Monday 21 August
Chelsea U23 4:1 Liverpool U23
So the Premier League 2 comes to Aldershot and our development squad thrashed Liverpool hollow.
An even first-half where we should have lead through a penalty gave way to an avalanche of second-half goals.
Josimar Quintero opened the scoring tapping home a Dujon Sterling cross. Liverpool levelled immediately but we kept pressing and Mason Mount deflected in our second.
Dujon Sterling then chased down a high ball and, as the Liverpool goalkeeper dithered, the Chelsea boy stole in and bundled the ball home.
If our third was scruffy our fourth was a dream – Ike Ugbo chested down and volleyed in one sweeping movement.
Tuesday 22 August
Chelsea 3:2 Bristol Rovers
A spirited show from the Gas kept us in suspense until the final whistle but along the way we got to see some moments of great promise from Ola Aina at left-back and further progress for Batshuayi.
Aina making his debut and, with the faith the club have shown in him by letting others in his position go this summer, it was an impressive start. We started like a train and first-half chances stacked up with Michy Batshuayi a real handful, with quick feet and stubborn nature this boy looks the real thing.
With all the early chances missing or hitting the woodwork many of the gloomier fans though it wasn’t going to be our night. Only for Nemanja Matic to burst into the box and Batshuayi to lash in his deflected cross. 1-0.
Victor Moses doubled the lead almost at once as he tapped in from good work by Pedro and Azpilicueta’s acrobatic cross. 2-0. Suddenly we looked like scoring eight.
The impression was short lived as Bristol Rovers hit us with a sucker punch – Peter Hartley heading in a free-kick. 2-1.
Conte will have the doing double and triple drills to stop the alarming number of goals we are shipping but Batshuayi had a remedy of his own when he smacked in a pull back from the lively and effective Ruben Loftus-Cheek. 3-1.
The second half was a struggle – their penalty, awarded against Pedro who would have walked last term for denying a goalscoring opportunity, seemed to suck the fight out of the lads and buoyed the Pirates.
The Gas had the better chances in the second-half but Batshuayi was only denied a hat-trick by an errant linesman’s flag.
Aina had to hobble out of the action toward the death and we brought on Hazard and Terry to shore things up.
For a first game in the second round of the league cup in 20 years it was an enjoyable evening, a decent crowd and rowdy atmosphere. More fun than struggling through European qualifying rounds as Celtic and Dundalk (almost) did tonight.
Let’s hope, though, that it is another 20 years before we play in this round again.
Earlier in the day Marko Marin finally made his move away from the club in a £2m-ish swap to Olympiacos. Marko was brought in by Roberto Di Matteo, back in 2012, in the hope that he could live up to the early label of the German Messi but labels are often a burden to players and he only made 16 appearances in an injury hit first season before being shipped out to a series of loans.
Wednesday 24 August
Leicester City away in the next round of the league cup. Is everyone really calling it the EFL cup? A guy in the pub really, actually, truthfully asked who we’d got in the next round of the EFL. Let’s put a stop to such nonsense now. Moronic, short-sighted rebranding of our traditional competitions shouldn’t be endorsed by ordinary fans. That way at least some of the idiot marketing wonks that run football might realise that a sense of tradition and simplicity is far more desirable and ultimately profitable.
Perhaps, if they stopped letting off fireworks (during daylight) and belting out inane pop music (ear splittingly loud) before cup finals; the occasions might regain some of their gravitas and pride.
Andreas Christensen will be playing the Champions League this season as Monchengladbach beat Young Boys Bern 9-2 on aggregate. Ajax though lost out over two legs to Rostov; they lost the second leg 3-0.
Tammy Abraham thrashed in his fifth goal of Bristol City’s season to beat Scunthorpe in the EFL… er… league cup – pah, now we are doing it. Gustav Eiffel will be very pleased.
Thursday 25 August
Sky are going to televise our league cup game against Leicester City. Tuesday 20 September for all those planning on skipping quiz night for the short trip to the East Midlands.
Dinamo Zagreb flogged us Eduardo as goalkeeping cover. Eduardo Carvalho has been Portugal’s number one and played with distinction for Braga and Genoa where he worked with Chelsea’s goalkeeper coach Gianluca Spinelli. The fee is in the region of £3m.
Friday 26 August
Chelsea U18 5:0 Swansea City U18
Whatever was said at half-time had the desired effect as a goalless stalemate exploded with goals from Charlie Brown, Harvey St. Clair Luke McCormick and a brace from Martell Taylor-Crossdale.
Saturday 27 August
Chelsea 3:0 Burnley
Wow, remember when attending a football match was fun? This afternoon we were transported back before Jose’s politics and mind games, back before Rafa Benitez’s dour colourless sides, back before the pressure of results and success to a free flowing, happier time.
Eden Hazard in particular enjoyed the freedom, roaming the pitch and looking to stick a dagger in with each new attack.
Burnley had beaten Liverpool last time out, so we know this unit can play, but we drew them on to the point of the sword and then Hazard thrust it in.
The young Belgian crashed in our first, breaking form half way as Costa and Willian both dragging defenders away with threatening runs and the rest spell bound as Eden calmly passed the ball in from the edge of the box. 1-0
Burnley’s plan to sit seep and try to nick one was out of the window and they struggled all afternoon to think of another one.
The presence that made this performance possible was N’Golo Kante. The unmistakeable feeling is that we have known a player like this before and have searched for a replacement until now – that player was Claude Makelele. Kante has the same ability to spot danger, the same grace in simple movement and passing and the same liberating effect on the rest of the team – defenders are better protected, while the strikers are free from anxiety.
Willian doubled the joy as Diego Costa fed him on the edge of the box and our Brazilian winger powered the ball back into the far corner. 2-0
To be honest this could have been a cricket score as each attack looked more menacing than the last. Costa was particularly unlucky as each of his efforts was blocked by a last ditch challenge.
Tom Heaton performed some heroics as we all got a glimpse of England’s third choice ’keeper. One save near the close took away the breath as Azpilicueta’s effort was miraculously clutched.
Victor Moses though was not to be denied and the winger we have loaned out and loaned out now seems happy to fill the role of impact sub. Here he threw himself onto the end of Diego’s wicked cross to seal and truly great day at the Bridge.
The win makes it three from three and a joint lead at the top of the tree. Harder tests lie ahead but on the evidence of this we are ready for them.
Mario Pasalic became our 24th loanee as he joined AC Milan for the season. The Milanese club will pay around £1m for his services depending on how often he plays.
Sunday 28 August
Birmingham City 0:4 Chelsea
Eni Aluko’s shot and Karen Carney’s header opened things up for us inside five minutes and we didn’t look back. Gemma Davidson and Ji So-Yun made it four before the break.
We had a hatful of chances to make it five, six or even more but they trickled past the post or crashed back off the bar.
Manchester United U23 1:1 Chelsea U23
But for a late United equaliser this was a very positive afternoon’s work. Our goal was tapped home by Kyle Scott after their keeper crashed into Dujon Sterling. Over all it was a dominant display with Dominic Solanke lively in his 30-minute cameo.
The late own-goal was harsh on a young side that had dominated possession and chances for long periods.