Leicester City 1 Chelsea 2 (Finally)
FA Cup Quarter Final
Sunday 18th March 2018 16:30
In the News: UEFA are morons. This is arguably not news. They've charged Besiktas with insufficient organisation because a ginger cat ran on the pitch during the Bayern game. My kitten Bertie gets everywhere. He defies physics, so how do UEFA propose that Besiktas entirely cat proof their stadium? A 12ft concrete wall with electric barbed wire? Presumably they should have foreseen this invasion and taken these steps and this is why they have been fined? Or they should have at the very least employed a cat catcher to prowl the premises with a pack of f*cking dreamies? Lofty sanctions indeed must be in store then for Farcalona, the biggest frauds in football, for arming their stewards with batons, letting them beat people with said batons, charging crowds, knocking down and trampling women and children, setting dogs on female fans, and building a death trap of a bridge to get supporters in and out of the ground. To name a few of their transgressions from Wednesday night before you even take into account that half their team are scumbags. More than a football club my a*se. "Worse than anything I ever saw at PSG" is the verdict of eyewitnesses that I trust who were in the middle of this unacceptable carnage this week.
I've got to go back to Chequebook Pulis. I live for press conferences when he's like this. Twelve minutes of madness. Described by one of the Red Swarm as: "Self-pitying claptrap that exposed his delusions in all their towering majesty." Fair. I was just going to go with "Tosser." Since then he's declared that Matic is suddenly God, because in his crazy world he's got to big up one of his big money signings. The psychology of his mind games is so transparent it's actually sad. Pogba is sh*t, and Sanchez, before yesterday, had already given the ball away about 500 times since he signed for them, more than 30 of them against Newport County. So not even CP is mad enough to give those two bellends and their atrocious hair dos any credit. Instead he's invented a run of form in his head for Nemanja. "See, guys, I'm not a transfer market failure." As you were, you lunatic. Also, he's given up on personal grooming which is always a sure sign that Chequebook Pulis is on one of his downward spirals. He's starting to resemble Doc Brown, and heaven knows he looked pretty bonkers when he was fleeing around the Twin Pines Mall car park in a boiler suit trying to escape Libyans who wanted their plutonium back.
Sticking with nonsense coming out of managers. Conte takes another dig about the transfer window. Get over yourself already. We like you. The players like you. Nobody wants you sacked. I just want you to act like the top end manager you're supposed to be. I am sick to the back teeth now of the constant negativity. Didn't get the players he wanted, doesn't rate the FA Cup, doesn't know if we can finish top four. No amount of moaning is going to reverse the transfer window. We all know you weren't happy with it. We're not stupid, we can see you've got a point. But. It is the job of the man in charge of the dugout to get his players going. Even if you don't believe it yourself you've got to tout positivity, not pave the way for non-culpability every week in the event of a defeat. If you don't act like you're convinced none of them will be. I'm afraid after he said that he'd effectively taken 1-0 at City instead of trying to get back into it and losing by more because he didn't want the players to get upset, he's got some way to go before he gets back into my good books. Blue Squirrel ran into him before the Palace game and he looked like he'd slept under a bridge.
And Mark Hughes has promised to get to the bottom of what the problem is with all of Southampton's players. I'm more interested in getting to the bottom of how that jackass has managed to get another job in football when is clearly a terrible manager.
The Others: United are through, not very convincingly, as are Spu*rs who have played basically nobody and Southampton have put Wigan out. Jesus wept, they're calling it a statement of intent from Hughes. It's not like they've just sunk Real Madrid. Just our game then to settle semi-final line up.
Them: I was largely too cold to care. Wes Morgan, God help our forwards if they couldn't outrun that donkey. That diving rat Vardy and a few others. I could see a peroxide abomination on the pitch so Mahrez must have been out there.
Us: Very few days off. Good. If I've got to stand out in this cold so should everybody else. Bakayoko is back. Took adequate precautions against inevitable nappy sh*t tsunami the second he misplaced a pass.
They still insist on showing the highlights of every match in the title winning season while plagiarising the theme music from the Da Vinci Code. It's getting tedious now. Fifteen years on.
A sea of blue and white bin-liners tied to flag poles before kick-off in the home end, large away showing for the cup tie that had both teams poised as little as 90 minutes away from Wembley. Typically intricate diamond and triangle pattern on the pitch that they love obsessing over at the King Power. If you look really closely it's a map for the thick likes of Vardy to show him the way to the goal.
I don't recall us touching the ball in the first minute. But Morata hadn't fallen over either. I applaud Eden, Dave, Christensen and Alonso for not wearing gloves. Cesc too when he came on. Real men. For that flurry of possession though, all Leicester got was one sh*t shot off before we started to participate.
A great ball from Alonso set Eden off on our first run, and by the end of a pacy first ten minutes we'd had the better of it, but not fashioned any real chances. A lucky deflection almost cost us at the back, but it was well blocked by Christensen and from the subsequent corner the Leicester header was over.
You should know that I can't fit all of Craig Pawson's refereeing transgressions into a couple of lines, so I'm just going to have to keep referring back to the Frank Spencer of the referring world. From now on, "doing a Pawson" is where a referee stands dumbly in the middle of the pitch not knowing what is going on before quite obviously guessing which way to call a decision. And gets it wrong. He is especially bad at masking this, and he started by giving random corners to the home side when they'd knocked the ball out themselves. Not satisfied with this level of ineptitude, he awarded them a free kick for accidentally getting sat on when the Leicester player was already on the floor nowhere near the ball. And by watching three players foul Moses at once and waving play on. I should add that his f*ckwittery didn't change the result today, but I'd be remiss if I didn't take the chronic p*ss out of him for stealing a living for my own enjoyment.
Morata, who was much better today made a promising run into the box but it was successfully blocked. Probably by Wes Morgan's hapless fat a*se. The home side managed a long range shot that looked half threatening but it was saved by Big Willy. There wasn't exactly a whole lot going on the way if goal scoring opportunities, but my feet were going numb, and I was suppressing the urge to throttle anti-Morata nappy sh*tters nearby by counting down the 17 minutes until I could eat my Cadbury's Picnic. As much of the play was hashed out in the middle of the field, we had probably too long a conversation about how Zappacosta looks like a cross between Dick Dastardly and the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Don't get me wrong, this was not a boring game. But alas I am a millennial with a crippled attention span. It was competitive, though not exciting at this stage and there was lots to be positive about. Christensen had played really well, As had Kante, who basically ran around doing a share of everyone else's work as well as his own as usual. And here's a stat for you: Morata fell over I think six times, four were definitely fouls, one more might have been. The fact that only two were given is down to Craig Pawson being a bellend. This is a ratio I can live with. We genuinely looked like a football team attempting to create something, and not, as the case was at City, like eleven baffled blokes who only met each other five minutes before kick off. So although it was still goalless as we approached half time, this was not depressing. Just colder than watching Leo DiCaprio freezing in the water while Kate Winslet hogged the whole bit of driftwood to herself.
We survived Big Willy's daily brain fart on 36 minutes. It was a doozie, him bombing out towards the touch line and trusting Bakayoko to get it clear while he ran back to his goal. I'm not digging him out today. Just like Morata reminds us all of Drogba early on, Bakayoko is to me what Ramires was in his first season. Some players take longer than others. He's a good player. According to Blue Squirrel Conte battled strong opposition at the club to get him during the process of sealing the deal last summer. Write this term off, get him through a proper preseason, uninjured, and trust that he will get better as Rami did. God knows he came good in the end, and he was excruciating to watch at first. If not then we can make him Roman's official food taster and I'll say no more about it.
Anyway, on the pitch it looked like being level at the break until a perfect pass from Little Willy found Morata, who slotted it past Mr Potato Head (Schmeichel) There was a split second when the Spaniard was running on goal and we were behind and directly in line with him and I thought he was going to smack it over the bar, but he placed it like the pro we know he is, but haven't seen for a while. We were in front at half time. He'd not been amazing, but today's overall display and a goal was a significant step back in the right direction.
Bakayoko had picked up a booking in the first half, because Pawson is an inconsistent f*ckwit, and he was replaced be Cesc before play restarted. Straight away Willian managed to wriggle forward and pass the ball across the box, but nobody was there to get on the end of it. Shame. Morata followed this up with another strong run, but we failed to double our lead.
This is why Craig Pawson sucks as an official. Willian hacked down. Doesn't give foul. Looks like he considered it at length. Not a head injury. Stops play anyway. It either is a foul, or it's not and you play on. You don't faff around in between the two decisions because you feel bad. This is why he's a complete disaster in charge of VAR and should never be allowed such technology again. He's confused enough with the job he's got now, never mind adding to it. Frankly I'd be amazed if it transpires that he laces his own boots up.
Leicester were by no means out of it, and the tie wasn't over yet. The game got feisty quickly, which is what happens when you've got a lunatic in charge. Leicester were bombing forward in search of an equaliser. A relatively comfortable save from Big Willy on 55 minutes and then we almost hit the jackpot twice in one hit, Morata narrowly missed smashing it in and getting Mr Potato Head, nasty sh*t that is, in the chops at the same time. Leicester made their first change just after the hour mark, and it paid off, just about, on 76 minutes. Three times the ball was blocked, and saved once, and still Big Willy nearly kept it out. It would be that little cheating rat Vardy there to steal a goal. This is entirely Gary's fault. Not Cahill. Gary in front of us. Fifteen seconds before it happened he said: "You just know they're going to get an equaliser and then we'll have to stand here in this freezing cold for another half an hour." Damn you Gary. Damn you. We had the ball hit the woodwork five minutes later, thanks to Morata again, but he was judged offside by Dobby the House Elf, who seems to been moonlighting as a bad official who has about as much grip on the offside rule generally as my mum.
We now had a proper cup tie, open play with both sides looking for a winner for the last ten minutes. Pawson almost managed to orchestrate a punch up. He also did nothing when Maguire attempt to sever one of our players' legs, then redeemed himself when he bizarrely plucked some common sense from the ether to bring a free kick back, and then he booked Moses for a minor transgression. Sigh. Morata nearly saved us from extra time, but Mr Potato Head saved it and after a stellar amount of time-wasting a paltry three minutes were added on before we were forced into extra time.
Half an hour more in -7. No more chocolate for sustenance.
Couldn't bend knees now. Did our best to get rid of nearby nappy sh*tters.
"Well that's it then, replay!" They said.
We all nodded non committal way and prayed for 30 minutes of football without Morata getting mugged off in our ears.
It nearly worked. And I apologise to the guy that took the flak when they figured it out and came back and we all abandoned him to his fate.
Little Willy soon made way for Pesto. (I'm too cold to battle autospell) Pretty much the whole first half of extra time consisted of trying to resume circulation in our legs and me trying to take notes with frozen fingers. Starting to get jealous of DiCaprio's body temperature at the end of the film now. Cahill for Christensen and pampers throughout the stand started filling. You knew that whatever happened, it was going to be Gary's fault.
Arsenalification was resumed (Passing ball around edge of box and not doing anything with it) until out of nowhere the smallest bloke on the pitch scored with a header.
They must have thought we were morons when Kante put another high ball in towards a player who only comes up to Morata's armpit. But Pesto out-foxed (get it?) Albrighton, who had survived what he made out to be brush with death when he ran the clock down earlier, Chilwell (I know, who?) and Mr Potato Head. Have that. Suckers.
We got Giroud, wearing f*cking leggings, for Morata to see the game out and we clung on despite some Keystone Cops defending (thanks Gary) and Leicester throwing the kitchen sink at us as extra time ran out. Ironic when they booed about the lack of injury time (didn't care previously when they were wasting it) and the referee (who was generally awful but somehow managed not to impact what was always the right result).
So: The cold weather has produced a massive spot on my forehead. I'm going to name it Jose, because like him it's full of sh*t. But my knees bend again. Gary & Co have missed their train. Puel reckons they deserved a different result. I reckon he's an idiot, and that he looks like a dodgy second hand car dealer. Leicester were by no means awful, they put up a good fight, and we never looked like running away with it, but the one goal they did score was luckily bundled over and other than that they looked pretty toothless. Vardy wasn't even ever really in a position to do his usual run and dive scam on the ref. He makes Alvaro look like a tower of strength when he leaves a leg dangly and flings himself giant chin-first to the ground.
A semi-final awaits us against Southampton. So you'd have to say a fair chance for some of our players to get to another final and atone for not turning up to the last one. Also, Sp*rs fans are moaning that the draw was a fix. Good. It makes me happy when they're unhappy. But nobody that has the Diving Little Sh*tbag on their team is allowed to make judgments re cheating about anything. Ever.
International Break Time! Which means I'd rather pluck out my eyelashes one by one than watch the football on offer. I'm going to fulfil my nine year old self's Free Willy inspired dream of going Orca watching. Later, peasants.
*Picture of Pesto getting the better of Mr Potato Head comes from Chelsea's Official Website
UEFAlona 3 (4) Chelsea 0 (1)
Champions League Round of 16
Wednesday 14th March 2018 19:45
In the News: Eden Hazard criticised for criticising Conte’s tactics after City. This includes not very subtle hints about the consequences from Conte himself. Everyone else had a go, and they didn’t have to fanny about up front alone, blindly waiting for a miracle to happen at City so I don’t see why Eden should be denied an opinion. Meanwhile our manager is apparently contemplating a move to Paris, to manage a club with limitless resources in one of the most non-competitive leagues on the continent. Would be a sadly easy way out for a manager who’d be selling himself way short.
