Monday 15 February
Chelsea reserves 1:2 Arsenal reserves
A freezing cold night in Brentford could have been warmed up with a win but Fabio Borini didn’t have his shooting boots on. He hit the woodwork twice and the goalkeeper but not the back of the net. Lobs, shots and headers from the young Italian were all either under or over powered, either at the goalkeeper or high or wide. One off-balance effort at an open goal was cleared off the line. Arsenal had periods of domination but poor finishing and determined defending kept the score down.
When the ball did break across the box it was the creative Serb Nemanja Matic, not Borini, who buried the chance to bring us back to 1-2.
Wednesday 17 February
Watford youth 0:4 Chelsea youth
The goals came from Kaby, Marko Mitrovic, Jeffrey Bruma and Josh McEachran. The pick was from centre back Bruma, returning from injury, who ran onto and controlled Billy Clifford’s lofted pass before reversing the ball past the goalkeeper.
Everton or Blackburn over a two-legged semi coming soon. They play on March 1st. Blackburn have already defeated Manchester United 3-0 in this season’s cup.
Meanwhile in aviation news: couple fly home from holiday in Dubai. Both look relaxed and happy. Message boards across the net light up with informed and measured comment.
Friday 19 February
Chelsea youth 2:1 Norwich City youth
Results and confidence seems to be growing in the youth team. Bobby Devyne scored our goal and while they rallied to equalise a late, late cross saw one of their lads smash into his own net. Freezing weather for it as well, bring long johns next week.
In a meeting held on Wednesday all the players have been given a stern talking to by Ron Gourlay about their conduct, past and future, with threats that nobody is above the law when it comes to protecting the name of Chelsea football club. Roman Abramovich’s tolerance has worn out and the next offender can expect heavy fines or transfer listing.
Which sounds fine in a draw a line under it, firm but fair manner but this is poor mistake for the club to make and an open goal for anyone in Fleet Street. By announcing publicly that the next tabloid victim at the club will be further punished, the press will simply redouble their efforts and pay more for any gossip or scandal. Kudos going to the journalist who is first to get a Chelsea player fined or transfer listed. The management only have themselves to blame.
The first transfer in an age and a half: Swedish midfield dynamo-kid Amin Affane, 16, has signed a deal which means he will join in July. Small and technically accomplished by all accounts.
Aldi Haxhia has left the club. The young academy goalkeeper has found opportunities hard to come by at youth level this season with the fine form of Sam Walker keeping him in the shade. We wish his well.
Saturday 20 February
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0:2 Chelsea
Buoyed by the news that Everton had already thrashed Manchester United, we finally accept the chance to move clear at the top but it was anything but a convincing performance.
John Terry was back in defence after his holiday; Frank Lampard has a virus but is expected back for Inter; Carvalho had a rest so Ivanovic partnered JT in the middle with Ferreira coming in on the right.
Wolves started brightly, have recently beaten Spurs at home they applied the same tactics of smothering and hoping to hit on the counter. Kevin Doyle had an early run at the defence to draw the first save but little was happening at either end. Ballack did volley one over but we seemed to carry no threat and neither did the hosts, Cech had to turn one round for a corner but it was straightforward.
That was until five minutes before the break Obi John broke out of defence fed on to Zhirkov who played a neat one-two with Ballack and calmly squared for Drogba’s 18th goal in the league. 0-1.
Wolves began the second-half with greater vigour but it took them ten minutes to chip a ball over for Adlene Guedioura to volley fiercely at Cech. Worryingly, it was again John Terry watching the ball over his head without reacting.
He didn’t cover himself in glory from the next meaningful attack he shaped to clear a bouncing ball and kicked air, the ball bounced through to Kevin Foley but Cech again smothered and Terry recovered to kick the next effort off the line.
Ancelotti pushed Anelka alongside Drogba in attack in the second period giving Joe Cole more freedom in the middle just behind them. Joe seemed to relish the fight a bit more as a result.
Jeffrey Bruma came on in place of the injured Zhirkov, with Bruma playing right and Ferreira switching to left. Mourinho will have noticed.
There quickly followed a second goal as Cech cleared the length of the field Drogba was too quick and too strong for the Wolves defence and rounded the ’keeper for 0-2.
There was still half and hour but Wolves lost their bite. Anelka could have put us three up but it would have flattered, as it was the defence for once reacted quickest and the ball was off Nicolas’s toe a twinkling after he’d realised it had arrived.
Sunday 21 February
News of the World 1:0 Chelsea
Ashley Cole is at the centre of another Sunday of fun and the opening created by meeting last week has been converted with ease but then on matters of the football flesh, the News of the World is an experienced fox in the box.
In happier news, Jack Cork, currently on loan at Burnley, played the entire 90-minutes at Villa Park and had a hand in both goals, one a late surge and cross. The 5-2 scoreline will have dampened his mood a little.