Monday 16 February
Newcastle United U18 0:3 Chelsea U18
The FA Youth Cup is a seam that runs deep at the academy these days. Everyone who comes through the ranks has watched the finals and the trophies and is champing at the bit until it is their turn.
Coaches too, Joe Edwards was Adi’s assistant for the last two seasons and seems to be relishing the chance to mould his own team.
Tonight we had to go all the way to extra-time as a strong performance didn’t yield a goal – despite a fifth-minute penalty.
Izzy Brown, Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham then settled matters in the extra period to give us a rather flattering scoreline.
Two-legged semi-finals against Spurs or Nottingham Forest as soon as they can separate themselves.
Manchester United are having such a desperate season they resorted to diving to win a penalty to secure their FA Cup progress against Preston North End. Third tier Preston North End – have some dignity United, please.
Tuesday 17 February
Paris Saint-Germain 1:1 Chelsea
A tight tactical evening as Paris huffed and puffed but ultimately failed to blow the house down.
You could tell they meant business as soon as it emerged that David Luiz was anchoring their midfield. The Brazilian was at the heart of most of the action, even inviting Diego Costa to check whether his hair was real or an elaborate wig. Thankfully the referee missed the incident.
They had two first-half chances despite being at home and having the onus to try to win the tie. The returning Courtois saved well from a Matuidi header and then from another from Ibrahimovic.
It wasn’t much of an effort from a team supposedly wracked by injury but actually fielding most of the regular first XI.
Branislav Ivanovic has been nipping in to score important goals in recent weeks and he was on hand again as the bright, creative players in the side combined to set him up: John Terry crossed back into the box, Gary Cahill flicked a cute ball off the outside of his boot and the Serb applied the finish. 0-1.
We didn’t hold on to the lead for long as early in the second-half John Terry found himself on the back foot looking for Ibrahimovic as Cavani headed in a Matuidi cross. 1-1.
Courtois had to be alert when Luiz headed close and Lavezzi fired in a free-kick but it was Cavani holding his head in his hands after wriggling into the box he toe-poked wide.
Courtois was strong again right at the death to keep out Ibrahimovic’s header and earn us the draw.
Given that we progressed after a 3-1 reverse in this fixture last season Jose took the draw with delight. We had not been adventurous enough after the break but parity in a European game and an away-goal is about the best you can wish for.
Thursday 19 February
Chelsea U21 3:4 Fulham U21
Exiting the inaugural FA Premier League International Cup at the quarter-final stage is no real disgrace especially as we were down to the bare bones after the FA Youth Cup game on Monday.
Lewis Baker scored a penalty for our first equaliser, Jordan Houghton continued to catch the eye and added a second equaliser, hitting the bottom corner from 25-yards, before Ali Suljik tapped one in on his U21 debut.
Fulham did not lie down and took their two chances well to progress.
Meanwhile, three people have been suspended after the Paris Metro incident and will be given banning orders for life if their identity and involvement are confirmed.
Friday 20 February
Two more fans have been identified and suspended awaiting further investigation. It seems everyone who witnessed the events has been coming forward and both Met and Paris police have had plenty of statements.
Saturday 21 February
Chelsea 1-1 Burnley
It was fitting that after a week in which five fans have been excluded for being suspected racists we should arrive at, the long planned, Game for Equality. Everyone in the crowd seemed determined that the racist element do not represent us as a group and the black or white, we’re all blue banner caught the mood of most.
The game started well with Courtois called into an excellent save and Ivanovic finishing off Hazard’s incredible mazy dribble. 0-1.
The match descended into chaos of the referee’s making after only half and hour. Ashley Barnes took a vicious kick at Branislav Ivanovic and walked away without a red or even a yellow. It set the tone for one of the worst refereeing performances seen against Chelsea since Foy’s greatest hour, or perhaps Clattenburg, or even… oh, well take your pick. We don’t get penalties we just get erratic refs.
It didn’t take a few minutes for Martin Atkinson to show his colours again: Ivanovic fired a shot goalward and Michael Knightly blocked it with his arm. He actually had to stretch his arm to reach the ball. Atkinson saw the incident and gave nothing.
Jason Shackell was the next to demonstrate that you can defend against Chelsea with whatever violence you need when he clearly shoved Diego Costa to the ground in the box. Again, no penalty was awarded.
This really is getting absurd. Referee’s, bolstered by the FA lies and recriminations committee and ex-Liverpool pundits have taken to systematically denying this Chelsea team protection from aggressive tackling, fairness in the award of penalties and fair competition with our rivals.
Eden Hazard will probably have his career ended by a scything swipe in an ordinary Premiership game like this. Perhaps he will be lucky and be so spooked by a close run thing he will opt to play in Spain or Italy where players like him are respected, admired and, crucially, protected.
Courtois was working hard before the game descended in farce but we had chances too: Ivanovic at the heart of most of them.
We looked to be tightening our grip when Ashley Barnes weighed in with his second red card offence. He was late, studs-up into a challenge and caught Nemanja Matic square across the tibia and fibula. The Serbian’s leg bent under the impact. What he did next was regrettable but knowing that Atkinson was not going to intervene he rushed at the payer and collided with him. Atkinson looked delighted to send the Chelsea player off.
That Ashley Barnes committed two reckless, sickening challenges in the game that should have been punished, walked away from the match without so much a yellow against his name says all you need to know about the FA and the referee’s treatment of Chelsea.
They equalised, obviously when the player winning the header had his arms on Ramires for leverage. Still fouling Chelsea players in either box is part of the game. 1-1.
Jose refused to talk to the press after the match only to list the timings of the incidents and there are already rumours that the FA will charge him again.
We cannot recall any game this season where Manchester City called foul after a refereeing performance as terrible as this. In fact Foy gave them a penalty in the opening minute, no benefit of the doubt there then, as they beat a flaccid Newcastle 5-0 to cut the gap to five points.
Chelsea U18 1:2 Reading U18
Six stepping up from schoolboy explain why this was a learning experience for many and a result that does not affect our top spot in the league after that was clinched last week.
Miro Muheim fired us into a lead but this Reading side are strong and completed the double over us with two well taken strikes.
Sunday 22 February
Jose has given a post match interview only a day late and to Sky Sports: “Football is about emotions and clearly Nemanja Matic had a reason to lose his emotions.” He added “What are the consequences of his push? Nothing. The consequence for Matic from the tackle? It could be the end of his career.”
“If you call Diego Costa’s actions against Liverpool a crime, the minimum you have to say is this is a criminal tackle.”
The FA will have been listening to every word.