If you weren’t convinced that Oscar was a gibbering lunatic before he emigrated to China, here’s proof. It seems that two million odd a year in the real world of football just didn’t cut it: “I don’t care if I go to the World Cup or no, I’m only criticised for coming to China. I personally think of my family and my future. I don’t want to get poor when I am old and live on memories that I played at the World Cup.” Dick. Could just be front though, you couldn’t blame him for not wanting any part of it after last time, when Germany did to him what The Mountain did to Oberyn Martel in the semi-final and he ended up sobbing like a baby with more snot and dribble coming out of his face than Harry f*cking Kane.
There must be want of real news for the Red Swarm to report if they are this obsessed by Carragher and Spitgate. You have to have been dragged up by wolves for that to go through your mind as a possible response to any kind of adversity. Then again the dad surely should have been watching the road with his kid in the car instead of screaming out of the window. What I found funniest was Gary Lineker attempting to mock the twat. If you’ve ever shat your pants in front of a worldwide audience you should probably just abstain from comment about such indiscretions. Not to mention the crisp adverts are pretty shameful too.
The Goons have broken Mertesacker, who says he’s finished in football and quitting. Bellerin leaving Arsenal this summer too apparently. Who cares, I know. Arsenal willing to accept £50 million. I’m glad to hear that Chelsea aren’t letting such nonsensical opportunities pass them by either. Apparently we’ve told Dortmund we’ll want just the £53m for Michy. I’m willing to accept £25 million for the empty hula hoop bag with a snotty tissue stuffed inside sitting next to me as I type this. Call my agent.
Is there anything more amusing than the sight of West Ham players wrestling their own fans to the ground? I think not. That minority of real scum that lurk in the Hammers’ wake will always make them one of the most repulsive clubs in the country. I recently found out that my mum’s cousin’s son is a West Ham fan. Not a match-goer, but still. I’ve never felt such shame. Apparently the security people at the Olympic Stadium, who had proved to be about as inspiring in that role as Steve Bruce fronting for WeightWatchers, won’t be sacked because they signed a 30 year deal. Brilliant management. And I’m sure the baying mob will be placated by all the pictures in today’s press of the team lounging about on the beach in Miami.
Granville and Fake Klopp have come up with an imaginative way for Bakayoko to earn his money while he isn’t fit to start. With this spate of dodgy Russian deaths they’d use him as an official food taster for Roman. Granville isn’t sure: “He’d probably f*ck that up. He’d end up slipping and accidentally spitting it into Roman’s mouth or forgetting which plate was his.” Oh and there’s some saga about whether England will go to the World Cup. Which is about as boring as watching England at the World Cup.
The Others: Sp*rs did a Sp*rs and gave us all a good laugh from a commanding position against Juve last week, making them the first English club to exit the Champions League this season. The opposition even came out and said they’d been convinced that this would be the case. Which made it even more hilarious.
Anthony Martial is on crack. I can say this with authority because he has claimed that Pogba is the best midfielder in the world and that he will win the Ballon d’Or in the next five years. B*llocks. I do, however, hear that after his performance last night Sevilla have put him on the list for a medal should they win the Champions League after what he contributed to their effort at Old Trafford. Speaking of money wasted by United - that bloke that manages them insists Sanchez is worth the £600k a week “he just came at the worst moment of the season” For that money, he should have arrived riding on the back of an enchanted unicorn and farting rainbows. They were as pathetic as we were at City, and Chequebook Pulis continued his descent into rambling imbecile that appeared to have stalled for a while by trying to play down their exit from Europe by reminding the fans they had been knocked out before. By him. That will go down well.
While nobody was expecting us to win tonight, if it was to happen it wouldn’t have been from being in a position nailed on to make the quarter finals and it wouldn’t have been by jobbers that everyone expected us to tank. This made me feel slightly better. So how was it going to go down? Had we faced City or the Scouse's’ opposition I believe we would have gone through, but thems the breaks in this competition. And instead we’d ended up facing a team that gets every possible advantage handed to them by the people running it and we’d squandered a good shout of going into this second leg in front.
Them: A veritable parade of c*ntery and cheating sh*thousery: the tax-dodging ferret, Biscuits, Donkey Chops. I wasn’t sure my blood pressure would survive watching the latter two, especially when you chuck Jordi f*cking Alba and his random falling on the floor clutching his little rat-face into the mix too.
Us: A striker. Verily we were spoilt this evening. Whilst the false nine might have worked in the home leg when we never really looked like going behind, Farca were going to go all out to win tonight, and would likely score, and as we proved at City, when we go behind with this formation, we are about as wet as a fourteen year-old girl schoolgirl who has had a run in with Jamie Carragher. If Conte had a more defensive option he thought was more viable at this level I believe he would have used it instead of Fabregas, but the fact is they all needed to be excellent and they all needed to be incredibly focused. It was one single lapse in concentration that cost us a lead at the end of the first leg. And we could not afford to do the same again:
Them booing the Champions League anthem was novel. Considering UEFA are their best friends. They immediately began knobbing about in their own half. 6000 passes in the first two minutes - none of which were aimed at trying to penetrate our defence. Yawn. 48 seconds in and Suarez to start backing into people. Tosser. Then after two minutes they'd scored. Joy. First time they'd been in the box. Shabby error from Courtois on goal coming out that far, but somewhat lucky on the TDF's part.
Advantage of not going to Spain - not being ripped off to sit in the worst seats in football. Disadvantage - having to listen to the tax-dodging ferret w*nkfest on the TV coverage.
Saving ourselves for Leicester, said Granville
We needed to be even more perfect now. Our first real attempt came in the shape of a free kick from Willy three minutes later that started oddly creeping towards goal. Nothing doing though, nor from the subsequent corner. Their goal didn't really change anything. Still in a position where if we scored one goal we go through. She said hopefully. We didn't panic and soon started picking up possession. With confidence too. 8 minutes and Hazard and Willian were starting to open them up. And they'd given the all away a fair few times already. Eden had started well, once again forcing the ball back from Farca and Willian managed to trouble the home keeper just a little with a long range shot on the ground. Possession was nearly level at this stage, which nobody was expecting.
Then back into another boring spell of tippy tappy middle of the pitch sh*t we went. Until: lucky f*cking c*nts. Azpilicueta pretty much managed to diddle the TDF but the ball went back bouncing back onto his foot and they were away. Silly concession from Fabregas, exactly the kind of mistake we all knew we couldn't make on a night like this.
Two silly errors, resulting in two shots, and two goals from them. Moses had space, their long passing wasn't great, Hazard and Willian looked fired up, but all our work had been for nothing. This is exactly what is has been largely missing from our game this season. The ability to be clinical, it was exactly what cost us going into this game with a lead in the tie too. We needed one before half time otherwise it looked bleak. Bertie the Kitten looked as depressed as I did. Advantage of not going - unlimited supply of Christmas present gin at home.
Disadvantage - distractions. Started to think about doing some George V typing, played with cat. Cat had resorted to licking his own privates every time they mention the tax-dodging ferret. I started looking longingly at the Texas road trip guide book on the shelf.
33 minutes and Mungo Pique had almost scored. That would have been really sticking the knife in. Chances of us scoring before half time looked slim to none with ten minutes left till the break. But obviously as soon as I typed that: fabulous run by Willy, Alonso shot saved, Giroud follow up blocked. Then Cesc gets away with being offside but Kante takes the shot from him. Come on Chelsea.
The diving had commenced, the whining from the crowd trying to get people booked l. So far the Slovenian referee was restraining himself from being a bellend. It hadn't turned into a rout, but it was slowly turning into a cringeworthy display of b*stardry in terms of the home team throwing themselves on the floor every time someone brushed up against them. Then having the cheek to moan when we got given anything. Entitled twats. 44 minutes and Giroud earned a dangerous free kick in the edge of the box. A little bit it magic now would have set up and it looked like it might have been on the way in. Up it went, down it came, keeper beaten but it hit the post. B*llocks.
I didn't feel as bad as I did when we were down in 2012, and I wasn't giving up on us yet. In 135 minutes of this tie now, they have by no means played us off the park. After 3/4 of it we were just about still in it. Maybe. Not a lot for Conte to do at half time except gee them up. We've not been bad by any means, but this was going to take a big turnaround to score two and not concede again.
As you were at kick off in the second half. It was a bright start from us and a pretty lacklustre one from them, to the extent that Willy found himself unmarked on the edge of the box. Within two minutes though Courtois had made another daft error. We escaped, and back up the other end Alonso was in, surely he had to get a shot off, but f*cking Dembele came out and got there first. If we could get an early goal in this half, I believed they'd be shaken, but it was a sadly familiar sight. Lots to be pleased with, no sting in the tail. We were the better side, but it counted for nothing yet. Please don't let this be another instance of us squandering our chances and fading away. An overhead kick from Alonso when he didn't quite connect with the ball properly. Nice little moment when Christensen dumped Suarez on his cheating a*se. Great run from Willy, but why he ignored Alonso streaking down the left and tried to thread an impossible ball through to Giroud I couldn't tell you. We just couldn't seem to finish off an attack. Impotent desperation. This must be what Henry VIII must have felt like every time one of his wives peed on a stick.
Biscuits was limping. What a shame. Maybe he tripped over his own front teeth. Farca were well and truly lurking in their own half now. We were playing better than we had in the first leg, far less deep, but still hadn't made it count when the tax-dodging, rancid little f*cking ferret stuck another one in. Another through the legs for Courtois. It'd be harsh to hold one person responsible for the result, and it wouldn't have made any difference had we managed to finish things off at the other end, but he really did have a sh*tter tonight overall.
Morata was getting ready to come on, as was Zappacosta, but it was out of reach now. Giroud was punching the subs bench, and he was right to. Massively frustrating. We didn't deserve the scoreline but what does that matter when they have capitalised on the few mistakes we have made. Over two legs that had been the difference, not the m assive Gulf in class we had been fearing. I had a bag of kettle chips in the cupboard and I was considering shoving them all in my face at once.
Damage was done. The wind went from our sails, but we were going to have to stop them passing the ball round in circles for the last half an hour if we wanted to get at least a goal tonight. Rudiger hit the woodwork with a powerful header, but it was all to no avail. Three like for like subs was never going to inspire a comeback.
So: The result we expected, but we achieved getting knocked out with far less of a bitch-slapping than a lot of people anticipated. We showed up, so there’s that. Same outcome though. It was always going to be a tall order. The chips didn’t fall our way, and we were made to pay for errors. We looked young and naive, snapping at their heels but not quite getting it right, and they looked like cunning, wily b*stards who knew how to shake out the result.
A Look Back at Palace: So now obviously it’s all about making sure we make it back to Europe’s top table next season. It was an amusing weekend. “Kenedy stars…” This is as far as I got through this headline before I fell down in shock. “Kane crocked…” This time I fell down laughing. I was about to get up, but I stayed down there in hysterics when I heard that the Goons were blaming Mother’s Day for all of the empty seats at the Emirates on Sunday. United did beat the Red Scouse, which made me happy, not least because they whiny gits ran out of available fingers to count all the supposed injustices that they faced from the officials. Shame. And it meant it we won at home, we could begin to close the gap on 4th place.
Zappacosta and Cahill rotated in and after the shocker at City, the boss decided to start with Giroud up front. Hallelujah. Kante was also back after a worrying collapse kept him out of the disaster up north.
From the off we actually looked like a football team, which was a vast improvement on six days before. Giroud got his head on the ball in the box, thought it wasn’t at a height or a velocity for him to do anything with, after four minutes. It took us more than 80 to achieve that at the Etihad. Willian had a spring in his step again, and Hazard actually looked like Hazard. With a formation that didn’t hang him out to dry he had more impact in seven minutes than he had had all afternoon against Pip Squeakiola and his band of mercenaries. We’d even managed to force a save in the first ten minutes sort of. Dare I say we were had built a bit of momentum. After 22 minutes a long range shot from Willian comfortably cleared the bar, but two minutes later he decided to go it alone and slipped it past the keeper. Thank f*ck for that. Just after the half an hour mark some shambolic defending from Palace culminated in a tragic own goal for Kelly, and our lead had doubled. How sh*t must you be we're winning at home. The home crowd was singing “you’re going down with the Pikeys,” and in the meantime it was a little bit sexual watching Giroud challenge for fifty-fifty balls in the air. Because that it something we’ve been starved of of late either because there has been nobody up front or because it’s been dumped on poor Eden, who is fractionally taller than me. In truth we toyed with Palace for the rest of the half. They looked very poor, and we looked much better than last week, though not good enough to beat Farcalona away. Especially not in the second half, in which Palace did well to attend to some of the issues that they’d had before the break. One of our ex-players had the cheek to worry us just a tad at the end, but the game was blissfully uneventful in terms of some of the incompetence we have shown this season in squandering points. We are four off of the Champions League places, with a break now to take on Leicester away in the FA Cup, our last chance of winning a trophy this season. Easy. She says with a straight face.
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0
Sunday 4th March 2018 16:00
In the News: I had a list of the usual mockery to put here, but it dosen’t seem fitting to put it after this: Last night Davide Astori, Fiorentina’s captain, checked into the team hotel ready for today’s game. He didn’t wake up this morning. He was 31, and had a wife and two year old daughter, and if that doesn’t pale into insignificance all of the usual dross and filler that appears in the football press, nothing will.
The Others: More easy fixtures for the Red Scouse and for Sp*rs. But we'll always have Arsenal, who are there to remind us that no matter what happens, and ignoring the fact we can't beat them, we have never quite hit rock bottom.
Our Game: A false nine. Oh goody. And no Kante.
Have I got to do this, really?
