Dynamo Kiev 0 (0) Chelsea 5 (8)
Europa League Last 16
Thursday 14th March 2019 17:55
Chelsea 1 Wolves 1: I was there, but thankfully, given that it was dross, I was paying little attention to the game. For those that know how much maternal instinct I have, it will amuse you to know that I was entertaining a trio of boys: 10, 4 and 3. Our little chum from the domestic violence shelter had his day out. You may remember the eldest received a Xmas present and an invitation to come find him when he was at the bridge from Eden Hazard. Well, he got treated like a little VIP on Sunday. He got a tour behind the scenes, watched the team arrive from the tunnel, and he met Eden too, which sent him into absolute stunned silence. We had to do a second take at their photo together because he was so overcome that in the first one it looked like Eden was trying to abduct him. A trip to the megastore, which thankfully now stocks something other that Nike sh*t, then excellent seats for the whole family courtesy of one of our CFC family, a terrifying amount of sweets from another. Our little chap is astute. He turned to me part way through the game and said: “Is it me, or can Chelsea never take a corner?” And later on “I wish we’d just stop passing it about and worry about scoring a goal instead.” Out of the mouths of babes. I felt what might have been a swell of pseudo-parental pride. That said, this game was always going to be a sh*t slugfest. It was Rocky I. They were Stallone and we were Apollo Creed. Much better, but unable to stamp any class on proceedings, because the other side jus won’t f*ck off, resulting a turgid dead heat. Anyone who is running round screaming about sacking Sarri again is a knob. No, his team choice wasnt inspiring, especially the combination of Kovacic and Jorginho, but his substitutions weren’t the turgid f*ckwittery of old. This was a tough day out, and it led to a sh*t result. Sarri reverted to form a bit, but it was not a repeat of the Bournemouth game. Our little chap’s day was rounded off by tea afterwards. He chose Pizza Express, which I think I might be banned from now after one of the smaller ones punted a soft football into someones dinner plate (see sweety reference above. Mix in a gallon of coke and vegan cupcakes, which they inflicted on themselves voluntarily and they were slightly hyper by this stage) To cap it all, Mowgli (special alias), playing the part of the pied piper, got told off by security for leading them all off starting a mini riot in the shopping centre with a football match. This is what happens when you let someone with a mental age of twelve do the adulting. Three exhausted but very happy kids, one of whom snored and dribbled on me all the way home. Our little friend hasn’t played football in a year, but now can’t stop talking about finding a club and wanting to play for Chelsea. Or about when he can come again. Thank you to Chelsea, Eden and to everyone who contributed on the day to spoil them rotten.
In the News: Callum Hudson-Odoi has got the England U21 call-up he richly deserves. Asked about transfer ban, Willian says he is happy in every way with life at Chelsea and doesn’t want to go anywhere. I’d have loved to have seen the meltdown in some quarters on Twitter. Zidane has returned to Real apparently ready to shell £300m for Neymar to secure his escape from the Parc des Princes, which the ungrateful, spoilt little f*cker acts is akin to the Bastille. They’ve already shelled out £42m on a centre back since his return. He wants Eriksen too apparently, however, Eden is their number one target, and surely now he will go to join his hero. Hold tight though, the messiah may not be around for long in Madrid. Rumours that Zidane is to be sacked again after he wore f*cking cropped pedal pusher jeans to his unveiling.
Rio Ferdinand says Sterling wont win the Ballon d’Or because he is black. No, Rio, he wont win the Ballon d’Or because there are several dozen players who are better than him. You moron. People keep running on the pitch and attacking players. What the f*ck? In my mind its the rampant spilling over of everyone’s appalling online behaviour into the real world. You insult who you want, you say what you want with little or no consequences and generally get to be abhorrent on a daily basis. Rio’s case is indicative. You spaff (new favourite word) nonsense all over the internet and inexplicably end up doing it on TV. The Birmingham dick has been jailed for 14 weeks, which sends a decent message, but this new source of neanderthal entertainment is pathetic and we’re just lucky as a sport that none of them have reached the lower level of stupidity where they take an offensive weapon with them.
