Tuesday 25 September
Chelsea 6:0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
John Terry rushed home from court to lace on his boots for the Capital One Cup. Wolves came in very unfamiliar fashion with ten changes from the weekend but their squad wasn’t up to the task and after three goals in 17 minutes perhaps the few hardy souls who’d made the trip could have had their money back. Not that Chelsea didn’t merit the scoreline, we started like a train and only paused for breath at three up.
Gary Cahill hadn’t read the script and headed in the opener from Juan Mata’s free-kick. 1-0. Debutant Lucas Piazon then kept a ball alive and found Ryan Bertrand who scorched in from the edge of the area. 2-0. Lucas Piazon was a revelation on his debut almost getting a goal from a Azpilicueta; also making his debut. Lucas does have an unfortunate resemblance to Oscar.
If the older heads were feeling left out they made up for it when Mata started and finished a glide through Black Country resistance with help from Ramires and Torres: one-two, one-two, three-nil.
They actually managed a few half-hearted attacks before the break but after it they were punished by a soft penalty converted by Oriol Romeu. 4-0. Torres then headed in a near post corner (5-0) before a late Victor Moses header wrapped things up. 6-0. Marko Marin made the headway for the last and it was good to see the spiky German making his debut after injury.
After two days in a committee room at Wembley, a gentle run out like this was probably what he doctor ordered for John Terry – one England captain.
Elsewhere, Everton travelled to Leeds for a 3-1 pasting and Aston Villa took advantage of Manchester City’s uncertain defending to win 2-4 after extra time.
Wednesday 26 September
John Terry was back at the hearing today with a verdict – ha, the guilty verdict – expected tomorrow.
New sponsors for the league cup expect the same glamour ties so we will play Manchester United in the next round. Crapital Con executives obviously have important guests and VIPs to showcase their new competition, so they need a top match at which to schmooze them.
Thursday 27 September
The Star Chamber hand down a four-match ban and a 220,000 fine to John Terry. It seems they have punished him for using the term “black cunt” and simply disregarded the circumstances. Unfortunately, as Pat Nevin pointed out on Newsnight, they have set a president where anyone using the words in any context including reporting an offence to the authorities will now be automatically guilty of an offence.
The FA have their pound of flesh. John can win on appeal – not to the FA obviously they have just railroaded him – but to CAS or the High Court. It is a question of how far he wants to go. He could sue for defamation and win hands down but he has to weigh further damage to his reputation. Those people predisposed to think he is a racist already do and clearing your name in court was not good enough for them before, so having this judgement struck down by a higher court might not achieve anything.
Joey Barton tweeted his contempt for the ban, he was banned for 12-matches for violent conduct in the last match of the season, he pointed out that he would have received a lesser ban for insulting the Man City players than kicking them.
Friday 28 September
Chelsea U21 1:3 Middlesbrough U21
A second straight home defeat will do nothing for confidence over at the U21s. Liverpool last week Middlesbrough this, Patrick Bamford scored his customary goal, he must have done enough by now to be considered for a first-team shot in the league cup.
Saturday 29 September
Arsenal 1:2 Chelsea
The first real test of the season and passed with flying colours. Roberto Di Matteo’s side has changed tactics and personnel while adapting to the new attacking demands of style and panache are actually difficult to play against. Arsenal here couldn’t either get the ball or hold it for any length of time because of the smothering of the Chelsea midfield.
This was an achievement of huge proportions but one that will only be built on if we keep it going.
The afternoon started with both Ashley Cole and John Terry being booed at every touch but the early pantomime dwindled after we’d taken the lead.
Arsenal found our closing down too effective in the opening exchanges and their passing rhythm simply couldn’t get going. Mata and Torres tore into the task of keeping them on the back-foot with eager support from Oscar and Hazard.
When they did get into more dangerous positions Ramires and Obi John where diligent in shutting down and harrying. If only we could keep this up for the whole match. We were greatly helped when Diaby limped away to be replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain, suddenly we had more forward momentum and Hazard was tripped by Vermaelen. The forwards and defence jostled back and forth but when Mata’s free-kick sailed in Luiz was unmarked and Torres simply needed to wrap a boot around the ball to send it past Mannone in the Arsenal goal. 0-1.
Arsenal looked stunned but our pressing was still keeping them out of harm’s way when suddenly a ball skips into the box and they want a penalty for falling over. The ball breaks down field for Torres to rob a sleepy defender but as he pulls a leg back to shoot it is caught by Koscielny. Another penalty we haven’t been awarded, that makes three matches in a row.
Hazard, tormenting the Arsenal defence, found Torres again but offside and they had nothing going forward until Oxlade-Chamberlain found Gervinho who had time to turn and shoot with both Terry and Luiz backed off too far. 1-1.
The second-half was much the same as the first, Arsenal had a touch more of the ball but still could not find a way through.
David Luiz didn’t exactly cover himself in glory with a humbling tumble with nobody around. Perhasps that will be last time we see that effort.
Torres won another free-kick and Mata opted to go direct as the ball looped toward the far corner a whole box full of players watched as it crept in the corner. 1-2.
It took them a great deal of possession and twenty-minute to muster a chance when a magical Cech save kept out Giroud’s shot, sent the wrong way by a deflection he somehow palmed the ball clear.
They did manage to prang the post and flash a shot wide but they were not convincing and Chelsea run out fairly comfortable winners.
Wenger moaned at the end Di Matteo urged caution; we have, after all, only played six games. Most threw caution to the wind in the evening as Tottenham Hotspur finally beat Manchester United at Old Trafford to leave us three points clear at the end of the day.
Chelsea U18 4:2 Middlesbrough U18
Another successful Saturday morning sees the U18s top of their table with 15 points from six games.
Goals today came from Dion Conroy and Ambrose Gnahore gave us a comfortable lead. Two late goals from the visitors looked to have rescued a point but George Cole and Conor Hunte added late strikes.