I was resigned pretty much as soon as I saw the team. We would have had to be impeccable today. And I doubted whether this would be the case, because Drinkwater and Cesc together wouldn't have worked against Barcelona and I doubted it would work now. (Though I thought Drinkwater did well today, and not only because I have TDD tinted glasses) Therefore this was my plan of action:
1 Don't concede in the first twenty minutes.
2 Actually f*ck that. Try not to concede in the first half.
3 If still remotely in game on hour mark take revolutionary step of bringing on a striker.
4 Try to score/not to lose.
Please note that this essentially appeared to be Conte's game plan too. And he earns £8m a year. Except he waited until almost 80 minutes to evoke steps three and four.
So there I was. Lost in a sea of half and half scarves, being subjected to a ten minute long montage of bull about the greatness of "Citeh" that to cap it all, I think was narrated by Liam F*cking Gallagher, who should have had his vocal chords cut in about 1980 to spare us all from two decades of that whiny nasal twang of his. Not to mention his attitude. Then they were parading the league cup about like it was the Hope Diamond. There was even some mad bint in front of us that thought she was a Kardashian. As in massive fur coat and enormous sun glasses. In March. When it was getting dark. And raining. In sub zero temperatures. All of this was overseen by a steward who couldn't have looked less snappily turned out for work with his tramp beard and rats nest ponytail if he has spent last night sleeping in a dumpster. Oh and food and drink is banned from the stadium. As are cameras, phone chargers, e-fags and well, anything that might threaten to make your afternoon remotely comfortable or enjoyable. Welcome to Manchester.
The First Half:
24 seconds in and we'd had 100% possession. Then it started to go to sh*t and we barely touched the ball for more than half an hour. It was like watching them conduct a training exercise in keeping possession. After six minutes we retained the ball for four consecutive seconds. Eight minutes in and we almost made it out of our own half, but Willian was fouled and the referee ignored it.
BUT this is pretty much what you expect from Pip Squeakiola isn't it? And it's not as if they had our goal under siege. A weak effort by Silva was easily pounced on by Courtois, Sane ran past seven players but somehow managed to not get a shot off. Our team might have all been as much spectators as we were, but they were still in one piece and all those of us secretly dreading an Arsenal-like score of humiliation were starting to breathe a little easier.
Twenty minutes down and they hadn't had a shot on target. We had made half a run towards their goal to chants of "we're in your half" but poor, poor Eden. He was lonelier up front than Gary Lineker at a meeting of his own fan club. One of the best players in the world and it was a waste of time him being on the pitch. I could have stood up there and saved him the trouble of getting out of bed this morning.
Zinchenko was extremely fortunate to get away with a yellow card after a shocking, awful challenge on Moses, shortly before the referee was conned again by a dive and awarded City a free kick. A long ball found Sane unmarked on the back post. Thank god for Dave, eh? And for quick reactions from Courtois.
Impeccable we were not. In fact we were making this look more difficult than greasing Charlie Adam in butter and trying to push him up the side of a steep hill into the face of a force ten gale. Half an hour in we finally made a strong break - Willian is body checked. Nothing. City players falls over immediately afterwards. Free kick given. Sigh. Refwatch: Michael Oliver was nicer to them than he was to us but he's the least of my worries after watching that.
As the last ten minutes of the half approached, we'd come into it a bit more. In fact on 42 minutes we won our first corner. All of their possession had reaped no reward, in fact had not come particularly close to doing so. We were basically only still in the game because of some fantastic work at the back shutting them down from Dave, but none the less we had managed to keep them out, which was a good enough start for me. Provided that we found a way to make more progress into their half after the break: which would undoubtedly require the introduction of a target man, or target beard, up front.
At half time I ate a Cadbury's Picnic that I had smuggled into the ground in my bra. It tasted all the better because it was contraband. They had the cheek to send round a stat that claimed that Zinchenko managed 81 passes in the first half, which was the same as nine of our outfield players combined. A fine feat indeed when you consider that the little turd should have been sent off for trying to kill Victor Moses.
I am going to put proportionately the same amount of effort into the rest of the match as I believe Antonio Conte did today:
The Second Half:
So: Result we all expected, by a less depressing margin than you might have imagined. But it didn't make it any less tragic to watch. Antonio has defended his tactics. The only problem being, of course, that once we conceded his tactics became ever more irrelevant and he stood there and watched this happen largely with his hands in his pockets for more than half an hour before he did anything about it.
Let's get one thing straight. City were neat, tidy and disciplined and are in good form with some great talent. They are going to win the league because they are nigh on the most criminally expensive team ever put together. But they fashioned 900 million odd passes and had three quarters of the possession to create precisely three shots on target. Courtois was hardly troubled. The gulf in quality is not as large as we made it look today. I think that some players underperformed. Pesto was scrappy, Alonso's fine touch largely deserted him and Willian came crashing back down to earth like a fiery ball of space junk. These things happen. But there were other players out there today, like Hazard, like Fabregas, who were completely hamstrung by the sh*t instructions that they were forced to continue to adhere to when it was clear to the entire stadium that they were going to have no effect. They were basically asked to stand up against a brick wall and head butt it. We did not fashion a single shot on target. If we are going to play without a striker, the plan cannot be to continually hoof it up the field and slide balls through as if there is a six foot beautiful lump, bearded or not, waiting up there to jump/run onto it. Giroud was the first player to win a header in the box. After 81 minutes.
If there was ever a coherent plot, Conte lost it after we went behind. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather we'd gone 3-0 down and swinging than flap over the line to a 1-0 defeat like Shamu on dry land, with heatstroke, and a raging hangover. Shamu is dead. (Damn Seaworld) And yet we were roughly on a par with Shamu when it came to having the slightest comprehension as to what it was we were trying to achieve in the second half today. The lack of adaptability on display from us today was stunning, and for me the manager has to take a massive portion of the blame. (Not Morata, someone actually tried to pin it on him as we made our way out, after his 360 second cameo)
If Wenger hadn't lost 8-1 on aggregate this week in his three games and gone into a glorious, effluent meltdown, Conte would be getting more crap with both barrels from everyone in the world of football. I don't know about you, but "at least we're still not as bad as Arsenal" is not a benchmark I want to live by.
A sad seven days. We need points now, starting with Palace. And I want gin. I deserve it after that.
*Picture of dishevelled Conte comes from Chelsea's official site.
In Conjunction with the Chelsea Fancast
Join Alex Churchill author of “Over Land and Sea: Chelsea FC in the Great War.”
Alex has also worked on centenary books: Somme: 141 Days, 141 Lives and Passchendaele: 103 Days in Hell. Alex has appeared in numerous television documentaries about the war and has given talks, or is booked to speak for a number of organisations including: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, BBC History Magazine, the Chalke Valley History Festival and the Western Front Association.
Departing London with a stop en route to the coast on the afternoon/evening of Friday 24th May 2019 and returning on Monday 27th May 2019
*Two nights on the Somme and one night at Ypres
*An overview of the war 1914-1915
*A trip through the battlefields of 1916-1918 looking at the general progression of the war on the Somme, at Arras and at Ypres; stopping to look at sites specific to football and the war, and focusing on the inidivudal stories of Chelsea players and fans in each locality.
*Stops at key sites including the Thiepval Memorial and Tyne Cot Cemetery
*Time in Ypres to explore the town and witness the Last Post.
*Q & A Sessions (inevitably in a bar)
*There will also be scope to include any relevant stops for family members or points of interest of those on the tour if they can be worked into the itinerary.
To register your initial interest and join the mailing list please submit the following details:
Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1
Sunday 25th February 2018 14:05
In the News: My blood pressure had just about returned to normal levels by the weekend after watching replays of Suarez tripping himself up and screaming for a penalty. We need retrospective bans for the likes of him and Sp*rs's diving little sh*tbag to eradicate this nonsense out of their tiny brains. Otherwise it will never stop. All hail Leo DiCaprio for tweeting that he was going to break down his Oscar into 11 pieces and dish it out the the Uefalona players on Tuesday. FIFA should be sh*tting their pants after a riot officer was killed after the Spartak Moscow game. This World Cup is going to be a barrel of laughs. Speaking of unacceptable behaviour in football, Evra was subjected to calls of “lying b*stard” by the Red Scouse. Because of course Suarez has turned out to be completely misunderstood, hasn’t he? Whoever is in charge of quality control at the Daily Fail needs to be sacked. This week there was a webpage dedicated to a man who photographed a Gregg’s steak bake and claimed it looked like Henry VIII’s shoe in the standard Holbein portrait. Is that them ticking off culture? And there was a massive banner headline about some bloke called Gareth Ball scoring for Real Madrid. Jesus wept. And I’m officially bored of the saga of Pip Squeakiola and his yellow ribbon. Couldn’t give a f*ck. Rather see him punished for awful behaviour at Wigan.
The Others: Leave it to the Goons, as always, to make us feel better about ourselves. Booed off after losing to Ostersunds, Roy Keane has declared that Wilshere is the most overrated player on the planet. Um, no. He’d have to be rated in the first place for that to happen. And that’s only the case with a few deluded Goons who have been put through the wringer so much by Whinger that they don’t even know what day it is anymore. Then came the cup final. I can’t believe they deprived us so willingly of a shot at the trophy only to put in such a pathetic display at Wembley. Mini Goons wept in the crowd. Piers Morgan went into a full on, beautiful nappy sh*tting meltdown online. So they get to be the-club-that’s-in-crisis this week. Yay.
Spurs robbed of a penalty after ten minutes - good start. Then another on 30 minutes when Kane was judged to be offside. The referee giveth, and then he taketh away. Joyous. Even more joyous - they couldn’t hit a barn door in the second half. The Diving little shitbag in diving shock as he attempts to win a penalty. Doesn't work so he audaciously tries it again two minutes later after he’d already kicked the ball out of play. Lucky f*ckers won it by a single goal in the end. Keeper had saved far worse than that.
United had won just one of the previous 14 meetings of us. But which Chelsea was this going to be? I never know anymore. More of Tuesday night please.
Them: Still an utterly unterrifying United line up compared to yesteryear - the fact that we were willing to sell them three players should tell you everything. I question the wisdom of putting all your eggs in a diving Chilean basket. Ashley Young? How old is he now? I'd have it was more likely you'd spot a dodo wearing a United shirt these days than that diving prick.
Us: The Farca result and the presence of a striker quelled the nappy sh*tting - but should we really have chosen today to put Morata back in the starting lineup?
First there was a handshake. All of the Red Swarm sitting there, pencils poised, with a boner about a potential snub/bitchfight went limp. Quick goal please, obliterate his game plan. And Lord knows we tried. Amidst rampant singing of Antonio’s name, we started with intent and notched up 85% possession in the first five minutes. After just three minutes a volley by Alonso was smacked into the crossbar by Morata, then hit just over by Hazard on the follow up. At the end of the first ten minutes we'd almost scored twice and they hadn't fashioned a shot. And Pogba had shown the limit of his worth by throwing himself on the floor. Moses was dancing around him at times like he was nailed to the floor. Moses, who we once loaned to West Ham. Past Pogba. Who cost how much? The overrated fool spends more on his hair every week than the spend on gin in a year. Hazard took time out to mock him, which makes me feel better about not having got close enough to do it myself yet.
Stat-wise we were running riot, but had fashioned nothing else dangerous as of yet. Conte and CP were even having a laugh and a joke on the touchline. Flaccid journos everywhere. We carried on pressing. Moses made a good run but got tangled up in the box. On 25 minutes they finally sparked into life a bit. Then it was like someone had suddenly let a crowd in when Sanchez hit an effort about as powerful as my kitten having a fart that comprised their first shot of the game on 27. Little Willy had been potent thus far. If you're United, you deserve to be lined up and pimp slapped by Chequebook Pulis for our goal. It began with Pogba lying on the floor with one boot on moaning. Willian breaks and feeds it to Eden. Willy is then allowed to keep going the length of the pitch completely unnoticed by the entire United team. Once within range of goal he had the sense not to pass to Morata and to smash it himself. 0-1.
I curse every one of you that started singing “Jose, what’s the score?” Because then we shot ourselves in the foot, as it turned out, because straight afterwards five of them let Hazard run across the face of goal with nobody approaching him. We didn’t score. Seconds later a curling shot from Alonso bent wide. On 37 Matic was left looking like a chump. Break on. Morata loses ball. Recurring theme. So at that point we could have been comfortably ahead all things considered.
Then on 38 Lukaku finally scored a goal against some actual opposition. Scrappy defending, not enough closing down but they had done nothing to warrant being on terms in this game. We used to have a fat kid at school who moved like a sleep deprived hippo and goal hung too. Pretty sure he's not earning a seven figure salary now.
Still we had chances as we approached half time. Hazard made a great run into the box. He was surrounded and all he could do was drop it back for Alonso who hit it wide. I was already wound up by Morata. He began the game showing no signs of this ambiguous back injury, but by getting pushed around a fair bit. This was forgivable, but then he went on to spend much of the opening 45 sitting on the floor moaning about being fouled, and I think it was injury time before I actually concurred with him on one. For me today having Morata up front was no better than us playing with a false nine. He’s coming back from injury but he really needs to buck his ideas up. Man. The. F*ck. Up. And look for some decent form to end the season now. Injuries I can take, a dip in form even, it happens to everyone, but it's so frustrating to see someone of his ability pussying out time after time instead of taking the game on. This might make me sound like a b*tch, and it may just be my general bad mood, but I don't have it in to me to put blind faith in another striker with emotional baggage who can’t get his act together. I stuck blindly behind Torres from the first to the last, that was fine, but now I’m not interested in anyone who can’t come in and just do their job and earn the astronomical salary they have been given. Oh but if we would send every player to “Azpilicueta School” and hypnotise/electric shock everyone into behaving exactly like him.
