Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0
Saturday 8th December 2018 17:30
In the News: Elseid Hysaj’s agent says that talks with Chelsea over the Napoli defender may resume in January. The Albanian is a right back. One defensive position where our coverage hasn’t made me want to scratch at my eyes with steak knives. He’s touted to supersede Zappacosta, so don’t expect this one to solve our problems if there is any factual ground for the speculation at all. Sarri says you need a season to get to grips with Premier League. I don’t disagree with him. Even St.Pep did, but until he demonstrates some flexibility on his approach and that there is actually a learning curve happening Chelsea fans are going to continue to moan. We excel at it. And Morata will never click at Chelsea says Carragher. Do you know what, I don’t wish the guy ill, I don’t want to sit here slagging him off week in week out, but he has given me cause to agree with a scouser, which never happens.
Lukaku is p*ssed off that he’s on the bench. Frustrated with life with Chequebook Pulis. Probably about as frustrated as CP is by life with him considering how sh*t he’s been of late. CP has stated that he has no idea when United may challenge for the title again, whilst City and the Scouse spend money. As if United haven’t spent a billion odd quid on him since he went there. £52m on a bloke called Fred, who CP says he can’t trust to play. On the flip side. Benitez can’t muster any more enthusiasm about his side, claiming they are a top six team. Somebody has started the Christmas alcohol binge early. Swansea, hilariously, have given Flappyhandski an improved contract after his agent emailed them about him pretending to be Bayer Leverkusen’s sporting director. And after that stinking trip to Wolverhampton, as ever we could cling to the fact that we aren’t Arsenal. Amidst their hippy crack storm. Inevitably Ozil will claim it was medicinal for his imaginary back spasms. But tell me that they didn’t look at Guendouzi before they signed him and think: “there’s a bloke that likes a spliff every now and again.”
The Others: The red Scouse started a rout of lovely Bournemouth with an offside goal. There’s a surprise. Never apt to under-dramatise anything, the Press Plebs were convinced that Chequebook Pulis was fighting for his job today. Ignoring that they were at home to Fulham. Obviously they didn’t lose. And Leicester failed to do the world a favour.
Us: It’s going to take more than a buzz cut to make defenders fear Alvaro Morata. Or to impress Sarri, who didn’t even put him on the bench. False nine, goodie. I don’t think Alonso even looks properly fit so that was disappointing too. No surprise Christensen is gone gone after Wolves, or that overall Sarri has resorted pretty much to his preferred eleven.
Them: No Aguero, no De Bruyne. Raheem Sterling runs like a girl.
No pressure for Sarri, who has variously been referred to this week as another Scolari, a Pound Shop Pep and a w*nker. Personally I wanted to go twenty minutes without conceding. If we didn’t start properly it might not even be ten. And then this could have been uglier than waking up next to Wayne Rooney.
93% possession they had in the first four mins - Kepa kicking it once was our 7%. We were up to 21% somehow by the time that Eden won a free kick within range of goal. Shame that up against a line of six city defenders not one Chelsea body attacked it in the box. It wasn’t exactly an onslaught, yet. They were building up momentum, but their first real effort on goal was pounced on by Kepa after 8 minutes, and although we couldn’t get near it, we had not been smashed out of the blocks and we were just about daring to dream that it might not be as bad as we were anticipating. That said, we’d been feeding off scraps. We were going to get precious few chances and were going to have to try and make them count. The experience of the last couple of weeks has taught us that this is not a simple equation in the world of Chelsea.
Happily they were still failing to turn any of their massed possession into meaningful attempts on goal, When City did make inroads too, the spectre of David Luiz appeared like a rhino on ketamine and stopped them in their tracks. Rudiger was like a deranged wildebeest charging them down. But aside from that, and the irrepressible Kante, we looked f*cking terrified. I was endlessly frustrated that nothing we managed to occasionally create going forward got anywhere. If you’re going to play a false nine, you put an absolute pest, in the words of Tyler (sitcom alias) like Pedro Pony in there. You don’t waste your star man. You could have started with The Beard and at the very least because he could bring it down and lay it off to the likes of Hazard.
However, I had what I wanted. We were still level after twenty minutes, we had not been blown away. Let’s go for being in the game at half time now. As we discussed this we realised that this is what it must be like to support someone like Palace week in, week out. To get massively excited when you get a throw in or cross the halfway line. Tyler actually leapt to his feet at one stage, but then just before the half hour we were actually pressing. Sadly, every time we got somewhere the gap where there should have been a centre forward, or even someone over 5’7 to try and accost the City defence, cost us. And then we’re fraying. I was going mental. Forgetting completely that I’d said I’d be happy if we didn’t get slaughtered any more than 0-3 I was ranting about a display of tactical cowardice. We didn’t deserve to be making any more impact than we were. By this time Fernandinho has usually fouled us 45 times already. He’s usually on his last last last warning. He hadn’t even got him booked so far, we were so far away from them he didn’t need to put a nasty foot it. On 31 we survived handbags in the box, frantic and their best chance at scoring so far. Then we broke but gave the ball away yet again. Through Alonso, again. Dave’s turn to block straight afterwards. The home crowd was getting more and more frustrated that nothing at all was coming from any of our meagre possession, which didn’t touch 40% all night. Half the Shed nearly had a heart attack when it looked like we might have a corner. Criticism was growing against Michael Oliver, who not only ludicrously gave them a goal kick instead, but who appeared to be hyperventilating into his whistle every time we had the ball. Luiz being maimed wasn’t even enough to win a free kick, and yet every time one of them fell over, namely Sterling (did I mention he runs like a girl) play was stopped. We weren’t even leaving Hazard back for their corners. Every time it was punted clear it went straight back in again. Rage!
We were still in it, I typed. “But we won’t be come 90 mins unless Sarri actually changes something to try and take a result from this game.” Thus far, as far as I was concerned we were lucky not to be behind, and it had been an appalling, meek, tragic approach to the game. Maintaining a steady 1/4 of possession and doing f*ck all with it. Take the lion off the badge and replace it with a a sad little three-legged puppy.
Then like a true football fan I changed my mind in 0.4 seconds about all of this when Pedro Pony, nay, f*cking Pedro UNICORN today, played a sublime ball across the box to Little Willy, and the net result was Kante steaming in and smashing it into the back of the net. What. The. F*cking. Hell. Just. Happened? Cue hysteria - nobody knows how or why, nobody cares, somehow, we are winning. I’ve just hugged three blokes I don’t know. If anyone mentions Kante not being in the right place on the pitch again this week I will take off my boot and stab them with my heel. Get. In.
So this was wholly unexpected at the break. Are we going to do that annoying sitting back now? Surely we’ll get punished - do we actually think we can win this? My brain was scrambled. All City possession again from the restart. When we did get it back, we employed time-wasting that Ben Foster would be stunned by. As we are the victims of this turgid sh*thousery for 35 games a season, I say, huzzah.
We did break on 47 minutes. Willian made the absolute most of a little foul to win a free kick on the edge of the box. After a serious debate between Alonso, Willy and Luiz, the latter forced a diving save. Dare I say we don’t look quite so humble and contrite as the opening of the first half? The horrid, feeble approach of the first half was but a memory, though we were persisting with the false nine. Another long range effort from Willy on 51 but it was just a bit to tamely hit across the floor. Pepalicious wasn’t having this. He made an early change and hooked Sane for Jesus, going with the revolutionary concept of having a striker on the pitch. You all know I think he’s massively overrated, and that he’d be just run of the mill without infinite funding, but if this was to come down to a tactical play between our manager and theirs, I feared Sarri was getting ground into the floor like one of his own fag butts. Oh me of little faith.
The game had swung back in City’s favour, helped by Michael Oliver having descended into the realm of the cockwomble. He really started to p*ss me off when he began awarding non existent corners. His crowning glory was Walker causing a fight for which we were inevitably punished while the former sp*d got a light talking too. Oliver is like a gremlin - remember they used to batsh*t crazy when they got wet? As soon as it started raining he lost the plot. Also, for a joke with the King of El Salvador Chelsea I put a bet on for 2-0 Chelsea and Fernandinho to be sent off. And he didn’t show him a red. As far as I am concerned the ref owes me £1400.
A brilliant save from Kepa on 58, then yet another meaty clearance from Luiz, before it was dug out by Pedro Unicorn, before the loudest cheer of the match erupted for Oliver actually awarding a free kick our way. Eden Hazard was fully on it now, racing about the pitch as they tired and forcing his way into the game. Our breaks looked far more potent - till the last ball anyway. Gonzo’s birthday this week. You could see by his haggard expression that this uncertainty was taking its toll after four days without sleep. We were approaching that point when despite thinking we might get smashed, we’d been ahead long enough to consider it a failure if we didn’t take three points. One thing you thought we would have done is sit off then and ask for trouble and we absolutely hadn’t. City were starting to get frustrated, especially Mahrez with all his whining. But he was wearing that heinous combination of short sleeves and gloves so nobody took him seriously.
Kovacic collapsed about twenty minutes out - he was a beast today too - I know I have a laugh at the shocking inaccuracy of his shooting, but he is like Mikel in other ways too. In that what he does goes under the radar. Also, because he has Hazard’s old number and runs exactly like him I’m convinced half the time we give Eden the credit when he does something awesome.
Barkley on - and three odd minutes wiped off the clock after this and Walkergate. Excellent.
However we were under a lot of pressure by now. The reason we stood firm? Largely down to Luiz and Rudiger and how sharp they still were nearing the end of the game, but also because unfathomably after that horrific sh*tshow at Wolves, across the pitch our concentration seemed impenetrable. Gundogan on for Silva, still no joy for them. Oliver was having more effect by disregarding the offside rule.
73 minutes and we got Ruben for Willian too. This is what I think ultimately beat Pep today. As Sarri was bringing on Ruben and Ross, and later The Beard too, we had replaced tired bodies with mobile beefcakes full of energy. Pep? Brought on Ben Foden. The substitution of finer creativity for muscle blocked the way for them.
Half a chance from Barkley and we had our first corner of the game, which took Eden longer to take than it took Kovacic to hobble off. Excellent. We only needed the one. David Luiz. He knew as well as we did that he was a pile of dog turd at Wembley but he led by fighty, consummate example tonight. A warrior and he deserved the adulation he got for sending us two clear. Rudiger was nearly as good too. Poor Christensen must have been weeping on the bench because he will have no impact on displacing either of them when they turn performances like that in and he continues to make errors.
