Monday 3 May
Wigan sunk Hull City with a late equaliser and will be looking to do the same to us on Sunday according to Latics boss Roberto Martinez: “We will not be playing for Manchester United. We will be playing for ourselves and for the good of football. The world of football will be watching next weekend and I can guarantee there is a belief in this squad that on our day we can compete with anyone. We know how difficult it is going to be but we are going there to win.” Which is just the kind of fighting talk he must have used before his team went to White Hart Lane.
In the slow afternoon’s other game Blackburn proved that draws with Chelsea and United were no fluke by beating Arsenal 2-1.
St Pauli are back in the Bundesliga as of Sunday when they won 4-1 away at Furth to secure promotion.
Tuesday 4 May
FA Youth Cup Final, second-leg
Chelsea youth 2:1 Aston Villa youth
For the first time since before many of us were born the young Blues clinched the FA Youth Cup. Three wins from five finals sounds a better statistic than the 49 years between wins.
The game was a fantastic occasion for the young team, level at 1-1 from the first leg 12,000 fans turned up to watch Chelsea’s first silverware of the season.
As at Villa Park last Thursday, Chelsea started brightly but Villa took the lead. Tony McAndrew had clearly learned from the first leg as his Villa side set out to close down from the front and match numbers in midfield.
Their goal will have disappointed Dermot Drummy. As a cross came in from the right the Chelsea coach would have expected his most experienced player to clear, instead Kofi Poyser guided a header into the far top corner with Jeffrey Bruma a spectator. 0-1.
Belief however never wavered, the crowd was in fine voice and Chelsea continued to press. Villa’s chances were few and far between as Josh McEachran and Connor Clifford dominated the midfield play. The Equaliser came after an hour when McEachran split the defence and Sala delivered from wide left for Mitrovic to bundle home. 1-1.
There was only one winner from here. Villa managed a couple of corners but nothing too threatening before Connor Clifford thumped one from the edge of the area for the winner. 2-1.
The final whistle was delayed when Kaby was flattened and stayed down. As the minutes passed and the treatment continued fears grew. Finally, the youngster was stretchered off and taken to hospital. The doom-laden tannoy asked the parents of Kaby Djalo to report to the stewards, we feared the worst.
That announcement came after the medals and cup where handed out. Overall it was a cracking night out and all for a fiver; £3 to get in and £2 your programme; that and an eye-watering £3.75 a pint in the Imperial.
Anyone counting chickens if we are leading 6-0 at the weekend would do well to remember that Motherwell came back from 6-2 down for a 6-6 draw with Hibernian this week. Please leave your poultry reckoning until after six o’clock on Sunday.
Wednesday 5 May
A lot to get through: we are sure that all Chelsea fans will welcome Tottenham Hotspur into the Champions League club. Better that than City being able to combine wealth with CL glamour. Torres in the Europa League, no, didn’t think so.
All usual London antipathy aside, Tottenham’s achievement in going from bottom of the league 18 months ago to CL qualification is quite startling. It is still not impossible that Spurs will finish above Arsenal if they beat Burnley and the Gooners contrive to lose to Fulham at home. It is, however, a bit of a punt as Fulham finished their home programme this evening limply losing to Stoke. Clearly, their minds are on other things.
Internazionale beat Roma in the Italian cup final to secure the first of what Mourinho hopes will be a treble.
Nicolas Anelka, who said this week that Chelsea “is the first club where I have felt at home”, will be offered a contract extension, despite rumours that all negotiations were on hold. It seems he will be with us until 2013. There is no point talking about how much he’ll be on because estimates vary so much and reading about it just makes your day at work seem worthless.
Meanwhile Kaby is being released from hospital after being kept in for observation. According to the official site he suffered a back injury but “no major problem has been identified”.
Thursday 6 May
There are 350 extra Cup Final tickets, er, whoopee. At least a few more Blue souls will attend but they should sort out the numbers for the future. At present around 40,000 tickets go to neutrals, each county FA get a whack along with the referees, each club (professional and amateur), corporate sponsors, VIPs, and a certain Thomas Cobley (uncle). The injustice is highlighted every season but the FA stick to the tired line that the FA Cup final is a match for all of the football family. The FA Cup isn’t for all the family, it is often the most important football match a club’s supporters will ever get to attend and yet only 25,000 fans can watch the game. The situation has deteriorated from the days when Wembley held 100,000 and there was a chance of a replay when the bulk of the tickets went to fans.
Obi John will miss the rest of the season after minor knee surgery, it is that pesky meniscus again, so, despite the rumours of a return to Germany, Michael Ballack will probably fill the role for the last two matches.
Friday 7 May
Well that is one boy in blue who couldn’t hit an empty net. Yes, politics comes to CFCNet as we welcome news that toffee-nosed half-wit David Cameron will probably not be prime minister any time soon. Unless Nick Clegg is as stupid as he looks and backs the Conservative’s economically illiterate plans to destroy what is left of the nation. Let’s hope Cameron’s is the only failure in blue this week.
The players were not paying much mind to the election – it might have been different if any of the parties had mentioned national insurance on image rights payments – instead they were having a party of their own and handing out awards. Didier Drogba is our player of the year, while Florent Malouda got the nod of his colleagues for player’s player of the year.
Ashley Cole’s superb control and flick against Sunderland won goal of the season.
The entire youth team won the young player of the year award and, as a reminder that Chelsea don’t forget our own, Peter Bonetti received a special recognition award. The youth team award allowed Kaby Djalo a moment in the spotlight; his trip to hospital after the youth cup final deprived him of a lap of honour.