So instead of being comfortable and forcing them to change everything, we were back at square one. Willian burst forth almost straightaway after the break, but the forward momentum petered out with Morata. I make no further comment. Hazard also made a valiant effort to get us in on goal, but it was a pretty level start to the second half, play ebbing back and forth. We’d had more than double their attempts on goal but since Willian put us ahead none of them had really troubled De Gea much. The sun was in his eyes though, which left me hoping that fate/mother nature would teach him a lesson for that little pony tail. As CP made his first change just after the hour mark, the sum total of their attempts for the last ten minutes had been a lame shot dragged way wide from Sanchez, who was basically anonymous for 90% of the play.
The game was opening up. I wanted Giroud. Perhaps a straight change up top, or Cesc on for Drinkwater? You'd be loathed to take Willian or Hazard when they look capable of stinging them on the break. And yet off went Eden. I cannot comprehend this unless there was something Conte knew about his ability to continue that we didn’t.
F*cking Lingard. Another lapse at the back, more punishment. It’s this weeks theme. And we haven't really looked like scoring at all really since half time. Willian did have a fair go at levelling it straight away but it would have entailed beating the ponytail on his near post which was a little too much to ask. We couldn’t even capitalise on a stupid mistake by Lindelhof. Giroud. Amen. In exchange for Moses who had faded away completely in the second half. Such a difference in attitude between Olivier and Alvaro. And in body language. So now we had two up front and plenty of time left to try and salvage a point out of a game that we had looked thoroughly capable of winning at some stage. We also brought on Fabregas for Drinkwater - probably ten mins too late if you were going to try and win it. Not convinced by the timing of the manager’s subs or the removal of Hazard today.
Shit or bust then. And we did equalise, and Morata did step up. Which brings me to Refwatch: Atkinson missed a blatant foul on Hazard in our own half but his transgressions were insignificant and few and far between, and had no wider impact on the game. The others are so bad I’ve started to like him. He was let down by a clanger from his moron Lino for the big call. His only possibly defence might be that he was as startled as the rest of us that the Morata had made it onto the ball first, and without falling over.
United had given up playing football. Bailly on for a forward. Running the clock down, Matic pretending to have cramp, Pogba inexplicably running round staring at his own gloved hand like he's never seen it before. Frustrating.
So: Robbed. F*cking robbed. Though we are Chelsea so there's a fair dose of "we could have wrapped it up by half time if we would have taken our chances." Rooney sitting with a blanket on his legs. In front of his kid as well. Not that he was ever setting an example to begin with I suppose. I can't actually find that much to get really angry about. Other than recommending that they bring Stevie Wonder in to do a job share with the Lino. At least he could provide some acapella support for the halftime Birthday crap. A couple of weeks ago we were getting destroyed by Bournemouth. In the last few days it's only the odd unfortunate lapse in concentration that's cost us results against Diverlona and at the Theatre of Plastic Dreams. We're not lacking in the ability to win against our main rivals, just in a bit of luck, savvy and the ability to close a game out at the moment. Yesterday was apparently the first time we've gone ahead in a league game this season and not won. Out of 16? This game is not the one that is going to cost us the top four. It will be squandering points by not beating the likes of Bournemouth, Watford. We've now got a blissful whole week to prepare for City, which is a novelty. For me, we needed four points out of these two Manc fixtures, so we've got to go for a win. At the very least we need a better approach than the Goons, which was to turn up and roll over like a stoned golden retriever and wait for our bellies to be tickled.
*Dissapointed Thibaut photo comes from Chelsea's official site
Chelsea 1 UEFAlona 1
Last 16 UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 20th February 2018 19:45
Chelsea 3 West Brom 0: I've relied on the sage wisdom of Uncle Albert to update me on the two fixtures while I was away. For this one I was sitting in the lounge bar listening to a playlist of 90s Egyptian epicness, gleaning match facts from the club's official Twatter. I hate nappy sh*tting, but this was just as bad. State sponsored propaganda in which nobody in blue put a foot wrong. Suspect their coverage of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 would have read: "Thou has witnessed a few Ottomans outside the window. But we looked like holding them off for five minutes around lunchtime." Anyway, a nervous start and we finally put the previous week or so behind us. Albert put it down to the might of Eden Hazard and was pleasantly surprised by Zappacosta's input. He was also glad that Giroud's performance might put the wind up Morata and give us a bit of competition in the squad.
Chelsea 4 Hull City 0: We were up at 2:30 GMT to make the drive to Abu Simbel on this day from Aswan, so by ten o'clock odd at night when this kicked off I was basically a gibbering, Egyptian gin-soaked wreck. Thankfully, Willian set us off on right path after less than two minutes which meant my powers of concentration weren't taxed too much. Easy opposition, says Albert. Then he adds the old platitude about how you can only play what's put in front of you. He was massively impressed with Emerson and says he didn't play a bad ball all night. This, tho, he says was “The Willy Show” and that came through even through Chelsea Stasi channels on Twatter in Aswan. Giroud and Drinkwater also apparently impressive.
In the News: I got through ten days in Egypt, surprisingly, with only one row about Mohammed Salah. A guy in a fake Roma shirt started off trying to sell me ten book marks for 100 quid (Egyptian), followed on by telling us he had been a die hard Red Scouse fan for about six months and ended by chasing us round the stepped pyramid at Saqqara hollering at us in clipped English that Chelsea were Muslim hating racists. I said it had more to do with the fact that when he played for us he was young and sh*t but at that point we got bored and departed in the direction of gin. I also met a kid called Yussef on Kitchener Island in Aswan wearing a Farca shirt and insisting Chelsea were not going to get beaten tonight. I’m going back there to get lottery numbers off of him. Aside from that there are a lot of baffled Egyptians being bludgeoned with Jordan Henderson advertising for a bank on the motorways wondering what is wrong with his face.
Lots of stating the obvious by the Red Swarm so far this week. We'd have to be near our best, they take nothing for granted when it's us. I did an online poll that revealed opinion about the result to be thus before kick off:
Turn the f*ckers over: 55%
We're f*cked: 25%
Overbo says we shouldn't remember him for that one night in 2009. Well, when the next biggest day of your career was a Norwegian league game with 11,000 fans and you quit the day after that car crash in 2009 you've not got a lot else to scream about.
The Others: "FA won't take cup semi final away from Wembley if R***enham make last four despite concern from other clubs over home advantage." They'll have to beat Rochdale first.
I do love it when Pip Squeakiola comes crashing back down to earth and lands on his shiny bald head. I like Wigan. When you go to visit they are very friendly place, kind of old fashioned (I went in 2010ish with an iPhone and the Steward thought I was a witch) They even give you your own bar to drink in under the stand and coverage of whatever is on before kick off. It has a real social club feel. They have to fight for attention against all the egg chasing nonsense yet there are a good few thousand of them there every week no matter how bad it gets. That and they have got this awesome Amazonian woman fan with a mad birds nest of ginger hair that looks like a tall version of Gwildor from Masters of the Universe who is always up for some banter. Delph's tackle was moronic. As for pulling out a yellow and then changing it for a red. He hadn't shown the yellow and it's his prerogative. Perhaps the Lino added his two pence worth in his ear, or perhaps Delph said something that required further punishment. I guess because like all other referees, Anthony Taylor is a mute we'll just have to guess.
You get a real sense of what a f*cking "gentleman" Guardiola is when he gets turned over. Tunnel scrapping, launching himself like a maddened Dervish screaming abuse at the referee in the tunnel (Even I've managed to refrain from doing that to Anthony Taylor) and comments like "Congratulations to Wigan, they had one shot on target." Bellend. Let me explain it for you: First of all they had two shots on target. One of them went in the back of the net. Your spoiled brats had five and missed them all. So you lost. Howard (sitcom alias) summed it up: "Petulant little c*nt who cant win anything without a pre-assembled world class squad or half a billion quid."
I said I'd be happy if we got to twenty minutes without conceding. Howard's final thought re the game: "If its 0-7 but Messi doesn't score I'm taking it as a win"
Us: Cahill left out of the back three, much to the joy of the extreme fecal faction. Though Blue Hulk almost turned a table for eight that weighs half a ton over in The Elk when he saw that we were playing a false nine. Lots of moaning, with shoulder shrugs in the pub. Looked like he wanted to catch them on the break to me, not sure it was going to work.
Them: It was mostly them in the opening seconds, which you'd expect; until Dave knocked it out from under the tax-dodging little ferret (Messi) and Willian was away. The first shot fell to Hazard who hit it high from range. Dare I say they'd given it away scrappily a few times already. 7 minutes gone and we'd slightly edged it. Moses had even won a header. The first corner went our way too. Rudi got on the end of it but he couldn't line it up properly. Great run by Hazard on 12 minutes but his cross couldn't find a blue in the crowded six yard box.
They had had most of the ball, but much of the play they'd had had been dicking around in the middle looking for a decent ball forward, until they headed it wide of the goal somewhat weakly on 15 minutes. Possession was continually edging up on their side but that is exactly what we expected and barely any of it was threatening. Surprisingly lacklustre Uefalona contingent in the shed too. Far less of their smug yapping than usual.
We had survived twenty minutes. Which for me is a completely unsubstantiated but oddly reassuring measure of not getting tanked. My one grumble so far was that with most of the team at my height, as soon as anyone launched the ball upwards we lost it, which was predictable. The odd ball was floating in to nobody in lieu of a striker too, which was annoying. But we weren't losing so I could live with it. It might just be because I hate their f*cking guts, but I don't remember them having come close at that point. 27 minutes and the diving began from the visitors. Umtiti lying on the floor holding his f*cking face. Still, we expected that as well. Willian survived one foul from Iniesta that wasn't given only to be brought down by Rakitic and his atrocious hair in a prime spot for an Alonso special. It was on target - I think the first of the game - but the keeper went the right way and it floated into his hands. But we carried on trying to get forward whenever we could nick possession. On 32 Hazard was away - the final effort fell to Willian after he found himself four on one and passed it and Little Willy cracked the post. Best effort yet at either end. A few minutes later we saw a near perfect ball from Cesc just miss the end of Eden's toe in the box too. Given the right pass, Eeyore Pique was there for the taking. Willian hit the post again before the ball came into Hazard on the volley, but his shot was over. That's it Chels. Grind these f*ckers down. We ended the half the better side. As per usual they don't like it up 'em, but we needed to remain disciplined at the back.
Talking points at half time.
1 We are more than in this.
2 Suarez has managed to go 45 minutes without trying to eat anyone.
They'd had 70% odd possession in the first half and that didn't look like changing after the break. The tax dodging ferret tried to run into the box straight away, but was mown down by Christensen. Then Iniesta got a lucky bounce twenty yards out, but he hit it like a dickhead and it went soaring over the bar. Our first break showed that they were still putting that much into attacking that if we could get away fast enough their half was wide open. On 49 we were pulled down in the box but the referee wasn't having it. He waited five seconds then gave them a free kick instead. And so beginneth sh*thousery from the officials. Refwatch: Apparently the same bloke that sent JT off at the Nou Camp in 2012. Typical fussy European ref, blows for everything, but not excessively in either direction in the first half. He began the second by giving fouls against us for nothing so he must have had a coded whatsapp message from UEFA at half time. That and a dick pic from Rakitic in order to give him license to carry on fouling us at will and getting away with it when he was already on a yellow. I'd say he got one from Biscuits too to atone for all the moaning he does without sanction but nobody is going to get off on a jpeg of a stump. It seemed to us that there was a whole lot of one sided bastardry emerging from the tit in the middle, but we are understandably paranoid about such sh*t when playing this lot. Thankfully no major decisions succumbed to his f*ckwittery.
Thibaut had had to palm one sideways on 53 but it was always a narrow effort and that had been as scary as it got. But we just couldn't quite get it right on the break. All we'd had had to show for the second half was a tame effort by Cesc. However, when that went out for a corner, step up Willy, who deserved to score more than anyone on the pitch, to leather it in. Mayhem. Take that you smug w*nkers. Take that UEFA. Take that ref. Now carry on doing exactly what you've been doing for the last hour boys. They were really coming at us now. Iniesta diving like a c*nt, Suarez getting mouthy (insert joke here), tax dodging ferret sulking. Typical Uefalona ploy. If you can't beat them, cheat.
Willian was at it again on 68. There was a fantastic moment when Kante went steaming past the ferret and he started jogging after him with a baffled expression on his face at the concept of having to do some defensive work. On 72 minutes Fabregas went down like he still played for them and still couldn't get anything out of the ref, who was flapping about like a blind, demented canary. All went to sh*t when Suarez dived for a penalty. I don't think there is a viler c*nt in world football. He ran his oversized mouth enough to get booked four times for dissent never mind the simulation he got away with. Just because you can't make out what he's saying through those teeth doesn't mean it isn't a yellow card. The goal was so avoidable. So frustrating that we'd stayed so disciplined and done so well at the back and we paid for our one lapse by conceding an away goal. It only took him nine years. Git.
That took the wind out of our sails.
Morata on for Pesto, who ran his legs off tonight, with about ten minutes to go. Then Fabregas for Danny Drinkwater. Yellow C*nt then books Morata for dissent. I have no words, either for how Alvaro’s managed to do it again or for how his was bookworthy when others yapped and squawked in his face all night long. 88 minutes and Alba and Suarez were rolling about like they'd been shot. I couldn't have picked two more likely candidates for that. Yes, truly this bunch of whiny, cheating little skulduggerous cretins are the paragons of the football world. A mere three minutes added on. Insert your own explanation here.
So: We're still in the tie, which is more than most people, including possibly me, thought possible before kick off. The frustrating is, though, that when you’ve cracked the woodwork twice it feels like you’ve missed a trick when you don’t win. Worries about the formation and the team selection proved to be unfounded. In fact, but for one silly lapse the plan worked. We got given next to nothing tonight, and it will only be worse at theirs. I fancy us to score, but I don’t know if I fancy us not to concede. Still, it’s not like we can dwell on it with back to back fixtures in Manchester now in front of us.