FFP investigation for City. One of the cases under investigation is the signing of then-14-year-old Sancho. A number of other clubs intend to write to the Premier League wanting to know what they are going to do about it. Led by the sanctimony of the Red Scouse. In that respect (whining, hypocritical b*stards) they will always be truly unbeatable. It might be the death of St Pep’s love in with the club. Rumours that he has verbally agreed to join Juventus on a four year deal. Likes a challenge, doesn’t he? Klippity Klopp is moaning about not getting special consideration in the scheduling. Everyone else is too busy being indignant that they got the f*cking Porto tie in the quarter finals. Lukaku reading mean tweets. With a face like thunder. I’m still laughing at the “Lukaku runs like he’s got a Deliveroo bag on his back.” Ranieri was only out of a job for eight days after Fulham. He’s taken charge a Roma. There are some desperate divas on the continent at the moment. “Ill tell you the I feel ready to play,” Icardi says to the Inter Milan boss. Coutinho is being booed off the bitch at Farca and has issued a “come-and-get-me” plea to United. Presumably because they’d be the only club stupid enough to stump up over a hundred million for the idiot.
The Others: City are just about clinging on to top spot with a couple of unconvincing wins, Sp*rs keep losing, United got done by Arsenal, so you’d hope that the spaff-fest over Ole might die down. Still, if I hear the words “Spirit of ‘99” again I might choke on my own vomit. Morata is out of the Champions League. Shame. And Ramos
called all the Real players together for an inquest after Ajax spanked them out of Europe. If Ramos is the voice of reason, then they really are f*cked.
Them: Critical absentees thanks to a vague, Ozil sounding sore throat and suspension and a massive, uphill climb in prospect to try and surmount a three goal deficit created in West London last week. They didn’t even have a shot on target and it was hard to see where they were going to come from.
Us: Loftus-Cheek with his first start since the third round of the FA Cup and CHO, fresh from his call up to the England U21 side finally gets a shot in the starting line up. No room for Barkley, The Beard up front in his favourite competition. Nights off for Emerson and Higuain and the bench for Dave, Luiz, Jorginho, Hazard and Pedro Pony, so a strong side and ammunition on the bench should the unthinkable happen.
Sarri was raging about the “potentially dangerous” state of the pitch with a day to go, which was watered heavily the night before and then left to freeze before kick off. It seemed have improved significantly in the meantime, but being a man he still wasnt having it. Neat move making Little Willy captain, for he is always ready to rain more misery on the city of Kiev and throughout the night he was really going to rub salt into their wounds. All whilst patronising commentators made cheeky f*cking comments about his English coming along. Better than yours, douchebags.
Wait for it. We scored from a f*cking corner. Surely this deserves a medal of some sort struck and a round of free Singha at the next home game. Awful zoning defending, if that’s what even was. It could have just as easily been complete incompetence. Nobody doing an effective job in the box and they were all behind The Bears as he darted forward to stab it in. His seventh goal in the Europa League this season. 4-0 up on aggregate. Job done after four minutes. Ruben could have made it two on 10 mins but the keeper managed to get some part of his body on it. Another corner from the fuzzy-headed, most unpopular man in the Ukraine, but the resulting effort went straight into the keepers hands.
All Chelsea. Any rare foray from them broke down and within three passes they were defending deep again. They had it in the back of the net after twenty minutes, but the flag was up because they were the length of an aircraft carrier offside. Foot off the gas somewhat. Shortly afterwards CHO conceded a free kick that gave their fans much hope, but then life got even more miserable for them just after the half hour. Excellent cross from Alonso. Loftus Cheek muscled them off the ball, Marcos rules out three defenders with the cross and thanks to a run from The Beard it was 2-0. Two one-touch finishes from him, which if you’ve witnessed Operation Stack lately in Kent is a commendable French efficiency and proof he should be Minister of Customs when he retires. A whole miserable hour left to go for a side who looked utterly deflated already. By half time it was three thanks to Alonso. To get anywhere they needed seven, with no goal scorers on the pitch, and we had only conceded four in this whole competition so far.