Oliver booked Pedro Unicorn for the audacity of being good, not Stones for repeatedly shoving him. The referee was dismal today by his standards. By 80 minutes City had resorted to trying to chip Kepa from out near the halfway line. Foden had no impact. On the other hand I can’t think of a Chelsea player who had a bad game - even Alonso played his way in in the second half after a shaky start. Still not his best but much better. It could have been three after 85 when a flying header went across the face of goal. The changes hadn’t been like for like as such either, for as the end approached Ruben had switched sides with Pedro Unicorn to account for City’s changes, so there was a thinking process on display from Sarri to which I don’t believe was there at Wolves or Wembley.
The clock was now moving at the speed of Phil Jagielka. A smashed shot from Fernandinho went wide after it looked to have got the better of Kepa. A low four minutes added on. It took Kovacic that to leave the pitch. Chorus of “You’ve had your day out now f*ck of home” at the City fans now. I tried to get someone to take up “Sacked in the Morning” at Pep, but had to settle for chuckling at the deeply philosophical “You’re f*cking sh*t.” Most of the remaining minutes we spent in the corner, or passing it through their legs. Ruben and Ross (RAR - I like this, especially if you actually do it in the style of a roar) made a break for it in injury time, and they really should have scored but for a sublime diving save from Kepa, but we were done. Cue a lot of bouncing around to One Step Beyond.
So: Somehow, none of us can fathom exactly, Sarri’s football beat Pep’s. I can kind of see it. The root of it was a disciplined display by the centre backs, which held us steady; but, and I never would have thought it possible, Pep’s changes were second best to our manager’s. We constructed a third less attempts on goal, and yet we had more shots on target. We were more productive, and they were noticeably limp when it came to the final effort on our goal. I could be p*ssed about Sp*rs and Wolves, but this is us isn’t it? Our best eleven on any given day could beat pretty much anyone put in front of them. The issue is how to keep that going with squad rotation and competing on multiple fronts at the moment. But today I got everything I asked or - with the exception of my £1400 winnings thanks to Michael Oliver. There was evidence of a learning curve, adaptation as the game played out from Sarri, commitment and passion from the players and a backbone on display. An outstanding day.
As for the w*nker that appears to have tainted our club, if he’s guilty I hope he never sets foot inside the club again. Yes, Sterling deserves all the mockery in the world for the fact that he’s a diving cheat who runs like a girl (have I mentioned that?) But what nobody deserves when they turn up for work is to be racially abused by Neanderthals. I do, however, chuckle every time Match of the Day or Scouse Sports News leaps on one of these disgraceful displays like they’re telling you something abhorrent that we all believed has been eradicated from the game. I have been racially abused at Old Trafford, Wolves, City and multiple times at Anfield. It hasn’t been eradicated at all, every club still has a contingent of foul individuals comfortable with spouting this sh*t. I experience this on average about three or four times a season. Just because you caught it on camera when it was aimed at a player and pointed it out on TV doesn’t mean you’ve isolated the only offenders and the twice season shock and horror is insulting to anyone who experiences this with regularity. Either fight it, with every bit of power you can muster with your broadcasting capability, or spare us the occasional faux outrage and sad shake of the head from Gary Lineker.
The collection is still ongoing for the children who will spend this Christmas in a domestic violence shelter - you are running out of time now if you want to donate though. You can join more than thirty other epic CFC fans by contributing through PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can contact me via Facebook or Twitter (@CFCgwlb) for bank transfer details.
Wolves 2 Chelsea Pathetic
Wednesday 5th December 2018 19:45
In the News: Sarri is apparently making a play for overturning the one year contract rule so far as keeping people who are over thirty, City could be looking at a Champions League ban after claims they have cheated FFP. No sh*t. Chequebook Pulis’s lust for blaming other people for his shortcomings is not longer satiated by moaning about his players. MUTV are his victims this week. Lots of room for wise cracks at the revelation that United have 58 scouts. And still Phil Jones has a job would be my pick. Eleven days after assuring all that there would be no concerns over him taking his side into the top four by the end of the year, CP now says it will be a miracle.
Getting rid of Hughes has cost Southampton six million. It never looks good when you managed a draw with United and they already had your replacement lined up. Worth every penny. Unlike Pellegrini’s valuation of Jack Wilshere. £100m he reckons. VAR to be used in Champions League and Europa League knockout stages this season. Can’t see it will concern us much the way we are playing. And wonder of wonders, Klippity Klopp has been fined for being a dick during the Scouse derby.
The Others: I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than relive any of this. Apart from the hilarious revelation that Faillaini is a hair-puller.
Them: I defy any of you to name even half of them. I couldn’t even after they wiped the floor with us.
Us: Five changes. Sarri says he only made these because we have 11 matches in 35 days, so some have to rest, and that it’s not just with City in mind. Even though they are essentially the same thing, if he has got half a brain. Fabregas for Jorginho, Loftus Cheek in, Morata over The Beard, Christensen for Luiz. Not all of which I agreed with.
A fast start - I know, I said it, and it’s not the jet lag talking. Wolves, however, were not about to be whipping boys. It was an open first ten minutes. They’ve got form for raising their game against sides at the top of the league. On 6 minutes we saw a cheeky ball from Kante after he was played in by Dave. Across the face of goal and out to Hazard it went - he seemed to have all the time in the world but his attempt to bend the ball round the keeper didn’t quite come off. Conversely, none of Wolves’s efforts so far had found the right man in the box. It was the most entertaining spell of football that we’ve had for a while - and then who should pop up but Loftus Cheek to give us the lead. His shot from the outside of the box was probably covered by the keeper, but the Wolves Captain chucked himself in the way and it deflected the other side of him. It was on target - so Ruben may get to keep it by the letter of the law.
Unfortunate for Wolves, not that I cared. An outstanding effort with a weaving free kick headed for the goal from Willian on 22, but the keeper was equally as outstanding in touching it over. 36 minutes and Wolves had their best chance yet, but lucky for us the home side were just stretching into the path of a stunning block from Fabregas to deny Gibbs-White a proper shot. Willian was on the other end moments later when he was in on goal until Ryan Bennett stormed across the face of him and dumped him on his arse. The 70% possession we’d had did not tell the story at all, for Wolves had not capitulated despite their misfortune.
And then the sh*t hit the fan. The second half was about as enjoyable as gargling acid, it made about as much sense from a Chelsea perspective as the last two f*cking Harry Potter films. We could have scored almost immediately when Hazard, Loftus-Cheek and Morata combined, but the defender just got to the ball on the final cross before the Spaniard, who, thanks to his having spent the first half sitting down and moaning was inevitably now the butt of everything the home support could throw at him. He’s lucky that Jonathan Moss is the dope of the refereeing world, possibly the only man left in England who can still be suckered in by an Alvaro Morata rollabout on the floor. On the flip side, he also thinks an advantage is Willian and Morata alone in the box with five Wolves defenders, so all the way to December and he’s somehow kept his job. But then he wasn’t alone in getting paid to do f*ck all at Molyneux. Great ball forward from Cesc for Willian, but the finish was like watching a drunk, blindfolded Mikel take one on the wrong foot.
Speaking of feet, we then shot ourselves in all 22 of them. F*cking hell Chelsea. Fabregas robbed in midfield, Gibbs-White runs away with it and slides it out to Jimenez to slot underneath Kepa. What a cockwombling amateur way to concede an equaliser, but concede we thoroughly deserved to by this point. Buoyant home support now. On 62 they were away again and three of our players couldn’t get it back of them to stop them fashioning another chance. All. Over. The. Place. And 2-1 down. At this point I could inhaled four shots of Elderflower gin just to dull the burning pain in my eyes from watching such a pathetic display.
Cesc booked for screaming about a block on Willian, as was Little Willy himself, which was a valid use of everybody’s time. Willian straight off, Pedro Pony on, good, at least he will try. The Beard on for Morata, should have gone with this in the first place against this side. If we have to have a non-scoring striker out there I’d rather it was one who plays as part of a team, doesn’t spend the whole game sulking and at least looks like he gives a f*ck. Added to our woeful ineptitude and collective inability to pass a f*cking football, the usual Jon Moss downward spiral of c*ntwittery continued, leaving the match teetering on the edge of mayhem because he can’t consistently official a game of football. It didn’t help that at least one of the linesmen was a complete bellend too. Kante coming off for Kovacic. I’m sure, Sarri, using your last substitution on this like for like mediocrity of tactical implementation put the fear of god into Wolves.
Fifteen to go, roughly, and no inkling yet that our three mind-numbing changes were going to have a miraculous attack on the game when all the home side had to do is sit and wait for us to f*ck it up and then have a go at a break. They all backed away from Hazard and let him run at goal on 77, but his shot was just over. They looked absolutely wasted, but not dead enough for us it seems. Fabregas had perhaps the best chance to send it in for an equaliser on 87, but it went over. You can’t for one second say that they parked the bus either, until the inevitable time wasting began when they were ahead Wolves were every bit as in this game as we were.
So: We've gone from glitch to steady decline, in my ranty opinion, and it needs fixing. It needs a demonstration too that the manager isn't going to continue to do the same thing over and over again despite bad results. Because thats the definition of insanity, and we only just got rid of another loon in the summer. Calling for his head, I think is premature, but he needs to show his fangs now. “I really am very worried” says Sarri. What an understated way to describe an epic display of cumulative f*ckmuppetry on our behalf. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to bath my eyes in bleach so badly, but, then I’d be stuck with the notion that the last thing I ever saw was that sh*t. Chelsea, you sucked. And you sucked because you just didn’t appear to have a clue what you were doing. Do you remember JT getting knocked out and playing on? Scoring up at Burnley in the week that *those* allegations came out, Lampard shining in the Champions League for his mum the day he lost her, Ivanovic playing with a f*cking hole in his foot. The monster up front that was Drogba raising his game to destroy Arsenal any time he went near them? Jesus Christ, BOSINGWA and his eyebrow taking over the dressing room in Munich. Those were men. Occasionally whiny and ill-behaved men we wanted to pimp slap, but grown ups. There is undoubtedly a wealth of talent in our squad but all I saw by the final whistle last night was boys. Sad-faced little boys. And with that I’m going to get sh*tfaced. By Saturday I would have opened 8 doors on my gin advent calendar. I intend to mix all eight minis in a bottle and down it before kick off, because this could be uglier than the sight of Sarri seductively licking tobacco off of Pep’s bald head live on Sky. That said, like mugs we will all be hoping that we can pull something off. We need it now.
Oh, and if you haven’t lost all faith in humanity after that, the collection is still open for the kids who will spend this Christmas in a shelter owing to domestic violence. They will appreciate your support more than the team did last night. You can PayPal alexandra.Churchill@hotmail.com or message me for transfer details. After presents we will be taking care of some winter clothing for all of them and musical equipment for the shelter.
