Tuesday 9 March
We could be in trouble with the law again. It seems that Mitchell Thomas represented Shaun Wright-Phillips when he signed for us from Manchester City. Mitchell Thomas was a Luton, Spurs and West Ham defender but he is also an unlicensed agent, punishments for using unlicensed agents range from fines to a possible deduction of points.
The details of his involvement came out during a Law Society case against Timothy Drukker, the solicitor ostensibly dealing with the transfer and Chelsea’s defence will be that they thought they were dealing with Drukker alone. Earlier in life Mr Drukker choose, wisely, against a career in secondary education.
Rumours also that Nicolas Anelka will be getting contract extension soon and that Ashley Cole is back from his holi… recuperation in France to work on his ankle at Cobham.
Wednesday 10 March
Chelsea reserves 3:0 Stoke City reserves
For once the men against boys analogy worked the other way round as a strong Chelsea reserve side whopped a Stoke academy team. Goals came from Daniel Sturridge could have scored five but settled with just two (he’ll boast about the one that bounced in off his backside) and Gael Kakuta.
Any explanation as to why the reserves are still playing at Cobham gratefully received. Any suggestion that Griffin Park is too expensive should be rejected out of hand.
Our FA Cup trip to Wembley will be on Saturday 10 April, with a five o’clock kick-off.
This diary rarely pays any attention to gossip but Britain’s most successful newspaper, (the Daily Star, if you have to ask) is suggesting that Joe Cole will be leaving in the summer because the pay deal he was offered was a one-year extension and a 40% pay salary cut. It cannot be true.
Finally, Ryan Bertrand scored his first goal in professional football, as the Reading loaned, left-back lashed in a right foot shot in against the Derby ’keeper Robbie Savage. It would take too long to explain how Savage ended up in sticks but a goal is a goal.
Thursday 11 March
Congratulations to Didier Drogba who is 32 today and African player of the year on his birthday. It is his second, or third, victory in the Caf award. In 2008 he won only to be stripped of the title because he couldn’t attend the award ceremony. Things have clearly changed, a spokesman said back then: “Any player who is absent at its award ceremony will not be taken into consideration in placements of African footballer of the year”. None of the players on the short list will be attending this year’s ceremony.
Drogba is not feeling his age mind: “If you put in your head that you are 32 and you are old it is going to be difficult. I still feel like a kid when I am on the pitch so sometimes Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has to pull me back.”
Didier also said his injury free season was down to putting his knee right last season: “I can say that I am lucky or I can say that the few months that I took out last year to get my knee well are now paying off.”
Petr Cech could be back for the Blackburn game, if the season isn’t shot by then, as optimistic noises waft out of Cobham.
Friday 12 March
Bugger, wouldn’t you know it, just as one jittery, unreliable goalkeeper pulls up with a hamstring another steps unto the breach. Yes, Hilario will be missing tomorrow and Ross Turnbull will be between the sticks and probably stay in for Inter’s visit next Tuesday.
Thankfully Rhys Taylor, who is confident and reliable, is on the bench.
Yuri Zhirkov returns.
Talking of Internazionale, they lost this evening in Sicily to perennial strugglers Catania.
Saturday 13 March
Chelsea 4:1 West Ham United
Florent Malouda tore West Ham to bits and sent their fans back East to think of some more original John Terry songs. The Frenchman crossed 16 times in the game, created two headed goals and scored with a shot of his own.
Malouda didn’t start looking like a left wing terrorist, his first involvement was to lash the ball hopelessly wide and West Ham could/should then have taken the lead. Mido, of all people, was allowed to muscle aside Ferreira, stand in left back, to pick out Ilan, who could only wallop the ball into the Harding upper
Malouda then tore forward to force a corner and when his kick came back to him via JT, he crossed for Alex to head home unopposed. 1-0.
Malouda crossed again for Matthew Upson to deflect the ball onto the bar, Green scrambled it clear with Didier breathing down his neck.
Given the number of chances at the start nobody expected what came next: old boy and persistent irritant, Scott Parker lashed one goalward on the turn and remarkably it went in. 1-1. Ross Turnbull looked extremely pissed off to lose his clean sheet to an impossible shot.
We kept pressing and Lampard had a shot turned round well by Green but things felt flat at half-time.
The restart felt a little flat too until John Terry got frustrated and burst forward found Drogba at the edge of the box who fed Malouda, who else, who crossed for Didier to head into an unguarded net. 2-1.
Robert Green then did his Gordon Banks impression, launching himself sideways to keep out another Alex header, just before Joe Cole came on to the usual warm and appreciative reception from the away fans.
Malouda tired of setting up team mates for the goals chose to score the next himself, taking Drogba’s knockdown 30 yards out he cut inside Danny Gabbidon and reversed the ball past Robert Green. 3-1.
It was all the fun of the fair after that: Joe Cole tried to make up for lost games in the half hour he was given; Lampard hit the post as he tried to steer in yet another Malouda cross; finally, Didier Drogba reacted fastest when Lampard’s shot was deflected by Green. 4-1.
Not the best performance of the season but Gianfranco Zola obviously took pity on us by leaving Carlton Cole on the bench and playing dumb and dumber up front. Turnbull didn’t have a shot to save until injury time and that was straight at him.
Chelsea youth 2:0 Birmingham City youth
This was the usual Saturday Cobham fare but in warm-ish sunshine for a change. Birmingham had a few players out and Chelsea were warming up before the FA Youth Cup game against Blackburn on Wednesday so the game lacked real bite and goals from Milan Lalkovic and Jacopo Sala in each half settled things.
Budding wing-maestro Gokhan Tore came off as a precaution in the second-half but he should be fine for Blackburn.