As you were at the beginning of second, with utter dominance, but then they loosened up a bit and mustered a first shot on target in more than two hours of football. Shortly afterwards the goal was wide open for them, but they hit the post, before scoring again from an offside position. That pretty much sucked the life of them quicker than Sam Allardyce eating a creme egg.
On 58 The Beard stormed to the top of the goalscorer table outright by securing his hatrick. Free kick won by Zappa, excellent swinging free kick from Willian, but it was the fact that no defender was anywhere near The Beard as he rose to nut it in that did for them. 0-4 Seconds later they gave away another free kick on the edge of the box by scything down CHO. Losing their sh*t now. Alonso took it and it was one of his stunners, sailing right towards the top corner, but it was. just about saved by a flying dive from the keeper too push it onto the post. For once the defence was awake and the ball was smothered away. But soon we were running at them again. Yet another free kick, yet another stunner from Willian but the keeper reacted well to Rudi’s effort. Kante off for Jorginho on 64. Very much liking his attitude in the press lately. In short: “Fans have a right to opinion, I have a right to disagree, but I will prove the critics wrong and they will learn to appreciate the way I play.” Dave came on for a limping Zappacosta, then Willian went off to an ovation from Blue fans to be replaced by Pedro Pony. On 77 minutes it It was CHO’s turn to get on the scoresheet.
So: We did to them what City did to us. Early goal to obliterate their game plan and then just capitalised on their every weakness to destroy them. Three Chelsea youth products on the pitch. Hurrah. The Hyphenators did well. Loftus-Cheek was the better in this game, really stamped his authority. Hudson-Odoi not so much, but when you win 5-0 and he gets a goal you can’t be criticising. Yes, the opposition resembled crispy Darth Vader clawing his way out of a lava pool missing two legs and an arm, but you couldn’t have asked for more out of any of them tonight. We were still running at them in injury time, despite an eight goal lead. On to Prague. God help Prague on that away day. Thousands of p*ssed up Chelsea in a stag do destination. What can possibly go wrong? In the immediate future some rested legs now in preparation for Everton, which I wont be at because I’ll be doing bath time with elephants in Thailand.
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Chelsea 3 Dynamo Kiev 0
Europa League Last 16
Thursday 7th March 2019 20:00
In the News: The appeal is in against the transfer ban. Don’t know whether yet whether that will enable us to sign people this summer. Sarri’s been having talks about pre-season. Probably along the lines of “why the f*ck are we going to Boston three days after the Leicester game?" Never one to sugarcoat it, Rudi says perhaps some time in the gym will benefit Jorginho as he carries on acclimatising to English football. If the PR team at the club aren’t regularly doing shots before they send the German out to talk to the press I’ll be amazed. Oh and not wanting to rush things, Chelsea are apparently finally looking to replace Emanalo (who has been gone since 2016) with a football brain in the shape of Lille’s Sporting Director, Luis Campos. I googled his name and got a drummer in a Mexican rock band on Wikipedia. But apparently he’s Portuguese, and happily he was not only a major scout for Real, but he was the one masterminding Monaco’s shock Ligue 1 win in 2017 and their run to the Champions League semi-finals. Whilst he was there they acquired James Rodriguez and Bernardo Silva, brought through Mbappe, but bought Bakayoko from Rennes, so pick the bones out of that. Unfortunately, the rumour came out of France, where the Press Putains like making nonsense sh*t up more than our lot do, which is saying something.
