THE OBJECTIVE: Chelsea want their title back. As all entitled Premier League clubs do.
THE CAVEAT: This time, they can’t buy it. Any transfer bids must be accepted. No players can be purchased.
Last month the season exploded into life. Everton, Leicester and Chelsea hold 100% records in the Premier League, albeit through each side playing 1 more game than the next. Champions League Qualification is complete. And so far, just 1 player is leaving the club, albeit the current top scorer, Tammy Abraham. We go again.
Champions League Clarification
Speaking of the Champions League, the group draw is very tasty. The 1st phase group draw for Chelsea consists of Zenit, Dinamo Zagreb and finally Diego Simeone’s big boys Athletico Madrid. But what’s that I hear you say? 1st group phase? What’s that?
Allow me to clarify. Back in 2001/2 the Champions League was a different beast. Instead of the winners and runners up from each group going into the knockout phase we know today, they instead moved onto another phase of groups. These 4 groups once again duke it out in the same home/away format, with those 8 heading onto the Quarter Finals, and so on.
This format last for 4 seasons, ending with the 2002/3 season. It was tiresome, particularly the overkill of group stage football. The quality of matches have definitely improved over the years with the introduction of the World Cup-style knockout round. Anyway, on with the season. Awards time!
August Manager of the Month: Marco Silva
No surprises here. 3 wins, top of the league, 9 goals scored. It’s worth pointing out of course that in all those wins, Everton took the lead. 25 games and only 5 points from losing positions is the reality of this overblown manager. 3 Clubs in just 2 years tells a much clearer story imo.
August Player of the Month: Lucas Digne
Everton’s best player in reality is unsurprisingly replicated much the same in CM 01/02. Two assists in a 4-1 drubbing of Arsenal, as well as consistant performances throughout the month make for an easy monthly award. And now, for September.
Premier League Fixture #2 – Brighton (Away)
A story of both sides at their best and worst in this one, but an entertaining high-scoring draw nonetheless. The introduction of US international Christian Pulisic for the ineffective Pedro reinvigorated Chelsea after going in behind at half time. Up stepped Tammy Abraham’s striking replacement, Callum Hudson-Odoi. His goal 5 minutes after the restart broke through a resolute Brighton defence and levelled matters. In the end however Kovacic had to rescue a point with another equaliser with just 12 minutes to go. Brighton were simply superb thoughout, particuarly on their left side of defence, with Chelsea simply finding no way through. Still, it means the resulting 2-2 draw is definitely a point gained for Chelsea.
Elsewhere in the gameweek, Leicester’s 100% record continues with an easy 3-goal romp over Woy’s Crystal Palace. Game of the day has to go to the 8-goal thriller at the Vitality Stadium, where Sheffield United pegged Bournemouth back three times, before being finished off in the final fifteen minutes.
Just three days later, seven Saturday kick-offs take centre stage. Leicester’s run continues with an impressive away win at Arsenal (actually, is that impressive anymore?), and Everton maintain their run too. Ole’s Manchester United are also finding form with 2 wins in a week. And now for Sunday….
Premier League Fixture #3 – West Ham (Home)
A convincing win, despite the low scoreline. Pedro once again is unconvincing in attack. Ross Barkley’s winning goal is his second in 2 Premier League games, both coming in the the 68th minute. Lets have a few more, Ross. And now, the Champions League group stage beckons….
Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 1 – Athletico Madrid (Away)
Cracker of a game this one. Both sides were excellent, with Athletico making the chances count more than Chelsea. The ineffectual Hudson-Odoi is replaced at half time by Olivier Giroud for his first appearance of the season. His heading ability brought Willian into the game, who equalised with a magnificent strike after a great run. Unfortunately ex-Man City starlet Gundogan had plans of his own, poaching the winner as the ball ran free in the box. It could have gone either way this, and despite the excellent performance, Chelsea come away with nothing. Plenty of games to go yet. Oh look, the Premier League is back.
Premier League Fixture #4 – Wolves (Away)
Once again, a game that could have gone either way in terms of chances, but it’s goals that matter most. Wolves were superb at the back, halting all means of Chelsea attack. As simple as that. A first defeat of the Premier League season then, but will 2 defeats in a week be something to think about already? Well, with a third game in just 6 days coming up, it could get worse….
Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 2 – Zenit (Home)
Blimey. Hopefully it was something I said. An absolute powerhouse performance, with the match ball going home with Olivier Giroud thanks to a man of the match, 4-goal haul. Magnificent. Maybe Tammy’s true replacement has arrived. Off the mark in the Champions League at the second attempt.
Well very f*cking hell.
Premier League Fixture #5 – Leicester (Home)
PUT. THE. BALL. IN. THE. NET.
Well, its time for some… better news.
Thank you Olivier for becoming the first player to remain after accepting an offer elsewhere. Let this be a hopeful turning point even at this early stage.
Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 3 – Dinamo Zagreb (Away)
Its finally good to see one of these going Chelsea’s way. After the early goal and then subsequent injury to Emerson, Chelsea hold on in yet another end-to-end fixture. Really struggling to get control in most games. Something to work on.
Swiss saluter Xherdan Shaqiri is already on the move from Liverpool after just one full season. Well, hardly a full season of appearances anyway. The two-time Champions League winner heads to France.
Elsewhere, the increasingly-irrelevant League Cup rears its head once again. A home tie against a Nottingham Forest side that are currently top of the Championship. Tasty. And now, back to the Prem.
Premier League Fixture #6 – Spurs (Away)
Fixture number 5 of Chelsea’s domestic season, and for once, it couldn’t have been much easier. Spurs, other than keeper Gazzaniga, mostly rolled over in a nice away win. Ending the month on a high.
Speaking of highs, here’s a rare one for Arsenal. 3-1 down in the second half and coming away with three points. Not bad at all.
Premier League Table, end of September:-
As Brendan Rodgers would say:-
“I use a quote with the players,’Per aspera ad astra’, which is Latin for ‘through adversity to the stars’.”
Actually, that wasn’t the quote I meant, but its a good one nonetheless. Nobody who speaks Latin can be stupid.
“We showed great character.”
That’s the one, Brendan. Cheers. Leicester lead the way with 8 wins out of 8, but Man Utd are on a 100% run of their own, with 7 wins so far. The 50% win rate for Chelsea could be much better. 9 goals in 6 games isn’t very encouraging either. What is encouraging however is Bournemouth, who if you remember were bottom at the end of August. 3 wins and a draw propels Eddie Howe’s side into 10th! Newcastle now occupy the bottom of the table, having lost all 6 of their matches so far.
And on that bombshell (sponsored by Sports Direct), tune in again for the October review, in 2 weeks time!
Catch-up on what you’ve missed here:-
Championship manager and it’s fan made updates are available as freeware from http://www.champman0102.co.uk/
For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.