Chelsea 3 Swansea City 1
Saturday 25th February 2017 15:00 (Yes I sh*t you not, a three o'clock on a Saturday)
Alex 1, Cocktail Menu 0. This might be quite sweary. Especially when it comes to Claudio.
In the News: On Thursday my friend's lovely dad admonished me when I spent the whole of night utilising Facebook to mock Sp*rs. (That's right. I just used the word admonished after half a bottle of gin. It can only go downhill from here) He said I was belittling another team's misfortune and it was not a reflection of the decent person I am. Firstly, bless him for having a better opinion of me than most people and secondly, it caused me to spend a long time (about five minutes) contemplating his remark and evaluating myself as a human being. Then I decided to spend the opening part of my blog belittling another team's misfortune.
It's Oscar weekend in Tinseltown, and the award for Most Convincing Death Scene goes to... R*ttenham Hotspur. Not since Leonardo Di Caprio wafted beneath the waves in Titanic (Best Picture, 1997) has anyone sunk with quite so much conviction as they did at Wembley on Thursday night. That game was the best European event since Munich. Harry F*cking Kane (try saying it without swearing) scoring at the wrong end, the petulant, cheating little f*ckmuppet sent off, out of Europe on their ar*e after another humiliation at Wembley. All it would have taken to make it perfect would have been Danny Rose falling down some stairs in the corporate area and a sandwich trolley running over his leg and severing it at the knee. The crowning glory for me? The completely gormless manner in which a broken Eric Dier watched their European hopes and dreams go bobbling into the back of their own net with the last Gent goal. Blinding.
But sod the Oscars for a moment, the Golden Raspberry for Worst Villain this year goes to the wieners (auto spell altered this from owners, I thought it was bang on) of Leicester City. Urgh where to start. If Chelsea fans are criticising your managerial employment policy you know you have plummeted to shocking depths. Not since Ancelotti was sacked after winning the double has the Premier League witnessed anything quite heartless as the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri at East Midlands airport this week. I say none of this lightly after we, as Chelsea fans, paid to watch a similar nine month capitulation last season. I think ours was more complex than what is happening at Leicester. I will buy that it would hurt to lose someone of the calibre of Kante to a certain extent, but not one that would cause this. Losing Kante does not dunk you from top of the league to the relegation zone come March. Neither does a manager the calibre of Claudio suddenly become incapable of doing his job. The fact is that nobody is to blame for their plight, (and let’s be clear, this is not the fact that they are now numerically incapable of retaining the title, but the embarrassing notion that they don’t appear to give a sh*t that they are in a relegation fight) more than their sulky, underperforming and lacklustre players, slothing round like the world owes them a living. Alan Shearer summed it up on MOTD when he said that Leicester players need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask: Have I given this manager absolutely everything? Have I done all that I can? (I’m paraphrasing because I’m slightly drunk) The answer is a categorical no for almost all of them. For some of them, that they would even contemplate answering in the affirmative is downright insulting. Mahrez and Vardy, despite the latter’s suspiciously literate bleating on social media, can both put themselves in that category. But for me, this shamefulness is epitomised by the total reversal from hero to flat out zero that is Wes Morgan. He would struggle to get into a Championship side at present. I’ve not seen anyone look so completely underserving of his place on a football pitch since... since... well since the last time that fat sh*t Charlie Adam came to Stamford Bridge. As a group they should be utterly, utterly ashamed.
Ranieri said that tenth this year would be an amazing result for Leicester. In all of this, he appears to have been the only person in the vicinity of the King Plonker Stadium with a realistic grasp on what his club should be aiming for this season. Everyone else seems as clueless as the twats who nominated 127 Hours for a Best Picture Oscar in 2010. Because watching James Franco drink his own piss felt like 127 hours of pain and made me want to saw MY arm off. The timing is a total slap in the face too, apparently letting him put them within spitting distance of the Champions League Quarter Finals and knowing you were going to f*ck him off. In response Ranieri said: “yesterday my dream died.” Walk away with your head held high Claudio. Perhaps you should have walked at Christmas and left the ungrateful f*ckers to it. You gave them the impossible and they crapped on you. You deserve better. Leicester’s players completely deserve to be exactly where they are, as did most of ours when we when we were in a similar position last season. The difference is, they had a level headed human being in charge and not a borderline sociopath making reckless and stupid decisions at the helm. More fool them for casting him out. After a conversation with Chidge, of Fancast fame, it has been ordained that any Leicester players who it transpires may have got on the phone to their owners and bleated about the manager are henceforth to be referred to as “spunktrumpets." And in the words of Mowgli (special alias) “F*ck ‘em. We cheered them on at Stamford Bridge when they won the Premiership. They returned the love by bricking your coaches.”
There will follow a short interlude because I can't stop laughing at the sight of Mowgli and Beaker (muppet alias) on the dance floor reenacting the finale of Dirty Dancing. (Oscar for Best Original Song, 1988) After being forced to by self and Spaguin (another special alias) please talk amongst yourselves...