Podgettino is “stunned” by his two match ban for confronting Mike Dean. Us too, but not for the same reasons. Sp*ds have an ultimatum from the league - play your next game at Wait Hart Lane or you have to stay at Wembley for the rest of the season. United are introducing an atmosphere section in the Stratford End. Ole has been to the dry cleaners. Apparently this is news. As is the fact that Harry Kane spent a day visiting relatives at London Zoo. And if you think Fernandinho is a nasty little c**t, (he is) a player in the Turkish third tier turned up for work toting a shank which he used on the guy he was marking. Evidently didn’t think his teeth were up to Suarez’s standard.
The Others: Podge has banned his dickheads from dressing room gloating until they win a trophy, (so permanently then) but they don’t learn. Celebrating getting out of the last 16 in the Champions League like they’ve won the bloody thing. Something about football fundamentally changed last night at the Parc de Prince, and I don’t like it. We went from VAR assisting the referees in coming to the correct decision, to using the technology to fundamentally change the way in which a potential handball is viewed. Apparently now that they have it, the referees have received a directive that says “any move to make themselves bigger” in the box that results in a glance off the arm is an infringement. Where do you draw the line between not being able to jump to defend the goal without driving yourself upwards with your arms, to being guilty of a deliberate attempt to use them to impede the ball? Because PSG absolutely did not cross that line last night. United deserved a beating in the first leg, and PSG were in the act of bottling the second, but what transpired was that a critically important game of football that had thus come to be balanced on a knife edge was decided on the flimsiest pretext I have seen since UEFA sent Overbo to West London.
Anyway, give Solskjaer the job full time. Because if the fact that Ferguson, who let us be reminded was critically ill last year, was ON THE PLANE WITH THEM does not tell you who is pulling the strings at Old Trafford in terms of managing the side, then you need to purchase yourself some Stevie Wonder glasses and start busking with a mini-keyboard at Fulham Broadway. A very risky plan for a massive football club, and not at all long term. You’re essentially just hoping that Ferguson can impart everything he ever did on an ex-player who everyone likes and has never done anything more in management than boss a Norwegian side named after fungus. Good luck with that. Hilariously, he wont be able to move back into his house up north, because he’s renting it. He’s Virgil Van Dijk’s landlord.
What a bad tempered week it is turning out to be in Europe though. Neymar apparently tried to break into the officials’ room after PSG crashed out. What a knob. Perez threatened to kick Ramos out of Real. I’m not equipped to lyrically surmise how delicious it was watching Sergio suffer on the sidelines after getting himself suspended on purpose. It needs some perverted voiceover from Nigella Lawson complete with her licking a spoon covered in melted chocolate. In just her bra. Solari is a dead man walking, with Chequebook Pulis or Podgettino touted to replace him. Hopefully neither of which will inspire Eden to go there. (You’d have to say that the former would have him running screaming in the other direction after last time.) Courtois has been chucking missiles at photographers’ cars in the aftermath of his latest humiliation, (whahahahha) the Roma sporting director had a punch up with their fans at the airport, and they sacked their manager after going out to Porto.
In the Europa League. Arsenal kicked off early in their tie against Rennes. It was all going so well, until it wasn't. Sokratis doesn’t look like a brainiac, but you’ve got to be a special level of moron to commit three yellow card offences in one half of football in Europe, where the referees are doubly touchy. They were lucky Granit Xhaka didn’t go too, but I’ve said it aplenty before, what more do you expect from a guy who is named after a rock? Lovely gesture by the Rennes fans with their welcome home banner for Petr Cech. I laughed so hard watching the Rennes goals that I scared Bertie.
Before anything else, Glenn Hoddle made his return to punditry tonight at the Bridge. Huzzah. We went into this one of only three teams in the competition unbeaten so far. On we go trying to maintain our record of winning the damn trophy every time we’ve been it. I just want to laugh at them trying to lift it after the final. Bloody thing weighs a ton.
