Tuesday 18 February
FA Youth Cup
Cardiff City U18 0:2 Chelsea U18
Dominic Solanke right at the start and Alex Kiwomya at the death scored the goals that mean the youth team qualified for the quarter-finals for the fifth year in a row. We play Newcastle United at St James Park.
Fulham confirmed that Ray Wilkins is out of a job again. The ever-changeable coaching roles at the Cottage mean Ray will be back on a screen near you probably in time for the Everton game on Saturday.
Ray also confirmed that he has been suffering with chronic bowel disease for some time and that was why he appeared to be woozy on the bench against Liverpool.
Elsewhere, Manuel Pellegrini snapped about refereeing bias in favour of Barcelona after Swedish ref Jonas Eriksson awarded a penalty and sent off a Man City defender in a 0-2 loss.
That City were punished for the types of fouls they routinely made on Saturday against us was some belated justice. City have long been an overtly physical side happy to kick, trip and rugby tackle, they will have to learn that it isn’t allowed anywhere else.
In loan action, Patrick Bamford curled in a 20-yard-in-off-the-underside-of-the-bar effort as Derby beat Wednesday. Patrick motored through the early part of this season at the franchise with 17 strikes before moving to Derby where he already has six more since January.
Wednesday 19 February
Arsenal contrived to lose to Bayern München after both teams missed first-half penalties the Germans wore down ten-man Goons.
In the other match Thibaut Courtois made a couple of telling saves, one truly world-class, as Atlético Madrid beat AC Milan 0-1.
Friday 21 February
Dan Petrescu has been talking about his ambition to one day manage at the Bridge. The Dynamo Moscow manager has made a name for himself in management since retiring but will have to wait for the decades of Mourinho triumphs to draw to a close … or did we dream that?
Saturday 22 February
Chelsea 1:0 Everton
That roar of relief is still causing minor earthquakes on the islands off Krakatoa: in the 92nd minutes the roof came off Stamford Bridge as John Terry stole in to score the goal that took us four points clear at the top.
Everton are always a hard toffee to crack. There have been dozens of difficult and disappointing results down the years and this looked to be heading in the same direction. Everyone was having an off day and chances were not being made for the fourth game in a row. Hazard was receiving the ball deep in his own half, Willian was working hard but with Oscar’s radar malfunctioning there was no penetration up front.
Everton started on the front foot with Naismith bringing a save from Cech after just ten minutes and the early cut and trust suggested that we might break through them. Sadly Everton’s defence was just good enough.
Pienaar and Osman seemed to have the freedom of midfield and Jose was doing his nit about it on the sidelines. When we did manage a chance Eto’o actually kicked it backwards.
We started the second-half in better order, Lampard drawing the first save of note from Howard in the Everton goal but Cech needed to be just as agile to get down to turn away a deflected effort from Osman. Howard again as he turned away Hazard’s effort and then bounced up to block the follow-up from Ivanovic.
It was breathless stuff but we were still no nearer to a goal. Fernando Torres came on in a bad mood and proceeded to take it out on all and sundry. There is commitment to the cause and hotheadedness and this was of the latter.
The desperation levels were rising around the ground; if we only draw Arsenal will go back to the top later today…
Ramires thrashed a chance wide at the death that looked to be it for the afternoon until, the otherwise excellent, Jagielka tripped the Brazilian and as Howard and John Terry came together on the line the ball somehow squirmed in. 1-0.
The goal is being credited to John but it looks like Howard palmed the ball in under pressure.
The final whistle followed a late scare – yes, if your heart rate can handle goals this late they can stand a last ditch headed clearance and resulting corner. Much more of this and the Chelsea ranks will be depleted by strokes and heart attacks.
Everton complained afterwards that the free-kick should not have been given somehow interpreting the slow-mo that showed Jagielka tripping Ramires as the Brazilian tripping himself over the scouse knee.
To spoil the fun Arsenal and Manchester City won their walk-over games and so we are as you were at the top.