Monday 7 May
U17 FA Girls’ Cup final
Arsenal 2:2 Chelsea
(Chelsea won 5-6 on penalties)
On a busy weekend the U17 womens’ team will have to forgive us for overlooking their victory in the inaugural FA Girls’ Cup final. It was a real belter by all accounts as the U17 women equalised with five minutes to spare before three sudden death kicks were needed in the shootout: hats off to all involved.
West Ham took another step towards the Premiership overcoming Cardiff with ease. It shouldn’t be so much of a surprise that last season’s relegated clubs have thrived (Birmingham or Blackpool will play the Hammers) after parachute payments rose from £8m a year for two years to £12m a year for four.
Blackburn Rovers will be enjoying those parachute payments next year after Wigan beat them 0-1 to secure their own place in the top flight.
Tuesday 8 May
Liverpool 4:1 Chelsea
Just to prove that it can still happen Chelsea turned up at Anfield as if AVB was still in charge. Giving away goals with loose balls, slips and poor defending gifted the gleeful Scousers a home win for the first time in months. But what would you rather have three-points or an FA Cup and a European Cup final. Bye Liverpool, as always it has been a charming experience.
Quickly then: Roberto Di Matteo made eight changes from the weekend and it showed.
Branislav Ivanovic hit a post with a header just before their first, which came when Suarez swerved into the box but his toe-poke inside was bundled in by Michael Essien under no pressure whatsoever. 1-0.
The calamity continued when John Terry slipped, remind anyone of Arsenal at home, allowing a free shot from Henderson. 2-0.
Three came from a corner, where we seemed to be adopting zonal marking leaving Carroll unmarked to nod down to Agger similarly unmarked. 3-0. Adopting a zonal defence a week and a bit before the biggest game in the club’s history would appear to be suicidal, almost as bad as Ranieri’s performance in the semi against Monaco. Claudio Ranieri has been linked with the WBA job today.
Torres was enjoying the jeers so much he attempted to ram them down the throat of the Kop with a thunderous shot that would have taken the net off if it hadn’t thwacked against the bar.
The comedy defending continued with simple balls played blind inside for attackers to run onto, players slipping and an exasperated Ross Turnbull in his first start for a long time watching the mess unfold in front if him and trying to do his best to stem the tide.
They could all still be drunk from the weekend. Yeah, that is it they all played like they’d had a few before hand.
It would explain the penalty. Ivanovic, so sure footed of late, appeared to deliberately elbow Andy Carroll. Why?
We nicked a consolation when Ramires, who else these days, nipped in to bundle in a corner. 3-1.
But comedy defending continued (part 12) this time Ross Turnbull decided to join in and rolled a clearance to Shelvey 20-yards out.
Romelu Lukaku joined the fun only he missed from five-yards. They shot wildly wide for the rest of the match and Suarez assaulted Ivanovic without a card but then the ref was letting almost anything go.
Should we be glad that this kind of performance is out of the way or worried that it is still possible.
Liverpool did a lap of honour after the match, presumably to apologise for managing only six home wins all term.
Wednesday 9 May
FA Youth Cup final
Blackburn Rovers youth 1:0 Chelsea youth
(1:4 on aggregate)
Make that three FA Cups in a week as the youth team battled to a comfortable aggregate win. The pitch was a horror having been rained on for forty days and forty nights and seen Rovers’ Premiership demise earlier in the week both teams can be congratulated for keeping their feet and playing football where possible.
Adi Viveash the youth team manager has only been in the job a year after stepping up from looking after the schoolboys. Given the selection problems he has had to steer a new batch to our second FA Youth Cup in three years has been a great achievement.
On a night for Chelsea players ot pick up medals Thibaut Courtois has a winners’ medal as Atletico Madrid got the better of Athletic Bilbao in the Uefa Cup final. Bilbao were many neutral’s favourites – simply for beating Manchester United – but Madrid sat behind the ball and hit them on the break. 3-0.
Blackpool will face West Ham in the play-off final after a 2-2 draw was enough to see them through at St Andrews against a tired looking Birmingham.
Friday 11 May
Foot in mouth infects Ron Gourlay and his size nines again: this time he has been merrily telling anyone who will listen that Robbie will not be appointed full-time before the European Cup final. It must buck the players up no end. Their favourite for the job is still in limbo.
Alan Pardew has won the manager of the year award for his work at rebuilding Newcastle United and getting them to within 90=minutes of Champions League qualification.
Saturday 12 May
Whatever happens against Blackburn tomorrow we’ll be be going in to the European Cup final on the back of a better result than Bayern München: they were flayed alive by Borussia Dortmund who did the double in winning the DFB Pokal (German FA cup) 5-2. It could have been worse for Munich because their first was a penalty from a clear dive.
What hasn’t changed about them is their ability to fall theatrically. It was embarrassing to try to defend Arjen Robben when he did it in a Chelsea shirt but now all of their front three will do it at the drop of a hat.
Sunday 13 May
Chelsea 2:1 Blackburn Rovers
A relatively quiet end to the season as we settle into our new home in sixth with a comfortable dismantling of an already relegated Rovers.
Sam Hutchinson made his Premiership debut a little over a year after retiring from the game. His recovery, attitude and personality have been one of the few shining lights around the place all season. We wish him well in his second career. He looked the part on the big stage as well.
Romelu Lukaku was also making his first full start and bustled around without looking to be worth every penny of the £18m fee. He will grow with a few more chances.
For the record then: it was Lukaku who bustled enough to make the space for the cross that John Terry headed in. 1-0. Before Michael Essien surged into the box before appearing to be tripped but he’d already pushed the ball on to Meireles who thumped a shot from the edge of the box. 2-0.
The boys strived to increase the advantage but once they’d got the end of term mentality they couldn’t up the tempo and Yakubu, Blackburn’s undoubted star-turn this season, headed a goal back it gave the visitors one last thing to cheer. 2-1.
Apparently they want someone called Kean out – they can’t mean their debutant ’keeper as he played very well.
Elsewhere, the football season comes to a close with a thriller as Man City contrive to throw it all away only to snatch it back from under United’s nose at the death. Manchester United thought they were champions as their match at Sunderland finished but City, who had given QPR the lead in their match despite Joey Barton’s comical dismissal, suddenly upped their game scoring an equaliser and then a winner in injury time to leave Alex Ferguson with another rebuilding job.
Bolton Wanderers will join Wolves and Blackburn in the Championship next season after our friend Chris Hoy decided to end a season of comically inept performances with his own interpretation of the rules. This time he decided to allow barging as Stoke were awarded a goal for pushing the Bolton goalkeeper into the net.
The end of the football season has been something of a blur for Chelsea because we’ve one last job to do and it has distracted all of us from what was the end to the worst season since Roman Abramovic arrived. Just to add a little spice though Tottenham finished fourth meaning they will move down to the Uefa League if we win the Cup next week. Thus making it the best season in the history of association football.
Had an eerie feeling at the end of Match of the Day: this time next week it will all be over, we’ll know…