Us: Most importantly, Ruben and CHO didn’t start, which was w*nk. Zappacosta, Alonso and The Beard, who was the joint second highest scorer in the competition before kick off, came into the starting lineup. Rudgier took to the bench for a well earned rest, as did N’golo and Eden. Emerson and Dave got the night off.
Them: If I told you I cared, you’d see right through it. They were short on strikers, and five were under 21, but half of them are in the Ukraine squad. They had scored in every single one of their away games going into this. Whatever any of that means.
Very positive start, lots of movement down the right and pinned them right back for the opening five minutes. Pedro Pony might have taken better advantage of a silly error by them at the back after 7. They were all over the place, picking up an early booking and generally clinging on. They’d only made one convincing foray into our half in the opening fifteen minutes, and shortly afterwards we made out dominance pay. Put through by The Beard with an awesome flick, Pedro Unicorn (He’s been promoted again already) runs on and slots it between the goalkeeper’s legs. Should have had a brace moments later, three yards out, but somehow it didn’t go in. From then on Kiev started to get a toehold in the match. That said, Barkley could have made it two, had the keeper not learned his lesson the last time and kept his knees together. Just. That’s a faster learning curve than some of the girls I want to school with. Badoom-tish. Pedro Unicorn went down a bit easy just before the half hour mark, no VAR in this competition to give us free penalties. The little scamp could have been on a hatrick. On 33 he was in again but this time it was a great save by the Kiev man, who must have hated the f*cking sight of him already. Alonso tested him almost immediately afterwards. Chances pouring in, and already we could have sent this tie well to bed and saved many, many heavy legs a trip to the other side of the continent. Another squandered chance from Pedro Unicorn and we went into the break just one ahead. Not lost on me that we’d scored just about the most complicated of them either. The Ukrainians would have been pinching themselves after naively playing out from the back against a better side. Wonder where I’ve seen that lately.
Typically, given our complete domination, we came pondering out of the blocks after half time with about as much impetus as Sam Allardyce looking for his local gym. We finally had lift off after 53 with yet another chance for Pedro Unicorn. By this time Ruben and Kante were out warming up, it was as well, as Kiev began pressing for an away goal. Barkley and Jorginho made way for them on 61. Free kick on 63 - could Willian stick the knife in? Yes. With a spectacular effort into the top left corner on his 100th European appearance. Goalkeeper had done well tonight but barely moved. Thank f*ck for that. Now bring on CHO. Whole stadium agreed. Made us wait ten minutes tho. Another move on 82, great run by Ruben but the full back put him under enough pressure that he sent it over the bar. Of course it was us, so we were not above f*cking around at the back and inviting disaster as the clock ticked down. Showed all the concentrative power of Andy Carroll watching University Challenge in the last five minutes of normal time. And yet. Some lucky chaps will not have to board a plane to the Ukraine thanks to Ruben and CHO linking up after Pedro Unicorn’s pinpoint accurate pass to make it 3-0.
So: Hurrah. Could have been more, equally we could have f*cked it up at the end. Are we on a collision course to meet Napoli in the final? Pedro Unicorn sublime again, but the two young subs couldn’t have done much more to stake a claim. Three wins on the trot, knackered players got a night off, and the lack of drama is unnerving me. I’ve already decided that I’m calling this season’s blog book Sarri Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Fulham 1 Chelsea 2
Sunday 3rd March 2019 14:05
This was the 82nd West London derby. Fulham have won precisely nine of them. Hence why this away-day excursion is thoroughly enjoyable, and nobody wants to see them go down, but it doesn’t pack a punch.
In the News: What a difference a couple of results makes. Sarri’s sense of humour has returned. He looks less like he’s about to set fire to his synthetic tracksuit with his lighter on the touchline.