*Picture of Willian scoring whilst the tax-dodging little ferret watches on gormlessly from afar comes from the official Chelsea website.
Watford 4 Chelsea 1
Monday 5th February 2018 20:00
All those vacating the away end tonight might want to mind out not to get run over by the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
In the News: Before I say anything: I don’t perceive our board to be infallible. I’m not saying that they have not failed to keep promises that were made to the manager, or that behind closed doors they have supported him to the best of their ability. Because I don’t know enough to form an opinion. All I know is that our current manager does not believe this to be the case. I also don’t believe that as a supporter I have the right to know the intimate detail of what goes on in the board room. I do believe that when I arrive at a ground that the manager should be as invested in victory as I am. I do not believe this to be the case right now.
So. I like Antonio Conte. I’ve met him more than once, and not only do I like him as a manager, but he’s a nice bloke too. I have never wanted him to leave us. I’ve never advocated his getting fired. But he’s making it very difficult. Another day, another dollar, another cringeworthy flow of quotes that make you want to duck tape his mouth shut. Conte wants a public display of support from the club. I’d say there is probably no more public display of support than selling one of your best players (even if he is a lunatic) because your manager demanded that he wanted him gone. If Chelsea respond to this plea, they look idiotic because they are indulging the idea of having this conversation in public. And if they don't respond they look like a*seholes and Conte looks idiotic. Who wins? You also can’t put your employers in this position when the faith and the respect is not reciprocated. You can’t make statements about how we should have signed three players and not eight, when you are the one that has been complaining since last summer that you don’t have enough personnel. In that respect the board gave you what you asked for. He's had nigh on a quarter of a billion spent on him since last season. Only two other clubs have bettered this. One is basically funded by a state and the other has spent in a reckless fashion that is going to bugger their whole wage structure. Have the board bought Conte exactly what he wanted? Not entirely. Perceptions about whether this is the cut and thrust of the transfer market or anyone's fault are beyond our knowledge. But since last May he has left the club hanging about his intentions, so if there is a knock on effect from that, such as the board protecting what they perceive to be the wider interests of the club’s future, and not just his immediate demands when he has insinuated before that he would walk then he cannot b*tch about it. Even if you sand the veneer of hysterical bullsh*t generated by the Red Swarm off, there is still enough left to grind my gears. “My intention is to honour my contract.” Nothing he says or does right now substantiates this. Because so much of this has been orchestrated by Antonio himself now, that I know I’m not the only one with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes with the horrible suggestion that a professional that you like and admire might consider getting fired as their best option financially. It doesn’t help that it has happened to us before.
Anyway enough of this sh*t for now. Naturally Michy scored twice on his German debut. This will send the nappy sh*tters into overdrive, and the less dramatic will just roll their eyes and swear they saw it coming. He says he loves Dortmund because they play in black and yellow, and this is perfect because he loves Batman and Spongebob. This is exactly the same philosophy as that my friend's son Henry lives by. He turned two just after Christmas. BT are set to ditch Premier League coverage because they are shedding viewers quicker than we are shedding points. Not surprising when you compose a line up of Monotone Gerrard, Savage’s Hair and Michael Owen, who every time he opens his mouth sounds like someone has shoved 50p in a slot to crank him up to bore us all with tales of his glory days. All three of them. Before he turned 20. Carragher has called Van Dijk fat. Klippity Klopp has called Carragher fat. Good for a quick giggle, but hilariously these are the £75m man's stats:
9 goals conceded
0 clean sheets
1 penalty conceded
£75m. And supposed to win them the league.
The Others: Burnley did a number on City, United won and Sp*rs were lucky on two counts yesterday. Firstly because their equaliser was offside and secondly because Klippity couldn't set his chumps out to defend a lead in injury time if the Liverpool hierarchy promised him a lifetime’s supply of toothpaste.
Us: No Alonso - so Zappacosta comes in on the left. Fabregas not entirely fit, Bakayoko starts alongside Kante. Still no Christensen - Rudiger is left out, somewhat inexplicably for me after Bournemouth, yes Bournemouth came right out and said they targeted Cahill to dismantle us at the weekend. Gary kept his spot, and Luiz came into the middle of the back line with Dave on his other side. Willian returns, too early for me, watching him struggle tonight, and completed a front line of three small players with Pesto (autospell can have this victory, I no longer care) and Hazard. All in all, not what I would have chosen, but I’m not in charge.
Everyone was singing the manager’s name at kick off. There was no explosive start, but given the drubbing we suffered at the weekend that was fine with me. All I wanted was a nice steady game that showed some drive, and an ability to retain the ball after that fiasco would have been nice.
Nope. Not happening. It was a mere four minutes before we got punished for the first time for giving the ball away sloppily. Then we did it again and were lucky when the ball hit the side netting. It had been a bright start by Watford, but we weren’t doing ourselves any favours. After nine minutes Dave let Deeney run off him. This is Deeney, yes he who is about as dynamic as a carthorse with arthritis somehow finding a criminal amount of space in our box. Good job he’s a donkey, because he couldn’t even fashion a shot out of it. Shortly afterwards, in what would turn out to be one of our rare forays forward, a Moses cross deflected to Willian. So many places to put it, but he fluffed his lines and hit it over the bar. Then it was Watford’s turn to miss a glaring opportunity. Cahill kept us in it by throwing himself in the path of a home effort; before we got the ball straight up the other end. But Moses fell over his own feet in the box. Little did we know that this would almost be the highlight of the evening. When we did get the ball up towards their box, there was nobody in it to assault the goal. No Morata, no Alonso steaming in from further out with Lampardesque determination. Why no Giroud? I was annoyed by this already. I don't care if he doesn't speak fluent Conte after three days. It doesn't require a PhD in common sense to just sling him on and hoof it up to him. Three forwards. Willian clearly not 100%. Pesto hasn’t been at more than 65% of his best form for weeks now, which basically left Hazard up against their meathead back line on his own. He’s amazing. He’s not God.
Then the night really started going down the sh*tter. The second yellow for Bakayoko was very harsh, but it summed up a thoroughly inglorious half an hour in which everything he tried turn to sh*t. In hindsight you can say that Conte could have picked Drinkwater, but you don’t select your side assuming that Bakayoko is going to let you down to the extent that he did in his short spell tonight. That one wasn’t on Conte. I had Uncle Albert next to me and he was nappy sh*tting to the extent that a triple layer of Huggies wouldn't have stemmed the flow of effluence pooling at his feet. He says Bakayoko is the worst player he's ever seen at Chelsea. Ridiculous drama queen that he is. Barkles (special alias) put it more succinctly in a swift text: “When Andy Hinchcliffe is mugging you off in commentary you know you are sh*t.”
What is on Conte is the decision he made to take off Willian (fair enough) and put a not-really-fit Fabregas on with an hour of play left. No. Just no. Watford claimed the first accurate shot of the game on 34 minutes, but it was claimed with relative ease by Courtois. But it was like we were dragging ourselves towards half time with our hands. At this point I was insistent that Conte had to pull Pesto for Giroud at half time. More than ever with ten men we needed a focal point to hit it up to if we were to get anything out of this game. Leave him and Hazard up front and just concentrate on not conceding. As soon as I wrote that Mike Dean gave them a penalty. It was a joke. Delafool went down like his leg had been snapped. Courtois didn't get the ball but he didn't get him either. But then what more do you expect from a little ratfaced jobber who failed to come through the ranks at Uefalona? It was going to be one of those nights. Wasn’t it? Pesto had one chance in injury time and like Willian's earlier it soared over the bar. Here's a depressing statement: Even with eleven men, we had not collectively shown half of Watford's desire to win this game. If Conte was to send the same players out for the second half he’d be stealing a living tonight.
And the same ten it was. My blood pressure was rising. On 49 they broke through but thankfully the ball ran to Thibaut. A minute later we saw a promising run by Zappacosta, who crossed it well into the box. That’s where the problem was. The only person anywhere near it was Moses. But he was always two feet behind the defender and when he rose to try and hit it, he head-butted the Watford player instead. You have to give him credit for at least being in the box, because nobody else but Pesto was. More concerning than anything else on the pitch: Antonio was a picture of disinterest in the dugout.
With half an hour to go Conte finally prepared to make the change that he should have made at half time. Pesto limped off, another potential injury on a mounting list and we were treated to the surreal sight of Giroud jogging on wearing blue. Too late for me if you intended to try and win this game but, God love him, our debutant did try. Harsh, said Uncle Albert - sent on with little chance of success and expected to work a miracle. It’s OK, I reassured him. He’s used to it, he’s been at Arsenal.
We looked better immediately, because there was actually a plan and a large beard to aim for, but we had other issues; namely the fact that poor Cesc’s legs had gone. I made the observation that for such a massive c*nt Sebastian Prodl is an even bigger f*cking cry baby. I can’t remember why. It was getting panicked now, the play going back and forth with far less control. I could count the amount of times we had touched the ball in their half on one hand. Never mind a shot on target. No chance. We finally got our first on 80 minutes, but Cesc had watched everyone else put it in row z and just placed it too precisely and along the ground. Not enough to test the keeper.
Don’t ask me where our goal came from. Eden bails us out again. A point would have been over-rewarding us for our contribution to the game tonight, but he at least deserved something for all of the effort he had put in. Refwatch: Mike Dean. Sending off was harsh, penalty shout was a joke. Possibly the only person who tanked as much as Bakayoko or the manager tonight. He gifted them a total of three goals tonight, by ignoring blatant fouls in the run up to two more. This may have been the case, and he may look like Dobby the House Elf after a week long bender, but even if he hadn’t put in a sh*thouse performance we still wouldn’t have outscored Watford tonight. We looked better in the dying moments than we had all night, but it was out of sight. Giroud was unlucky not to get a goal on his debut, but we were only ever in it for a total of about five minutes.
So: We got what we deserved. Which was f*ck all. They got more than they deserved because Mike Dean is an inconsistent f*ckwit that can't decide what a foul is. Two winnable fixtures, 0 points and six goals conceded. And a manager that, as much as pains me to say it, looks like he wants to get dropkicked out the door. Uncle Albert was incandescent with rage that Rudiger wasn’t brought on at 1-1 to hold the line, but that was the least of our worries. Hazard, Dave and Giroud have a right to feel aggrieved. In fact if I am Hazard I take my boot off int he dressing room and throw it at Conte’s face. Cesc took one for the team when he wasn’t in the physical condition to contribute what he was asked to. There are a number of players nowhere near their best; namely Pesto, Kante, Cahill. I don’t believe that this is divorced from Conte’s current attitude. No manager on the planet in any industry would walk into work twice a week and talk about how s*t their lot was, how hard done by they were and then expect to get maximum productivity out of those in their charge by chucking in the odd half-arsed remark about wanting to stay on. If they expected that to be the case they would be morons. He looked like a broken man, but so much of it is self-inflicted I can’t feel sorry for him. How does undermining the club at every opportunity improve anything? Surely this situation is now irretrievable. He just doesn’t have the demeanour, and doesn’t make the decisions in selection or as play unfolds of late that portray a man who particularly gives a sh*t. We may only be one point ahead of Sp*rs, but we are also only six behind United in second, and we've still got to play them. The fat lady isn’t singing yet, but I don't have any confidence right now in Conte's desire to make a resurgence happen. To me the only reason I can fathom that you would continue to continue in this miserable, sulky vein is to get shown the door. That makes me angry, because the connotations for us go beyond the summer. Whether we play in the Champions League next season for one, whether we keep Eden Hazard. But then is he even going to make it past the West Brom game now? Bogey club for manager sackings, init? Fifteen days until Uefalona. Does the club stick or twist? I’m not advocating he go, but I can’t see the turnaround in his attitude happening either. So I shrug, and bugger off to see the pyramids.
All of this (except the pyramids) is depressing, so I leave you with this feisty text from Mowgli:
“So down to 10 men, 4 - 1 down, a commentator that keeps calling Kante - Conte.
Having to listen to Carragher and Rooney.
I've just ripped the tv off the wall, took it upstairs, opened my bedroom window and launched it!
I've always wanted to throw a tv out the window like a rock star!”
Further investigation revealed that this is what he wished had happened. His arms were too weedy to get the 20 inch flatscreen off the kitchen wall, and had he chucked it, it would only have been a ten foot drop to the ground outside anyway. The thing would probably ave just bounced.
Chelsea - Couldn't have scored in a brothel.
AFC Bournemouth - Looked like Barcelona.
Wednesday 31st January 2018 19:45
Well as the crowd poured out, I laughed my head off the last twenty minutes of that game. To celebrate the biggest pile of w*nk I've seen from a Chelsea side since the Emirates in September 2016, I'm going to write our match up in the style of a first class, grade A nappy sh*tter. But first...
In the News: The BBC are in the doghouse this week - not only because they've made a habit out of exploiting me, stealing my work and passing it off as their own, with less shame than Wilshere collecting a pay check every week, f*ck, less shame than GALLAS; but because of the sheer c*ntishness with which they shoved a microphone in Conte's face and said: "You won't catch City and you'll probably lose to Barcelona." We'll all just go home then shall we, you Goon loving swine? And you can fill your air time with another soap opera set in the wrong end of London that consists of chavs going in and out of rooms shouting at each other. Still, it's great that they get paid for that. And that Gary f*cking Lineker gets a seven figure salary out of the tax payer every year, even if I got precisely nothing.
I feel better now.