Ahhh. HWWNBN. Doing a better impression of someone with a limited grip on reality than Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind (Best Picture, 2001) I think you could hear the high pitched shriek of anguish from a ridiculously overpriced hotel in Manchester that has been trying to get rid of him since August when that Europa League draw was made. United have to make a long arse trip to Sodoffsville four days before our cup game. To a place that is literally struggling to even BE in Europe. (Insert canned laughter here) Of course when asked for a comment about Ranieri he tried to make it all about him, proving that mentally he will always reside in La La Land, much to the amusement of everyone else.
In other snippets - Being a Palace fan must be as depressing as The Revenant (nominated, Best Picture, 2015) Either that or we are back to James Franco sawing off his own arm again. They can at least chuckle at this: Fat Sam (nominated, Golden Raspberry for Stealing a Living 2017) laments their position and says the players don’t listen to him. Presumably if you took the gum out of your mouth they might have a better chance of understand what the f*ck you are going on about.
The Others: None of the nearest rivals played. And really, until they get any closer to us, who gives a crap?
Our Game: Standard lineup for us - with the exception of Fabregas coming into the starting eleven for Matic. Appears to be no fall out morale wise after Costa spent most of Thursday at Cobham recruiting teammates to help him try and wedge Eden Hazard into a cardboard box. Surprised Daily Fail and red tops have not manufactured squad crisis more over the top than mansion shootout in Django Unchained (nominated, Best Picture, 2012) and speculated imminent Chinese departures in wake of box-gate. Anticipate these are being held back for a very slow news day.
Within four minutes we’d already carved Swansea open several times, and every time we broke they looked like they might fold. After 19 minutes Fabregas won the ball in midfield and carried on his run. A Pesto (f*ck off auto spell) pass bobbled in front of him and he jumped on the opportunity to put us ahead. By the half hour mark it almost had a training game feel about it. Swansea didn’t exactly seem enthused about trying to get back into it and we appeared content to operate at about 80% knowing that any break and we'd have a go at another goal. We had a couple more half chances. On 43 minutes Pesto tried to take on Hazard for goal of the season by taking on half the Swansea side and it almost paid off. Apparently the away side mustered one shot off target, but if you have me a grand I couldn't tell you when that was. So you know what is coming, right? There had only been one team in it, so of course we conceded right on the stroke of half time. It was a stunning ball in from Sigurdsson, but we had declined to mark a monstrous forward, the only forward they had, and Llorente coasted onto the end of the free kick to head it in.
At half time we finally got to bid a proper farewell to Frank Lampard at the Bridge, and the stands were rightly packed. Mowgli reckons he was in and out of the bog in thirty seconds. My guess is he didn’t wash his hands. Verbatim, Frank said:
“All I want to say is, that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye properly, for whatever reason, and I always regretted that, and I want to thank the club for giving me the chance to do that. Most importantly I want to thank all of you, everybody. Thank you, thank you. All my special memories of this place, and I feel them all right now, are our memories together and I couldn’t have done it without you, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you very much, thank you.”
The second half was initially frustrating. Just after the break Hazard muscled his way into the box and we rattled the crossbar a few minutes later, but these were isolated flashes. It was so complacent that we were almost Arsenal-like at times; all that naff flicking it about on the premise that without actually fighting we would prevail. Happily it didn’t last. Another great ball forward from Cesc, Pesto turns and hits it perfectly but shocking goalkeeping as Flappihandski fully justifies his nickname with a brainfart as inexplicable as three consecutive Kevin Costner films being nominated for Best Picture. (Name them without using the internet and might give you a Cadbury’s cream egg).
Swansea fans will swear that they should have had a penalty at 1-1 for a ball that struck Dave’s hand. I couldn’t see past the bloke standing up in front of me but they are blatantly wrong. Which brings me to Refwatch: We had Neil Swarbrick today and I had nothing bad to say about him in the first half. He just seemed to be in the way a lot. But by the 75th minute, in the words of Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, (nominated, Best Supporting Actor, 2009) he'd gone full retard. He spent twenty minutes randomly blowing his whistle and awarding free kicks in favour of whoever happened to be lying on the floor. The female lino was the only one who knew what was going on by that point, which shouldn't surprise anyone as we are always right. Oh, and apparently her opposite number was from Swansea. I'd mock PGMOL for this decision, but I heard that after Twattenburg said he was leaving because he doesn't get enough high profile games they sent him to Pulis at West Brom this weekend. Well played sirs, well played.
Having taken the lead, bringing on Matic was a complete no brainer. My only criticism of Pesto all afternoon is that he could have walked off a lot slower. Swansea made some substitutions but I was too busy monitoring a cash out on Bet365 to notice who went off or came on. It did not turn the tide. Five minutes from time Hazard made the run on the left and crossed it into Diego, thus completely scuppering the feud-on-account-of-box-gate headlines planned for next week. Five Swansea defenders decided they had better things to do than mark Costa and he struck a difficult ball with style to send us eleven points clear at the top of the league and end his miniature drought. Much to the dismay of Scouse Sports News who have been counting the minutes since his last goal as gleefully as Francis Ford Coppola when The Godfather Part III somehow got nominated for an Oscar.
