Monday 16 March
Tottenham Hotspur reserves 4:0 Chelsea reserves
A Spurs side with plenty to prove included David Bentley, Tom Huddlestone, Gareth Bale, Frasier Campbell, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Pascal Chimbonda. So it will not surprise anyone to learn that we controlled a lot of the possession but succumbed to four breakaway goals.
Tuesday 17 March
Well it will be Arsenal at Wembley, as we’d all guessed, expect any of their goals at the national stadium to be at least a yard offside. There was a bit of a scuffle and an allegation of spitting after the match but with that much cheap Guinness flowing the same could be said for every other entertainment venue in London.
Thursday 19 March
Lee Sawyer secured his third loan deal of the season, this time we’ll be at Wycombe Wanderers for the promotion party.
Friday 20 March
Boring, boring, we feel a little stupid, having assumed Uefa would like to keep us apart, you know, to give the impression that it isn’t all arranged for the benefit of east Asian gambling syndicates, but instead they decided to draw us out of the hat with Liverpool. Can you stomach this, another dreadful few nights of whinging scoucers and their poxy history and Anfield’s unique atmosphere. Still we managed to beat them last year so we’ll just have to do it again. The draw really was against us when and if we get past Liverpool we’ll find Barcelona or Bayern München waiting on the other side.
The great Uefa ‘help Manchester United in anyway we can’ campaign sees Queen of South drafted in to give them opposition. Er actually they were handed a free pass to the final, United will play Porto and then either Arsenal or Villarreal.
Hiddink held a press conference in which the only topic of conversation was again whether he would stay. He has a contract that says he can walk away in November should Russia fail to qualify for the next World Cup.
Deco may only be out for a few weeks, Guus clarified what he said about the Portuguese last week, when he said because Deco has a recurrent problem they will have to make sure he is fit before he returns.
Plod cautioned one D. Drogba esq. for common assault. Didier should have told them to take a leap but the Met has it clear up rates to think of
Saturday 21 March
Tottenham Hotspur 1:0 Chelsea
With Manchester United losing by two goals and two players at the Cottage we really needed to win this but didn’t. It was perfectly set up for us as well. The half hour milling about not knowing what was going on before the game, “suspect package my arse it was a fecking van” meant the players knew at half-time that a win would cut the gap to one point. Yet they came out and played like strangers.
Bosingwa dither and rather than let the ball run out of play for a goal-kick he plays it back inside we lose possession, wide for the irritating show pony Aaron Lennon to cross and Luka Modric was unmarked to score. Must try harder.
We started the game wit plenty of possession but no penetration and, as always, Spurs’ defence raised their game. In fact if they defended against us as they do in other games we’d have won even in second gear but we struggled to get out of first.
For all the possession we enjoyed in the first-half, it was Tottenham who made the clearer chances; Cech saving well from Keane on three occasions. Essien had an early effort Frank put a free-kick into the wall and Didier Drogba received a knock and left the field early at the break for treatment.
Then came the start of the second and Modric’s goal, Bosingwa and Ballack were still mentally in the dressing room but we had plenty of time to get a goal back. Didn’t we?
News filtered through from our west London neighbours that United had lost but we still couldn’t up the tempo. Drogba had a powerful effort saved by the suddenly world-class Gomes. Quaresma, on at the break for Belletti but not on quickly enough for the frustrated fans, brought another good save. Frank tried a few and then JT took responsibility but Gomes pulled off the best save of the match to keep out his header.
Last throws of the dice kept coming and kept going begging, Alex headed powerfully only for the ball the rebound from the bar and all was lost.
Many thought the draw here last season cost us the title it looks, as Hiddink acknowledged afterwards, that our chance has gone again this year.
Hiddink spoke briefly to the players afterwards before heading to the airport to visit his father (93) and then on to Moscow for the day job: “we lost a great opportunity. These are the typical days at the top of the league, the key moments and if Man United are losing, those are the moments to strike and we didn’t.”
Guus’ Russia play Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein in the next two-weeks.
Chelsea youth 0:5 Tottenham youth
Shall we run you through the Tottenham scorers? No, thought not. Since Brendan Rodgers left for Watford the youth and reserve set up has been fairly directionless.
Sunday 22 March
Sunderland ladies 3:0 Chelsea ladies
Undone in the Women’s FA Cup by an up and coming team although it is a long way to go only to let in three late goals.
Bruce Buck has been consulting Hiddink on the players we should buy in the summer and Guus has recommended Yuri Zhirkov, but plenty of clubs will be in for him; hard working, good crosser and still young.
Hiddink also talked of managerial changes, apparently recommending Frank Rijkaard and saying: “It’s good when a club has got continuity and stability in management … then you can make the short-term plan but you can also plan a little bit for the longer-term. For stability, it’s good. Chelsea haven’t done that in recent times, and people are wise and sensitive to this issue.”
Nicolas Anelka might be out for a while with toes problems, he has withdrawn from the French squad and will be assessed at Cobham. Nic gets a two week break, which to be honest we could do with right now.
Monday 23 March
Chelsea reserves 0:0 Arsenal reserves
Cold and boring, don’t believe the official match report both sides barely created and blasted high and wide any chances that did come. Miroslav Stoch was sent off when he reacted to being hacked down with a petulant kick.