Chelsea 2 Fulham 0
Sunday 2nd December 2018 12:00
In the News: Dave has followed Kante and Alonso is signing a new long term deal. Hurrah. Ozil, who is apparently being courted by Inter Milan, was missing today from the north London Derby because he’s having “back spasms” which have already lasted longer than the spasm of him giving a sh*t at the beginning of the season. Chequebook Pulis says it’s not easy to the win the league when you can no longer raid Sp*rs for players. Was never really route one in the premier league, was it? Besides, he could raid the Bank of England and every football club in Europe and he’d still be on course for having his standard third year meltdown. Perisic has been waxing lyrical about how relieved he is that he didn’t go to Manchester, and you have to wonder who’d sign up for that madness mid-season that’s worth anything. Elsewhere AC Milan allegedly want Cesc and The Zlatan, of course Ashley Cole is said to be looking for a Championship club too after being let go by LA Galaxy. Yes, the transfer twattery is about to begin. My prediction? That 99.9% of what you are about to read in the newspapers over the next month and a half is complete b*llocks.
The Others: Bournemouth gave us all a bit of false hope at one stage, Ver-wrong’un got his just desserts. Horrible little sh*t. Nothing better than Sp*s losing, after going ahead having been behind and getting all gobby, and that little rat being sent off. It could only have been better if he’d tripped over the fourth official and broken his ankle on the way out. One of their fans has been arrested for throwing a banana skin at Aubameyang. I really hope he’s not a racist at all, and that he’s actually been arrested for being a gluten denying, vegan hipster who was supplementing his charcoal activated croissant breakfast and had nothing else to hand save for some chia seeds. Next time eat a pie you sad b*stard.
F*cking Scouse, f*cking jammy b*stards.
Us: Don’t know how Luiz kept his place, but he continues his record of playing every minute of every game in the league so far. And didn’t we feel every one of them at Wembley. The Beard rightly got a start. Not particularly fair on Barkley or Loftus Cheek that neither of their performances was good enough to get in over Kovacic, but then life’s a bitch I suppose.
Them: Claudio returned for a visit, yay! Along with the finely chiselled, comic-book-hero jawline that makes Scott Parker visible a mile off.
You thought noon was a sh*t kick off time? Try being five hours behind. And dragging your half-asleep a*se 21 blocks in the pouring rain to get to the bar for kick off. Despite this there were actually tourists out in Times Square before 6:30 taking selfies. Mad b*stards. On arrival I was soggier, limper than Jordi Alba rolling around on the floor clutching his face when no-one’s touched him. Not even any gin to reward me at the other end, for in NY you are allowed to get sh*tfaced on beer as early as you like, but you can’t have gin till lunchtime. Boo.
Kepa was forced into a save after just 20 seconds. In fact Fulham were very spritely, but it didn’t do them any favours. After all that dross about Kante in the last week, he was at his best after three minutes, playing in his much publicised, wrong position when he poached the ball and hit it out to Pedro Pony, who kept his composure to go around the keeper and slot it in at the far post. Welcome progress after the last month when we’ve still been half asleep after half an hour, I hear you say. Sort of. We were in full flow soon afterwards, but Fulham by no means looked like peasants, and Alonso’s range on crosses into the box was so off that he kept putting them out for throw ins on the other side. We’d had no other chances to speak of by the time twenty minutes ticked by. Hazard was almost at his magical best to cut a cheeky ball out to The Beard on 23, but the angle was too narrow. Other than that our talisman was quiet in the opening spell. Fulham’s only joy approaching the half hour was a free header in the box, but nothing came of that either. They gave the ball away in almost the exact same spot that had caught them out again, ten minutes before the break, but The Beard was smothered on the near post and couldn’t fashion a proper shot out of it. “Morata would have buried that” said Mowgli. He was on his second pint. Before 8am.
Suddenly Eden was on fire. An outstanding little run from Dave put the ball into the box The Beard on 42, the keeper, who looks like a drunker, poor man’s version of Hugo Lloris, was all over it. “Morata would have buried that,” said Mowgli. If I’d had a brick to hand I would have contemplated hitting him with it.
Off they went at half time. I can’t think of anything witty to put here, because I’m still 100% sober and New York won’t give me gin for another four hours. Half time punditry came courtesy of Robbie Earle dressed up as a used car salesman. From 1976. He looked like he’d dropped out of the battle of the news crews in Anchorman.
Fake Lloris was forced to make a save on 48 from Pedro, as we came out swinging, but so were Fulham with Toni Rudiger forced to put a block in just afterwards. Other than that not much doing, and the result is never certain at 1-0. When you are watching Chelsea, at any rate. On
64 Kepa was forced to make a save after Alonso gave the ball up on the touch line. Callum Chambers of all people. I was about to say we were making him look good then he went to have a shot and ended up giving us a throw in near the halfway line. Bellend.
Subs were up. Loftus Cheek for Kovacic on 66, then Morata with his new hard-looking hairdo. It should finally have been two when Hazard nicked the ball in the box and teed it up for him. Fake Lloris saved from Eden and Alvaro came storming in for the rebound. Row Z. Morata is the footballing equivalent of a gluten-free, vegan hipster wearing ultra skinny jeans and riding a penny farthing round Horton. “Morata would have buried that” says Mowgli. I didn’t have the energy to point it out to him. Zappacosta for Alonso rounded things off, if he was not feeling right it might have explained a bit of an off showing from him today.
We pottered on for five minutes more and then finally finished them off. 81 and along comes Eden to play in Ruben. Shocking from the keeper to let it go round the outside of you like that, but not a f*ck was given by the blue half of West London. Good outing for Loftus Cheek today, two appearances this week and couldn’t really have done more to justify his time on the pitch. In the meantime a petulant yellow for Morata. Must be a day that ends in a Y. That about rounded off anything of note, apart from when the TVs cut out and the regular NY blues started chanting “Scousers on the roof.”
Refwatch: Craig Poorson. Wetter than we were. But not as dismal as he normally is. I’m imbued with Christmas spirit at the bar in the Bank or America’s winter village in Bryant Park, so I don’t care that much about him today. Well, imbued with gin at least
So: Far more entertaining than the game was the fact that we hung about with the El Salvador Chelsea massive to eat breakfast and witness the carnage that made up the first half of the north London Derby. Nothing funnier than Mike Dean giving a penalty against the Goons when Son fell over his own feet and started crying. That’ll be another year of moaning that he’s got it in for them. To add to the twenty so far. For us? Three points banked, which we desperately needed before the visit of City next week. At which point I’m getting smashed before kick off and hoping they don’t score more than three based on our showing against Sp*rs.
I'm still desperately collecting for the benefit of a group of children who will be homeless this Christmas and staying in a shelter as a result of domestic violence. Money will go towards presents, winter clothing and equipment needed for the home in SW London. Any donations can be sent via PayPal to Alexandra.email@example.com or you can contact me for details for transfers. Anything you can spare this holiday season is greatly appreciated.
Chelsea 4 PAOK Salonika 0
Thursday 29th November 2019 20:00
Sp*rs: Well that was like being the subject of an Ancient Egyptian embalming, where they pulled your brain out through your nostril with a crochet hook. Only having it done while you are conscious. Alcohol and war sh*t took over. I’ll put it in the book at the end of the season.
In the News: Firstly, let us join hands and give thanks for another appalling outing from Thibaut Conktois in goal at Eibar. Amen.
Kante, Kante, Kante. It must be a slow news week if the Red Swarm are giving credence to the witterings emanating from Tony Cascarino about how N’golo will be off like a shot. Especially when he gleefully signed a new five year deal, like, yesterday. Is he being given the best platform to showcase his talent? Not right now. Can every player on every team always be given that? No. Is it surprising that Sarri has been tailoring his layout to the man he insisted he bring with him? No. Was he going to change it when we had had a surprise, blinding, unbeaten start to the season? No. Does that mean he won’t ever? No. That said, his comment about Kante’s ability in central midfield was wank and if Sarri makes our adorable little mini-driving genius cry and I will take off my boot and spike him in the eye with a stiletto heel.
By omitting us from a list of clubs, Rafa may have slighted Chelsea fans, report the Press Plebs, with glee. If he wasn’t foaming at the mouth after the grief we gave him and spitting blood at every opportunity to have a dig in our direction I’d mark him off as a complete pussy with the fighting spirit of A French General suffering from narcolepsy. “It’s all quite predictable.” Says Mark Hughes over the news that his job stability might not be at its optimum level. I think he might have mean my that it isn’t surprising that Saints fans are calling for his curly scalp to be nailed to the wall. Unless he is more astute than we give him credit for and has realised that he is a dogsh*t manager. And Van Gaal has said that UEFAlona shouldn’t bother trying to re-sign Neymar because he’s “too individualistic.” I would have just gone with “megalomaniac self-centred b*stard” since it was revealed that he gets a €300k bonus a year to wave at fans.
The Others: in Europe’s two bit half-a*sed competition, Chequebook Pulis turned up all on his lonesome for their game. Then he went all hulk with a rack of sports drinks. In truth it was about as terrifying as the menacing glare I get from Bertie, my feline overlord, when he’s licked all the gravy off his breakfast and thinks he’s entitled to a fresh pouch, but it was at least entertaining. And miraculous that the ball found the net at all considering Fail-laini couldn’t even find the f*cking mascot in the tunnel before the game. “If we don’t get through we will be proper idiots” said Ancelotti of Napoli. Little Londonism that warmed the cockles of my heart, so it did. And Klippity Klopp has been complimenting people on their erotic voices in press conferences. I don’t know if it was a bloke or a woman, and I don’t give a sh*t what he said, but for the hilarity I sincerely hope there is a contingent of Twitterati activists out there screaming about his non-PC behaviour, demanding he resigns and threatening to cut his knob off under the hashtag #KloppItOff
But on to the competition where all the real glory is at...
Us: All our lot had been put through rigorous fitness testing after Saturday’s debacle, aside from Sarri, who it was rightly assumed by the medical team has the self-inflicted lung capacity of a fat, asthmatic squirrel panting his way up a particularly sizeable tree and so spared him.
Starts for CHO, (I don’t like acronyms, I’m just lazy) and for Ruben, and for Barkley, and Cahill. When was the last time we fielded that many Englishmen... *waits for some know it all to tell her it was last week*
Them: Salonika, did you know, was possibly the most pointless front you could have been sent to in WW1. Your chances of having a meaningful effect on the outcome was about as likely as Sam Allardyce or Steve Bruce getting back into one of their own match-worn shirts, and we only got dragged there because of the dastardly French obsessing over the place.
