Chelsea 2 Sheffield United 2
Saturday 30th August 2019 15:00
I warn you. I’ve been on the rum. Dead Man’s Fingers. AWESOME. I’ve also started adding disclaimers for the PC watchdogs out there who have no lives and presumably approve of smug veganism and hoity-toity road-hogging cyclists in all their horror.
Naaarwich 2 Chelsea 3: Just your average, run of the mill VAR CLUSTERF*CK. I was moaning enough about it before it screwed us. Nevertheless, we picked up our first victory. Despite the best efforts of Pukki and his farmyard posse. I sh*t you not, I watched this on my phone, in part, with a WW2 contingent of American servicemen stationed in the far east and eating Pringles. In Kent. It’s as bonkers as it sounds. They were dressy-up people. But they get the raging hump if you don’t call them “living historians.” Tammy came to life, Mason was notable, so was Jorginho. Losing Kante so late and Pedro Pony in the warm up was less than ideal, but we battled through it, and thats all I really ask for at this stage. We’re not looking at the finished team. We’re doing the best we can in the face of a new style, the loss of our best player, a new management team, a transfer ban, and a pile of significant injuries.
In the News: Frank is thrilled for Jorginho in the wake of his new popularity. He’s earned it, and as Frank points out, “he never hid” despite the criticism he received in his first season. Let’s face it, he was saddled to Sarri, whether he liked it or not. This must have been like the kid who sh*ts his pants at school and eats his own bogies telling everyone he’s your best mate. But he’s come through the other side. Good for him. I said it on the Fancast this week, as far as I’m concerned, him and Kovacic get a fresh start this season. Mason Mount has got an England call up, though Tammy is coming into form just a little too late for this round of international dirge. Rudi hustled his way through 90 minutes for the U23s last night. Huzzah. Apparently, new boy Pulisic rejected a move to United on the basis of his dad not being able to stand Chequebook Pulis and not believing that he would get a chance to actually play football. Zappacosta has been loaned out to Roma, paving the way for Reece James to make a play for a first team spot. We’ve blocked Bakayoko going back to Monaco temporarily though, because we’re worried about not recouping the £40m we paid for him. Sorry, but the only way we’d ever recoup that is if we chopped him up and sold his organs off on eBay, and even then he‘d have to have a blood type as rare as Unicorn p*ss.
More streams of vile, racist abuse on twitter. Especially after Kurt’s own goal today. What on earth gives these people the right? Actually, what gives Facebook and Twitter and their ilk the right to let it happen? Oliver Holt thinks clubs must do more to stop the scapegoating of black players. What? Firstly. What are you talking about, you hairband wearing fool? You are giving pond scum far too much credit. This is not what is happening, what is happening, is morons with the intellectual capacity of your average amoeba seeing a black person miss a penalty, or scoring an own goal, flapping away at a smartphone because they have no comprehension about the social connotations or impropriety of what they are doing. The clubs are not letting systematic and preventable abuse happen. There is no strategic thought behind it such as Holt insinuates, they are not capable of such a thing. At fault are the social media twats themselves for letting these a*seholes use their apps. They make BILLIONS as a result of providing these platforms. Therefore there is no argument in which it should not be their responsibility to safeguard users against this kind of sh*t, and all the other negatives that come with their great fortune. Anyone who says otherwise is a c*nt. So there. In the words of the prophet, Christopher Reeve: What makes Superman a hero is not that he has power, but that he has the wisdom and the maturity to use the power wisely.” Read that and weep, Twitter bitches.
In the world of the Virtual A*sehole Rampage, apparently referees are now being dissuaded from checking screens after a tumultuous introduction to the Premier League. Sure. Because that will make everything ok. Apparently Lukaku was bored at United. Might have been less so if he’d taken the revolutionary step of attempting to earn his wages. He reckons he’s lost half a stone already under Antonio’s revolutionary regime at Inter: Move off the spot once in a while and stop eating like a fat b*stard. Someone should patent that. Podgettino rueing the fact that he rejected swapping Eriksen for Dybala and now it looks like he will end up with neither. Oh well, what a shame. The wisdom of Eric Cantona: As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. Even allowing for the fact that he’s French, there has to be a screw loose there.
*I have lots of French friends who think he’s barking and are laughing at that, before anyone contacts the Daily Mail.
Lineker apparently being probed after mean comments about bald pundits. Do give over. In such situations, can we not just send the archive footage of him sh*tting his pants in front of the whole world round on TV? Far more satisfying. Mind you this is the BBC, who are so frightened of offending anyone, ever, that they will literally steal your work if they can give it to a disabled, LGBTWTF alien to present on camera so they can crow about how inclusive they are. Yack.