Saturday 8 May
Chelsea youth 4:0 Ipswich Town
Conor Clifford, Sam Walker, Aziz Deen-Conteh and Jacopo Sala started from the youth cup winning side. Adam Phillip returned from injury only to score the opening goal and then limp off again.
Milan Lalkovic then won a penalty, which he took himself. The keeper parried the shot but Nathaniel Chalobah was on hand to net the rebound.
Daniel Philliskirk scored the third and netted the fourth, again after the luckless Lalkovic’s shot had hit the post.
There is one game to go for the youth team; away at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
Ken Bates and Leeds United deserve congratulations, if it is possible to type through gritted teeth, for belatedly securing promotion from League 1 three years after relegation. They didn’t make it easy for their fans either losing both the first goal and then a player to Bristol Rovers but still coming through 2-1.
Gillingham surrendered meekly at the other end of the table, Slumping to a 3-0 drubbing at already relegated Wycombe to confirm their relegation.
Grimsby lost poorly at Burton Albion to slip out of the league after 99 years.
Elsewhere, Blackpool continued their fine season winning at home to Forest 2-1 in the first play-off semi. The Tricky Trees will still be favourites in the return on Tuesday.
Sunday 9 May
Chelsea 8:0 Wigan Athletic
Champions. All the tension of the build-up, all the goals, all of the drinking and singing Celery until three o’clock in the morning collectively mean we can’t remember very much. The garden of the Maltster, blur, a very refined Dr. from Belgium, blur, an Australian bar maid (isn’t there always), blur, Two Danish Chelsea fans on the night bus through Victoria (remember you said you’d mention FC Randers).
Watching it back on Match of the Day, the afternoon seems to have gone something like this:
The match started with tension and the players didn’t seem to be able to pass to each other, Wigan were compact and moved the ball neatly without actually threatening. With only five minutes on the clock thankfully one Chelsea player had his head on and, not for the first time in recent weeks, Salomon Kalou took the ball from Lampard and ran toward their box where he was tripped for his trouble. Drogba smashed the ball into the wall but Lampard headed back in Malouda chested down for Nicolas Anelka to volley home: yes, Malouda was offside, no we don’t care either. 1-0.
Still Wigan dominated possession and territory. Chelsea didn’t seem able to pass to each other. Anelka managed one telling cross that Ashley Cole tried a flying flick in with his instep. Ash is many things but not yet a Zolaesque predator and he missed the ball entirely.
The second finally arrived when another Kalou run fed Drogba who found Lampard breaking into the box. Gary Caldwell hauled him down and the decision for both penalty and red card were academic. There was some petulance from Didier who had/had not been promised the chance to take penalties but Lampard asserted his right and scored. 2-0.
Leading by two with the opposition down to ten, not even Chelsea could screw it up from here. The half-time metaphorical Bovril has never tasted so sweet.
Kalou confirmed the transformation of his stature at the club by latching onto the third, he played a clever one two with Lampard, one touch, and he dispatched the return pass with aplomb. 3-0. Salomon was then booked for taking his shirt off in celebration because he is a plumb. The goal took Manchester United’s record for goals scored in a Premier League season to 98.
99 was close behind Drogba’s burning desire to win the golden boot meant he was first to everything this time the throw which allowed Ivanovic to cross for Anelka to volley in, in style. 4-0.
Joe Cole came on for Kalou and Belletti replaced Ivanovic and Joe’s first involvement was to set up a Drogba shot. His second was to cross for Didier to slam in an overhead kick which Pollitt saved superbly but he didn’t get the ball out of play and Lampard crossed the ball high to the back post for Didier to head home. 5-0 and the golden boot for the big, sulky Ivorian and 100 goals for the season.
The next came as Ashley Cole slid into the box and slid under the challenge of Mario Melchiot, Drogba lifted the goal off its frame with the penalty that whacked in off the post. 6-0
Drogba then almost tripped the ball in as a rebound from a Joe Cole shot found him unmarked. 7-0.
Carlo finally gave us a wave at this point. The crowd had long since lost it, most danced for the whole of the second-half, sang, threw celery about. We want eight.
Eight arrived when Joe Cole (sign him up, sign him up, sign him up) crossed for Ashley Cole to volley home. 8-0. The first time we’ve scored eight in the top flight, the first team since 1961 to score one hundred goals.
The final whistle was the spark for pandemonium. There hasn’t been a party like it since 2006 when we beat Manchester United 3-0 to secure the title.
The added bonus for those not there on Tuesday night was a lap of honour for the youth team with the FA Youth Cup. It was a chance for the whole of Stamford Bridge to applaud the stars of the future. Connor Clifford, Jeffrey Bruma and Josh McEachran will all be breaking through over the next couple of years and there is enough talent in the squad for three or four others to come through.
The trophy presentation was a blur the laps of honour delirious.
John Terry summed it all up after the match: “I’ve been hurting inside for three years seeing United with it, and every one of us was sitting there feeling the same thing. It’s their turn to sit and watch today.”
Apparently in Manchester they held a lap of appreciation.
Briefly elsewhere: the premiership games threw up a host of surprises, ‘Arry will be livid as Spurs threw away a two goal lead to lose to Burnley 4-2; Fulham lost at Arsenal with a reserve side 4-0, somehow the cottagers didn’t seem to care; Liverpool thrilled their fans at the death by taking a well earned point from their 0-0 away at Hull City.
Cardiff City beat Leicester 1-0 away to edge ahead as favourites for their half of the play-off semi-finals.