And so landed EasyJet FC, who were so orange it made my eyes hurt. There were some bizarre hairstyles on display from the visitors. The goalie has been watching a bit too much Vikings, their number nine too, unless he’s doing as really sh*t impression of Ibrahimovic. Either that or PAOK’s budget doesn’t extend to a communal Netflix subscription on their travels and they sit there playing with a set of clippers. Their fans were going to be whistling whenever we had the ball, it seemed. It’s was going to be a long night for them, especially after one of them fell over the ball in the opening minutes, thus demonstrating the unlikeliness that they were going to have much of an impact. 85% possession for us in the opening spell, but they were energetic and their fans thought this was the most exciting day ever, so hurrah, they’ve turned up, which was more than could be said for us last time out.
And then the spoilsport referee went and crapped on their parade after five minutes. Yes he was the last man but come on, show them some pity. The tackle was so slapstick we all laughed. The guy was the size of a tank, so the heartless official best sleep with one eye open. Still only half the size of the useless official on the goal line at the Shed End though, who shares a physique with Sutton United’s beloved keeper of recent FA Cup pie-eating fame. Willing to bet you could see the poor bugger from Space in his yellow attire, like some radioactive mutant Big Bird wielding a sh*t little stick.
Fabregas hit one just wide from that free kick, and there then began a long procession of chances. The Beard back-heeled one across the face of goal, but nobody was following it in; CHO struck just wide. The best effort so far came from a shot from Ruben which sailed just wide approaching the twenty minute mark, followed by a close header from Cahill. My companions tonight included The Old Man Who Lives in the Shoe (special alias, on account of the fact that every time I see him he has a new child) He’d had enough by this point and declared: “Let’s get some noise going” before demanding more volume from the Shed.
In the meantime the deadlock was finally broken on 26 minutes. The Beard owed that well deserved goal entirely to some phenomenal ball control by Pedro Pony. A foul on Barkley went unpunished ludicrously a minute later, no doubt because the referee realised he had been an utter b*stard to the visitors and let them off, and then CHO cracked it off the bar. He was having a great spell on the left. Just as I typed “The Beard will be disappointed that he’s not on a hatrick” he banged another one in. Shoddy from the goalkeeper but he was hardly expecting that to be hit so well, so quickly.
And the procession continued: great play from CHO again, but I’m not sure how Pedro Pony didn’t score as a result of his efforts on 41. Had he stood there and let it bounce off of his nutsack it would have had more chance of going in than the attempt he fashioned on the fly. He was nonetheless, having a good game. I will also point out for the benefit of those slagging him off behind us, that Cahill had put in some timely blocks so far, and that Sarri would be mad if he didn’t notice, especially after the Luiz implosion at the weekend
God they didn’t ‘alf make a racket. More so than TOMWLITS who once got told by a woman in the corner of the Shed that they didn’t need his ilk shouting when they were trying to watch their football. They sang, they bounced, they sang some more. I will have that bloody tune going round my head for days. Apparently there were more of them outside ramming the gates trying to get in. In the stand, I was developing an irrational desire to headbutt anyone who refers to Christensen as “Andy.” Their penalty appeal from #74 was as ludicrous as the player’s hair. He looked like the result of a frantic drunken fumble between Willian and Luiz. Ruben so deserved a goal after doing his best impression of Eden on 55, but it was wide. “Andy” followed it up with a volley that was a lot closer than any of us expected it to be but the score stayed at two until CHO finally got his just reward for a prolific display on the hour mark and netted his first senior goal for the club. This may have been a makeshift lineup tonight, but it was notable that everyone celebrated every goal together and that none of them out there treated it like a dead rubber for us.
The result safe, Ampadu came on for Zappacosta and Pedro Pony for Willian. In truth though, we settled into about second gear and stayed there for most of the rest of the game. To their credit, the Greeks never gave up at least having a go as the clock wound down and the rain fell, and their bonkers supporters kept on going till the end too. Morata was sent on for a soaking, must have done something to piss off the manager this week, and thus The Beard was denied the chance to take the match ball. The former scored with nearly his first touch, by which time the crowd at our end was more interested in watching nonsense unfold amongst the away fans beneath us.
So: This run-out against a much weaker side, quickly reduced to ten men was never going to prove anything after the abysmal experience of the weekend. Crochet hook, nose, etc. But, the players that took to the field could not have given us anymore. They were clinical and they treated it like I wish the rest of the squad had treated that Wembley affair. So for that, thanks. Peanuts tho compared to the importance of the return of Ranieri to the Bridge this weekend, for which I’ll be blogging from Legends in NYC at the crack of dawn.
The collection for the children who will spend this Christmas homeless and in a domestic violence shelter is going great guns, but every donation counts. You can PayPal donations to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will go not only towards presents but towards much needed items for families and for the group home. If you are at a game (or Legends this weekend) I can collect donations in person - thank you to all those that shoved money into my hand tonight xx
Chelsea 0 Everton 0
11th November 2018 14:15
Not the game. That was distinctly forgettable. Normal savage service will be permanently resumed when we go to Sp*rs, but this is a blog with a difference. I’m distinctly proud of my football club, for yesterday, on the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, Chelsea made magic happen for four families and asked nothing at all in return. They had all lost a relative that had at the very least been a match-going Chelsea “die-hard” before WW1, and in some cases an ancestor who had actually enlisted to fight at Stamford Bridge at the behest of the club.
In 2014, at the request of my publisher, with fellow Chelsea fans I began researching a book about the club and the Great War. We were never going to make any money; this was not Dan Brown territory, we can actually write for starters, but we were all WW1 researchers or at least enthusiasts and we fancied doing the work anyway. Quickly we were interested in the fans, people just like us who served, just as much as we were in former players.
To research a serviceman properly, I generally try and find their family, which involves a lot of genealogical experience I started amassing at school when I was bored and should have been doing my homework, and before ancestry was even a thing; along with a bit of stalking and a creepy letter or phone call to a stranger that involves reciting their family tree to them and hoping you have found the right person and that they don’t hang up on you thinking you are a lunatic. What we found, I published in 2015 with Andrew Holmes, who was successfully swayed towards Chelsea from supporting his local club Derby by his babysitter in 1978 and has never looked back.
In some cases it was easy to find who we were looking for, when men’s names had crept into the Chelsea Chronicle, which was our programme at the time and copies of which were generously shared with us by the FA at Wembley. Cecil Dean had been visiting Stamford Bridge since the club’s inception with his father William, a successful career soldier stationed nearby at Chelsea, and his younger brother. By 1914 William had retired and Cecil was a teenage soldier in the Irish Guards, sent to France in September. We found Cecil’s nephew, who shared photographs and documents with us, but yesterday, thanks to Chelsea we met his daughter Clare, and Mark, her cousin’s son, for the first time. It was all the more poignant because her father passed away as we were writing the book, but had asked her to finish what he had started, and help us commemorate their family in print. We dedicated the book to him.
Clare travelled all the way from Lincoln to spend the centenary of the armistice at the ground that her great great grandfather had loved, watching Chelsea, a pastime that her great uncle had pined for from the Western Front before he was killed at the Battle of Festubert in 1915. William rejoined the army after his eldest son was killed, he served during the Battle of the Somme, and when he finally retired for good after the war, this Blue had served his country for more than thirty years.
Harry Trusler was a very early war recruit, another teenager. From near Basingstoke, he made the journey up by train via Wimbledon like so many fans do now to watch his club. He joined the Royal Marines, and survived chaos at Gallipoli. In fact, he survived from the beginning of the conflict until almost the end, when he was killed in the final advance to victory at the age of 22. Three members of his family were invited to Stamford Bridge for yesterday’s game: his great nephew Dennis, who first came to Stamford Bridge himself in the 70s, his wife Sue and son Mike.
To find the men who enlisted in Kitchener’s New Armies, the ones that answered repeated match day calls at Stamford Bridge to join the war effort, our job got much, much more difficult. In fact; it is the most intricate bit of research I’ve ever done, and I don’t think it will ever be surpassed in that respect.
The Footballer’s Battalion, which was designed for pros to serve together and to encourage fans to join them, was formed in part by representatives from Chelsea at Fulham Town Hall at the end of 1914. We knew that someone had claimed that before the date when the number of men reached 1500, 150 odd were Chelsea fans. Using service numbers, we identified the first 1400 to be safe, and went about researching every single one, weeding those from the area around Stamford Bridge out of the pile for further research; setting aside those who lived next door to White Hart Lane, or Woolwich Arsenal, and the large group who were very obviously clustered around Clapton Orient, who we knew contributed as many fans as we did.
Here’s where we should have reached a brick wall. British Army service records for WW1 are to a large extent, gone. The Luftwaffe bombed them in the Second World War. They caught fire. Then the fire brigade turned up and covered them in water. And yet. Fate seemed to have conspired to help us succeed. Nobody knows in what order they were stored, but with just a few exceptions, every time we went looking for a man in the Footballer’s Battalion’s service papers, we found them.
We identified 100 men who lived and worked in the area directly surrounding Stamford Bridge. We could identify the ones that had enlisted in the army around matchdays. And we started taking a closer look using all our best stalking techniques to find the families of the best candidates to corroborate our theory about their Chelsea connections using their knowledge.
One of these men was Patrick Ronan. Pat was a costermonger (market trader with a mobile stall) on North End Road. Yesterday his grandson John and his lovely wife Jan were brought up to Chelsea. I don’t know if John thought he’d ever see another game at Stamford Bridge. He used to live on Fulham Road, he was at the ground week in, week out. He remembers more than 70 years ago being warned with his classmates about what would happen to them if they bunked school to go and watch the famous friendly against Dynamo Moscow in 1945.
It was a happy reunion for myself and Holmes, for we had been to visit them when we were researching the book and seen some incredible artefacts from the war that had belonged to Pat. His was a realistic story of enlistment in the war. He couldn’t find anything to sell on his stall once it began, prices went up, he and his wife Annie had two children to support. He joined the army outside Stamford Bridge because the money was regular, more than he was getting, and he needed it.
I never thought I’d get to introduce John to Roger, another friend we made whilst we were working on the Footballer’s Battalion, invited up from Cornwall with his wife Gerry yesterday by the club. Roger’s grandad served side by side in the Footballer’s Battalion with John’s throughout the Battle of the Somme. Sid Jerram and his brother Bert lived on Avalon Road, yards from Stamford Bridge. They bounced home from the ground one day and declared to their mother that they had joined the army at a match. To say that she was unimpressed would be a massive understatement. She needed their incomes to keep the family going, and this rocked the boat. Along with Pat Ronan they survived the horror of Delville Wood in late July. When an attack was launched at Guillemont in August, Roger’s great uncle Bert was killed, and Pat wounded. He’d returned to the battalion in time for the final attack on the Somme in 1916. On that day John’s grandfather was killed. The last letter from his wife, bloodstained, was taken by a comrade and sent home to Annie; and was shown to us by John whilst we wrote the book. That Dynamo Moscow game? John didn’t tell us if he dared to bunk school, but that game took place on the 29th anniversary of Pat’s death. On the same day, 13th November 1916, Sid Jerram was relieved to be wounded and taken prisoner. His war was over. He wasn’t going to die. Tomorrow will mark 102 years since that battle.
