Date and venue set for FA Youth Cup fifth round at Liverpool

Ed Brand’s youngsters have already dispatched Leyton Orient and Watford to reach round five and now face a trip to Merseyside, where they will take on a Reds team that were beaten finalists last term.

The tie will take place on Saturday 29 January, kick-off 5.30pm at Liverpool’s Kirkby Academy. Unfortunately, entry to spectators will not be permitted.

Petr Cech column: Timeless Thiago and the pain of retirement

My decision to retire

When you decide to retire, there are usually one of three reasons why:

1. Your body can’t perform at the highest level anymore because it has deteriorated as you get older.
2. You have had enough mentally – enough of the same routine, travelling, training, hotel, pressure, demands – and you have fallen out of love with the game.
3. You want to carry on, you have the same motivation, but your body tells you to stop.

You must consider all three when you’re getting older. The race is against your age and the fact the body could lose its performance.

In my case it was my body that told me to stop. I played in pain every day for the last two years. It was my ankle and my Achilles. It never went away, and it just got worse, even in normal life.

I realised the pleasure of being on the pitch, being part of a team and playing in the best league in the world was keeping me going, but it was the moment to give the body a break. If you feel like you can’t enjoy anything because of the pain, it’s time to stop.

Chelsea Women’s Continental Cup semi-final draw revealed

The Blues cruised to victory on Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over West Ham United following a phenomenal hat-trick from Pernille Harder and a further goal from Erin Cuthbert.

The draw for the semi-final took place this afternoon on Talksport 2 with Emma Hayes’ squad set to welcome Manchester United to Kingsmeadow on either Wednesday 2 or Thursday 3 February. Further details and ticket information will follow in the coming days.

Elsewhere in the draw, Manchester City will host Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea will be hoping to take the Conti Cup title for the third consecutive year, having beaten Bristol City last season and Arsenal in 2020.

Women’s match report: West Ham United 2 Chelsea 4

Sophie Ingle was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet this evening after a couple of powerful strikes from the edge of the box were somehow kept out.

It was goals galore as Harder scored another two goals in quick succession to seal her first hat-trick of 2022. Kirby cut inside in the West Ham area and looked to curl one in, however Leat parried it into the path of Harder who slotted home.

The Danish international completed her hat-trick on 65 minutes when she headed in an inch-perfect ball to round off an excellent performance from the Blues.

West Ham got a consolation goal shortly before full-time, substitute Halle Houssein scored on her debut when she was alone in the box to tap home a drilled cross.

It’s a quick turnaround for Hayes’ side who are back to Women’s Super League action on Sunday when we travel to Brighton & Hove Albion, 12:30pm UK time.

West Ham United (3-4-2-1): Leat, Wyne (Houssein 81), Stringer, Flaherty, Walker, Svitkova, Longhurst (Joel 20), Parker, Filis, Fisk, Brynjarsdottir (Snerle 70)

Unused subs: Moore, Evans,

Scorers Svitkover 34, Houssein 83

Chelsea (4-1-3-2): Berger, Nouwen (Reiten 66), Bright, Ingle, Carter, Kirby (England 72), Fleming (Spence 72), Charles, Cuthbert, Harder, Andersson (Abdullina 77)

Unused subs: Musovic, Telford

Scorers Harder 25, 60, 65, Cuthbert 57

Join Gus Poyet for Chelsea vs Spurs – only on The 5th Stand!

Matchday Live

Join us live on The 5th Stand app from 3:25pm on Sunday, 23 January for exclusive pre-match analysis and post-match reaction from Poyet.

3.25pm – 4pm: Pre-match – the studio panel relive their favourite moments from Gus’s career, as well as sharing the latest team news and pre-match build up.

6:30pm – 7pm: Post-match – relive the highlights and talking points from the game with our studio panel and Poyet.

Back to school with the Premier League Inspires programme!

As part of the Inspires programme, we also deliver a range of workshops around female empowerment, mental health and well-being and LGBTQI+ awareness. Next steps for Chelsea Foundation includes establishing an LGBTQI+ youth voice session at The Winston Churchill School, a local partner school in Woking.

