THE CHELSEA WEEK HOME AND AWAY
The official Chelsea website takes a look at how our players out on loan have got on in the last seven days, checks on the progress of our Champions League opponents and looks ahead to another busy week for the Blues…
Romelu Lukaku netted his eighth goal in nine league appearances for Everton in their 4-0 victory over Stoke on Saturday. The Belgian scored the Toffees' fourth goal from close range with 79 minutes played. It was his final act of the game, replaced the following minute.
Victor Moses played the first 74 minutes of Liverpool's 3-1 defeat to Hull, starting on the left of a front three that included Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling. It was the Nigerian's first start since mid-October, and with Daniel Sturridge ruled out until the new year he can expect more playing time at Anfield.
In England's second tier, Todd Kane played his part in a resolute Blackburn display against Leeds at Ewood Park, featuring for the full 90 minutes in the Lancashire side's 1-0 victory that sees Rovers rise to 13th in the Championship.
Elsewhere in that division, Nathaniel Chalobah remained an unused substitute in Nottingham Forest's 3-2 reverse to Reading on Friday night, while Josh McEachran was injured and thus unavailable for Watford's defeat to Yeovil.
There were mixed fortunes this week for our youngsters out on loan in League One. George Saville appeared to have headed a crucial equaliser for Brentford last Tuesday against Peterborough - but the final touch was later attributed to his team-mate Will Grigg - as the Bees came from behind to win 3-2. They picked up their eighth win in nine games on Saturday, with Saville playing the last 35 minutes in a 1-0 win at Notts County, a lead they held on to from the 45th minute.
Patrick Bamford played the whole of MK Dons' successive 3-1 defeats, at Colchester last midweek and at home to Coventry on Saturday, but there were no goals for the in-form striker. Sam Walker played for Colchester in that victory and again at the weekend in their 2-1 loss at Tranmere.
Milan Lalkovic also enjoyed successive starts at that level, but was replaced just after the hour in Walsall's draw at Sheffield United and home defeat to Port Vale.
In Spain, Thibaut Courtois recovered from a Champions League mistake to keep a clean sheet in Atletico Madrid's 13th win in 15 league games this season, at Elche on Saturday. Four days before, in Russia, the goalkeeper conceded his first goal in the tournament when he allowed a deflected cross to drop under his crossbar in the 74th minute. Atleti had already sewn up top spot in Group G before the 1-1 draw with Zenit St Petersburg.
Oriol Romeu enjoyed an excellent few days for Valencia, first earning a Man of the Match performance in his side's 1-0 win at Swansea in the Europa League, before starting his second La Liga game of the season and impressing again in a 3-0 victory over Osasuna yesterday. Valencia have won their Europa League group and sit ninth in La Liga.
Also in Spain, Ulises Davila played the full 90 minutes in Cordoba's 2-1 loss to Barcelona B.
There was European joy for Thorgan Hazard on Thursday, who struck his second Europa League goal of the season in England's North-West, against Wigan Athletic. With his side a goal down a well-hit but saveable Hazard shot was spilled into the net by Wigan's Lee Nicholls. Zulte Waregem struck a late winner to overtake the Latics and ensure the Belgian side's European destiny remains in their own hands. Hazard played the full 90 minutes in Zulte's 1-1 draw away to Kortrijk yesterday.
There were three goals for Vitesse at home to Cambuur Leeuwarden but surprisingly none for our contingent on loan there. Lucas Piazon played 72 minutes before being replaced by Gael Kakuta. Christian Atsu lasted 86 minutes while Patrick van Aanholt featured for the full 90. Vitesse remain top.
There was a goal in Holland for Stipe Perica, who put his NAC Breda side 2-0 up against Groningen, but a late comeback meant the spoils were shared. Perica had only been on the pitch eight minutes when he struck with a quarter of an hour to play.
Former Blues and Champions League opponents
There was an unlikely meeting of two former Blues in the Scottish Cup this weekend. David Hopkin, interim manager at Greenock Morton, took his side to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, where Duncan Shearer is in temporary charge. Shearer, an understudy for Kerry Dixon during the mid-1980s, guided the Scottish Premiership side to a 4-0 win against Hopkin's Morton, who ply their trade in Scotland's second tier. Hopkin played 46 times for Chelsea between 1992 and 1995, scoring once.
In the Champions League, our final opponents in this season's group stage are Steaua Bucharest, and they could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to title rivals Petrolul Ploiesti yesterday, conceding a late equaliser that keeps them second in the Romanian league.
Schalke won comfortably, 3-0 at home to Stuttgart, and move up to fifth in the Bundesliga.
Basel, our conquerors on Tuesday night, drew 2-2 away at Young Boys of Berne yesterday. Mohamed Salah netted a quick-fire brace before the break to put Basel 2-1 up but Young Boys equalised in the second half, limiting the gap between themselves and league leaders Basel to three points.
The Chelsea Week ahead
There is plenty of football ahead at all levels this week. Later today our Under-21s play at St James' Park against Newcastle in a match that kicks off at 1pm.
On Wednesday morning, at 9.30am UK time, the Chelsea Ladies play Sydney FC in the semi-final of the International Women's Club Championship in Okayama, Japan. Depending on that result, the Ladies will then have either a final to contest on Sunday or a Third/Fourth place play-off on Saturday.
Then on Wednesday evening our first team travel to the North-East, to take on Sunderland in a league fixture at the Stadium of Light. The match starts at 7.45pm, and will see the Blues face Gus Poyet the manager for the first time in a competitive fixture.
On Friday afternoon those players whose countries have booked their place at the World Cup in Brazil next summer will find out their opponents. The World Cup draw starts at 5pm.
Later that evening, we play our inaugural tie in the Under-21 Premier League Cup, away to Cardiff City. That game will be shown live on Chelsea TV with kick-off at 7pm.
Then on Saturday our first team are back on the road, this time at Stoke City, for a 3pm start. Earlier that day, at 11am, our Under-18s host Fulham at Cobham.