Yesterday’s guests were not just invited to the game. Led by Director of Communications and PR, Steve Atkins, the club rolled out the red carpet. There were no media requirements or appearance duties for them. In Steve’s words, it was an act of remembrance on the clubs part and it would not have been right to use it for publicity. I wanted to write about their families though, and they were keen that I wrote this article. Clare said that she thought people ought to know what was done in memory of her ancestors and the other men commemorated by Chelsea.
They were treated to pre match hospitality and a fantastic welcome from the club. Their seats were “amazing”, and the club helped me shift for the day to be with some of them close up to the home dugout. John was amazed at the speed of the game. He said he that remembered seeing Tommy Lawton just after World War Two, but that he wasn’t as quick. We did agree that the ball probably weighed half a stone back then. Roger has been away from the Bridge a long time too, and when The Liquidator started he said “God, they still play this!” As Steve reassured some of us later, that’s not going anywhere.
Both were not happy to see that the away fans were in the shed. I reassured them that we moan about it constantly and that it’s all you-know-who’s fault. John’s wife Jan, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to as they held hands and watched the game, knows her football too. They keenly follow Chelsea from home. It was wonderful to see that no matter how long you are away, half an hour and all the passion comes flooding back. Jan was distinctly unimpressed with Everton’s lengthy “injuries.” As far as John is concerned, the ball went in the net. It was 1-0 and no linesman’s flag is going to tell him otherwise. On my other side, Roger was furious with Kevin (Not My) Friend blowing the whistle every time they fell over, and when they broke in injury time he blurted out “kill ‘im!” As an Evertonian went sprinting down the wing.
Those of us that go week in week out always say that the football itself is such a small part of the day, that it’s not just about the result and that it’s about spending time with the football family that we’ve made for ourselves. This was never more true than yesterday. After the game Harry Trusler’s family joined us from their seats, as did Andrew and his wife and son from the Shed. (They deserved their day out as much as anyone, as I basically commandeered him for the entire centenary period and put him to work writing books with me) Chelsea could not have done more to make this day memorable for all involved. The families watched the manager’s post match comments, posed for memorable photos together on the pitch. They were joined variously by Gianfranco Zola, N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Ross Barkley, who all made time for them. Andrew’s son Adam went from shaking with excitement to full-on teenage selfie mode. Then it was up to the director’s lounge for a champagne toast to William, Cecil, Harry, Pat, Sid and Bert. Their families had the opportunity to pose with trophies that those men never could have imagined when the war began and the club was a mere nine years old and more than forty years away from our first league title. Roger had mentioned earlier that His grandad and his great uncle were just twi of thousands, but as I told him yesterday they were representatives of all those affiliated with Chelsea who answered the club’s call 100 years ago.
There were some tears yesterday, for those relatives that were lost; for those that survived, but bore obvious scars from their experiences, but I think also because the reception from the club in their memory was so overwhelming. But there were smiles too, at the thought of what they would have made of their descendants being guests of honour at their football club because of what they did. From start to finish the people that helped Andrew and I commemorate the contribution of Chelsea Football Club in the Great War in print were warmly welcomed by absolutely everyone they came into contact with. They won’t forget the experience, neither will we, and as Chelsea proved yesterday, neither will the club forget the sacrifices made a century ago in the Great War.
If you want to learn more about the men mentioned, as well as dozens of others affiliated with Chelsea in WW1, the book is available on Amazon - Over Land and Sea: Chelsea FC in the Great War.
Unfortunately, the CFC Battlefield Tour slated for next July, where we will visit their graves and talk about their experiences, sold out in pre-sale. If there is enough interest, Holmes and I may run it again. If you would like to go on a waiting list in case spaces come up next year you can email email@example.com
Chelsea 3 Crystal Palace 1
Sunday 4th November 2018 16:00
In the News: Arsenal are just letting Ramsey go, which strikes me an singularly stupid. Either he and his agent have been making daft demands or they really are morons at the Emirates. We’re apparently so impressed with the form of Barkley and Loftus-Cheek in terms of our homegrown talent that were not interested anymore. I doubt we were in the first place. Speaking of Ruben, the Daily Fail’s Three Wise Men have been at it again. Redknapp: “So often I feel he is playing within himself at Chelsea.” Even if he had watched every second of RLC in action this season he has about three hours of football at most to have used to make this ridiculous, sweeping statement. And for ninety minutes of that he was scoring a hatrick. So he was hardly “within himself” then, was he? Bellend. More credible is the revelation that AC Milan are at their wits end with Bakayoko making silly errors. Sad to say it might be better if he makes another at the end of the season and gets lost on his way back to London.
Stupidity and football. I know players aren’t renowned for being bright but
Dubravka has gone above and beyond. He managed to chop at his own leg with an axe. By accident. Also, Sp*rs fans were ATTACKED coming out of West Ham say the Press Plebs, ATTACKED. They then added in small writing that they happened to be in the home end. Idiots. Speaking of them. Some of the delay in their stadium construction work was allegedly caused by Levy having concrete taken up because West Ham supporting workmen had put a load of their memorabilia underneath it. Fortunately, he is apparently unaware of the dozen Chelsea flags that have been stuffed inside steel tubing at Wait Hart Lane. Salah now claims that ever since he was ten he always had a plan to end up with the Red Scouse. What a load of b*llocks. And Madrid still without a manager. Conte asked for three years and to come in with five people. Quite rightly after they saw him go batsh*t crazy after nine months with us they were dubious.
The Others: Liverpool could only manage a draw with the Goons. Somehow amongst all of this vomit-inducing, sycophantic dross that is force fed down our throats about how this could be their year, the Red Swarm have failed to notice that for this to happen they will surely have to start beating their near rivals.
Özil. Highest scoring German in Premier League history apparently. God the rest must have been sh*t. On his Wikipedia page the intro says: “Considered to be one of the best players in the world.” By who? His mum? Proof yet again of what happens when you give fools access to the internet. Leicester won their first game since the horrific events of last weekend. Schmeichel was in tears, Vardy says it’s like losing a member of his family. And not to be dissuaded by any of the grief and anguish on display at this incredibly difficult time, Lee Probert booked Gray for celebrating by removing his shirt to display a message for their deceased chairman on an undershirt. Jesus wept. I bet he’s the referee that doesn’t get asked out for a drink by the other referees. He’s not invited to their Christmas party. Which is surely a really f*cking low rung on the social ladder. Newcastle got their first victory in the league this season, while United made a meal out of beating a flying Bournemouth, who are not only halfway to avoiding relegation already, but are still ahead of Chequebook Pulis and his divas and only four points off the Champions League places. Hurrah.
Us: Barkley starts, both Kovacic and Ruben on the bench. Hazard fit enough to be used as a sub. We were condemning abusive Gary Cahill bashers on the radio on Friday. Christensen not even on the bench today, and clearly behind our Captain in the pecking order right now. Food for thought for the Twitterati. The Dane has got work to do so far as impressing Sarri is concerned. One could argue that if Zappacosta can get on the bench and you can’t, you really are in the doghouse.
Them: Zaha answered questions as to his fitness by starting. When questioned, however, he could not tell anyone what the f*ck that was on top of his head.
A fast start, almost resulted in a fine chance thanks to Willian on 1 minute but Palace looked equally as spritely. The whole of the first ten minutes was very open. A few issues with the accuracy of our passing and with Michael Oliver giving them free kicks for nothing. Is this the library? Sang the away fans. No, because if it was, you wouldn’t be here, because you’re from Croydon.
19 minutes and all of their forward effort resulted in a decent chance but the shot was hit way over the bar. Neither side had actually had registered anything on target yet. For our part, it was proving very difficult to get it in the box. 24 minutes and Morata almost got his head on a cross from the left but he was well marked.
It looked, though, like we were finally getting a grip on the game with some sustained attacking. 28 there was a standing ovation for Morata after he got stuck right in to win a corner. Crowd fired up now, players fired up, Palace on the back foot and on the half hour up pops Morata with complete composure to stop it, turn, and slot it past Hennessy in the Palace goal. Thank f*ck for that.
It was a different game now. Willian had another chalked off as offside on 34, Palace were at sixes and sevens. Barkley almost put a shot on the roof on 36, Morata headed one over the bar two minutes later. Still we pressed forward, but it was not to be before the break. We had worked our way into the game slowly. Palace hadn’t had a shot on target and had only had thirty percent possession but that makes them sound worse than they actually were. I feel sorry for them that just as they appear to have got their sh*t together a bit they have a harsh run of fixtures.
Opening couple of minutes of the second half we kept giving the ball away, but it was in the act of trying to press quickly in the direction of goal, which I suppose it better than the tail end of Conte’s tenure when it was at the speed of Wayne Rooney and they all looked like they’d rather be in the pub. Second goal required as soon as possible tho please. Palace were operating mainly in their own half, which means of course they then went and scored. Just as we found out that Willian’s goal had actually been onside. B*llocks. Huge and sudden surge of Championship songs from the visitors. Even more b*llocks. Andros Townsend. I’d forgotten he even existed.
Still, more than half an hour to play, if we can only do something with the sloppy passing. Urgh. Dear Eden, Please come on and save the day, love Alex. Sarri was jumping and down like a rabid, nicotine stained kangaroo on the touchline, players screaming at each other. Get it together Chels. Half chance from range by Willian on 59, but it went straight at the keeper. Then it was straight back down the other end and more panic attacks as we failed to close them down in and around the box. Save by Hennessy on 62 from yet another Morata effort. Is that Hazard stripping off? Asked Boycie. He was bent over at the time and I’d know that backside anywhere. It was indeed. On he came for Willian to a rapturous reception. Barkley had not sparkled today as he has of late, and at the same time he made way for Kovacic.
It took them less than a minute to foul Eden. And less than a minute after that he sent in a winning ball from the free kick which allowed Morata to thump his second home from a narrow angle. Many, many voices singing “He scores when he wants.” Different side. Instantly. All Chelsea now. No more Championship songs. On 69 minutes our third came out of nowhere when the ball was slid into the box and found an unmarked Pedro Pony who battered it. “You’ve had your day out, now f*ck off home.” Tedious and unimaginative Maurizio song.