Isaac Keighley, Chelsea Foundation’s education officer, said: ‘It’s been brilliant to see the excitement that has been created by the Premier League Inspires programme! All the groups are eager to impress and create the most impactful social action as possible – with a wide range of innovative ideas.

‘The highlight for me is seeing how much each student’s confidence has increased and how they are all now sharing their ideas, with clear leaders developing within each group.’

Valeria, a student taking part in the programme, added: ‘I have enjoyed being part of a team because I don’t always feel like that. I have learned a lot during the lessons, particularly about bullying and cyber-bullying.’

To find out more about Chelsea Foundation’s education programmes, contact foundation.education@chelseafc.com

Match Report: Brighton 1 Chelsea 1

What’s next?

The Blues are back in action on Sunday when we host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. That is our last Premier League fixture for four weeks as an international break is followed by the FA Cup fourth round, and then the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi.

Chelsea (4-2-2-2): Kepa; Azpilicueta (c), Thiago Silva, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho (Kovacic 80); Ziyech, Mount; Lukaku (Havertz 80), Hudson-Odoi (Werner 80).
Unused subs Bettinelli, Hall, Sarr, Loftus-Cheek, Saul, Pulisic.
Scorer Ziyech 28
Booked Alonso 59, Rudiger 81

Brighton (4-1-4-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Webster (c), Burn, Cucurella; Alzate; Lamptey (March 76), Gross (Maupay 62), Mac Allister, Welbeck (Trossard 62); Moder. 
Unused subs Scherpen, McGill, Caicedo, Roberts, Leonard, Ferguson, Caicedo.
Scorer Webster 60
Booked Burn 80

Referee Kevin Friend
Crowd 30,880

Tuchel and Hayes named World’s Best

In 2021 Hayes continued to add to her outstanding record as Chelsea Women manager by taking the team to new heights by winning every domestic trophy going in the year – the Women’s Super League, the FA Cup and the Continental Cup – and for the first time in the club’s history a Chelsea side reached the Women’s Champions League final. In the WSL they achieved a record-breaking 32-game unbeaten streak.

On a personal level, she was awarded an OBE for her services to football in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Hayes was named WSL Manager of the Season for 2020/21 and was inducted into the FA WSL Hall of Fame. During the summer she also earned acclaim for her expert analysis as a television pundit during the Euro 2020 tournament.

On her latest accolade, her Best FIFA Award, she said: ‘I’m completely shocked. I put it down to the players, the fantastic people that represent my work. Ultimately the coach is only as good as the people they have around them and I’ve got brilliant, brilliant people at Chelsea that have helped to support the team to the place we are at.’

She beat Lluis Cortes (Spain and FC Barcelona) and Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands, Dutch national team and English national team) to the FIFA award. 

Chelsea well represented in FIFA FIFPro Men’s and Women’s World 11s

Previous Chelsea players to have made the Men’s World 11 are John Terry (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), Claude Makelele (2005), Frank Lampard (2005), Didier Drogba (2007), David Luiz (2014), Eden Hazard (2018, 2019) and Kante.

Chelsea Women captain Eriksson and vice-captain Bright have made the Women’s 11 defence after a formidable 2021.

Eriksson lifted three trophies for the Blues as Emma Hayes’ side scooped the domestic treble last year winning the League Cup, FA Cup and Women’s Super League. Eriksson also achieved international success, reaching the final of the 2020 Olympics with Sweden.

Bright’s consistency at the back for the Blues also earned her a place at the Olympics as she was selected for the Team GB side, who were narrowly knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Mendy named the Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper for 2021

Congratulations Edou!

It was a remarkable year for Mendy in which he kept 27 clean sheets and conceded just 34 goals in 51 games overall. He only let in two goals in the Champions League knockout stages – one of which scored by Porto’s Mehdi Taremi was up for the Puskas Award tonight – as we won the competition for the second time.

The prize cements the 29-year-old’s place as one of the top goalkeepers in world football and crowns a remarkably rapid rise to the top of the game, having been playing in France’s lower leagues and contemplating an end to his professional career as recently as six years ago.

The other two nominees were Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain) and Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich).

Ann-Katrin Berger was one the three nominations for the Women’s Goalkeeper Award, won by Christiane Endler (Chile/Paris Saint-Germain/Olympique Lyonnais).