Having compromised with the players about defending a little deeper, and reaping the rewards on the pitch, it’s safe to say he’s not going anywhere for now. And by that, because it’s us, I mean like, a week. Have a guess at which Blue accumulates the most fines in training? St. N’golo of Kante. Always late for training apparently, should probably trade the Mini for something with a more impressive engine to get him there on time. FIFA are doing their best to try and implement this transfer ban whilst the appeal is ongoing, which strikes me as b*stardry, but UEFA have dropped any investigation into the sketchy accusations of racism in Budapest last December. They are, however, looking at banning City from the Champions League after they fiddled Financial Fair Play. Jason Puncheon has been cast out by Huddersfield after a bust up with the manager. For me, he will only every be noteworthy for running off the pitch to take a dump that time. At least he didn’t do it in his pants like Lineker. Chequebook Pulis continues his foray into punditry. Not impressed with Madrid in El Clasico. Apparently the Spanish giants are going to try and give Bale back to Sp*rs to try and leverage getting Eriksen out of them. Celtic unveiled a banner for Rodgers that read: “You traded immortality for mediocrity.” Get over yourselves, much.
The Others: Gloriously, Sp*rs have dropped eight points in a week. Karma. Aaron Ramsey was running about screaming “this is my f*cking pitch” at Wembley. Only he’s Welsh. Whatever, if he caused them pain in the act of doing so, I’m on board. Klippity Klopp is blaming the wind for their inability to beat Everton, which, even more gloriously, means that their “destiny” (God the Press Plebs are tedious) is now out of their hands. The irony that he is a massive windbag is not lost on me. He took it all out on a twelve year old ball boy who took the p*ss out of him. The Scouse have of course notified the police, the FA, UEFA and FIFA of said 12 year-old’s transgressions. And Klippity cuddles stewards so obviously he’s a f*cking saint and nothing will happen to him, because everyone is sprayed with a teflon coating on their way into the Scouse. Just as nothing will happen to Harry F*cking Kane after his lame head butt on Dave. Leicester lost, despite the arrival of Brendan and his giant teeth, Palace heaped more misery on Burnley, with Michy scoring again, City cut it fine against Bournemouth and United made a big deal out of their tie against Southampton.
Them: Denied a reunion with the loveable Ranieri because it’s his fault they bought too many players and then it turned out they cant play together. Babel and his luminous red hair is worthy of a slating. Looks like a f*cking snooker ball sitting on his shoulders.
Us: Sarri has concerns about how tired the players are. Kepa, having taken his medicine, is forgiven. This apparently really is over and done with now. Rotation at the back saw Emerson and Christensen return and Alonso and Luiz sit this one out. In midfield it was Pedro Pony’s turn to take a back seat after his Wednesday heroics and Willian came in. If he doesn’t give Hudson-Odoi the chance he has earned on Thursday I will shake my fist at him.
Blogging this was always going to hurt after nigh on a week spent with the various chapters of Chelsea in America who were over. My liver is actually crying. The rampant narcissist in charge of Chelsea Chicago has demanded the attention he is due in this blog with a mention. So here we go: Brian.
Grown men with clappers is only a step below turning up for the game in a full kit. Apparently it is five years since we were last here. Last time I was stood two seats away from Ray Wilkins. God I feel old. Two gins with a raging head cold meant I was cuddling a lovely chap called Steve that I don’t know before kick off. It was a very positive start. In the away end we amused ourselves by celebrating the annual collapse of Sp*rs title “charge” (which as usual was a tentative, marauding f*cking amble at best) We manufactured some half chances before a stupid error on 5 minutes needed a quick reaction by a furious Dave, but we survived. Higuain could have put us ahead shortly afterwards if he’d just hit the bloody thing. They were finally getting somewhere on 10 before the referee put in an outstanding block. They were doing all right now. On 17 minutes Kepa fumbled the ball and Babel should have been in, but the keeper came flying back and risked a boot to his baby face to get his hands back on the ball. A shot from Barkley curled high and wide, before bang on 20 minutes Higuain flicked it in. 1-0. Cuddle buddy Steve thinks he’s rather like Thibaut. If he has to react to something quickly he’s great, but the second he takes a touch, therefore engaging his brain, it all falls apart.
