Monday 10 December
Dave Sexton was laid to rest by his family up in Kenilworth, Warwickshire this afternoon. A Who’s Who of the game in the 1970s paid their respects.
Oriol Romeu had extensive reconstructive surgery on his knee today having his anterior cruciate rebuilt and his meniscus repaired. He will be out for the rest of this season.
Tuesday 11 December
Corinthians booked their place in the final in a rather flat encounter with Al-Ahli. It could be that this tournament is a good idea ruined by jetlag.
Wednesday 12 December
Monterrey 1:3 Chelsea
Things, dare we say it, are starting to feel like they might be getting better.
Benitez prepared for Romeu’s absence and Obi John’s ban by playing David Luiz in midfield. The early sign is that is exactly where he was born to play. A simple through ball for Hazard early in the game could have provided the opener but his vision was a step up from the crab qualities of some of our holding midfielders.
Obi John actually responded to the new challenger for his position by marauding forward himself and having a shot…
Juan Mata opened the scoring from a Hazard pull-back: 0-1.
Goals early in the second-half sealed the win as first Torres’ shot was deflected in and the Mata’s pull-back was bundled over his own line by a defender who appeared to be attempting a backheel: 0-2 and 0-3.
The late reply didn’t do any damage apart to Petr Cech’s piece of mind. 1-3.
Chelsea U19 0:0 Ajax U19
No goals on a night cold enough to freeze a monkey’s bollock. We will have to win in Amsterdam if we are to progress. But then, stranger things have happened. Ajax were as good as you’d expect but Chelsea more than matched them in the second-half and Islam Feruz might have made more of the chances that came his way if it wasn’t so damned cold.
Thursday 13 December
Mark Clattenburg is at it again. This time he had Gareth Barry banned for using a bad word towards him. Roberto Mancini seemed perplexed and wondered if Clattenburg was developing a persecution complex after the events at Chelsea earlier in the season. Obviously the referee will have the incident on tape so he can prove what he says.
Friday 14 December
Adi Viveash will take the U18 to Charlton for the next round of the FA Youth Cup.
Saturday 15 December
Chelsea U18 2:2 Ipswich Town U18
Just to keep themselves warm but a good exercise as goals from Chike Kandi and Jesse Starkey clawed us back into a lively match before a grandstand finish with chances flashing by but no winner.
Both Manchester’s won while we are away in Japan, which is a pity.
Sunday 16 December
Corinthians 1:0 Chelsea
This was a bigger disappointment than many were expecting. Corinthians were far stronger than a muddled Chelsea and the referee let them get away with it.
Typically lazy BBC sports reporters kept saying that Corinthians getting men behind the ball and being strong and organised was not typically Brazilian. Probably because they’ve watched the 1970 World Cup final on tape and imagine that it is always like that. Brazilian football has been cynical and negative for decades.
The referee did not turn up for the first-half as he watched flying tackles and trips and waved play on each time. It was a model of how to beat Chelsea – simply muscle them off the ball.
Victor Moses started as the charmless berk that is our manager relegated Oscar to the bench – Oscar, who spent all week telling the papers how important this match was to him and to everyone in Brazil. Still, our manager thought it was a good idea to drop him.
Moses had a chance that brought the first flying save from Cassio in the Corinthians goal.
Gary Cahill had a chance from corner that he managed to stab straight at the keeper it so almost squirmed underneath him that you could start to feel we had this one as long as we concentrated.
Sadly we didn’t concentrate and when a ball ballooned up from a Cahill block on 70- minutes we had three defenders on hand to watch a Brazilian head in. 1-0.
Torres is back to looking scared of the ball as he stabbed another great chance straight into the ’keeper’s arms. He was then marginally offside when heading in another late chance.
The tactical master that sits, temporarily, in our dugout saw that a late change from the bench might alter our fortunes but instead decided to switch Ivanovic for Azpilicueta. A right-back for a right-back was the only thing he could think of.
A red-card appeared for Gary Cahill at the end but there appeared to be no footage of the incident so even we cannot say for sure that the ref was conned by a cheating Corinthians so-and-so. Cahill later said that the Brazilian had hit him and he had reacted so possibly fair if the ref only saw the second action. Cahill added that his one-year old daughter would have withstood most of the touches that had the Brazilians rolling around like they’d been shot.
Rafael Benitez was sacked a few days after his last appearance in this final with Inter and he won that time – are you listening Roman?