Monday 29 April
FA Youth Cup Final 1st Leg
Norwich City U18 1:0 Chelsea U18
Undone by another dodgy penalty – this time it was clearly shoulder to shoulder – Chelsea have a second leg at home to redeem themselves.
This was a night of countless chances, Islam Feruz could have had a first-half hat-trick, Nathan Ake had one hacked off the line, where Norwich flickered but were clearly not in the same league. It was reminiscent of the NextGen final against Villa where they desperately defended and were then rewarded by the referee at the end.
The dependable Alex Davey was turned and was falling but was shoulder to shoulder with his attacker and did not impede him. The referee saw a chance to reward the vast crowd (21,000 turned up) and awarded the kick. Cameron McGeechan, ex-Chelsea, scored from the spot.
Chelsea U21 1:0 Blackburn Rovers U21
With the youth cup final just hours away this was a scratch side for Dermot Drummy but with Patrick Bamford and Billy Clifford back from loan there was some steel in the side.
Blackburn, a change from either Fulham or Villa, actually played most of the good football but a Clifford scored a late winner on his return to the club after his productive spell helping Colchester stay in division n.
Tuesday 30 April
Jose Mourinho dropped another huge hint that he is leaving Madrid after his side narrowly failed to overturn a three-goal deficit against Dortmund. Our former coach said he wanted to be “where people love me to be”. Could he mean us? Well, yes, he probably does because he added: “I know in England I am loved. I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one.”
He is the special one and we are the especially one, what could go wrong?
Wednesday 1 May
Bayern Munich didn’t just hang on to beat Barcelona they thrashed them into the middle of next week. The Bavarian side won the return leg 0-3 with Arjen Robben scoring the opener.
Deco tested positive for a banned substance over in Brazil where he has been playing for Fluminense. There is suspicion that top clubs are riddled with drugs but that the football authorities look the other way. Deco’s claim is of tainted vitamin supplements.
Thursday 2 May 2013
Chelsea 3:1 FC Basel
(5-2 on aggregate)
After a cut a thrust first-half full of chances and near misses the visitor’s took a streaky lead before three blistering goals in under ten minutes bore us to the final.
Rafael Benitez has done one decent thing since he arrived and that is use David Luiz in midfield. Luiz is clearly a hugely talented footballer and playing in midfield he has the scope to attack without threatening our shape and the defensive instinct to offer cover for his centre-halves.
This match started with all three charged with defence through the middle sleeping and allowed Strella to lash chance just wide inside the first minute. After that we started to exert some control.
Frank Lampard hit the post after Torres chipped him in but clear chances would be few.
Strella hit another this time on the volley that flew across Cech’s goal and away. It was quite a hit.
Hazard was treating this match as his own personal property and Victor Moses seemed to have caught the bug but all the resulting shots were either blocked or scuffed wide.
Salah and Strella looked dangerous as they combined and forced Cech to save. They wanted a penalty as the ball cannoned into Ryan Bertrand’s chest but they thought handball.
We had been warned.
Elneny broke through midfield found Strella who drew Cahill before slipping the ball to Salah for a calm finish. 0-1.
A swift kick up the half-times saw Chelsea out of the blocks with more purpose. First Lampard’s shot saw parried but Torres ripped the rebound into the roof of the net. 1-1.
Then Victor Moses took off on a solo mission: springing forward and then getting the better of two ricochets to finish. 2-1.
The team and the whole stadium where rocking to this now and David Luiz found the perfect note to cap the evening. Lampard, again the hub for much of the penetration, worked space on the edge of the box but Luiz didn’t need space his first-time rocket hit the top corner after what is known to Newtonian mechanics as a perfect parabolic trajectory. 3-1. The velocity of an object is constant, until it hits the back of the net.
The icing was on the cake but the game still had half an hour to go. Nathan Ake came on for more experience but hard as Basel tried for consolation nothing came.
Over in Portugal Benfica beat Fenerbahce in the other semi, which means the Uefa Cup final 2013 will be between Benfica and Chelsea at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday 15 May
Worryingly only 48-and-a-half fans fit in Ajax’s ground so there will be an almighty scramble for tickets.
Friday 3 May
It seems Uefa are more corrupt and stupid than we thought. Not only have they booked the Amsterdam Arena with a capacity of 48,000 they have pulled the FA trick of reserving 60% of the tickets, not for fans but the Uefa family. That family have been busy reselling their booty on line for upwards of £3,000.
The FA, Uefa and Fifa are the morons who run our game. They make great play of segregation of fans, they witter on about stadium safety and yet allow their family members – sponsors, TV companies, national associations, official partners, bankers, drug dealers and back-street abortionists to tout their tickets to the highest bidder.
They should be ashamed but we doubt they would understand the concept.
We didn’t vote for that: some joker has made Benitez manager of the month, condemning us to certain humiliation on Sunday. The award if traditionally associated with a huge slump in form.
Saturday 4 May
Chelsea U18 0:3 Reading U18
A disappointing end to the league campaign but there is still the little matter of the FA youth cup. Plenty of schoolboys have made the step up this year and the youth team are in a strong position for next term. Reading won ten in a row but still only finish second in the section.
Congratulations to Hull City, promoted to the premiership despite doing everything in their power to screw it up. The tigers drew with Cardiff but Watford were more nervous, lost to Leeds, and the results mean only one of Gus Poyet or Gianfranco Zola can gain promotion.
Sunday 5 May
Manchester United 0:1 Chelsea
What an important win; with Spurts and Arsenal both winning yesterday we needed these three points. They mean that a win on Wednesday guarantees Champions League football.
United might have been easing off because of their league position but we have been the better side in all of our encounters this season.
We started with a cutting move that left United with them round their ankles as Moses and Mata combined to find Demba Ba but the chance is just a little too high. The move set the tone for the afternoon Oscar, Mata and Moses running rings round United but chances being few. Lindegaard fumbled one from Oscar onto the post but held the rebound.
We needed more urgency as we controlled possession but not chances.
The second-half started with more of the same, even Howard Webb seemed half asleep as Giggs pulled Luiz down and the only debate was inside or outside the box, the referee gave nothing.
It got worse suddenly everyone seemed half asleep and the ball refused to find anyone on either side. Chelsea needed to win but displayed all the urgency of Rafael Benitez on his way to shake hands with Ferguson.
Finally Benitez woke up and made a change – any change would do – so off came Moses for Torres and suddenly we had a bit more about us. Lampard’s cross to the back stick was just missed by Mata and then a string of corners refused to go in. David Luiz was getting cross and was booked for arguing the toss over a throw in.
Then it happened; Ramires shuffled across and the chance looked to have passed, he gave the ball t Oscar who found Mata who shot across the goal and in, via a slight deflection. 0-1.
It was too late for United to mount any cavalry action but not too late for Rafael to kick out at Luiz as they chased possession down to the corner flag. David was all smiles as he lay on the ground from the kick because he knew United would be down to ten. Ferguson later complained that Luiz had elbowed Rafael but they appeared to be shoulder to shoulder from where we sat.