So: I feel like had we kept at them like we started the game, we could have smashed them in the first half. But we didn’t, and we could have ended up paying for it. Swansea were by no means awful. I actually have respect for them coming down and not doing a Pulis, I haven't seen their fixture list but they should be OK I think. It’s another game down and another three points. Over to everyone else now, but things are looking good for us to pick up a much shinier trophy than a naked little gold man.
Speaking of full retard, we might have to redesignate Marlene as Trigger II. This was a conversation outside Metrobank:
“That’s Alec Stewart”
“I don’t know who that is. I’m going to google him to see what he looks like.”
“Or you could just look at him. He’s standing over there.”
*Photo of Pesto and Cesc lip-synching "My Heart Will Go On" (Best Original Song, 1997) comes from Chelsea's official Instagram page.
FA Cup 5th Round: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Chelsea 2 (Eventually)
Saturday 18th February 2017 17:30
In the News: Clattenburg has jacked in his real job to take a tax free £1m a year in the middle of the desert. But it's all about the next generation of referees and making a difference. Honest. Klopp has blamed the lack of a winter break for the Mickey Mousers' collapse in the title race. I blame the fact that they are f*cking hilarious and couldn't beat Swansea. Or Hull.
The Others: Who'd have thought you could have so much fun with European football when you're not in it. (As HWWNBN keeps reminding us, even though he is largely the one responsible) Always nice to see Farca get a thrashing. L'Equipe gave Messi 2/10, for he had not a single touch in the PSG box. For the record, Klopp, he did have a winter break and it didn't do him any favours. Marca actually refused to rate eight of the blue and red striped f*ckmuppets, which was about half as amusing as Sp*rs getting turned over by a mid-table Belgian side. God bless gallant little Belgium. And their fantastic chocolate. Always the icing on the cake too when Alli ends up flailing round when he doesn't get his own way, like an ASBO teenager who's had more than a whiff of White Lightning, and ends up in the book too. Have that you petulant, diving little sh*tc*nt. I also had a giggle at Howard Webb, "live from the match truck". Which I swear is parked somewhere in a Slough industrial estate because the cheapskates at BT won't fly him out to sit with the prima donnas.
But. If all those things marginally amused me, I actually shed tears of laughter watching L’Arse. There are very few days when I want to sit and watch the post match analysis of an Arsenal game in minute detail. Wednesday, however, was one of them. I know if we were better people we'd mind our own business and not gloat. But I'm definitely not a better person. In fact I'm three gins down and this is like when you drive past a smash up on the M25 and you think, morally, you'd be more likely to go to heaven if you didn't gawp at the carnage, but you just can't help rubbernecking at the fender bender. And so priceless moment #1. Whinger said that Arsenal had the advantage of playing the second leg at home. It's not an advantage if you get willingly violated like Phil Thompson at an Anfield gangbang in the away leg beforehand. Priceless moment #2. Rio Ferdinand, despite having seen Arsenal play with about 20% possession in the first half, invoking all four of his brain cells, gormlessly waxes lyrical about how this time Arsenal look like they might have the measure of Bayern Munich. Before they concede a truckload of goals and go down with more conviction than the Titanic if she'd been weighed down with Steve Bruce's arse. It’s a good job Rio only has one facial expression, (Baffled and confused) because it was fully utilised after the game. Perhaps I'm about to be too harsh. They did lose Koscielny after all, who appears to be the only Arsenal player with a set of testicles/any fight in him. (I exempt Cech, obviously, because I don't really class him as an Arsenal player and perhaps Oxlade-Chamberlain, though if only he had the talent or the footballing brain to go with his gonads) And Bayern had some neat tricks up their sleeves that Arsene couldn't have prepared his hapless dickheads for. I mean who wouldn't have been completely flummoxed (Awesome word) by the notion of Robben cutting in on his left foot. This is sarcasm. Because that was about as shocking as another wedding announcement from Katie Price. For the first time in my life I agreed with Roy the Reluctant, (Keane) who treats each punditry outing like he is about to have root canal. When Kieran Gibbs is wearing your captain's armband away at Bayern in the knockout stages of the Champions League, you are most heinously f*cked.
I took Pep apart a few weeks ago, therefore it is only fair that Arsene gets it with both barrels this time. Because though things looked decidedly depressing for the Goons at this point, they were not out of the competition yet. It was 1-1. Cometh the hour, cometh the manager. Or not. Four minutes after their captain went off, they were behind. Even this need not have been the end of the world. You hold 2-1, you moron. Because then you only have to win 1-0 at home. Your fans don't care if it's not pretty, they just want not to be humiliated again. They just don’t want to have every Chelsea fan they know ripping them apart like jackals in the office on Thursday morning. For the love of God, Arsene, we hear them cry, just show some common f*cking sense. Marlene (sitcom alias) sent me a text at this point. “He's just too f*cking proud to make an intelligent footballing decision.” Happily for all of us, this was exactly the case after the whole fixture started caving in around the Goons’ ears. Instead of damage limitation. Whinger brings on Walcott and Giroud at 4-1. This confirmed for me that he has actually lost his mind. This was the football managerial equivalent of that episode of South Park when Mel Gibson goes bonkers and runs around taking dumps on car bonnets in his Braveheart makeup shouting KABLAAAAAR!