Palace’s turn to shuffle their pack. Didn’t make a lot of difference, though they were still trying. We had settled having gone two clear, easing off on the intensity somewhat. Fabregas came on with ten minutes to go. A bit of a rest for Jorginho. We’ll just have one of those perfect balls forward to Eden to hammer this home please Cesc. Refwatch: Oliver. Tolerable. I suppose. Which is more than can be said for most of them. We could have had a fourth on 83 but the ball went straight across the face of goal. Morata had wandered into an offside position so that was the end of that. He got caught a few times today, but I would rather he was chomping at the bit to shoot and on a hatrick than looking like wanted to dig a hole on the halfway line and climb in it. All the fight had gone out of Palace now, unless your name was Kovacic. They seemed to have a lot of energy left for kicking him. We almost gave away a stupid goal in injury time, but got away with it. Morata could have had a hatrick at the last. We broke, Eden handed it to him on a plate, and then instead of keeping it simple and going around Hennessy, who came tearing out, he made a mess of it when he tried to dink it over him. Sigh.
So: Very up and down today at times. We’d got along well enough without Eden the last couple of games, but it’s just so much sexier when he’s on the pitch. Second it is. Three teams unbeaten at the top after 11 games for the first time since 1978/79. Narrow, narrow margins this season.
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Chelsea 3 Frank Lampard’s Derby County™️2
Wednesday 31st October 2018 19:45
In the News: Ianni has received a £6000 fine for his celebration in front of Chequebook Pulis. I hope the club pay it in f*cking 1p coins. More reasons to laugh at Sp*rs lately. Their stadium still isn’t ready. Won’t be this year. When they do finally move in they reckon they will have lots to brag about. “Largest retail space of any club in Europe, you’ll never sing that.” It has been said by someone far more numerically minded than me that Levy has basically taken all the ST money up front, and is refunding it 1/19th at a time. “Let’s say that that’s an average of £500 back, times 40k... Sp*rs fans have lent him £20m on an interest free loan over six months.” Cheeky b*stard. Their attendance has dropped some 24,000 of late while they have been homeless. The pitiful nature of their existence was summed up while the scampered about a torn up pitch still plastered with NFL sh*t on Monday night. Still, City came out of it with the points but no moral high ground. Firstly, who in their right mind puts purple with orange, secondly, when you factor in that this means they were running about in f*cking Clemson colours they really are filth. #Gamecocks.
The three wise men are at it again. Keown has come up with the revelation that Fernandinho is a git. Where the f*ck has he been for the last five years when he was hacking down the opposition like a possessed combine harvester on ketamine? Chris Sutton, on the basis of nothing at all but having to submit words to get paid, says that he thinks Podgettino would jump at the chance to go to Madrid. Jamie Redknapp was too busy accessorising his matching outfit for Sky tonight with everyone else in the studio to own any nonsense. P45 for whoever is in charge of wardrobe in West London.
Thibaut concedes five in his El Clasico debut. Shame. The Madrid manager has gone after 139 days, after sacking off the national side, on the eve of the World Cup. Shame. Never underestimate how hilarious it is for everyone who doesn’t support a super-sized club when they fall flat on their face. Conte - apparently too many players don’t want our favourite unstable ex-manager and now Martinez is the favourite. Either way, I would hope that nobody on the shortlist is shiny enough to tempt Eden away.
And it’s November, which means we’re back to James McLean and his lack of f*cking poppy. As someone who has drunk quite a lot of gin, and writes WW1 books for a living, and has been part of debates on the lack of appreciation for the southern Irish contribution to WW1 l, I could write paragraphs on why he is a c***. And pin him down and tattoo “Ginchy” on his massive forehead. But he is not worth my time. Ungrateful sh*tbag.
The Others: Podge was set to change up to ten players tonight because he refuses to “jeopardise the welfare” of his squad. As if they’re the only ones with a relentless fixture list. It does, I suppose you could say if you were a massive cynic, which I am, give him an out for the inevitable point where they bottle it. Poor lambs. “They were tired.”
Us: Kante, Little Willie and Morata are the only survivors. I think. But I’m quite p*ssed so don’t take my word for it. RLC rewarded for last week with a start.
Them: Somewhat controversially Mount and Tomori. I couldn’t bear the whining if either of them cost us victory. If we can’t beat Derby County we don’t deserve to stay in the competition anyway.
And so it was written in the stars. Or at least written in a shady memo at the FA prior to the draw which has now been shredded. Twice. Isn’t it funny how there has been an epic tv tie in every round so far?
Huge reception, and rightly so, for Frank Lampard, though the fact that I could see his bald spot from the Shed depressed me. Seeing as I’m old enough to have had a schoolgirl crush on the pudgy-faced version of yesteryear. It was a fast paced start, with the first half-chance falling for Kovacic, (the only sap wearing gloves last night) but it wasn’t that exciting and he didn’t hit it on target. I make no judgement. Zappacosta was next, but bottled a challenge and it came to nothing. All of those who criticised us letting Tomori and Mount play were quickly silenced when the former scored our first goal for us, somehow back-heeling it into the net at the Shed End. Worst possible start for Derby right in front of their fans.
Emerson was in again on 7 minutes but his cross was pants, and Willian followed this up with a shot that was shanked well wide. Derby were by no means being whipped though, they were in it as much we were, and got a deserved equaliser from Marriott less than five minutes after going behind. Deserved as in we didn’t do much to stop it. They carved us open, the away end went bonkers, Frank didn’t.
Probably fair to level the score and start again after that unfortunate OG. Says the girl with more than 3.5 goals on her accumulator. On 13 minutes an awesome curving cross from Kante just failed to find Morata in the box. They should have been two up shortly after - it definitely shows that we’ve changed our entire back line. They were not finding it hard to find a way through it at all. Unfortunately for them they were not finding it hard to find the back of the wrong net either. Zappacosta announced as the scorer. My a*se. Took a massive deflection on the way in and we were ahead once again.
One of our own players finally nearly scored for us on 22 minutes when RLC made a darting run into the box. The game was still being played at breakneck speed, and it was definitely too fast for Fabregas, bless him. Derby continued to press and we were undone again on 26 minutes. 2-2. It was going to be one of those nights, wasn’t it. “You haven’t scored” they were singing, to the tune of the Conte song. All over the place at the back. Gaping chasm, bigger than Katie Hopkins in mid-yawn, where Jorginho should be. They were first to everything, looked far more likely to score and we kept letting them take the ball off us. No Hazard to come on and The Beard has got the night off. Oops. I felt like I’d just been waterboarded for half an hour. Still, we wanted excitement.
Thankfully by 33 minutes we’d settled down a bit, though we were squandering any chances. Then, who should pop up with what turned out to the the winner? Cesc, who until that point had been having an atrocious game, wound his way into the box and leathered it home with 40 minutes gone. There’s still some magic in him yet. And it ignited a much improved performance for the rest of the game. “We’ve scored a goal” we sang at the visitors. We’d spent much of that half being generally ridiculous. And yet we were winning. *shrugs shoulders.*
It was a muted start to the second half, but we looked more organised. As in a there actually was some semblance of a plan, which had been lacking before the break. The crowd passed this quiet period with another Frank love-in. I love Frank. I do. His man-hug with Luiz at the final whistle brought a tear to my eye. But not when the game is still in the balance and he’s managing the other team. Speaking of David Luiz, he was warming up. Whichever centre back was about to get hooked for him, it was going to be a punch in the face. When’s the draw? says Mowgli (Special alias) Tomorrow morning at 3am on the Korean home shopping network, says I. It was Christensen that got hooked. Ouch. You don’t change a centre back unless one of them is at death’s door.
In the meantime Derby were energetically seeking another equaliser. Not that this stopped them breaking on 67 minutes. Outstanding one on one save from Big Willy which just about went high enough to land in the roof of the net. RLC off for Pedro Pony. It had been a much tougher game for Ruben tonight, thought he did ok. Especially when he went down like a sack of bricks when Tomori barely touched him and won a free kick.
Another wide effort from them on 71. Morata was caught offside shortly afterwards, I’ll be honest I had completely forgotten he was on the pitch by this point. To be fair though he fed off scraps tonight. End to end by this point, though they weren’t fashioning any real chances out of it. This game was by no means won, because though we had broken several times we hadn’t really looked like scoring either. Sarri went for insurance with the last sub, Dave on for Zappacosta.
Derby’s energy levels still high. They had put in a commendable performance all evening.
We came close to securing the result twice with ten minutes to go but still no cigar. Then the ball landed on Morata’s head at the near post, though he didn’t have a clue it was coming by the looks of it and couldn’t direct it. Two saves in a row by Big Willy. The tube station was closed. For no reason they would give. Please don’t inflict extra time on us, the journey home is going to be a big enough bitch. Every time we did get forward we were outnumbered, with the substitutions having veered towards the defensive. Two minutes to play and I hadn’t ruled out a heart attack
They hit the post on 88, and it fortuitously bounced back out and into Big Willy’s arms. Three minutes of extra time to endure, and finally the away side were looking just a little bit leggy. Survive them we did, and then I was happy to join the Frank love-in.
So: As exciting as we all hoped it would be. We remain undefeated despite our own best efforts. They both won and lost this game themselves while we bobbed about looking confused for the first half of it. Entertaining and chaotic, and thank god we came out on top. On the way out I heard one of them say. “It’s not fair, we didn’t even make a mistake.” No, aside from the two own goals. They did, however, look excellent value for a potential promotion side this season if they can keep that up.
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Burnley 0 Chelsea 4
Sunday 28th October 2018 13:30
Football hasn’t been a place for levity this weekend. Too many people at Leicester and at Brighton have died in the simple act of going to a football game. Glenn Hoddle almost died on the floor of the BT Sport studio. It doesn’t seem right to produce the usual litany of mockery here this week. A short write up of our game follows, and normal service will be resumed again on Wednesday when we welcome Frank back to the Bridge.
Rudi, Luiz, Dave and George Michael all returned to the back line, and Kante and Jorginho came back in the starting line up. Barkley got a start over Kovacic, completely warranted at the moment and Pedro Pony comes in for for Eden, whose back is still giving him jip. Loftus Cheek was rewarded with a place on the bench after his Europa League heroics in midweek.
Burnley have begun to motor after an appalling start to the season, which is typical as far as we are concerned, but Sarri was bidding to become the first Premier League manager to go through his first ten games unbeaten. We started well enough. There was a chance for Morata and Barkley to put us ahead early on, but otherwise pretty even. Brady put it wide on 16 minutes too, though Kepa was fouled with an arm in the face. Luiz was determinedly evening up the score on that front, laying into Vokes with a little too much vigour.