*You can’t have a go at me. It’s fact. They’ve GENUINELY done it to me enough times.
More to the point, that big-eared chump, who is about as fun as period pains during a prolonged Nandos with Michael Owen, in which he leaves you to go and get the cutlery and place the order, gets paid nearly £2m a year. And some of it is MY money. I’m going to find something to kick.
*I have no defence for mocking big-eared people. I’m just a bad person.
The definitive argument on Brexit came from Ian Holloway on the subject of the continent’s butt-monkey, f*ckwit ruling on handballs. You can suspend all of the bad feeling, the squabbling and the uncertainty. Because the oracle has spoken: “I hope we get out, Brexit… because you cannot have someone telling us how to do our own game.” I’m drunk. And even I know this is ridiculous. And RIP Bury. I’d like to type a heartfelt missive about the plight of lower league clubs in today’s game. But I’m half cut. And I don’t even know where Bury is. Still, sad.
The Others: The Daily Fail are doing their utmost to award the Scouse the title IN AUGUST. Apparently it will be the first time since Maggie Thatcher resigned, since Klopp played in front of 5,000 people and Baggio smashed the transfer record at £8m. Excuse me while I choke on my own vomit. They realise we’ve play FOUR GAMES. Right? Since believing that they were going to win the treble after their first game, United have come crashing down to earth faster than a space shuttle with a lawnmower engine for a booster. Firstly, former blue Van Aanholt sank them at Old Trafford, and today, they couldn’t beat Southampton. Teehee. Not sure we could at the moment, but that’s not the point. Also, they are paying £16m this season just to make Sanchez go away. Sp*rs lost to Newcastle. See, we’re not the only ones. We had the lameness of Atkinson last week, and what is his punishment for a truly f*cking atrocious performance at Carrow Road? He gets the North London Derby tomorrow. Jesus wept. Speaking of which, apparently we were disgracefully behaved up there. One John Conway complained that he witnessed Chelsea fans singing about Canaries having six fingers, and that when he asked them to stop, they threw a steak pie at his head. The only travesty of that is that is sounds like a waste of a decent pie. Apparently it was very hot and he had pastry in his eyeball. Which I think is a lie, because last time I checked eyeballs weren’t permeable. Certainly not at the hands of shortcrust. Oh and VAR made a tit of itself. Again.
Us: Frank was always going to give Tomori a shot, but he couldn’t let them all of the leash at once, and arguably Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham play in more stretched positions, or had performed better in preseason. We’d been leaking goals, so a change wasn’t out of the realms of possibility. It could have been either or, so far as Christensen and Zouma are concerned for me, so not a slap in the face for either. Our bench looked pretty thin, in terms of midfield, as was to become painfully evident. Once again we took our youngest ever starting lineup last week, and went even younger.
Gonzo (Muppet alias) would like it told, that he has a one hundred percent record of being in his seat before kick off. I told him we’d only played two games at home so far, but he was determined not to let anyone p*ss on his parade. Tyler (Sitcom alias) was seen rapidly cramming a pie in his face in order to be ready to take him on in the four-pint-challenge at halftime. He was duly mocked. In the meantime, Alf Garnett was chipper as you like. This was not to last.
The usual pacy start. Barkley looked desperate to impress. A little too desperate perhaps. Tammy was in on five minutes, but it got away from him under pressure from two defenders. A minute later Ross was heading it into the six yard box, but nobody claimed it, before Mount wrestled the ball away from them to run at goal; only to be pulled up for a foul. We’d been much the more proactive in the opening ten minutes, and yet chances had been slim on the ground. There followed a lull, in which Tyler regaled us as to his wedding plans, before on 18 minutes we broke out. Pulisic made it, cross in from Dave, Tammy’s header was weak, but Henderson spilled it and Tammy was there to make good. 1-0. Maybe. Life has been forever ruined for the match going fan, for although we get up and applaud, we stand looking at the referee waiting for confirmation, by which time the heat of the moment has passed, along with the instant jubilation of seeing the ball hit the back of the net. F*ck VAR. And f*ck the Premier League for inflicting it on us every week, for not giving a damn about the people who pay to go to the games, and for lying abut the extent of the impact it would have.