@TalkOfTheBridge pointed out on Twatter: Ozil cost more than Hazard, Xhaka (lol, just L O L) cost more than Kante and Mustafi cost more than Luiz, but Arsenal apparently don't have the spending power to compete which is why they are a mess. No, say I. They are a mess because Wenger should have bowed out after the FA Cup win in 2014. I'm not going to laud the good things he has done for their club, because it will make me sick in my mouth, but they exist. The fact is though that at 67 he has nothing new to offer Arsenal, and if they are going to progress as a club he needs to step down sooner rather than later. The world of the football manager has evolved. It is no longer the vestige of the old bloke shuffling up and down the touchline imparting decades of wisdom. Conte, Eddie Howe, Sean Dyche are prime examples of the dynamic, flexible, relentless approach now needed at the top level. It's why Van Gaal looked like a turkey who'd stumbled into Bernard Matthews's garden throughout his United tenure. Wenger's already degraded his legacy somewhat and if he waits to be pushed it will take it apart. It was quite sad to see him incoherently waffling on in his post match interview. He looks like a sad puppy. If it's not the manager that gets angry, fine, but then someone on his staff needs to be a monster if necessary. Everything about Arsenal from Wenger down is just listless. They are football beige and it all emanates from their manager. Don’t worry. My sympathy lasted for about a second. Then I poured myself a gin, because that football beating was worthy of a toast. £8.3m a year. That is what Wenger apparently earns. They can give me 1/10th of that to act like a delusion f*cktard and deliberately sabotage all attempts by Arsenal to win anything, then come out and talk gibberish afterwards. I will bite their hand off. And buy myself a unicorn. And proudly ride it into the Emirates car park every morning and park it in my awesome personalised space. This might actually be the best job in the world. I could have them down in the National League in five years. Success indeed by Wenger’s current standards.
Our Game: Was f*cking awful. Begovic, Zouma, Ake, JT, Fabregas and Chalobah retained the chance to start in the cup run after the last round, whilst Ruben and Michy dropped onto bench. The game started at breakneck speed, and after a bumptious start from the home side, we looked as if we were going to settle down into our rhythm. This did not happen. It was shoddy, lacklustre and frustrating. Any final ball into the box was as flaccid as an octogenarian with a dodgy ticker. Wolves’ fluffy little tails were up, we continued our Burnley trend of giving the ball away. I’ve had more enjoyable afternoons being dragged around the abyss that is IKEA in Croydon. Everything went down the middle. Everything went up in the air, despite our inability to win a header against the home defence. In the first 45 minutes we applied about as much effective pressure on Wolves as me trying to push a Sherman tank along when my little finger.
If the first half was like being dragged against my will around IKEA, then the beginning of the second half was like being dragged against my will around IKEA with period pains. Finally, after 55 minutes we appeared to work out that we were not winning anything in the air and that we should try a short corner. Finally, we appeared to realise that going down the middle had not worked once and started playing it out wide. Wolves had got really deep, but we were still too hapless to do much about it until the 65th minute when Willian sent it across the box and found a completely unmarked Pesto. (F*ck off autospell) With what was basically our first header of the game he scored. This was like the moment in IKEA when you finally get through that wretched sodding marketplace and realise that there is actually an exit. And hotdogs. Shoring up was required. Dave came on, as did Kante. I thought my ears deceived me on the 78th minute when the guy behind me shouted “get into it Cesc.” Today, Fabregas was about as magical as Harry Potter with his wand snapped in half. This guy would have had a better chance of getting a quarter pounder to moo again by giving it the kiss of life at Molyneux. Never fear, Costa was there to save the day, pouncing on a loose ball in the box in the 89th minute to seal the result. (Our Costa, not theirs, who pulled a face like someone had scored a money shot in his eye every time a decision went against him) This was like when you finally emerge back out of IKEA after four days in captivity. Thank. Christ.
So: This wasn't winning ugly. That doesn't cover it. This was winning Iain Dowie. We rode our luck today. A lot. Wolves will feel hard done by not least on account of ex-Chelsea man George Saville smacking the woodwork. It’s hard to pick out individuals as having been atrocious today. The “fringe” youngsters were not at all at fault. Ake was exceptional at times, Chalobah deserves to be dry-humped one by one by the whole of the away support for a brilliant tackle in the box with the result still in the balance that could have ended up with a penalty being awarded against us if he had fluffed his lines. I can’t recall Zouma putting a foot wrong. The composition of the back three changed a few times throughout the evening, and JT was the constant holding it together, (and getting about as arsey as we were about how slow everything was) but on the whole as a team we didn’t gel together at all well, and we very nearly came unstuck. Too many changes against too strong opposition. Huge sigh of relief, Sutton in the next round please. I'm donning my yellow beanie now ready for Monday night and opening my living room window so I can hear the glorious live sound of the Goons capitulating. Again.
