Monday 9 January
The FA Cup draw keeps things local by handing us another tie against Brentford – because west London is wonderful, presumably. We had an entertaining 2-2 draw down at Griffin Park in 2013, before a comfortable 4-0 home win back at the Bridge. This time the home tie will be at the end of the month.
Alex Kiwomya extended his loan at Crewe until the end of the campaign. Our dynamic midfielder has settled well at the Cheshire side scoring seven goals in his 24 appearances so far.
Tuesday 11 January
The WSL Spring Series fixtures have been announced. The women’s game is moving back to a traditional winter calendar after the absurd experiment with playing football in the cricket season was abandoned – mostly because the sides were totally out of step with the rest of Europe.
We play home or away in a series of matches between February and May starting with Manchester City (away).
Wednesday 11 January
Hammersmith and Fulham are happy with the bird’s-nest-lite new stadium and have granted planning permission for the 60,000-seat stadium. The more we’ve looked at it the cooler we grow, it is a step up form where we are now but lack of standing or significant planning for young supporters looks more and more like a missed opportunity. You can book your new season ticket spot in 2022 or thereabout, there is a lot of red tape to get through before spades hit the ground.
Charlie Colkett, Fankaty Dabo and Islam Feruz are all joining Swindon Town on loan until the end of the season. Colkett scored three times for Bristol Rovers already this season, while Feruz has been under the radar in Belgian football. Dabo is going on loan for the first time.
Thursday 12 January
Graham Taylor died today. The former Watford manager was always good value for money and a smiling face. He will be missed.
Bournemouth asked to sign John Terry on loan until the end of the season. We are not sure that is quite how John planned to have a retirement party so he’ll likely turn it down.
Friday 13 January
Oh, you are kidding… the Chelsea squad travelled for tomorrow’s game without Diego Costa. Costa has not trained for the last three days after a row with a fitness trainer – unnamed – after an offer from China of wages approaching £30m.
You can understand why a figure like that would turn your head but you almost suspect shady owners of rival clubs, possibly in Manchester, have been egging on the Chinese to be as disruptive as possible.
The news sours Antonio Conte’s achievement in being voted manager of the month for the third month in a row.
Leicester City U23 0:4 Chelsea U23
With the news from the first-team blighting everything else it is a little difficult to follow reserve games… Mukhtar Ali scored two either side of an own-goal and Dominic Solanke added a fourth as we put in a commanding performance in the freezing midlands.
Saturday 14 January
Leicester City 0:3 Chelsea
No Costa, no problem, as Chelsea regained their rhythm and passing style and dismissed a determined and tough Leicester side by passing round them until they were dizzy.
Marco Alonso was the unlikely scorer of the first as he calmly side-footed the ball into the corner of the net from Hazard’s square pass. He then doubled his personal haul after the break lashing in, via a deflection, and missed volleying a hat-trick by the width of a fox’s testicle.
Pedro headed in the third to confirm the win late on but our overall play was slick and dominant.
Afterwards Antonio said, simply, that Costa was injured and that any problems would be handled in house – you have to admire the dignity and poise of our coach, whatever the game throws at him he seems to cope.
During the game there was a touching show of support for Alan Birchenall as mobile phone torches were switched on in the tenth minute. Alan had a heart attack a couple of days ago and everyone wishes him well.
Chelsea U18 0:0 Aston Villa U18
No goals at a damp and cold Cobham, as headers flew wide and the crossbar rattled, we failed to score for the first time in 18 matches and dropped our first points at home this season.
Over in Gabon and Bertrand Traore played as Burkina Faso drew one each with Cameroon. Not the best match ever and our man was substituted after a lacklustre performance.
Sunday 15 January
Sitting seven points clear on the roof of the world looking down on creation, we have the chance to observe the toils of those below with an indulgent smile. Here are Manchester City taking a fearful pounding at Everton – there Liverpool and Manchester United struggling to a hard-fought draw – they don’t quite look like ants from up here yet but another couple of weekends like that and they will.