Monday 19 January
West Bromwich Albion U18 1:1 Chelsea U18
Phew, snatched a draw at the death after trailing for more than an hour. Ali Suljic takes the honours with a powerful header but we deserved to be safe with all the pressure we exerted in the second-half.
Hubert Adamczyk made his delayed debut supporting Tammy Abraham in attack.
Tuesday 20 January
Liverpool 1:1 Chelsea
Didn’t Liverpool try, their support were trying to make this like the big European nights of old, their manager was adventurous and attacking in his formation and the players flew out of the blocks and left nothing on the field. And yet, we looked as if we could up a gear.
Liverpool started as if their season rested on this result but a strong Chelsea side resisted. Gerrard had a punt from distance but Courtois was equal to everything.
Just as they felt they were developing some momentum Eden was upended in the box and for once the referee saw penalty rather than dive. Eden finished with his usual calm. 0-1.
Goalkeepers will suss his technique of waiting for the dive and rolling the ball the other way but until they do, he doesn’t look like missing.
Liverpool threw even more into the second-half, strained every limb and we started to look a little ragged, Ivanovic misplace a few passes but it was Obi John who looked at sea as the pace rose.
Liverpool found one path through the middle of our midfield as both Obi John and Matic lost Sterling and he strode on and finished well. 1-1.
Thibaut Courtois has had to watch most games this season without a save to make but today he flung himself around to effect – one double save from Henderson and Sterling stood out.
Gerrard did manage to curl one onto the outside of the Belgian ’keeper’s post but for all their effort we still looked in command. If they fling themselves at us like this at the Bridge we’ll kill them on the break.
Jose seemed relaxed afterwards and joked that perhaps he should sign Gerrard on loan at the end of the season.
Next week will be a tight and interesting game.
Thursday 22 January
Reading manager Steve Clarke snapped up Nat Chalobah for the rest of the campaign. Nat needs a good long spell of competitive action after his loan to Burnley fell flat and Reading look to improve with a good start under Clarke.
Marko Marin has switched from Italy to Belgium until the end of the season. He had a fitful period at Fiorentina and will get more playing time at Anderlecht.
Friday 23 January
West Ham United U21 1:3 Chelsea U21
Kasey Palmer and Dominic Solanke score the goals that take us back to the top of the table after last week’s slip. We worked very hard to contain our hosts and look head a shoulders the best side at times.
Ghana managed a last gasper against Algeria. Christian Atsu played the whole match on the right.
Saturday 24 January
Chelsea 2:4 Bradford City
Will have to bear the scorn of fellow fans for many years to come after this aberrant result. Too many changes, too many lax attitudes at 2-0 and a heavy humiliation have placed us right next to the Newcastle that lost to Ronny Radford, the Coventry ousted as holders by Sutton United or the Arsenal side beaten by Wrexham.
The only crumb of comfort is that you have to at the top, the best in the land for this to be a humiliation. And it was…
Leading through Gary Cahill’s excellent flicked opener, 1-0, and Ramires’ one-two with Salah, 2-0, we were in control.
There was a rather patronising shrug when John Stead thrashed in a reply, with the scrambling Cech beaten all ends up. 2-1.
It wasn’t as funny when old boy Filipe Morais found himself in front of an open goal to equalise. 2-2.
We were at sea. Cech, Christensen and Zouma had been drafted in at the back, Obi John, Ramires, Salah, Drogba, and Remy in the middle and up front as Jose made nine changes to a settled team.
They should still have been able to cope.
If we looked at sea for their equaliser we looked shell-shocked by their next goal as we all looked at each other and Andy Halliday scored. 2-3.
We put some effort into finding an equaliser of our own but looked too bemused that we needed one to complete the task and Mark Yeates finished a great team move past static defenders. 2-4.
Jose warmly congratulated Bradford, as should we all, they played their part fantastically and while Jose described the result as a disgrace he must take a heft slice of the blame. He was saving players for Tuesday and next weekend and it blew up in his face.
There were a few crumbs of comfort around as Patrick Bamford scored the winner as Middlesbrough beat Man City and Spurs lost at home to Leicester but they are crumbs when you have been toppled by a third division side.
Chelsea U18 5:0 Norwich City
It was tempting to lead with this result as the U18 kept a settled team and Herbert Adamczyk, Kyle Scott, Miro Muheim and a Tammy Abraham brace kept us proudly at the top of the league.
Sunday 25 January
Burkina Faso are coming home after being beaten by Congo. Bertran Traore has played well and can hold his head up after a rubbish tournament for his country.