*Photo of Costa comes from the official Chelsea instagram feed
Burnley 1 Chelsea 1
Sunday 12th February 2017 13:30
I didn't think that football life could get any bleaker than Middlesborough away. I forgot about Burnley. For those who were lucky enough to occupy an armchair for this one, it looks like someone rounded up every dump that's ever been squatted in or shat on by a tramp or a junkie and plonked it on the side of a grim hill at the a*se end of the world. Sprinkle with slush, populate with largely inbreeds, turn the wind up, add a dash of damp and blast-chill for 200 years, then ignore conclusions and basic human rights learned of Industrial Revolution (such as electric lighting in public toilets) and, ta-da! Burnley. If a serial killer was looking for an anonymous, godforsaken hole in which to lurk, where nobody would want to go looking for him, even if they knew he was there, because they just couldn't face venturing inside, this would be it.
I was so sh*tfaced last Saturday night after L'Arse that I can barely remember how I got home. I got a match report up, somehow, but completely forgot to say anything about Frank Lampard. In fact at the time I don’t think I knew who Frank Lampard was. This by way of an offering to eulogise a phenomenal career and a smashing pair of thighs…
People are saying plenty about the obvious moments, so I thought I’d mention a few of my random favourites. His 400th appearance is one of my “off the beaten track” favourite Frank moments. At home to Stoke City in January 2009. We had been dogsh*t. Delap had chipped Cech and things were looking pretty ragged under Scolari (again) with less than five minutes to go. Never again (probably) will an equaliser (Beletti) against Stoke mean so much. But deep into injury time Frank lashed it in from the edge of the area and we actually took the three points. The roof was almost lifted off Stamford Bridge. It was a glowing example of everything he could make happen. Something out of nothing. Of course there was the Tambling record at Villa Park, but less than two months after that Stoke game, Scolari was on his way to managing a team of goat-herders in Uzbekistan and Guus Hiddink was watching on at Villa having stepped in. It was not sexy football. Anelka put us ahead after twenty odd minutes and we spent the rest of the match praying we didn’t eff it up and let the lead slip. It felt never-ending. We’d just about hit injury time and in truth, all we wanted someone to do was stand in the corner till the whistle went. Frank did better. In the dying seconds of the game he flung himself on the floor in front of the away fans. Probably not a foul, but it was given. What makes it one of my favourite Frank moments is that he got up about two foot away from us and was fist-pumping along with the fans at having got away with it. Those three poxy points in Birmingham meant as much to him as it did to any of us. “We can't say we're back,” he said after the game. “But this was a little bit of the old Chelsea, the old spirit and the way we used to play. You could see the commitment of the lads, the never-say-die attitude. We need to keep that going.” As a model professional we were privileged to witness a decade of that commitment and spirit from Frank Lampard. The last of my random Frank moments, also from 2009, but December in our double-winning season, was the penalty incident at Upton Park. Three times they made him take it. Three times he stuck it to the pikeys. Mentally a beast when it came to moments like that.
I’m sad he pulled on a City shirt for a bit, but only because I think events conspired to mean he didn’t get the send-off he deserved from us. It doesn’t take one thing away from what he was to Chelsea in my opinion, as he’d earned the right to go wherever he pleased, but it would certainly be apt now for him to get the recognition he deserves, to his face, at Stamford Bridge. Then he can get on TV and do something about elbowing the red mafia off our TV screens.
Looking at just some of the things Frank was good at: I mentioned last week that Alonso’s awareness in following balls into the box has already netted him a couple of goals, and that, allowing for the fact that he’s coming from a more defensive position, this is the first time we’ve had someone nail this consistently since Frank left. Willian and Hazard have shown a great ability to hit the top corner from long range. Every now and again Moses or Fabregas will track back and put a blinding tackle in. Frank did it nigh on every week. And as for leadership - we’d be lucky to have a Captain in the next ten years who had as much impact as Frank did as JT’s second. When you have to pick attributes from half a dozen players in our current side, who are rampant at the top of the league right now, to make one Lampard, it tells you what a one-off he was. The word “legend” is banded about far too frequently these days, but Frank Lampard is the footballing equivalent of a David Bowie and you’re not going to see another one of him in a Chelsea shirt in your lifetime.
In the News: Ian Wright is burning his bridges with Arsenal napalm style by speculating about Whinger being off soon. Firstly, I'd question any kind of intelligence coming out of him as suspect based on the fact that "Ian Wright" and "intelligence" is about the biggest oxymoron going. Secondly, I find his attention seeking a bit sad. Apparently, Cuadrado's Mum was "praying every day" that Juventus would buy him off us. As Granville (sitcom alias) pointed out, not as hard as we were. Must have been a slow week, as the Daily Fail were running an article imploring you to pin the sh*t tattoo on the footballer. And @ArsenalGuvnor (give him some sh*t, you know you want to) would like us all to know that if you redid the league table based on points per pound spent on players in your squad, Wenger's copouts would be top. Unfortunately, Mr. Guvnor, that's not how it works. Where does that leave you? Fourth probably. And tighter than a camel's a*se in a sand storm.