The BBC programme that we don't name, on account of them being the second most skulduggerous of all their incarnations, did the draw for the FA Cup Fifth Round and threw up another round of uninspiring fixtures. We've got a home tie against Hull, for which mercifully I will be somewhere along the Nile looking at something more exciting. City go to Wigan, Sp*rs fans face the prospect of getting kicked into next season at Millwall, which should draw some viewers hoping to see them get stamped on, and the Red Scouse will be watching all of the above on television. Happy days.
Thank F*ck It's Deadline Day: The Red Swarm can stop making sh*t up about transfers and go back to making sh*t up about everything else instead as of tomorrow.
As far as we are concerned:
Dzeko wouldn't back down on personal terms that were a little silly so he stays in Rome. We bent some of the way, but he didn't. There were a flurry of sh*t rumours about Llorente after this. But nope. That wasn't going to happen. He made his bed in the summer and now he can lie in it, and watch his hopes of winning things disappear down the toilet like everyone else who signs for Sp*rs.
Finally the transfer circle jerk (ok, a triangle jerk) is complete on deadline day. Aubameyang has made the inexplicable choice to go and play for Whinger. Still, his lack of taste in everything from hairdos to sports cars is enough of an impediment in life, so let's not judge him on a lack of ambition too harshly. Michy moves round to Dortmund to try and clock up enough minutes to make it to some international tournament I don't give a sh*t about this summer, because I'll be hiking in Montana, Wyoming, Utah and the Grand Canyon. If I wasn't I'd be gauging my eyes out with a spoon before I put that on. It means we're still on two strikers, a benevolent move on our part that is in his better interests as opposed to ours. And to complete the triangle jerk, we get Olivier Giroud. This is my stance: At least he jumps for headers. Please God let it be in his contract that he has to shave, because then I wouldn't have to feel dirty perving at him like I did when he played for L'Arse before he grew that monstrosity on his face. He will do for me. Good option for route one. If nothing else is working, punt it up to the beard. My God we could have done with that tonight instead of flogging a horse so dead it had already been through a mincer and turned into dog food, which had then been eaten by a pitbull and shat out. Twice.
Our cunning plan of buying players that are broken and nobody else wants at the time also continues. Palmieri done, another left sided player for £17.5m. Pocket change if he turns out to be good. But Barkley is no longer broken, so we can forget about all that bizarre nonsense when he ran away halfway through the medical he was never going to pass in the summer.
In September there was much discussion about how we didn't lack shiny awesome purchases, we needed players to build a squad, because we lacked numbers. I say this because we've just bought some squad players to boost our numbers and at the same time we’ve sent three senior players out on loan - as in Kenedy, Musonda and Batshuayi. Because that’s how we roll. We weren't going to buy any of the shiny ones when there is a manager as volatile as a grenade with the pin pulled out at the helm threatening to leave every five minutes. Summer is when that kind of big business will happen. In theory.
Pretty much everything was done early in the day which meant that the media morons just had to start making stuff up to fill the gap till 11pm. Half an hour before kick off we and the Red Scouse were supposedly arguing over Isco. Real Madrid look almost as hilarious as us with the players they've got, why would they give any of them away and be worse off?
So with a lack of last minute action let’s ponder Pip Squeakiola. The douchiest douche this side of Douchville:
Monday, moans about not having as much money as everyone else despite spending more than any other team by a massive margin. To the tune of nearly half a billion pounds.
Wednesday morning, reported they're going to break their transfer record and rinse another £60m on Laporte, who doesn't even play for his country.
At £282 million City's defence budget has now exceeded that of 52 countries.
If anyone could have found Mahrez and got him to sign for them they would have been on their way to £600m since the arrival of Baldy McDoucheface.
This coming from the man who reportedly said (the internet says it, and the internet never lies) in 2009:
"Modern football sometimes makes me sad. Nowadays there can be more focus on big name signings rather than promoting youth, and that makes me sad. I have grown up with the Barcelona method (let's not get into the £150m for Coutinho) and I hope to stay true to for the whole of my career. Why buy a striker for £50m when there is one waiting in the youth team?"
Smug, self-satisfied, spoiled, sanctimonious, superior f*cking hypocrite DOUCHE. You can argue stats at me till you run out of oxygen and drop dead at my feet like Charlie Adam trying to keep up with a game of football. Until this man wins something without infinite money at his disposal he ain't nothing but one of the pack who is acting like a douchey slaphead fraud. If he'd have won the league with Mangala in the centre of his back line instead of selling him then I might have developed one small iota of respect for him. But do you know why I have to laugh? Because he and his prima donnas are still the least douchelike of all evils if we can't win it.
Meanwhile Özil is like a bog-eyed Malouda, turning up a few weeks before his contract runs out and acting like he's been earning a new one all along. There was something endearing about Malouda dancing to his song with sheer joy though. Not so with this bellend. Still, he had to sign with Wenger, nobody was going to put him on the same wages he's been getting for his part time contract at Arsenal.
Best parting shot of the window? I like Giroud more already after he took a dig about how many trophies we've won of late compared to Arsenal, but I've got to give it to Mykhitaryan on leaving Chequebook Pulis:
"I'm looking forward to playing offensive football."
It's a good job, because the Goons can literally only defend when they are playing us. In the words of Knobhead, my one Arsenal friend: Well chuffed with Aubameyang… he might just score enough to cover those the defence give away! That’s Wenger's usual game plan! Said I. To which Knobhead replied: Don’t be fooled, he has NO PLAN!
The Others: So yes, Arsenal. The gift that keeps on giving. "There is no rational explanation" for how bad they were according to Whinger, but give him a break, because rationality has never been one of his strengths. And if we were terrible tonight we didn't quite implode to the level of United. A large part of tonight's entertainment for me, apart from Mowgli’s cleptomania, was text updates on this from my brother. I wish I'd been watching this instead. Sp*rs were ahead after ten seconds, which blew Chequebook Pulis's game plan to sh*t because they couldn't sit back and do nothing. Then Phil "Sloth from the Goonies" Jones scored such a world class OG that Paddy Power paid out on him as second goal scorer. Pogba got hooked, so did "Messi" Lingard. Then apparently CP threw Jazz Hands Fellaini on, only to drag him off again after four minutes. Still, at least that would have made Matic feel better about his twenty minute humiliation in similar circumstances. And somewhere in front of a TV Joe Cole fist-pumped too.
Right. Here I go. I'm strapped into my Pampers and ready to go with my alter ego - Peaky the Nappy Sh*tter...
Us: I took one look at the team sheet and knew tonight was going to be a*se. And I knew it was going to be Gary Cahill's fault. I can't believe Giroud isn't playing. What a lazy b*stard. And his beard is better than mine. Prick. Thibaut was in goal. I can believe he hasn’t signed his new contract. The board are sh*t. Bakayoko, brilliant. Now we’ll definitely lose. Alonso too - all he does is score free kicks, but what do you expect when he used to play for Sunderland? And Bolton. And Barkley? I can’t believe we’ve even bothered. Firstly, he’s a Scouser, and secondly, why would we want Everton’s rejects? No wonder we’re sh*t. If we don’t win a f*cking trophy this season I’m going to pimp slap Bruce Buck with my flat cap.
Them: How have they got half our players? Did I mention the board is sh*t? I can’t believe we let Nathan Ake leave. He’s going to be a world-beater and we just let him go like he’s a human being with his own free will. We’re pussies. We need to man up in the transfer market.
Straight away it was all Bournemouth. We should be p*ssing all over this lot. The fact that we weren’t three up in the first ten minutes, someone needs sacking. At least Hazard looked like he was up for it. Shame he’s going to leave us in the Summer for Madrid, along with Thibaut, because we can’t get anything done. Zappacosta came streaking in for a shot after Eden and Pesto (autospell, nearly as useless as Michy) did some tippy tappy sh*t in the box. Missed it though. There’s a surprise. As usual it was all down to Hazard, because everyone else is a jobber. I should have bought my boots with me tonight, I could have helped him out more than any of the dross out there. On 13 minutes he made one of his runs into the box and cut it back. Brilliant. Only get this, Pesto finally does some running and he runs too fast. Ball goes behind him. There’s some irony for you. I can’t remember the last time he did anything useful. We look like the f*cking away side. This was toss. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Christensen went down injured. Why couldn’t it be Cahill? The only decent player we’ve got and he’s crocked. Rudiger came on to replace him. Joy, another sh*t signing from the board. I don’t understand why Roman doesn’t get rid of them all. We looked a bit better round about half an hour. As in we looked a bit more like Leicester instead of f*cking Stoke. Best chance of the game so far and it falls to Cahill. F*ck my life. Of course he misses it, over the bar, what’s he ever done for us? Alonso finally pulled his finger out just after that and put it high into the box for Hazard, who missed the header. It’s like his head is already in Madrid. If that’s the case he should just f*ck off there. Even Torres would have scored that. Barkley had a shot moments later but he never really got to line it up and it deflected off a defender and into Begovic's arms. That was £15m well spent. On 38 minutes Alonso had a decent opening for a header, but he’s been sh*t ever since he grew his highlights out and so it went wide. Barkley is going to be blinding, on 40 minutes he slipped the ball through into one of the small people, probably Pesto, because Hazard has been sh*t for weeks. Lino called it offside - it was never offside. Blind. On 44 minutes SB (special alias) turned to me and said: “There you go, Rudiger completed a six yard pass. Write that in your thing. Init.”
I don’t know what happened at half time. Either everybody had a spliff in the dressing room or they’ve all decided that they can’t be a*sed with Conte and his moaning anymore, or the board, or the sh*t they see coming in the door and they just rolled over. We almost scored on 49, then some bloke called Callum Wilson who I’ve never heard of went up the other end and scored. THIS IS BOURNEMOUTH. WHAT ARE WE DOING? Hazard almost equalised straight away, thank God for him, maybe we’d get back in this. Hallelujah, Barkley’s going off for Fabregas. But by 57 minutes we’d turned into those bellends that cheer every time they win a f*cking corner. We are actually Arsenal. I might as well have brought a picnic basket full of crayfish and rocket paninis and my nan’s knitting to sit through this sh*t.
0-2 Who is Junior Stanislas? Stupid name. I didn’t see it, because I was too busy complaining about the ref, but it was blatantly Cahill’s fault. Then they got another one. It was basically going nowhere and then bounced in off Ake’s nut sack. 0-3 down at home to f*cking BOURNEMOUTH. I said we shouldn’t have sold him. Alonso hit one just wide on 69. He can’t hit a cow’s a*se with a banjo. We deserve some kind of trophy for making this lot look like Barcelona, it’ll be the only trophy we win this year. Finally, it looked like there was some urgency about the team, but typically they’d left it to the last minute. They’re just taking the p*ss out of us now, singing “you dirty northern b*stards” at us because Fabregas has tried to break someone’s legs. I wish he’d signed for Arsenal again. He’s been sh*t for us. Eight of us defending the box, three of them attacking and they still almost scored a fourth. Now they’re singing “Nathan Ake, he left cos you're shit.” Aren’t we just. City are laughing at us. Everyone is laughing at us. Team was sh*t, Conte is sh*t, the board are even sh*tter, Watford is going to be sh*t and you're all sh*t n'all. F*ck it. I'm going home.
So: Nappy sh*tting aside, that was like a really awful first date that's so bad that you have to go to the loo and call a mate to laugh about what a dick the guy is. It was like another generic sh*t Liam Neeson vengeful action thriller that you only sit through because you can laugh at bad it was. If Conte comes out and says he just focuses on the players and the next game after that I will laugh my head off. Because if more than five minutes thought went into that I will eat Mowgli's cap. The first half wasn’t great, but it wasn’t shocking. What happened in the second half, God only knows. The whole Chelsea side appeared to leave the building at half time. You knew the sh*t was hitting the fan when Barkley got yanked for Cesc on 50 odd minutes. Conte never makes early subs. Barkley had had a shocker to be fair - as in he played for Everton, who wear blue, and now he plays for us, and we wear blue; but he couldn’t find anything but a red shirt. Still, it’s his first start, he’ll get into the swing of things and he was far from the only culprit. And the lack of any established striker was glaring. Over and over again the ball was played into the box and there was nobody in there. Basically, it was a 45 minute shambles on our part. We had some reasonable attempts at goal tonight, and didn’t take any of them. Bournemouth, on the other hand, defended well, pressed us all night long and enjoyed good fortune too. I ask you this. Is it remotely possible that the angst between the board and the manager, which results in the manager constantly implying he doesn’t have a proper squad, is NOT going to eventually start to show on the pitch? If your manager is clearly miserable with what he’s got, are they going to believe in themselves? This is an interesting concept - and far less terrifying than this: If we don’t fix this in the next 20 days is it possible that we are going to get out the other side of two games against Uefalona, one against United and one against City without conceding twenty odd goals? I’ll finish on the one high note in this clusterf*ck before your heads explode. Hudson-Odoi take a bow. This game looked like the video to Thriller - a horror show. But he was Michael Jackson.
*Picture of Kante and some bloke reenacting the last scene from Dirty Dancing comes from Chelsea's official site.
Chelsea 3 Barcodes 0
FA Cup 4th Round
Sunday 28th January 2018 13:30
In the News: Conte. Conte. More Conte. I imagine that on press conference days Steve Atkins (the one who sits next to Antonio and polices the jackals) and Carlo Cudicini (appointed translator) feel like any chat show host that ever saw Oliver Reed walking out onto their set; terrified that he's lost the plot that much that he's going to launch into a stream of obscenities, grab someone's a*se, get his cock out, or all of the above.
This may be controversial, but I'm getting tired of Antonio's public complaining.