Rather than motivate Fulham into action they became more cautious after the goal, but it soon passed. Another great save from Kepa, but absolutely ludicrous defending from the resulting corner destroyed our lead. Absolutely nobody marking Calum Chambers in the box, nobody on the far post and even that great oaf had even enough time for his walnut sized brain to register how to bring it down and fire at the target. 1-1. End to end then, but on 30 we were the ones with the time and space. A perfectly placed shot to make it 1-2. We were there when Jorginho scored. Sarri’s illegitimate kids on top. Just over again from Higuain on 32, before at the other end a volley from Denis Odoi went well wide. Eden was in on 36, but had to settle for a corner. Which was as traditionally sh*t as always. Leading into the break, we scrapped well for the ball on the edge of the box, but Eden’s shot went straight at the keeper and there was nobody there for the follow up. Higuain could have had another in injury time when the ball came along the floor from Dave, but his shot was spectacularly tipped out by the keeper. All in all, we really should have put it to bed by now, and we hadn’t.
Fulham were fully on the defensive at the restart, but we still couldn’t score again. Then our ability to pass the ball to each other went wayward for a bit. Fulham were by no means out of this. If they’d have played like this all season they wouldn’t be in their current predicament. Side netting for Little Willie on 52, before a handball/penalty shout on 53. Refwatch: Graham Scott apparently. Not particularly consistent. Not sure what was going on with the f*cking drinks break before half time either. Doesn’t know what constitutes a corner. He does however get bonus points for mocking Dave’s massive overreaction to the penalty claim.
Handbags in the box on 57 resulted in Eden playing it across the face of goal, but again there was nobody there trying to tap it in. Best chance yet for Fulham on 59, a block from us landed at their feet but the shot was just over the bar. The the managers rolled the dice. A change from them ignited a flurry of recognition re the score line. Time to change this up. Inevitably with Kovacic for Barkley, right? Though a bit of CHO wouldn’t have gone amiss, as it had become all about them looking or an equaliser.
Jorginho off for Kovacic. F*cking hell he’s full of positive changes all of a sudden. Bit of a tasteless cheer from us, but he was at least then sung off the pitch. Think it was more that Sarri was making a different change than an expression of antipathy for one of our goal scorers. Another change from Fulham. The snooker ball limped off for some bloke I’ve never heard of. I would have quite liked another f*cking goal now, because it was still it was all about them. Punched clear by Kepa on 71, before Rudi saved the day again less than a minute later.
Tired Hazard off for Pedro Pony on 73, but they were still fully in pursuit of an equaliser. All we needed was one counter attack though. Barkley off for Ruben on 78, but we were faffing with disaster. There was a chance to put it to bed on 84, but again there was nobody waiting for it in the box. We squandered another as the rain lashed down. We were time wasting against Fulham, who were desperately trying to get something out of the game amidst our mockery. “We forgot that you exist,” and “You’re going down.” Poor Fulham.
So: Poor Fulham my arse, for then they nearly scored but for a diving save from Kepa after Ruben gave the ball away. Five minutes added on, and they thought they’d got a point with seconds to go but it was offside. A stupid error to concede, and all we did was give the ball away for the last twenty minutes. But though we huffed and we puffed, we got a result. Some games are just like that, and this wasn’t a reversion to the awful form of pre-City. They were on a traditional bounce after the dismissal of a manager and it is their cup final, after all. Rudiger was excellent again and although Christensen broke my rules governing centre backs not wearing long sleeves, he slotted in nicely again and with Emerson picking up where he left off against City the defence looked competent. Only three days off before it’s Kiev. God if this schedule is ruining me no wonder Eden looks like he needs a fat quarter pounder to revive his little legs.