The Others: I didn't hear Wenger moaning about decisions in the box this week. Surprise. The Alonso/assault whining was almost as pathetic as the Gooners flaccid non-boycott boycott where everyone actually turned up in the end. Even their own were rolling their eyes when one faction started bleating about that one in the week. The whole of Chelseadom collectively went NOOOOOO! In slow motion when Jake Humphrey started conceding the title to us on BT Sport on Saturday evening. Hush your mouth man. Wreck the finally balanced chi and we will come looking for you! Speaking of BT. A famed player does not a pundit make. In fact, in Slippy G's case it makes a bland, horribly biased and slightly whiny/inarticulate person without anything of value to add to the debate who scowls a lot. Please make him go away.
Our Game: Even fervent, fanatical Antonio looked miserable as he set foot on the pitch at Turf Moor to make his way to the dugout. It was horrific up there today. Swirling snow, biting wind, cue predictable punditry about this kind of game being the measure of true champions, blah f*cking blah. Having got over the bewilderment of passing a Turkish pizza restaurant on the way in, I took up my position in the David Fishwick Stand (I know, right?) and promptly got a crash course in how Leonardo di Caprio felt bobbing round in the water at the end of Titanic when Kate Winslet wouldn't move over and share the driftwood. This was after I spent five minutes helping Mrs Brown (sitcom alias) conceal a banner up his jacket and moulding it so it would pass as a massive beer belly. I think the staff suspicions were probably raised after the stewards passed banner and fake fat man through gate and he then turned around and shouted: "It's because I've got an honest face!" More stealth required next time. And no you haven't!
Burnley came out of the blocks quicker, but five minutes in we manned up and settled down and we looked quite accomplished for a while. Joy was forthcoming down the right hand side through Victor Moses. Three passes and a run the length of the pitch from him was all it took. Both Costa and Pesto (yes, auto spell, you win *sigh) made the run, but it was the latter who got on the end of the final ball and slotted it home. I spent a whole minute debating with Lew Zealand (muppet alias) about what we could call Joey Barton that would be an adequate reflection of his c**tishness. Then I realised that I haven't yet this season used the phrase: "Donkey R*ping Sh*t Eater." When even France mocks you, you deserve little better. And if his rat face and his awful Patrick Berger c.1990-whatever hair weren't reason enough to want to poke him in the eye with a football shank fashioned out of a rolled up crisp bag and pie foil, he spent the whole afternoon alternately kicking and fouling people, especially Hazard, off the ball to mask the fact that his footballing ability is about level with Fat Ronaldo, (at his fattest) if one of his legs had been severed with a chainsaw five minutes before kick off and replaced with a couple of plastic pint glasses pinned on with a rusty knitting needle.
For any dominance in pinging the ball about in the first part of the game, after the goal we barely created anything. At first, Burnley had no answer as to how to take the ball of us, unless it involved a foul. I counted three players on "very last warnings" complete with firm pointing from the referee within the first half an hour. No cards though. Surprise. Never fear though, northern peasants, because if you can't win the ball, Chelsea have decided that all afternoon long they will benevolently hand the bloody thing over at every opportunity. This culminated in a gift wrapped free kick given away by Matic in a dangerous position. Which was most unfortunate. Not as unfortunate as the fact that despite having achieved nothing of note in our half, Burnley now had an equaliser. B*llcks. A couple of counter attacks as the home side grew in confidence, but nothing resembling a goal before half time and this was turning out to be a difficult afternoon.
I asked Victor Meldrew to draw me like one of his French girls at half time. He told me to f*ck off. I was quite consumed with trying not to die of hypothermia and find myself passed off with some weepy Irish music whilst Lew Zealand made off with my expensive necklace and left me to freeze after the break. However, I did notice that for the first five minutes we were shocking, and that we gradually regained a measure of control but remained below par. They had six at the back at times, but what Burnley set out to do, they did well today. Matic went off, as did Moses and Pesto and Cesc, Willian and Michy came on. I was pleased with the last of those subs because it signalled an attempt to win it as opposed to clinging on to the point if it had been Chalobah or Zouma shoring up the back. Subs were made early enough to have an effect too, which didn't happen when we were failing at Sp*rs. Having let all manner of bookable offences go by, Kevin Friend shows Luiz a yellow for dissent when he and his officials failed to spot or punish the 100th Burnley foul of game. I swore. Probably not as much as Luiz preening and doing his homage to a 90s pop star. (He just needed a saxophone to go with the yuppie ponytail - I love his hair. It's my new life ambition to touch it) Which brings me to Refwatch: the only one I dislike more than Friend is Marriner. Despite his name, he is about as friendly as your resident neighbourhood neo nazi. He has a Wengeresque capacity to see bugger all, and somehow manages to come out of every game I've ever seen him take charge of with both sets of fans hating him. In turn, one of his lino jobbers was also about as observant as a lookout on the Titanic today. Yet frustratingly eager to wave his flag around like a monumental bellend regardless. The home side gradually wound it down and were warned for time wasting as injury time approached. They set out to stop us picking them off, and they did that well, but ultimately it took an outstanding free kick to get a point out of us. We were probably on top when the final whistle went, but no first class smoking room cigar. And they could have just as easily caught us on the counter and nicked it. A draw was fair in the end.