My personal observation is that he does not appear to have the kind of temperament that deals well with pressure. He’s an emotional man and he wears his heart on his sleeve. I’m not judging him, I couldn’t deal with the stresses of managing a Premier League football club, but we saw glimpses of it towards the tail end of last season as we closed in on the title. He lacks some of the traits that have helped others survive. He certainly isn’t bullsh*t filled (Allardyce) or Teflon-coated and delusional (Wenger) Conte says he's relaxed and just concentrating on the team, and one result at a time etc. etc. But just about everything he says and does at the moment screams otherwise. The ridiculous thing is, I think he's arguably under less pressure from above than any other manager at Chelsea has been for about a decade. So how much of it is pressure he is putting on himself? The board’s expectations have got to be lower. He came from nowhere last season, after we scraped into the top half of the league in 2015-16, and won the Premiership; sweeping aside Chequebook Pulis and St. Pep with half a squad. This season he has 3/4 of a squad. (We'll get to that) Given the lack of success over the summer in the transfer window, the amount of money spent by rivals and the fact that we punched far, far above our weight last season, I would be f*cking amazed if Chelsea were demanding anything more of the manager than a top four finish. Last eight of the Champions League would have been ambitious, but not unrealistic. The fact that we've been lumbered with Uefalona this early says to me that the hierarchy would be harsh if they considered an exit at the round of 16 as a failure on Conte's part. He says this is the harder year for him, and I agree. I’ve said this before: I see this really as year one for him. Last season's title win was a huge bonus, awesome, but it papered over the work that needed to be done to build what was a small squad, especially when it would lead to a serious increase in our workload after the summer. Now we are facing that work and that's OK. The core fan base will accept too that it takes time to build something, and bring players through. I don't think Antonio has got pressure on him from anywhere at the moment in terms of what the team has achieved this season. As for the cry-babies that throw a tantrum every time we don’t win 4-0, f*ck ‘em.
Antonio Conte has repeatedly complained about the size of his squad. We needed to add to our squad without completely disrupting it in the summer. We got Caballero in on a free. Who did we buy? Morata for a club record fee in the region of £60m. And four more fully fledged internationals. Our squad has had something like £200m spent on it in the last six months. There is literally no point trawling each and every bullsh*t link the Red Swarm have come up with since last May looking for evidence of the board's "failure" to sign players. I'll stick with the ones from Blue Squirrel:
Lukaku - We wanted him. At least someone in the club did. Then Everton tried to get Fabregas or Willian as part of the deal. We said f*ck off. The price went up. Too much. United were willing to pay this price because they have more money than sense. We signed Morata instead. As far as I'm concerned, we win. And so does Conte, who preferred him in the first place.
Sandro - I think it’s safe to say that Conte really wants him. The board got this done. Juve ultimately refused to sell him to us because they had been unable to purchase a replacement in that position and pulled out of the deal. I don’t know what his motivations were to join us. If it was to play for Conte, we may not get him now, but there was no reason this couldn’t have gone through this summer.
Oxlade-Chamberlain - Went to the Scouse because they made promises about what position he would be playing in. Personally I thought he was overpriced anyway. I’m not losing sleep over it.
Barkley - This one was a total clusterf*ck in the summer. The board got him in the door and into a medical before he decided to go home. He was injured anyway, had a meltdown, whatever. Whose fault it was at the time I don’t know, but he plays for us now, so it got fixed.
So what I’m saying is let’s not have a Yaya Toure style, birthday cake meltdown about a lack of spending in the last two windows. They may not have come up trumps in everything; wide players, for one, another striker, but the board have not been idle. Have they bought the players that Conte wanted? Quite possibly not. Because he's had one foot out of the door since last summer. At his own instigation we had no idea if he intended to stay or walk, so would you be catering to his requests? Or taking the actions you deem necessary to secure the long term future of the squad whoever may be in charge? Seems to me there is a certain element of making your own bed and having to lie in it here.
Who did we sell? Solanke - no choice. He ran his contract down and went somewhere offering more money. He was already stealing a living. Not bothered. Cuadrado - Already long gone anyway. Begovic - replaced by Caballero, no worries. Then the problems start. Chalobah and Ake were more puzzling. Unless you look at it from a non-Blue perspective. They didn’t want to stay, baffling as that may be to us. It’s not like they are setting the league on fire now that they have moved on, so were we wrong in terms of how good they were? Doesn’t look like it. But what does look bizarre is letting players walk out of the door when it’s detrimental to your own prospects because you won’t have enough of them. You’d think it was common sense to talk with your manager before you go into a room with these guys, but, who knows? Matic was the big one. He wanted to leave 12 months previously but we apparently made a deal with him - stay one more season then we'll let you go. His intention was always to follow Chequebook Pulis. Chelsea had two choices so far as he was concerned. Turn a profit, or force him to stay on against his will until he’s out of contract. To many of us it looked like the club weren’t stern enough, selfish enough. We got more than he was worth, especially considering his habit of going missing and his age, but he went to a rival, which stuck in my throat. Ultimately he had made his decision, we opted for financial compensation over moral victory in this one (because we aren’t Arsenal) and we extracted the maximum we could out of it. Opinions will vary about whether this was right or wrong, and if Conte wasn’t involved in this decision you can see why he’d be p*ssed off.
Conclusion? Conte isn’t particularly in the loop when it comes to who the board pursue or let leave if they show the inclination. But they haven’t hung him out to dry with purchasing players as some of the nappy sh*tters who constantly shriek about them would like to believe. Have the relations between the board and Conte been appropriate? Clearly something is wrong in terms of communication. Why does Conte feel the need to publicly address his issues with the board instead of dealing with them through appropriate channels? Of course there is a chance he’s just a lunatic, but he’s been a functioning, successful coach for a long time and to put it entirely on him is a stretch, however much you disagree with the way he is conducting himself right now. This needs to be addressed by the board. Still, after the game today he has still been reminding everybody that he doesn’t make any decisions. You’ve got a disgruntled employee. Deal with it. Kick his a*se or compromise, work out your differences. I don’t care who may have a problem with who and who is right and who is wrong, and who promised what and who has got a point. I’d just appreciate it if they all keep it in the boardroom where it belongs and get their sh*t together. Then when everybody emerges if they could act like grown ups that would be great. God knows everyone involved gets paid enough.
For me, if Conte goes in the summer, he will have been the architect of his own downfall to a significant degree. That will make me sad because I really do like him. I love what he has achieved with us, I love his passion, it’s infectious and we really had found a coach who everyone liked and who looked like he might stay for a reasonable length of time. His job has never been at risk from the club’s end. The simple truth is that we don't know what he was promised and just how much of a right he has to feel aggrieved about whether that has or hasn’t been forthcoming from the board. I have to add though, that given their determined backing of him during the Costa debacle, which was a monumental cock-up on Antonio’s part with text-gate and which harmed the strength of the squad, he can’t claim that support from above has been non-existent and lacking conviction. We can take a reasonable stab at the expectations on him and surmise that he has not fallen short of them so far. Even if he feels like it is his only outlet, it is not befitting for a manager to take his complaints to the press every time they wave a microphone anywhere near his face and criticise his employer. In any walk of life it would be unprofessional conduct and he should stop. Then go and knock on someone’s door instead. I would just like to wake up on one morning and not read umpteen articles about how the inside of Chelsea Football Club is like Lord of the F*cking Flies.
Transfer B*llocks: Palmieri and Dzeko could be confirmed in the next few days. Two positions in need of attention, so fingers crossed. Pep is bemoaning that he doesn't have as much money to spend as his rivals. F*ck off you hilarious bellend. Three wise men alert: Martin Keown's contribution to the world of football journalism this week? "I can't understand why Sanchez turned his back on City." Money, dickhead.
The Others: What moron decided, of all people, that it would be a good idea to let CRAIG PAWSON loose with VAR? He can barely function on a normal day. And not only did they give him Jonathan Moss as a fourth official, the Virtual W*nk Puppet was Andre f*cking Marriner. Eight times Poorson went to VAR, one of them for about half an hour. Once again, the match-going, ticket buying public have had their experience ruined. Once again, this cannot be allowed to happen. The only positive outcome of this was that we got to watch Firminho fall over his own hairdo and miss a penalty that never would have been. And then the Scouse lost. Shame. City are through, West Ham are out, and four games require replays. Including Sp*rs, who couldn’t beat Newport County. Ha.
Us: A reasonably strong side today, thanks to the draw against another Premier League side. Caballero still deputises for Thibaut, whose ankle was slightly mashed in training by one of our own academy players. Big day for Michy. Absolutely had to have an impact on this game.
Them: I only recognised Voldemort. (Shelvey) And some bloke up front who turned out to be Gayle.
No matter who hates who in the Cuckoo’s Nest this week, everyone at Stamford Bridge from the boardroom down to Stamford the Lion could agree on one thing at kick off. For the love of GOD, please don’t stick us with a replay and make us travel the 900 miles to Newcastle midweek in the cold for a replay.
We started off all right in the opening couple of minutes, but then they started running at us. It was a typical subdued early kick off, with a lot of transient cup fans too, so like the players the crowd took a while to get going. Hazard was hacked down on the edge of the box by Chancel Mbemba, whoever he may be, on 16 minutes and the free kick was the highlight of the game for us so far. Until it hit the wall, but we were just about accelerating out of third gear at this point. The Toon were gobby as always today, mostly preoccupied with whining at the ref over every decision he wouldn’t give them but there was the occasional diversion. It sounded like “You fat cockney b*stard get out of our club,” though last time I checked Buckinghamshire wasn’t within the sound of Bow Bells. Still, fair sentiment. Aside from a bit of hair-raising defending we were playing better, even if it wasn’t dazzling.
Voldemort forced a save from Big Willy on 25 minutes, before Zappacosta (I think) made a storming run up the pitch to reverse the play. A scramble in the goal mouth, a near miss and it eventually bobbled out for a goal kick. I was just moaning that we hadn’t fashioned a single shot on target in the first half an hour when Hazard brought down a long ball in the box, flicked it across the box, where Alonso stabbed it through to Michy to set him up with a tap in. 1-0. Christ what is that growing out of the top of his head? As if we haven’t given the Red Swarm enough fodder this week he has to come out with that hairdo.
And the nappy sh*tters were off. First they were complaining that they were bored. Go home then, you won’t be missed. Then it was a Bakayokofest. He’s sh*t. Apparently. He wasn’t even playing. He wasn’t even on the bench. So shut up. After a hairy moment at our end, a minute later we broke and Hazard laid it off to Michy, who made a pretty weak shot out of it. However, Lascelles was unlucky enough to see his block fly up over his keeper and dip in under the crossbar for a second goal for the much-maligned striker. Had the defender left it, probably would have been better off. Another unlucky one for Newcastle. Oh well, sh*t happens. They did their best to get back in it before half time, but heroics from Caballero kept them out and he flicked and palmed their efforts away from the goal.
Shortly after the break Rafa’s barcodes had commenced arguing amongst themselves. We had strains of one of “Harry Potter, he’s coming for you,” aimed at Shelvey and his luminescent head. Alonso almost scored a stunning goal with a left foot volley across the box that took a slight deflection, but it was well saved by the keeper on 55 minutes. Eden could have had one too shortly afterwards, when Michy knocked it on to him but his fellow Belgian had made his run just too soon and was caught offside. Tenacious Double D had his fair share of long range shots today too, but his range was off and the all seemed to be hooked to the right.
Rafa, who I don’t care about to the extent that I am never going to waste my time singing about him, tried to inject a now lacklustre Newcastle with some of the will to live by beginning his substitutions. It didn’t help. Hazard strung together a couple of good corners that were well defended, but they had little inspiration in the way of going forward. On 70 minutes Zappacosta won a free kick in prime Alonso territory. TDD, Cahill and Pesto (f*ck off autospell) all stuffed themselves in the wall and ducked at the right moment, leaving the way clear for Marcos to thump one of his specials into the top corner. Never in doubt. 3-0.
Barkley got his home debut and both Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi got a runout as the clock ran out. Ampadu played a blinding ball forward for Pesto, but it just ran off the end of his foot when he brought it down. Hudson-Odoi made a couple of strong runs across the middle of the field, weaving in and out of the barcodes in the little time that he had. Newcastle weren't shit. They weren't very potent but there was an utter lack of conviction about them in the second half that made the winding up of this game a formality. Michy did a fair amount of ball-hogging in the closing minutes, desperate for a third goal. The only man in the place screaming for him to miss was shortarse (special alias) who had a bet on 3-0, the first one he's placed for 20 odd years. The nappy sh*tters behind us had moved on to TDD now. He's sh*t too. Apparently. He was far better than the last time we saw him today.
Refwatch: Kevin Not-My-Friend. Didn't even notice the linesman flagging offside in the first half but mercifully anonymous. It’s amazing how good jobbers like him have started to look since we have seen the impact of the Virtual W*nk Puppets.
So: Another match won, despite the Lord of the Flies rhetoric in the red rags. Well done Michy, back that up on Wednesday with another good showing and you’ll be giving Conte a little bit more to think about. None of the drama about this round that we endured in the Norwich tie. Draw is tomorrow evening, and let’s hope for something interesting. Apart from the announcement of two Roma players I would really like to enjoy blissful silence coming out of the Chelsea press room this week, so we can all concentrate on football instead.
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1
Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg
Wednesday 24th January 2018 20:00
A second trip to L'Arse this month for a competition named after an animal I didn't even know existed until they slapped it on a can of energy drink that tastes of piss. I figure I will just bash the Goons as much as I can in the next 3000 thousand words because it will make us feel better.
