Monday 30 September
The first team are over in Romania where Jose cut short his news conference after the subject of Kevin de Bruyne came up, again. Mourinho has spent the last three weeks answering the same question about Juan Mata, now he is being asked the selfsame question about Kevin. You can understand his frustration.
“So you aren’t interested in the players who are playing? You are just interested in the players not playing.”
Somewhere in this brief news-flash it became clear that Eden Hazard is back at home recovering from the kicking handed out by Spurs.
Up at Goodison Park Romelu Lukaku scored two on his home debut for Everton and linked well with Ross Barkley who scored the other in a 3-2 win over Newcastle. Roberto Martinez described his performance as unplayable. If only we had a striker like that.
Tuesday 1 October
Steaua Bucharest 0:4 Chelsea
The first-team took over where the U19 lead off (see below) by completely dominating a poor Steaua side. The hosts where not a shadow of the side we played back on our way to the Uefa Cup.
The black mark on the evening came early as Fernando Torres stretched to reach a tap in and was replaced on ten minutes. It is becoming typical of the Spaniard’s Chelsea career that whenever he looks like he has found form he is either sent off or injured or, this week, both.
Samuel Eto’o replaced him and played a part in the first goal as Andre Schürrle danced down the outside of his marker for the umpteenth time found Eto’o and his mis-controlled effort was tapped in by the charging Ramires. 0-1.
Our Cameroonian superstar caused the second as well as his lung-bursting run and shot was blocked but the ball ricocheted in off a defender. 0-2.
Our dominance had been so total that their attempt to exert pressure towards half-time seemed almost cheeky.
Normal service was resumed after the break. Ramires scored his second from the inside right channel 0-3 and Frank Lampard strolled onto a cut back to score his first in Europe since, well, only a divine entity with access to Wikipedia knows when. 0-4
We added some comedy defending towards the end but it was one of those matches we dominated for so long it became difficult to concentrate.
Steaua Bucharest U19 0:4 Chelsea U19
John Swift looks like the finished article. This afternoon he led a Chelsea side to complete dominance sharing the goals with Alex Kiwomya as we maintained a winning record in the Uefa Youth League.
The FA will not take action against Fernando Torres for his altercation with Jan Vertonghen but he will have a scan in the morning to determine the extent of what might be a knee ligament problem.
Thursday 3 October
Torres will miss about three week through injury, that means he could well be back for the game against Cardiff after the international break. He is suspended for Sunday’s trip to Norwich in any case and will sit out Spain’s internationals against Belarus and Georgia..
Friday 4 October
Juan Mata is back in the Spain squad for the qualifiers with Belarus and Georgia next week.
Meanwhile in ad land we have a timekeeping partner in Rotary – no, clever dick, the watchmakers not the slightly menacing secret society the Rotary Club.
Saturday 5 October
Chelsea U18 3:1 Southampton U18
Three first-half goals from Kasey Palmer, Ambrose Gnahore and Dominic Solanke made it four from four at home this season for the youth team set up. Adi Viveash welcomed Jeremie Boga back from injury in what was an open and entertaining game.
Sunday 6 October
Norwich City 1:3 Chelsea
Phew, after holding a lead for such a long time it seemed we might drop points but a manager who has two substitutes score late goals is, indeed, a happy one.
Demba Ba was preferred to Samuel Eto’o for Norwich duty and he played like he needed to prove something. First being bundled over for a clear penalty that was ignored and then he controlled a high ball and flicked a pass to Oscar on the edge of the area and the young Brazilian clipped the ball into the bottom corner. 0-1.
Ba’s presence meant we had an additional route to goal as he fought for every, erm, how shall we say, lofted pass. He was also available along the deck and he nearly converted Mata’s clever pass; Ruddy saving with a strong hand.
At the start of the second-half Ba almost doubled the lead. Schürrle broke and combined with Ramires who crossed for Ba to flick just this far wide.
We didn’t have it all our own way, Pilkington was unlucky not to win a penalty early in the second-half but the equaliser came when Van Wolfswinkel climbed all over John Terry to head down for Pilkington to nod the hosts level. 1-1. John didn’t used to let players climb all over him like that but his contribution was otherwise towering and resilient as always along side David Luiz.
Norwich believed all of a sudden and the game morphed into an even contest but that meant opportunities to break and with minutes remaining the substitute Eden Hazard headed out a Norwich corner to Willian and ran on for Oscar to feed and his firm shot was too good for Ruddy. 1-2.
Willian added a third a moment later as the ball fell sweetly for him to curl one into the top corner. 1-3. Suddenly the hosts fell flat and we had nicked the points from a side that deserve better than the table shows.
Ashley Cole was a late sub and will have a scan on a suspected rib injury on Monday.
Chelsea U21 2:1 Manchester City U21
A good win from a less than complete display for the stiffs as Manchester City posed a few problems. First-half goals from John Swift and Andreas Christensen were just enough after City scored a late second-half repost to keep us honest. A good=ish crowd at the Bridge in nice sunshine helped.
Finally, Rob Seale, who is our disability manager, is going to honoured at the palace (Buckingham, not Crystal) with a special gong for contributions to. It is so surprising that the powers have actually recognised football as giving something back to society. 150 people from across the game will be honoured at the ceremony.