Monday 14 April
Aston Villa U21 2:4 Chelsea U21
A powerful response to defeat last time out as the U21 squad push on for the end of season play-off. John Swift opened things up before Villa equalised. Swift extended our lead before the break with Lewis Baker adding a third. Villa were competitive and threatening throughout but played a high line and when you have Mario van Ginkel playing passes through there should only be one result. A late Lewis Baker penalty put the cap on the evening.
Belated congratulations to Wolverhampton Wanderers who secured promotion from the third division at the first attempt by beating Crewe Alexandria 0-2. They took 9,000 to the party at Gresty Road. The Old Gold have dominated the league after a shrewd rebuilding job by Kenny Jackett last summer with the new squad based around their youth and reserve teams.
Chelsea announced a subsidy for Madrid. The club are bunging £20 a ticket as a thank you for your support. With the cost of travel ever increasing it is a timely and welcome gesture.
Tuesday 15 April
Luton Town have won back their place in the Football League after five years away. They achieved the feat in the most glamorous fashion as Cambridge United failed to beat Kidderminster and so the Hatters are up. Kicked by the FA when they were down Luton were a Championship side in 2007 but suffered several periods in administration and relegation because of the points deductions. If you meet a Luton fan they’ll explain how unfair it all was – at length.
Wednesday 16 April
On their way south to play us on Saturday, Sunderland managed to take a point from Manchester City. Just at the time they needed a positive result, City found themselves needing a late equaliser. The points dropped mean that with four league wins then Chelsea would be champions.
Thursday 17 April
FA Youth Cup semi-final second leg
Arsenal 0:1 Chelsea
The goal might have been scrappy but the domination over Arsenal was almost complete as we qualified for a third FA Youth Cup final in a row. Charlie Colkett is claiming the goal but the influence of Josh Vickers in the Arsenal goal could be felt even now as he could be credited with an own goal. As a custodian Arsenal have a truly effective player. Vickers kept the score down with important saves in both legs. It was Chelsea who dominated possession territory and chances as we booked a final against Fulham.
First leg is at the Cottage Monday 28 April with the home leg Monday 5 May. Both games will be on Chelsea TV and, for terrestrial folk, ITV4.
Friday 18 April
Eden Hazard has been nominated for the PFA player and young player of the year awards.
There has been a lot of meanwhile today:
Atlético Madrid expended their lead at the top of La Liga but only just as they needed late goals after a nervous display to beat lowly Elche 2-0.
George Saville and Brentford are celebrating promotion after a 1-0 win over Preston combined with defeats for Leyton Orient and Rotherham – the latter in a ten-goal thriller at Wolves – to leave the Bees a Championship club for the first time in 21 years.
The Chelsea women started their league campaign with a 0-2 win at Bristol Academy to go with their FA Cup win there last week.
Saturday 19 April
Chelsea 1:2 Sunderland
Another match ruined by a referee. Jose Mourinho will be in trouble for the tone with which he accused the Mike Dean of achieving his objective but given the absurdity of the penalty awarded and the one-sided nature of the rest of his performance it is hard to know how else Jose is expected to react.
Mourinho was absolutely fair in congratulating Sunderland on their performance but the result was not born of anything that they did but on a championship-deciding penalty given against us.
When Samuel Eto’o sauntered into space to give us the lead from a Willian corner everything seemed fine. 1-0.
They equalised quickly and the goal was the result of rusty handling by Mark Schwarzer. At 41 and a bit Mark is the oldest goalkeeper on the planet and he has not played for months. 1-1.
We have let the goalkeeper problem fester for too long. Cech is a solid custodian, Courtois probably the best in the world for the next decade. But on the bench all we have is Hilario and the Australian Schwarzer. Something needs to be done.
Mike Dean is usually a fair ref but his decisions today suggested he really didn’t want us to win. First it appeared that Sunderland’s defenders were allowed to literally wrestle Chelsea players to the ground from corners without any sanction. There was no way we were going to restore our lead from a set-piece.
Dean also allowed Lee Cattermole a few free hits before finally booking him for hauling down Oscar. Adam Johnson was lucky to be on the pitch beyond half time as he planted his studs in Cesar Azpilicueta’s chest. Not even a card.
Our lead was restored when John Terry volleyed in from Matic’s header. 2-1. Only Dean is whistling for the most innocuous touch by Matic on Colback who flung himself to the floor. 1-1.
Dean also waved away a huge handball shout before he really set fire to things: Ramires was steaming in to head the ball into an empty net when Seb Larsson pushed him off the ball from behind. A clear penalty ignored by Dean because Ramires’ header was wide. The point is that Ramires missed because he was pushed.
Ramires is developing a habit of retaliating and will be punished for swinging an elbow at Larsson a few minutes later.
We spurned a dozen chances to score before Azpilicueta slipped and in trying to block Altidore as he shaped to shoot allowed the ball to run out for a corner. Only Dean is pointing to the spot. Pundits, notably Jamie Redknapp have decided that the award was fair because they are Liverpool supporters. The fact is that there was no contact between the defender and the attacker. Altidore trod on Azpilicueta not the other way round.
After Chris Foy’s performance in handing the game to Villa last month this refereeing performance was hard to take. We’ve been down to ten-men for a foul where there was no contact between defender and attacker and now a penalty where there was no contact between defender and attacker. Dean gave the game to Sunderland and the title to Liverpool.
The idea that this is balance from the award of a penalty against West Brom is insulting and absurd. We have hardly been given a spot-kick since, while Liverpool have been granted 12.
At the end of the day Mourinho’s 77 game unbeaten home record has been removed and the title has been handed on a plate to Liverpool. It is a crushingly unfair way to finish the season. Let us just hope the players react to the injustice by taking it out on Atlético.
Chelsea U21 4:2 West Bromwich Albion U21
Goals from Izzy Brown, Kasey Palmer and two from Lewis Baker rolled over a spirited West Brom to book a place in the end of season play-off.
Sunday 20 April
The women’s team battled the elements to draw with last season’s champions Liverpool. Our new international sensation, Ji So-Yun, was red carded for two yellows. The second for simulation.
Meanwhile their first-team beat a spirited Norwich City to move five points clear.