In the News: I'd not be doing my job properly if I didn't start by savaging Ronaldo. Who took the physio's phone out so he could check out his reflection after he picked up an injury at the weekend. You're still vain and over-tanned. And your cemented down hair has still not moved since the last time you looked. Because you weren't hit with a sledgehammer. You're just a bit dirtier than usual. The yoof are the only academy left in the EFL Cup after smashing Oxford to make the semi-finals. Watford sacking Silva because he looked at another girl (Everton) and then trashing her online might actually surpass some of our manager dismissals. But they are basically the two whiniest clubs in the league so it is to be expected. And they are welcome to each other. The Daily Fail's "Three Wise Men" have been at it again. Chris Sutton has been waffling about what a big hole Hazard is going to leave behind when he goes. He is that uninformed about what is going on in the world of football right now that he is writing articles (supposedly it's him) about things that haven't even happened. Redknapp Jr. says that Sanchez was born to play for United because he can handle pressure. I'd argue that he was under pressure at Arsenal seeing as they never win anything meaningful, and that they still didn't win anything meaningful even after he was proclaimed the Messiah. He walked away from that pressure. He also walked away from the pressure at Barcelona when it meant trying to win a place in the team. Not to mention he couldn't handle the faintest bit of pressure on the back of his leg from JT when he went to the floor like he'd been felled by a rampant wildebeest in 2012. And Phil Neville has been called out for making funny funny jokes about beating his wife. Speaking of, for those that so kindly contributed to our charity drive for women and children at a domestic violence shelter near CFC for Christmas, whose lives have been wrecked by it, do head over to my twitter feed to see the thank-yous and cards we've been sent by some of the children and their mothers. Maybe Phil should look too before he makes a joke like that again.
Transfer B*llocks: Dzeko isn't Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Ashley Barnes or Emile Heskey, so I'll take him. I think we're determined to spunk money this month to stop Conte from spontaneously combusting in a press conference, regardless of whether he intends to stay in the summer or not. (Hence why we are sniffing out someone on the cheap) So the other Edin is the lesser of all evils. In the meantime the nonsense names continue to spring up - we're on to Slimani now. I love that the bellends in the media seem to have one criteria for linking us with a striker. Is he big? Does he jump? Do it! Write that sh*t up! Re: the two Roma players, we're still talking, but it isn't done yet. (Blue Squirrel)
Mrs Brown (sitcom alias) sent me a text before kick off:
"Uninspiring stat coming out of Roma. Dzeko has scored only twice in his last 17 games.
Me: He'll fit right in with us then.
Happily he scored tonight.
After long being linked with the Toon, Kenedy has departed north on loan. Would Conte be letting a left-sided player go without a replacement being lined up/a shoe-in to arrive? I think not. If we are to trust the Red Swarm, which of course would make us stupider than leaders of nuclear powers baiting each other on twitter, we're not the only ones having spasms of desperation. Whinger is apparently so desperate for a proper defender/to get rid of Mertesacker that he's willing to pay £25m for Jonny Evans. Who's 30. And not that good.
And so it begins. Pogba wants his wages doubled to £450k a week because Sanchez's pay packet is going to be so disproportionate to everyone else's. United are morons. Not to mention irresponsible. They've made their bed so now they can lie in it, while we laugh at them. They've joined a gang previously only populated by desperado clubs from the Chinese League who would offer you enough money to feed a small nation to go and play for them. We would have to buy Andy Carroll for something in the region of £80m to match their stupidity. Speaking of stupidity, I love Sanchez's claim about always supporting United. He's obviously been to the Robbie Keane school of bullsh*t for newly signed players. They've even photoshopped an old picture of him to convince us all. Alexis's love is clearly fickle, as it took three times the amount he is worth in wages to get him there when he was a gnat's fart away from signing for their biggest rivals. Meanwhile back at Arsenal, Whinger's obliviousness to his own plight will never die, and it will never cease to be hilarious. He can't understand why anyone would ever want to leave L'Arse. Because of you, Arsene, you fool, because of you.
The Others: There's nowt so good as laughing at the misfortune of those you can't stand. Harry f*cking Kane (not possible to say it without inserting the swearword) could do nothing to orchestrate a win against Southampton, whilst at the other end a teenage debutant could have nicked all of the points for the Saints. And Klippity Klopp is being touted as the Robin Hood of the Premier League - robbing points from the rich (City) to give to the poor (Swansea) Carragher has warned the the red gits that Virgil Van Dijk is not capable of fixing their shambolic defence on his own. Something everyone else figured out while they were bouncing around after signing him telling everybody that next year going to be their year. Meanwhile in this competition, how you can laud City as the most incredible team ever seen, anywhere, when they conceded two goals against Bristol City is beyond me. A spirited performance from the underdogs but nonetheless Pep and his prima donnas are through to the final.
Them: No Sanchez, ahahahaha. No but seriously, it looked like the first team. But I can't be sure because all of them just blend into one big red and white blur of wasted potential.
Us: Still no Cesc, and no Morata either. Big Willy would always have started I think tonight, and in front of him Conte had heeded Hazard's cry and gone all out. The Belgian started up front with Willian and Pesto (yawn, autospell), and behind them was much as we would have anticipated. Someone near us complained that Barkley didn't start. He's got no match fitness, bellend, and it's a cup semi final. This will become ironic as this article goes on, because this idiot said a lot more about Ross Barkley as the night went on.
The Goons would not shut up about their prematch light show. It basically consisted of turning lights on and off a lot and playing a selection of mid-90s dance music over the tannoy. Still a load of empty seats, despite that half a*sed effort. And it wasn't Norwich's fault this time. And so we began, with Shorta*se (special alias) threatening to hold up his little homemade A4 sign that read, "Hazard, can I have 1% of your wages?" Can’t blame a guy for trying.
Let's face it we needed to do something different than the last two times we'd played them and happily we started pressing straight away. The first shot fell to Bakayoko and it deflected out for a corner in the fourth minute. The less said about what happened next the better. A minute later we'd had a goal chalked off as offside, and this was already a better start than any of our recent outings against these muppets. So far their biggest cheer had come when they won a tackle.
Moments later we were ahead when Pesto put the ball through to Eden and he banged it into the bottom left corner. Then it was like they suddenly started participating in the game. Nine minutes in and we required heroics from Big Willy, who nearly managed to break himself in the process. There was some panic. "I don't even know what Eduardo looks like." This from a genius in front of us. I'm sure he rates you highly too. By the end of the night Janice (muppet alias) and I were suppressing the urge to rip the cushions out of our seats and smother him with them. The idiot. Not Eduardo.
The Goons continued to come at us and the f*ckers got a lucky deflection. An own goal. Dammit. In general tonight was not Rudi’s finest hour, but that was unlucky. They’d literally only participated in about a minute of the game so far. And their fans were giving it like they had actually opened their mouths before the moment that ricocheted in. Greatest team the world has ever seen, they whined. Not sang. This is a Goon phenomena that's an octave higher than at any other football ground and the more hysterical they get the more it reaches a pitch that only dogs can hear.
Then we were pressing again. On twenty minutes we sent an effort across the face of goal. Everything was happening down the other end, as we were attacking, so we amused ourselves with "He left cos you're sh*t" and Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay.” Then our night began to fall apart. On 26 minutes. Willian pulled up. (all of these times are rough again, because of the pretentious b*stardry of them running their clocks backwards because they think they are intellectually and morally superior to everyone else in football) And then he limped off. That threw us a bit. Being the spoilsport w*nkers they are the Goons just passed it round aimlessly and wouldn't let it go out of play. From the away end came cries of
We've got Ross Barkley
We've got Ross Barkley
He left the Scouse
Cos they robbed his house
We've got Ross Barkley
For clarity going forward, the singers included the idiot in front of me and a gobsh*te behind. You need to remember this.
All the flow had gone out of our game and it took a few minutes before we settled down again and resumed pressing. With five minutes of the half to go they'd had 38% possession. They'd literally cheered twice. Once for the tackle and once for the own goal. Obviously Captain Jack had done a lot of whinging too but his voice is annoying and nobody f*cking cared. Also because he's a moaning little runt version of Rooney. Both sides were just faffing towards half time now. Apart from a brief goal mouth scramble on our part little happened until injury time when they had a shot blocked. I sh*t you not, gobsh*te and the bloke in front were already moaning at half time that Ross Barkley hadn't done anything. After a ropey opening few touches he had been fine. I am so tired of this incessant negativity, I can't even tell you. Literally go f*ck yourselves. With a rusty claw hammer.
The first surge forward in the second half was entirely fuelled by Bakayoko, but our first real break came on 50 minutes with Hazard rampaging up the pitch; the ball just running away from him. They'd had the brighter start, but how Mustafi didn't get booked for tapping Eden's heel when he was scampering away towards the goal was mortifying. It was dead in front of me. F*ck what the replay and the W*nk Puppets say. The play was pretty end to end as the game continued, but they looked more dynamic. Pesto, as he does, faded as time progressed, and barring a barn storming run from Hazard, the only other person who tried to take the ball and propel us forward with any venom was Ross Barkley. Almost all of the balls he played went up the pitch. Not sideways or back towards Big Willy. They were different balls too. He definitely gives Antonio more options with his style of play.
Then the tossers scored again. Yes, those gits that call us classless but boo their former players and accuse everyone else of cheating when they fall down easier than Bertie the kitten with all four of his paws tied together. Granit f*cking Xhaka. Whose parents are so imaginative that they named him after a rock. Where have all these Goons come from? Suddenly you couldn’t hear yourself think for all of the smug gittery. Pesto could have fashioned a shot from a great position straight afterwards, but he just chipped it high and it floated to Ospina. Obviously there's always the chance he'd drop it like a dickhead, but no joy this time. On the touchline Michy was getting ready to come on. No pressure. We just looked ropey now, and I think we went about five minutes without touching the ball. Pesto made way for the Batman on 64 minutes, and we were just getting frustrated now.
Ospina is nearly as sh*t as the Red Scouse’s two clown keepers and we were just not putting him under any pressure. We weren’t getting anywhere near him. Let’s get Refwatch out of the way. Michael Oliver with Neil Swarbrick as his Virtual W*nk Puppet. Is this because nobody trusts Swarbrick to run around on a football pitch anymore? Because he's been saddled with this crap at least three times already. Actually there are TWO Virtual W*nk Puppets now. Mick McDonogh, whoever that is. Just to muddy the waters of sanity a bit more. Thankfully they had little to do with tonight’s game. Much like Mesut Özil, most of the time they got paid for doing nothing. Oliver was OK. Pointedly looking the other way when they kicked the ball away and ignoring the odd foul were about the extent of his transgressions. But his ferrety face annoys me.
Zappacosta came on for Moses on 72 minutes. As good a shout as any, I suppose, as Victor had done little of note in the second half. But in truth, plan A was foiled by Willian’s injury, plan B didn’t pay off tonight and there was no plan C. It just didn’t look like it was going to happen. I don’t know what’s sadder, the fact that every time Ospina takes a goal kick they do a building shout of his name like he’s special; or the fact that when they do it he lifts his hand up to them as if to say: “that’s my name.”
By now idiot and the gobsh*te had collapsed into paroxysms of f*ckwittery. “Barkley doesn’t look fit.” And: “Barkley is sh*t, I don’t know why we bothered.” He was not sh*t by any stretch of the imagination. And of course he didn’t look fit. He hadn’t played a proper game of football for 248 days. That was May 2017. At no point was it part of the plan to give him an hour of football tonight. He was understandably blowing out of his a*se towards the end of the second half, and no, it was not because he is sh*t. It’s because he had to step up do too much too soon. I don’t think there were enough claw hammers to go round tonight. In the 86th minute I had all but lost the will to live on account of these two and because it seemed that we just didn’t have it in us now to come back and equalise. It was not to be our night. Barkley won us a free kick in Marcos territory, but the second half was summed up when the ball flew over the bar, soared past me and landed somewhere in Islington. Where I presume one of the locals stole it.
So: As soon as Willian went off the plan was f*cked. There was no like for like change to be made that would continue the same dynamic, which was working quite well. We had a good go up till half time, tried when the game resumed, then muddled along for a bit, but after they scored we just ran out of ideas. I can’t have a go at Batshuayi, it’s not like he got much service. Bakayoko was much, much better tonight. So the nappy sh*tters went hell for leather at another target. Some of the effluence about Barkley was as ignorant as it was petty. Mostly coming from entitled brats who forget that up till tonight we were on an unbeaten run of a dozen games. Jermaine Penis fanned the flames on TV; said Ross has to do more and that he needs to take responsibility. After watching him play his first hour of football in a cup semi final after an eight month hiatus. I like the comedic value of this, because on his best day, that gap-toothed moron wouldn't have touched Barkley as a player. It’s why his career whimpered away to nothing.
Alex is going to be the voice of reason: Let's not sh*t a brick. First time we’ve lost in ages. Yes, it's frustrating because it was a semi final. Yes, if Willian hadn't gone off and we hadn't had to improvise instead of playing the game we planned, I think we could have won it. And yes, we fell off in the second half and were once again flaccid against the worst Arsenal side in years. But. Put yourself, if you can stomach it, in their retro 1930s shirts and poncey, highly polished, metrosexual brogues (with pointed toes) for a moment. They're saddled with Whinger, who isn't going to leave unless he's dragged out by security or carried out in a body bag. We have a first team player that wasn't out of nappies when they last won the league. And as for Europe, it will be at least September 2019 before they hear the strains of the Champions League hymn again. Unless they're watching it on TV and sulking. And we don't have to watch Lacazette every week knowing that we once thought of him as a world class footballer who was going to set our club on fire. Let them have their Carabao Piss Cup final. They're singing about being the greatest football team the world has ever seen because they won by an own goal and are about to go to Wembley and get violated by City. And it is literally the only thing in life they have got to look forward to. Happy days.