Monday 25 July
Obi John is going to the Olympics. Captain of Nigeria these days John is one of their permitted over age players.
The U18 fixtures have been released – we start at home to Fulham – with the usual regional league to start with the top four teams in each region going on to a play-off league. Yeah too complicated on a hot afternoon.
Antonio Conte confirmed N’Golo Kante wears the No. 7 jersey next season. It was actually announced on the website but we have been trying to get Conte and Kante into the same sentence as a tribute to Alex Haley’s Roots – you have to be very old to remember that it was Kunta Kinte in the 1977 miniseries.
On a sad note, Ray Wilkins was up before the beak today on drink driving charges. Not just drunk in charge this time but drinking while driving. As it was his third conviction he was banned for four years and handed a suspended stretch. He has asked for help with his drinking and we hope he gets it. Drinking is a lonely disease and Ray deserves better.
Wednesday 27 July
Chelsea 1:0 Liverpool
Gary Cahill powered in a 10th minute header to win the game but the talking point was the studs up, late challenge from Fabregas on Ragnar Klavan that saw the Spaniard sent off.
It was a late, mistimed tackle and Cesc apologised afterwards in the Liverpool dressing room.
It was a shame the incident distracted from a very solid and powerful defensive display that restricted the Reds to one shot on target all night. The defence played the full match with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Traore and, especially, Victor Moses catching the eye in front of them. Perhaps the Nigerian international will finally get a chance at the Bridge this season after three big loans.
Beating Liverpool is always worth the price of admission and 53,000 paid up tonight. The stadium looked about half blue and half red.
Back in Blighty and the academy have entered an U21 side into the Football League trophy. Variously known over the years as the Freight Rover, Autoglass and Johnstone’s Paint trophy the third and fourth tier clubs that usually compete are welcoming in 16 category 1 academies from premier league and championship clubs.
Home games will be at the Bridge and our group contains Oxford United, Exeter City and Swindon. Fancy something a little different?
Saturday 30 July
Real Madrid 3:2 Chelsea
Ah well, better to talk about the second-half or the record attendance for a Chelsea game of 105,826 but we cannot entirely skip over the three-nil lead Madrid powered into. They took each of the goals with aplomb but our defending was sleepy and anxious as the powered down their left with Marcelo scoring two and making the other for Mariano as we fell three down within 37 first-half minutes.
Eden Hazard came on and converted a couple of identical chances as Nat Chalobah found him running clear of Madrid’s high defensive line but by then Madrid had made half a dozen changes and, even without Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo, they made us look ordinary.
Still this is a building project for Conte.