Burnley got extremely lucky when Little Willy hit the post on 20 minutes and nobody was coming in on the follow up, but they weren’t so lucky a minute later when Barkley put a sublime ball through to Morata, who made a perfectly timed run and slipped it into the net. He’s starting to score regularly now, although of course every time he falls over or makes a pig’s ear of a chance it still provokes a torrent of criticism. Barkley has already played double what he did for the entirety of last season.
We lost Pedro Pony on the half hour, he is still wearing a harness over his bad shoulder and something not right at all. Definitely un fortunate Pony Pedro today. Good news at least for Loftus Cheek, who was going to get more action than anyone anticipated with an hour left to play. Despite this upheaval we continued to establish complete dominance. Morata made a great run, after Alonso was sent on his way by Barkley, but this time the Spaniard’s finish was wide after he wasted time taking it onto his right foot.
And yet, typically of us there was still only one goal in it. Morata was in again on 41, but the ball would not have been an easy one for him to have convert. He was, however, making a mockery out of the Burnley defence with his runs. He went down in the box, but it wasn’t a dive in particular. It was a good tackle, Alvaro didn’t overreact particularly, but something was said and handbags were brandished. The home side were lucky when Pawson decided to just book everyone involved. A justifiable yellow for Willian, however, for an easy collapse in the box followed shortly afterwards.
Morata almost scored again on 55, then along came Barkley. Wasn’t passing that. Was he f*ck. Outstanding solo effort from range that left suckered Tarkowski and Joe Hart and doubled our lead. You could have bought Pogba four times for what we paid for him. Over to you Ruben.
It was game over 62 minutes thanks to Willian. Hart done again from long range, thanks in part to a slight deflection off his own defender. The Beard came on for Morata, who was already booked and losing his rag with defensive roughhousing and he hit one wide of the post on 77. He also rattled the bar, and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet today. In the meantime Cesc made his season debut in the league in the act of giving Sarri stalwart/lovechild Jorginho a rest. RLC was desperately trying to make his mark too. He kicked it into the side-netting before managing to pounce on a loose ball in the box to make it four. Hart has conceded 9 in two games and looked as depressed as you’d expect.
So: Second for now. A draw tomorrow night would suit us best, but would make me want to be sick in my mouth because it would leave the Scouse two points clear at the top. This could have been a pesky fixture, but in the event Burnley weren’t even in it. A highly satisfactory example of what happens when you combine Sarri’s style of football with us actually taking our chances. Wouldn’t have used Hazard for this even if he had recovered in time. Wrap him up in cotton wool and snuggle him. RLC did well. The problem for him is that everything he does do at the moment, Ross Barkley does it better, but both are now arguably on top of Kovacic, who can’t hit a barn door at the moment at least. Healthy competition, and plenty of fixtures to keep them both happy for now. On to Wednesday and the ovation at the Bridge that we’ve been waiting for
Chelsea 3 Bate Borisov 1
Thursday 25th October 2018 20:00
In the News: In the world of petty media f*ckwittery, we’ve had a multitude of dross about how Ross Barkley has had the tattoo commemorating his Everton debut removed. Ungrateful Chelsea wretch that he is. Except that he has had about a yard of the things burnt off because he decided the whole sleeve looked sh*t. A rare and commendable move amongst footballers. Ianni has been charged, because he works for us. Alonso has signed a new deal, and Rudi is set to follow apparently. We’ve decided to let Mason Mount play in the cup game next week, which is all very sweet until he dumps us out of the cup, and everyone is mean to him, and then all turn on Frank and it becomes a Press Pleb feeding frenzy.
Keita says he hasn’t fathomed listening to people Speak Scouse in six months. Who wants to tell him he never will? And that he needs to invest in a snorkel? Chequebook Pulis says he’s never heard the Bridge so quiet. Might have something to do with a stupid early kick off, or the fact that his lot didn’t make a peep until the game was well into the second half. He could obviously have added to the volume had he not spent the entire game slouched in his seat sulking like a great big tart.
The Others: In Europe’s secondary competition United were bitchslapped around by Juventus whilst Ronaldo walked around on tiptoes trying to look taller than everyone else. Because that’s what he should be concerned about right now. This is after United managed to risk a fine by being late despite staying 250 yards away from their stadium. As someone who has missed a quarter of a Champions League game at Old Trafford because they and the local plods couldn’t orchestrate a p*ss up in a brewery where all the doors had been left open and the staff had all gone on holiday, I say, ha. Real Madrid finally won a game. Against Minnows. And they’ve got UEFAlona at the weekend. Conte in! I know, I’m mean. But then Hazard wouldn’t want to go there. And I’m not as mean as St Pep, who let Zinchenko buy 27 tickets for his Ukrainian friends and family and then didn’t even put him in the match day squad. Ouch. But nothing is more amusing than watching Sp*rs freefall out of the competition after they bragged so heartily about being in it in the first place. Suckers. Still trying to decide whether Lloris being utterly useless when he’s sober is more amusing than Jermaine Penis having a massive bitchbaby meltdown about the goal he wanted to stand.
Our Game: The Chicago massive are still in town including our favourite Chelsea fake-hooker, my fellow history loser and BRDJ - also known as Patient Zero. Don’t leave him alone with your pork.
Them: It took me until Hleb was subbed off to realise that I’d heard of any of their players. But dispensing with Eastern Europe’s underated finest is what fighting for Europe’s biggest trophy is all about.
Us: A multitude of changes. No Eden Hazard obviously, since Ashley Young did his best to cripple him. He wouldn’t have played anyway. Chances for Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Emerson and Fabregas. Pedro Pony gets the opportunity to retake a spot in the starting line up after his injury and The Beard is picked up front over Morata. Most importantly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek gets a start. And he needed to come sprinting out of the blocks in an attempt to catch up with Ross Barkley.
My he did. Within a couple of minutes he had put himself in a positively Lampardlike position to pounce on the ball in the box and make it 1-0. It could have been two in the sixth minute when he launched forward again, but Willian’s shot was deflected over. It was going to be a long night for our Belorussian visitors, for Ruben was on a hatrick after eight minutes when we carved them open again.
He’s having a field day said Mrs. Brown
He needs one, said I.
And in the opening ten minutes RLC had basically outclassed everyone on the pitch. The remainder of the half was spent watching an endless litany of Chelsea chances go begging.
On 10 minutes Pedro Pony was almost on the end of a sublime ball forward from Fabregas. Mrs. Brown applauds his granddaughter’s shiny nickname for the artist formerly known as Pesto, but has decided that when he’s bad it gets reversed to Pony Pedro. The 14th minute saw a criminal miss on the line from Christensen coming in from a corner. All anyone wanted right then was a third for Ruben. He got the chance on 15 but the goalie comfortably took the ball out of the air. Forward we came again. Zappacosta crossed it into the box but nobody was deep enough to hit it. Then we lapsed a bit. 20 minutes had ticked by and suddenly we were sloppy in places. It was all a bit too easy, and there were lazy giveaways from Willian and Zappacosta. But the opportunities continued to flow. Kovacic squandered a shot on 23. He hit another one straight at the defender shortly afterwards, reinforcing my opinion that in terms of finding the goal he is the is the new Mikel and should be banned from shooting, ever. He missed out on a header on 29 too, before Willian shanked another chance wide. Of all people, The Beard wasn’t getting a look in and there were some frustrated exchanges when he ran into position and the ball wasn’t played through. On 35 a quick break and Willian ran the length of the pitch and touched it in towards the Frenchman, but it was just a tad long. Before the half ended Ruben had yet another chance to claim the match ball, and then in injury time it fell to Willian in the box. He launched himself up like a gazelle, toes pointed and poised for the overhead kick. Then managed to hit the roof. Oops. Still, fifteen shots to their one off target, and none of us could remember when that was.
At least one of the random extra officials behind the goal kept himself amused this evening. I have never seen anyone spend so much time fiddling with their hair as the one at the Shed End. Borisov were still plugging away, in the face of overwhelming odds. They won their first corner in the opening seconds after the restart, but unfortunately it was bad as ours generally are. Then normal service was resumed. On 53 minutes RLC had his hatrick. The keeper could have done better but it was well deserved for all of his effort tonight.
Sarri began the subs straight away with Burnley in mind. Willian off... go on… Hudson Odoi... But no. Moses first. Shame. Unless you’re Moses of course. Pedro Pony made way shortly afterwards though, and on came the youngster. Both subs were in the mood, given a rare chance to impress the boss. Finally, just after the hour mark the opposition managed a shot on target, but it was rather tame. I was feeling sorry for The Beard at the other end. He’d not had a decent ball to latch on to all night. That’s not to say that more chances weren’t piling up for us. Zappacosta forced a flying save on 66, then finally The Beard got a great shot off but it was met by a bit of an epic save. Then CHO tried to pass it into the net. The visitors were still giving it a go thought, although someone needs to tell their goalkeeper that there’s no point wasting time when you are losing. Everyone around us was starting to go home. Mrs. Brown and I did have to have a chuckle as one walked past us and declared loudly: “It’s much smaller than it looks on TV.”
Then because we are a little bit too benevolent for our own good (ref. United game, Mount playing next week, etc) we decided to let them score a goal. Aleksey Rios. Who I wouldn’t recognise in a lineup if you gave me all the gin in England. Mrs. Brown had already mapped out an entire nightmare scenario where they got another and we then spent the last ten minutes running about like headless chickens trying not to drop points against a team that looked as much as though they belonged in this competition as Sp*rs do in the Champions League. But Ruben was trying for a fourth and nearly succeeded on 82 minutes, and that was basically it for the action.
So: The most comfortable display I’ve seen since, well, the first half against United. Fabregas shone, as of course did Ruben Loftus Cheek. Does Barkley have competition? Is this beginning of a glorious run into the first team? Or did he just admirably turn up on the night against a very poor side? He was imperious at times tight, exhausted by the end. He could have done no more. We’ll see, but he deserves his plaudits tonight. That’s it he even gets a mention in the press. Who will inevitably produce a lengthy article about how The Beard didn't score whilst having a massive circle jerk about Arsenal’s unbeaten run that a pub team probably could have amassed against the opposition they’ve faced lately.
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Chelsea 2 United 2
Saturday 20th October 2018 12:30
I dedicate this to Robby-kins. The only United fan with a northern accent I've ever met We'll ignore the fact he should support Bolton :D
Somewhere in West London, Sarri is chain smoking himself into oblivion after watching that. I am too, and I don’t even smoke.