So: Frustrating. On a better day we could have had this lot. But today was not a better day. Matic had the touch of the guy steering Titanic when she face-planted the iceberg. Everything he went near turned to a steaming pile of turd. He was far from the only one having an off game though. Cahill struggled, though made up for it with decisive action at other times. Diego was not at his best, neither was Kante, though he got better as the day went on and you couldn't say he was terrible, he just failed to live up to his own impeccably high standards on this occasion. Hazard was fairly kicked about but he let it get to him from where I was standing, and Pedro gave the ball away countless times. Not criticising the effort, but the execution was lacking today and bearing this in mind, we came up against a disciplined Burnley side who are well-drilled in ensuring that they don't lose at home. They were rock solid at the back after conceding the goal and largely thanks to Michael Keane, we could get no joy in the box despite throwing the kitchen sink at it in the closing stages and the home side had reduced us to taking wasteful potshots from the edge of the area. I wouldn't begrudge them their point in the slightest if C**tchops Barton with all of his pathetically inept, pseudo-intellectual waffle were not among their number. Not since Craig Bellamy has someone so chavvy in football had such a tragic, painfully high opinion of what comes out of their own mouth. In the end it was every bit as difficult as some of us feared and it was a hard won point. There is nobody to blame for the lack of a winner but ourselves, because our performance was rife with sloppy errors, squandered chances and a general lack of precision all afternoon. That and we can blame all the numpties who started singing "and now you better believe us" and therefore jinxed everything after the goal. At ease people.
I mentioned on the Fancast that I feared this fixture more than Arsenal. Burnley are going to stay up on the back of their impressive home form. When we return to league action against Swansea on our own turf I'll be far more optimistic about a win than I was today. But cheer up. We could be Sp*rs. (Snigger) In the meantime, Wolves in the cup next week. I'm off to apply for a job with the Burnley tourist board.
Chelsea 3 Arsenal 1
Saturday 4th February 2017 12:30
If we endowed nothing else on birthday boy Hugo today, we did at least teach him an awesome song to take back to France. ("You're F***ing Sh*t") I make no apologies for the fact that I wrote this whilst totally off my face on gin and violet liqueur cocktails in a bar in Putney.
In the News : The fact that Crouch has scored 100 league goals is the most mystifying stat in football. More importantly, HWWNBN has played a blinder this week after failing to beat Hull. He claims they did. Morally. Because all Hull did was play defensive football. Something he's obviously never considered doing. His players are in a comfort zone apparently. Of 5th? Everyone had an opinion on him today. Ageing with all the grace of Pete Burns pumping his face full of Botox was mine. Otherwise they ranged from Beaker (muppet alias) and his PG, yet accurate effort: "There's something wrong with that man," to Kalman: (He doesn't want an alias he says if you don't like what he's got to say you can f*ck off "lol") "I loved him, but now I f*cking hate that piece of f*cking sh*t."
Speaking of insufferable wankers. Wenger says he tried to look at Kante and that obviously it was the money that made him want to go to Chelsea. Yes, because there is no other reason why someone would want to decline playing football for Arsenal is there? Like not wanting to work for a perennial loser whose achieved nothing more than the FA Cup in 15 years. Or earning 30% less than at any other top four club. Or being forced to play 600 passes when two will do. Or having remote ambition and wanting to win things. But still. Instead of signing Kante he spanked five million more on Granit Xhaka. A guy who is named after a rock. Well done that man.
I'd also quite like someone to poke Ulloa in the eye for being an ungrateful sh*tc*nt when it comes to Ranieri. But I think karma is going to take a massive dump on him first anyway, because he isn't going to go anywhere decent. Remember what Claudio did for a club that was considered relegation fodder when he achieved the seemingly impossible, less than a year ago, when you are walking out at 0-3 down like you don't owe him your support, Leicester fans. Elsewhere, Rafa is moaning about having no money to spend on his championship team last month. If this job doesn't reduce him to to a dribbling smackhead it will be a miracle. Where did it all go wrong, eh? Seeing as he was recently at the helm in Madrid? I’m pretty sure right now McDonald's would be a sideways move as opposed to a step down for him.
The Others: So after Tuesday night and the draw with us, Slippy G was jumping up and down like a mutt with fleas. The Scouse were back on track. Because this is their year, don't you know? For a grand total of 72 hours until they got done over by Hull, at least. Huzzah. And just when you think you can't get anymore mileage out of Fatty Allardyce... somewhere Alan Pardew is sitting in a big leather chair stroking a fluffy white cat on his lap and grinning malevolently, whilst doing a full on panto laugh. I can't feel sorry for the Palace chairman. The writing was on the wall with this one, the outcome was more obvious than the plot in a Jason Statham film. Not since Napoleon decided to march on Moscow in the middle of winter has such a bad decision been made. Is it any wonder the fans are kicking off?
