Tuesday 5 November
Fernando Torres is out of tomorrow and Saturday according to Jose Mourinho. The Spaniard has a leg muscle problem.
Mark Schwarzer has retired from international football at the impressionable age of 41. It excuses his ageing bone the long haul trips for friendlies next week. Mark is the most capped socceroo with 109 caps over 20 years.
Wednesday 6 November
Chelsea 3:0 Shalke 04
A shaky start to the evening ended with domination of the group and one more point needed to qualify.
Jose rang the changes fro the third match in a row as Willian came in for the dog-housed Hazard and Eto’o replaced the injured Torres. Azpilicueta deputised at left-back in a slightly lopsided defence.
Newcastle was clearly playing on minds at the start as passes went astray and Shalke’s pressing game stopped any fluidity.
Willian looked particularly out of sorts as Julian Draxler tormented our out of kilter midfield.
We barely featured until Andre Schürrle had a free-kick well saved after twenty minutes. It marked the point where we woke up and started to play. The goal came from the least promising situation as the Shalke ’keeper dawdled over a clearance Samuel Eto’o raced in to hurry his and the ball was in the net off his deflection. 1-0.
The goal deflated the Germans but they remained stubbornly in the game until after another Draxler effort was saved Chelsea broke through Willian who slipped the ball to his former Anzhi team mate Eto’o to take a touch and hammer home. 2-0. It was Samuel’s 39th career goal in the competition.
The fight drained out of Shalke from that moment on, although their fans kept up the singing and banter all night.
The substitutions brought some welcome time for Kevin De Bruyne and a run for Demba Ba who wasted no time in scoring a volley from Frank Lampard’s astute chipped pass. Class. 3-0.
In the other match Basel drew at home to Steaua Bucharest to leave us a single point away from the knockout stage.
Jose mentioned afterwards that Eden Hazard had been dropped for failing to make it back from Lille for training on Monday. He had been guest of honour back at his old club on Sunday.
Chelsea U19 1:0 Shalke 04 U19
An early free-kick from Lewis Baker was enough to extend the perfect record of the U19 squad at Aldershot this afternoon. Shalke pressed and worked hard and created the better chances but we defended well and deserved the win.
In the league cup Sunderland’s new boss Gustavo Poyet was delighted to beat a scratch Southampton side 2-1 to set up a tie against us early in December.
Saturday 9 November
Chelsea 2:2 West Bromwich Albion
A poor performance across the park as Cech had a howler, John Terry dithered the midfield stagnated and the attack stood still and waited for something to happen. We were as slow as this last week and were punished and WBA almost repeated the medicine.
Complacency and arrogance are a poor mix and expecting to be West Brom, who have already won at Old Trafford, was a basic error.
The first-half was absurdly quiet, if it hadn’t been for free-kicks you could say nothing happened at all, until a late burst and shot from Hazard left the ball at Liam Ridgewell’s feet. The defender dithered only for an instant but Samuel Eto’o nipped in and scored another fox’s goal. 1-0.
Surely we would dominate the second period on our way to easy victory. Erm, no. Shane Long hit a post with Cech scrambling before a ball back in from a Cech save was headed unopposed by Long for the equaliser. 1-1
It got worse as Ivanovic was dumped on his arse with no free-kick and West Brom broke only for Stephane Sessegnon’s shot to pass a static Cech. 1-2.
It was unbelievably bad goalkeeping. A weak shinned shot dribbled past and he seemed to freeze.
We knuckled down to rectify the mistakes but chances were not being taken. West Brom had a late break to put the seal on a famous victory but Brunt decided to shoot. We flicked the ball quickly back up the other end and Ramires went down under a challenge, weakly, and Hazard scored to save Jose’s home record.
What will worry him is that we looked as pedestrian and unimaginative as last week and he has an international break to think about the problem.