted from halfway just to get on the end of a simple Lampard cross, perhaps the big German is going to be wholly committed this season. Ashley Cole scored his third for Chelsea with a flashing shot on the rise, after another delightful Lampard pass and suddenly we are plus eight on goal difference five minutes into the half and looking for more.
Debates about the system being employed today were academic, Lampard, Deco, Ballack and Essien were simply too fluid to say which was assigned to where. Essien appeared deepest with Ballack but in the second-half they interchanged at will.
That no more goals came was a disappointment but it doesn’t do to be greedy. The fact was that at 3-0 down Brian Jensen’s best saves were still to come; two from Essien shots and a cracker as Ballack flicked a header goalward from a corner. When the Dane was beaten by Kalou, late on, Tyrone Mears got back to clear off the line.
Carling cup draw gives us a home tie against our wealthy neighbours QPR. It is always nice to be reminded that there are other teams in West London. Leeds United at home to Liverpool looks to be the pick of the other ties.
Chelsea youth 2:0 Nottingham Forest youth
We started brightly with four or five long range shots smartly kept out by Forest before they started to press as half-time approached and hot the bar twice.
Adam Phillip scored the first after the break and on the break, Marko Mitrovic score the second late on. Good progress from the youngsters.
Sheva joined his first love Dynamo Kiev. He signed a two-year deal and becomes their captain. We wish him all the best because although he had his problems at the Bridge he always tried his hardest and he scored that cracker against Tottenham when they thought they could beat us in the cup, ha.