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.
A very indifferent September domestically for Chelsea, with 2 wins, a draw, but 2 defeats. Thankfully that form was countered by a stronger stance in European competition, remaining on course to qualify from a far from easy group. To then go into another group. The blurst of times indeed.
September Manager of the Month: Brendan Rodgers
Ah Brendy Rodgers. From being just 2 points away from the Premier League title to the sack just over a season later with Liverpool, Rodgers has been on the up and up ever since. An unprecedented (even for Scotland) double treble with Celtic followed and is now flying high with 2016 Premier League champions Leicester City. The same applies to the land of Championship Manager, the only exception being that here they sit very pretty at the top of the table. 6 wins out of 6 made sure of that.
September Player of the Month: Ryan Fraser
The 2018-19 Fantasy Premier League hero has had quite the month. When August was said and done, Bournemouth were winless and bottom of the pack. As September ended, they finished 10th, earning 10 points from a possible 15. One key player to that rise in form is Ryan Fraser. 3 goals across those 5 matches, along with two 10/10 performances means the monthly accolade is deservedly his.
I’ll tell you what, “the board”, if you honestly believe Hazard would come back to the club he just left (yeah, right), then get working on that transfer ban appeal, eh? Nevertheless, a decent start to the season. I wouldn’t say I was pleased just yet.
Premier League Fixture #7 – Liverpool (Home)
Alisson Becker is the main man in this scoreless effort. A hard-fought draw for both teams, but nothing exciting. The signing of Josef Martinez was highlighted previously as a significant threat for Klopp’s side, but who’s this coming off the bench in the second half? Sheffield Wednesday has-been Fernando f**king Forestieri?! In the list of ‘things that could only happen in a Championship Manager game’, that is certainly one of them.
And here’s another. Manchester United storming the league, within just 3 points of top spot. Ludicrous. Surreal. Fantastic that I can say safely say that these days.
But in fairness to this football simulation, Man Utd are genuinely hitting all the right notes. Signing Fulham’s powerful and passionate Serbian striker will only add fuel to that title-chasing fire.
Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 4 – Dinamo Zagreb (Home)
Yet another blank from Chelsea. Not for the want of trying however, this Zagreb’s keeper is the one who plays a blinder. Still in contention for the next stage for now at least.
Premier League Fixture #8 – Newcastle (Away)
Another even match, with a crazy 20 minutes where Newcastle took the lead twice. Problem with that is, Newcastle are BOTTOM of the league, with Chelsea scraping a draw at the end. I appear to have a reactive team as opposed to a pro-active one.
Champions League 1st Group Stage Game 5 – Athletico Madrid (Home)
A commanding performance. It comes at a time when Chelsea have been managing anything but, so it is certainly most welcome. Especially at this key stage of the European competition. Olivier Giroud proving his worth as the new top No.9 in the side also. Could this be the turning point of the season?
Well, certainly a tick in the positive column, that’s for sure. 3 wins out of 6 usually provides a good chance of qualification, and wins against Zenit, Zagreb and group favourites Athletico Madrid have secured that. Unfortunately it isn’t all good news…..
It could be a long month.
Premier League Fixture #9 – Watford (Home)
The ever-reliable James Milner moved to Watford from Liverpool just before this match, for a tidy £800k. As ever, he proves his worth with a strong performance. Chelsea’s strong first half lead (and performance) is cancelled out in the second half, with Watford unlucky not to walk away with all three points. Home performances, even more so the results, are becoming a real issue for Chelsea.
Elsewhere, a cracker of a fixture at The Emirates Stadium. A 2-0 lead to Liverpool is swiftly cancelled out by half-time, but by the final whistle Liverpool scrape an equaliser after Arsenal take a second half lead. You gotta love football, right?
No. I hate football. It’s all coming apart.
Littlewoods/Rumbelows/Coca-Cola/Worthington’s/Carling/Capitol One/Carabao/Mickey Mouse Cup 3rd Round – Nottingham Forest (Home)
So it seems that anywhere other than the Premier League, Chelsea can actually score more than one goal. Not only that, but win a game, too! A tough cup tie against the Championship leaders, with a last-gasp winner keeping a Chelsea domestic trophy hope alive.
Elsewhere in the round, Man City, Villa and Newcastle are out, falling to the sword of all-Prem ties. No other surprises on offer in a straightforward League Cup third round.
Premier League Table, end of October:-
3 draws in all 3 fixtures doesn’t make for much progress for Chelsea. 12 goals in 9 is however much more worrying. In truth freezing out Abraham due to his upcoming move could well be a mistake. But I believe in the courage of my convictions, given the other attacking talent on offer also. Still, only 8 goals conceded means Chelsea have the 4th best defence so far.
Leicester finally lost a game, courtesy of fellow title chasers Manchester City. On the other side of Manchester, United remain the only unbeaten side, and could go top due to being a game in hand. Newcastle remain bottom, with just 1 win so far. Sheffield United and Southampton join Steve Bruce’s side, although there are 4 teams on 8 points so its tight at the bottom.
Until next time, TTFN!
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For this blog the October 2019 data update was used.