Our Game: My plan was that we score early and I can't see them coming from behind. Barring any skulduggery, I could not see a way for them to win this. So, of course, as the first half began, there was a brain fart from Courtois. It was a bright start from L'Arse, who seemingly set out to take the game to us. But this lasted precisely ten minutes. We began to play our way into the game. Coquelin lived up at least partly to his name with a cynical foul on Moses in the ninth minute. Cahill got his head on the free kick but it was coming in at a dodgy angle and he could do little more than head it into the ground. A great shot was headed by Costa but parried by Cech, who nonetheless could do nothing when Alonso headed it over the line on the follow up. There was a collision with Bellerin, but both players were focused on the ball completely.
Brucie bonus, says Boycie, (sitcom alias) as Bellerin limps off and leaves us with the huge bnus of facing a bellend like Gabriel instead of one of their stronger competitors. Diego hit the side netting in the eighteenth minute and from then on we were pressing them. I don’t think I recall such impetus and such determination to win the ball for a few weeks. It was pretty end to end. Hazard, who frustrated them greatly in the first half, was taken out repeatedly. Alonso’s pass into the box resuted in a shot that was spilled by Cech on the half hour. Sanchez, who apparently would walk into our team was diddled twice in thirty seconds by Moses, before Pesto (yawn, autospell) broke through and promptly stumped himself just before half time.
The Lino on the west side presumably spent fifteen minutes looking for a clue at half time. Unlike the referee. Which brings me to Refwatch: I thought Martin Atkinson's was possibly the best refereeing we have seen this season. They should be all but invisible if they are doing their job right, which he was. He let the game flow, (if I had any criticism to make I'd say a little too much at times) he interfered at a minimum, and as far as a human being could be perfect across ninety minutes on judging things in real time, I thought he did really well by both sides as far as a balanced approach was concerned. I don't think any team could consider themselves hard done by. Well done that man!
The Goons came out strong in the second half, but little was fashioned as a result. Within five minutes we were running at them again. Kante bombed down their end and played in Diego, who, having not one of his better days, saw it well claimed by Cech. Hazard’s reaction to being fouled was to foul them back and run round half the Arsenal team on his way down the pitch before slotting it past Cech and completely shafting them. It’s surely got to be a contender for goal of the season. A supreme solo effort. Memorable not only for the scoreline but for Conte’s crowd surfing effort that was a lot less gracefull than the goal and left him limping comically. A couple of the Arsenal lot were disappointing in particular. Koscielny, who looks like a human being cross-bred with a velociraptor, was at fault, and Gabriel, who came on for Bellerin after Alonso broke him, was woeful. Quote of the day came from Gonzo as we approached the final tweny minutes. After letting Walcott know that he was a slight on humanity he came up with “f*ck off you useless bog-eyed f*cker!” (No prizes for guessing who that was aimed at). Time to bring on Cesc to really f*ck them up, I thought.
I'm not saying that they didn't get forward, that they didn't attack, that they never looked like getting the odd goal back, but I never belived that theyt looked like winning this game. An outstanding save in the 77th minute saw me urged to stand up and applaud Thibaut by Alf Garnett, and rightly so. They might have played Diego out of the game, but it seemed to be at the expense of paying attention to anyone else and the net result was that Arsenal were more impotent than Wenger after half a shandy. They call us classless, but Cech gets a rousing reception and they boo Fabregas, who they declined to take back. And who then had the courtesy not to celebrate burying them. That, to my mind, makes them hypocritcal ar*eholes. Zouma came on in the dying moments for Moses, and what a welcome return it was. Everyone wants to see him come good after we had front row seats to his nasty injury. There could have been many many more, but as it was a lack of concentration (and persistance on their part) saw them grab one back.
So: 3-1. Lew Zealand says Arsenal were more lightweight than her Mum, and she has a point. It was unacceptable at times, how easy they were shoved off the ball. If I supported them and I knew that they absolutely HAD to win this game, I'd be f*cking embarrassed by this showing. Where was the commitment, where was the determination? It was competent. But it was about as impassioned as a ninety year old man dry humping a lamppost. Functional. It was a standard display of everything they usually do. Nothing more. Which, if I was retarded enough to support them, would enrage me. I'd have wanted to see them come out swinging. They came out against us with Plan A and not a lot more else than humping it long to Giroud. That to me was arrogant against a team with our record. As a Chelsea fan I couldn't give a sh*t, because we won, but if, God forbid, I was a Gooner I'd be livid that seemingly no more thought had gone into it than that. Whinger says the first goal was a foul on Bellerin. Firstly, I'm not sure you can punish anyone for wanting to elbow his rat face, but secondly can we just pause for effect in recognition of the fact that the short-sighted c*nt actually admits he saw something. The banners were out. Pork Pie (sitcom alias - Desmond's) wants me to draw attention to one clearly made on the train. "Enough is Enough. Time To Go." I have it on (drunken) reliable authority that this was wielded by Piers Morgan. And the guy with him was wearing a half and half scarf. I have to disagree heartily. I think he should stay. Forever. Alonso has struggled in some games in this new positon, but he had some joy against this lot today that was a reward for his ceaseless effort. Pesto's workrate was just astounding , and let it not be forgotten eithe,r just how reliable and consistently good Dave is at the back. And a word on Antonio. He's the manager Roman has been looking for for ten years. Outstanding fit. And he looks great in his pants. I love him.