In the News: Speaking of Sarri, apparently superstitions on his list include lighting a fag at a hairpin bend, three coffees before a game and he’s incapable of crossing white lines on a pitch. No wonder he was never a player, he’d end up glued to the spot unable to keep up with the game and looking like a total bellend - a bit like Lukaku yesterday. Eden Hazard saying if he never leaves Chelsea he won’t lose sleep. Good boy. Morata has been waxing lyrical about his tough start at Chelsea. Apparently it even caused him to have a row with his wife. My heart literally bleeds. As I sit here actually saving up for a filling.
Joyfully, I did not watch a single second of turgid international football because I was too busy listening to boys with guitars and raiding Bath and Body works in Hill Country. “I wish you cancer and leukaemia and I hope you get raped” was one message sent to England’s female players this week. Vile and disgusting, but as the profile of the womens’ game rises, so do the number of coward a*seholes with nothing better to do than pound their keypads when their knobs have taken too much of a battering in their mums basement from constant w*nking over vintage episodes of Xena Warrior Princess. It’s no worse than the stick the blokes take and not worth anyone’s time. I’ve saved all the similar I get sent and when I’m bored I bring them all up and have a chuckle. And when they’re stupid enough to leave an email I sign them up for dodgy porn sites.
“My stars are hurt by cruel attacks” said Chequebook Pulis during the week. He does realise he’s the one doing most of the attacking right? Benitez says he doesn’t fear the sack at Newcastle. No, I expect he kneels next to his bed praying for a way to get away from Mike Ashley at night, just like everyone else involved with the club. Juve’s stock has plummeted by 37% since rapegate started with Ronaldo. Unsurprising that they will stick by him while it’s all allegations considering they have invested a quarter of a billion in him and he’s their cash cow. Even though his “fake news, fake news” stance makes him sound like Trump. More dubious is the madwoman in the Italian media that has already decided he’s innocent because he’s too rich and good looking to rape anybody. Sigh. Conte apparently on Real’s radar for replacing their failing manager, who probably wishes he’d stayed with Spain. And that they hadn’t signed Thibaut, who let in another two yesterday. 465 minutes Real have now gone without scoring, which is a club record. If Conte does go there we can rule our Hazard following him, which is a bonus. Speaking of Spain, UEFAlona apparently eyeing a shock swoop for Ivanovic in January.
The Others: Unsurprisingly we lost ground on the other two, because this weekend they faced the likes of Huddersfield (and didn’t make that look easy) and Burnley. (Who rolled over and collapsed like a fat bulldog after a bacon binge like they absolutely won’t next weekend) You know you are living in a parallel universe when people start talking about Lamela like he’s a game changer and Cardiff finally won a match.
Us: Eight of them as you’d expect - then out of the puzzlers, Willian over Pedro Pony, Kovacic over Barkley and Morata over The Beard.
Them: The now usual overpaid, moany, underperforming and generally very un-Unitedlike set up. Which is very entertaining for the rest of us.
There was only one team in it in the first half. Our first break came on 2 minutes with a decent cross from little Willy but the end result was air kicked by Kovacic. Hugely enjoyable stadium-wide chants of “you’re f*cking sh*t” at the away fans, which is joyous after thirty years of their smug w*nkery. Usual aim with Chequebook Pulis - score early and ruin the game plan of boring football he’s been plotting all week. First ludicrous challenge on Eden went unpunished. Matic committed an outrageous foul as he was about to shoot, Ja-ooung (still massively entertained by Spanish commentary of Young’s name during the World Cup) had already had his elbow in too. So beganeth my bi-annual reminder (the other 363 days I forget he exists) that I hate Ashley Young more than just about anyone in world football.
The resulting free kick from the Matic outrage was too close, so Morata, Kovacic and Rudiger put themselves in the wall to fly to one side and leave a gap, but what does Willy do? Tries to send it up and over and faceplants. Sigh. Their first break on 11 minutes was tame by the standard we’d created, and the cross went across the face of goal and out for a throw in. Matic ran out of luck very early on with another shocker of a challenge. Once again it was on Hazard and this time Dean brandished a yellow. To his credit, he let the cyclical fouling on our star man happen a lot less today than other referees. United definitely seeing the alternative side of Matic now.
Despite utter dominance (well, aside from inside the colourful mind of Chequebook Pulis) we were lucky not to concede on 15 minutes when we left a man open on the far post, but they could fashion nothing from that or the follow up. They hadn’t had a single attempt on goal thus far. Our breaks continued and then we were ahead. A rarity for us: perfect corner by Willian, Rudi left completely free in the box, I blamed Pogba and De Gea didn’t stand a chance when the German nutted it towards goal. Hurrah. They were in disarray. Martial shortly after at left back rescuing Shaw. On the half hour Alonso was in, and onside, but couldn’t control the ball. Shame because they were done. And shame because that was the high point of the Spaniard’s afternoon. Janice (muppet alias) is still p*ssed he didn’t head it. She says even Torres would have scored. (She has had some wine)
A note on Morata today - I see him getting more sh*t, but I didn’t think he didn’t score because he was rubbish yesterday. And he was effective in the box when we were defending too, apart from one it looked to me simply as though the attempts he had were well dealt with. Though I’d still rather start with The Beard at the moment. We should have made it 2-0 on 40 minutes after a sublime high ball in from Jorginho to William, but alas, he couldn’t quite get on the end of it. Inexplicably, United were still playing like it was 0-0. They were actually woeful, and CP couldn’t even be a*sed to get out his seat. Matic terrible, Shaw and Lukaku look dumpy to me in particular. And where was the guy that’s getting 350k a week? Ah, on the bench. This was the most pathetic I’d ever seen United in my lifetime. De Gea was shaking his head like he’d rather be anywhere else the whole half. More cards than they’d had attempts on goal and it was so easy to play the ball around it was ridiculous. So what could possibly go wrong after half time? Right?
It looked like nothing initially. On 46 minutes a run from Morata was well blocked. They tried to break twice but gave the all away stupidly.’ Did he kick them up the a*se? It didn’t look like it. Is it that he, or they, or both just don’t have it to give - was he wholly reliant on us making a mistake? And obviously just as I typed this that’s exactly what we did. Because it’s us. Luiz has been excellent this season, and was partly excellent again yesterday, but he gifted them both goals. Alonso was lying prone in the six yard box when it happened - and I’m not sure I’m ok with that. No it wasn’t a head injury but he’s in the way, he’s playing them onside and I can’t remember another instant when a referee has let play go on in a situation like that. This might be because I am jet lagged and hungover at the same time.
Bring on The Beard please, because after that we completely lost our composure. It was all the more frustrating because they didn’t suddenly outplay us - they improved yes, but we basically took half an hour off. Much to the rage of Sarri who was repeatedly punching his chair. I just didn’t see us not getting something out of this game, butt Eden had gone off the boil, as he is apt to do the more he gets savagely kicked; on the whole we were scrappy, indecisive and disorganised. We’d gone from a slick footballing machine toying with the opposition to a collection of lemmings following each other off the edge of a f*cking cliff.
Ashley Young, who should have been sent off by now, as always, had already begun time wasting. If you want to amuse yourself today have a look online for the video of a bird sh*tting in his mouth. It always cheers me up.
The Beard. Now please.
On 65 Luiz almost had the equaliser, but our dominance of the game was gone. Mata could, probably should have seen red for a disgusting tackle on Dave on 66, but he’s such an ordnarily nice chap he was given a pass on that one. Martial desperately tried to win a penalty. And failed. The eight and ninth rolls were probably unnecessary. And he only stopped then because he was about to clatter the ad boards.
Hurrah, Barkley coming on on 68 to offer something different, but it was getting desperate. What the f*ck? Luiz and Jorginho having a complete throw down after the second United goal. As well they might. Shocking. Pedro Pony was introduced Kante forced a save from De Gea with a long range shot, but you know it’s time for Morata to go bye-bye when he tries to tackle and falls on his arse. Refwatch: Mike Dean made a few decisions that made me mutter offensive, Dobby the House Elf insults at him, but ultimately he did not alter the result. We only had our own stupidity to blame for not beating a team that was at best competent but for half of the match a complete shower of sh*t.
How were we not winning this. Sarri was still beating up the dugout. Our lot were all standing with their hands on their hips. Barkley at least had a go from range on 76 but United we’re employing the dark arts now. Chequebook Pulis at his finest. Remember that last fifteen mins against Milan at the Bridge? Where the ball was in play for two of them? We had achingly slow substitutes, Young tying his shoelaces at every given opportunity, people just sitting down on the pitch and pretending to be injured (yes Rashford, I’m looking at you - although until that point I hadn’t noticed that you were on the pitch) Walking three laps of the pitch before going off after treatment. We got one corner played, and then someone else sat down. God give me strength. Even when we did get it we couldn’t do anything with it. Just when you thought Alonso couldn’t play any worse he was air kicking it in the box.
Finally, The Beard made an appearance with a quarter of an hour to go. Too late, should have been ten minutes earlier at least. Kepa nearly did a Thibaut by flailing about on the edge of the area but managed to clear it. For some stupid reason, that apparently had nothing to do with Sarri, we had resorted to punting it long and hoping that something would happen. We had basically fallen apart and they couldn’t believe their luck. Yes Rob, luck. Tyler (sitcom alias) and I wanted a minimum of six minutes added. Two goals, six subs and two minutes of Rashford being a dickhead. That didn’t even allow for Young and his shoelaces, so we were being restrained. And lo and behold, we got them! Our very own Fergie time, and it came back to bite them in the a*se. Ha. Suckers.
So: If Sarri had gone around with a BB gun and potted them all in the knee caps at half time they could not have been any worse as a collective. In Alonso’s case I’m pretty sure he did pop him in both legs. Tragically a f*cking draw was about all we deserved. They paid for cheating with Barkley’s last minute goal and were lucky to be in it at all after the dire performance in the first half. Everyone out there at some stage looked more jetlagged than me. Of them, none of them would have got in under Ferguson save for De Gea. He may have got more out of Pogba but doubtful whether it would cancel out the fact that he’s got the IQ of one of Sir Alex’s old socks. Marco Ianni becomes a cult hero. Chequebook sensible enough to keep his trap shut on mouthy assistants after fifteen years odd of Rui Faria acting as Luca Brasi to his Corleone. They were the better side today if you listen to the Godfather (of lunacy) CP really needed a win today, but the fact that they were terrible and came from behind for a point will appease their people. It appears the rabid old dog might have some life in him after all, but at least a scouser went and kicked him at the end. Disappointment led to the drinking of much gin. Sometimes in shot form, mixed with vodka. Urgh.