Monday 6 October
Shalke 04 finally tired of the poor run of results under Jens Keller and have appointed Roberto Di Matteo to replace him as manager. In a season of reunions and second comings this will be a strange one. Sadly the home leg against the German side is already past but a warm welcome in Gelsenkirchen from the away fans at the end of November.
For those of you who eat too much Winterval turkey to drag your weary carcass all the way to the ground on boxing day, the game with West Ham has been moved to lunchtime by Sky.
Tuesday 7 October
Watford lost another manager as Billy McInlay left after only eight days in the job. In his place the Hornets appointed Slavisa Jokanovic. Those with longish memories will remember Slavisa’s time in the Chelsea midfield back when Claudio Ranieri bestrode the technical area. The Chelsea Independent was not very nice about either of them at the time but we wish him well and a longer career at Vicarage Road than most have managed of late.
Thursday 9 October
England 5:0 San Marino
Roy Hodgson’s England have found their level. Five goals was a poor return against the group whipping boys. The performance was a flat as the crowd and the blaring band never sounded more out of place. The Great Escape never more inapt or more pathetic. Roy employed a diamond midfield as he strives to make England inelegant and moronic. With fast wingers like Sterling, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Townsend in the squad we decided to try attacking straight down the middle. If it hadn’t been for a first-half corner and a penalty San Marino would have been level at the break.
Spain had a slightly worse evening as Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas and company slumped to a 2-1defeat away to Slovakia. Old boy Miroslav Stoch scored the winner with a late header minutes after Spain had clawed themselves level.
Friday 10 October
Thibaut Courtois managed a full game for Belgium as they beat Andorra 6-0 but Eden Hazard was rested as a precaution. Petr Cech also played as the Czech Republic beat Turkey 2-1 away.
Mohamed Salah scored the second as Egypt finally roused themselves to beat Botswana 2-0.
There was a slew of Chelsea talent in Under 21 and U19 action – we could list them all but if you imagine our U21 side you probably included everyone.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Izzy Brown for England at U19 probably had the best result 3-0 over Belarus. Brown on his debut at this level.
Saturday 11 October
Chelsea U18 12:2 Aston Villa U18
You know it is a good day when vidiprinter writes your score in brackets… Chelsea U18 12 (twelve), Aston Villa U18 2….
It was in itself a great fight back from 0-2 down as Villa raced into a lead through Harry McKirdy and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. Jeremie Boga quickly pulled one back before Tammy Abraham, Miro Muheim, Boga (again) and two from Dominic Solanke made it 6-2 at the half.
Muheim was first to complete his hat-trick before Kyle Scott scored one and Boga netted his third. Tammy Abraham scored another and Ike Ugbo finished the rout.
Joe Edwards looked a little shell-shocked as he tried to credit each player’s performance, like a tearful Oscar acceptance he managed not to leave anyone out.
Carlisle United 3:0 Stevenage Borough
A poor defeat for injury ravaged Boro but one that proves you should always bring your boots – Stevenage had so many injuries that goalkeeping coach Dave Beasant stood in as substitute goalie at the tender age of 55. You would bet he could still do the job as well but he wasn’t called upon during the awful tonking.
On international duty: Andre Schürrle got a rare start for Germany but it wasn’t a happy night as the world champions lost 2-0 in Poland. Serbia, with Ivanovic and Matic both in the side needed a last gasp equaliser to get a point from Armenia.
Meanwhile Nigeria slumped to another defeat as Obi John and Kenneth Omeruo both played in a 1-0 defeat to Sudan.
Christian Atsu started for Ghana as they drew with Guinea and Bertrand Traore’s Burkina Faso won 2-0 away in Gabon with Bert a late sub.
Oscar, Filipe Luis and Willian all played as Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in Bejing.
Sunday 12 October
Manchester City Women 2:1 Chelsea Ladies.
The women’s team tripped at the last hurdle. City are building a competitive team but the nerves in the Chelsea camp were such that attacks broke down to easily and defenders made mistakes. It was a valiant effort but this defeat and Birmingham’s draw meant Liverpool retained their title.
Second place does though carry qualification into the Champions League for next season.
Slovenia 0:1 England
Roy’s mighty England march on, swatting aside minnows with a comprehensive swing of Rooney’s boot at a free-kick. Without which, you have to admit, we’d have dropped points against a poor side because we kept all the quick wide men on the bench and tried to batter through the midfield.
Diego Costa scored his first goal for Spain as his adopted country beat Luxembourg 4-0. He has taken a lot of stick in Spain for failing to score but the side behind him have not been creating the chances as Spain start to adjust to a new era.
At U19 Ruben Lotus-Cheek knocked in his fourth and fifth England goals at this level as we overcame Luxembourg 8-0. Charlie Colkett also grabbed one.