Monday 9 September
England’s U21 side managed a draw away to Finland as Nat Chalobah played the whole game. England were the better side in the second-half until reduced to ten-men. They are learning though and Steve Holland and Gareth Southgate seem to be striving for better football.
In the Netherlands Nathan Ake played and Marco Van Ginkel scored as their U21 side beat Luxembourg. Thorgan Hazard played as Belgium U21 won their third on the spin over Northern Ireland.
Hope you haven’t booked your rain back from Manchester Sunday 27 October because we have been switched from lunchtime to teatime so the Makems and Geordies can kick seven bells out of each other and be home for Antiques Road Show.
Tuesday 10 September
Ukraine 0:0 England
Roy Hodgson keeps taking England to new heights. Today a poor side was led blindly into a fortunate draw. The logic being that the result is king. It is true that injury has deprived him of a handful of players but we were as bad as this away in Poland and Montenegro.
There is little point in asking for him to be sacked because the debate has moved on from who the manager is, to how the FA can help the England cause. There have been rumours all week that Pep Guardiola offered to manage England and was turned down in favour of Roy because we wanted an Englishman. Pep Guardiola or Roy Hodgson: whom would you pick?
In our lifetime the England manager has come from clubs as illustrious as West Ham United, Leeds, Ipswich Town, Watford, Middlesbrough and Fulham. Why haven’t England won anything in 47 years.
Frank Lampard did win his 100th cap becoming the eighth Englishman to break the century – oddly two of the others were on the same pitch in Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard. But it was Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka who contributed most to keeping the score level. Frank made his debut in 1999, doesn’t that feel like a lifetime ago.
Petr Cech was on the losing side as Italy came back from one down to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 and qualify for Brazil.
Andre Schürrle got a few minutes as Germany beat the Faeroes 0-3, while Serbia beat stranded Wales 0-3 in Cardiff.
The Brazilian boys were all back as Oscar came on as sub for Ramires and David Luiz played the whole match as Brazil came from a goal behind to beat Portugal 3-1. Raul Meireles score for the visitors.
Thursday 12 September
Andriy Shevchenko shoots over. Much has been made of our former striker’s first appearance on the professional golf tour; sadly for the Ukrainian he hit a 12 over par first round. Still, it can only get better.
Friday 13 September
Chelsea U21 2:0 Norwich City U21
Josh McEachran scored both in the pouring rain to win a very entertaining match in dreadful conditions. We thinks it be autumn.
Saturday 14 September
Everton 1:0 Chelsea
This is not what we expected, beaten by a clumsy goal against a defensive side sitting deep at home. Jose Mourinho went with Samuel Eto’o up front and rested Frank Lampard for mid-week. It didn’t work particularly well.
Everton were determined to resist but it looked only a matter of when Chelsea opened the scoring in the first-half. Five minutes in and Ramires’ curling cross found the head of new boy Eto’o who nodded wide. It was the first of a number of off the pace moments from the new striker. He thumped one long into the Gwladys Street and another whipped off his toe by Gareth Barry when he had an open goal to tap into. That said he continued to find space and threaten a well-drilled Premiership defence so he should start firing them in soon.
When Everton did attack or force a corner you never got the feeling of any threat, until suddenly they were ahead: one deep cross, headed back, as Chelsea slept and in. 1-0.
It was the last action of a first-half that should have seen us at least two up. Everyone expected a Mourinho shuffle, a bit of magic but if anything we became gradually more ragged and allowed Everton more of the game.
A penalty should have been ours when the substitute Oscar was chopped down just inside the box but we didn’t even get a free-kick. Roboref was having a bit of an off day as he booked four Chelsea players for misdemeanours and ignored Everton fouls. Choice amongst them was Ivanovic’s yellow for handball when he was clearly pushed onto the ball.
Schürrle had a great chip just wide. Eto’o clumsyed the ball backwards on a couple of occasions and Mourinho actually said afterwards that we are a different project from 2004 and need time to develop.
It was a bit galling seeing Lukaku presented to the crowd just before the off as a Toffee. How we could have used him today.
Officially the worst start to a season since Roman bought the club.
Chelsea U18 4:2 Liverpool U18
Charly Musonda was the star but the goals came from Kasey Palmer in the first-half and Dominic Solanke and Ambrose Gnahore. This was probably the best Chelsea football on offer this weekend as an attacking attitude led to very well crafted team goals.