We needed to be sensible, for Sheffield were already proving that they were far from pushovers. There was an elaborate amount of showmanship over the ball from Emerson and Barkley, who hit the free kick in the end. Straight at the wall. Another ball in from Abraham went through to Kovacic, who just shanked it wide across the face of goal. In return, we were very nearly undone in two balls on 38. The only hair raising moment of the half, and luckily Callum Robinson missed the diving header. Big inquest by the United defence after they ballsed it up and gave Abraham another chance. Another great goal from Tammy, he’s taking chances that require composure and skill, which is all good going forward. We could even get the goal difference back to zero, said Alf Garnett with a big grin. Mason Mount found himself in before halftime, but it deflected on its way towards goal and out for a corner. We may not have been frantically attacking for the whole game, but rarely did we look troubled at the back either. But. And it’s a big but.
We came out dozing. Again. They came out very perky. Not surprised given our record of being half asleep after the break. And what happens? They score in seconds. Dave done, Kurt done. Their one single effort on target so far. Sorry Alf. Very evenly spread game going forward now. They had a lot more actual attacking intent about them, and grew in confidence. That said, an outstanding flick almost led to a hatrick for Tammy. Then it was back up the other end and it looked like we’d been carved open, but Tomori was there to clean up. Not the only time today.
Alf: “We’ve only got to hold on for any other 35 minutes.” It would have been funny if it wasn’t so accurate. It looked like we had got our sh*t together, but still we squandered our chances and there is that worrying tendency of giving the ball away. If we could not strive to be as beneficent as Mother Theresa on a guilt trip on a weekly basis, it would be appreciated. Willian on for Barkley on 60. Please be better, I said. Or at least look like you’re interested, quipped Alf Jr. To be fair he played an outstanding ball through to Tammy straight away, but the latter took his eye off it. Kovacic sprung forth again on 62, but Abraham couldn’t play it out to Willian without clipping the defender and another chance went to waste. An emphatic block from Zouma on 68 as they ran in on goal, and he smacked it into the ad boards. They were still looking for something from this game. Jorginho continues to impress with his do over, and the adulation that followed after he dug the ball out on the edge of the box was deserved.
We had looked better since Willian came on at that point, I’ll give him that, but we still couldn’t get back on top of this game. From a lovely summer day we’d ended up with floodlights on in August and pouring rain. Said it all, as the match deteriorated from our point of view. Fair play to them, it’s becoming clear to opposing teams that if you stay in touch, you can hope to get something out of the game. We badly needed to change up the midfield, but we couldn’t. Not effectively, because every first team choice not on the pitch was injured. Come to think of it, Kovacic was on the pitch AND injured. Frank was either going to have to play Christensen out of position and lock it down, or bring on an actual midfielder: Billy Gilmour, who turned 18 a few weeks ago.
Corner headed just over the bar by Zouma and then they came back at us. Come on Chelsea sang the crowd, which is code for please don’t f*ck this up. On 87 they looked in again, after the Batman gave ball away high up, but there was Tomori steaming in once more. He did well today overall. Then an own goal from Kurt. Harsh on him. He’ll become the whipping boy again, when in actual fact he wasn’t sh*t today. People streaming out. Not on. Where is this solidarity and this emotional investment in a new era, one we’ve proclaimed to want? Sadly, when JK said on the Fancast this week that he thought there was plenty of snarkiness simmering beneath the surface regarding this “free pass” for Frank this season, it doesn’t appear that he was wrong. 2-2 and for some, it seemed, it was the end of the world.
So: It was the hardest result to take so far, I’ll give you that. But, to be fair to Frank, he went for the option you should at home: to win the game, not cling on against a newly promoted side. The Batman came on, as did Gilmour, the teenager. Who wasn’t even listed on the programme. He’s little, unlike the size of Frank’s balls. He made Mason Mount look old, and yet Frank wouldn’t have put him out there if he thought he was incapable. People have pointed to this as the reason we conceded, but actually, it had nothing to do with the debutant. We were under the cosh the entire half, and it was the only midfield option Frank had. Sheffield United had plenty of opportunities to take something from this game that had nothing to do with our substitutions. I didn’t have a problem with it. “Play the yoof,” people have proclaimed for several seasons. “F*ck all these prima donnas, let the kids have a go. We’ll finish 10th but we’ll have our Chelsea back.” Well, we did. We are, we might, and we have. And yet certain fans don’t seem to be able to comprehend that the price you pay is a lack of experience, a lack of composure, the inability to close games out and the chance that you might have to live with a dip in the results that you have become accustomed to, especially when half the experienced players are out injured and others: Dave. Willian, are well below par. Some people don’t seem to be able to marry one with the other. Added to that, this is categorically, unless there is an outbreak of bubonic plague, the weakest our squad will be: ALL. SEASON. Was today disappointing? Of course, we led by two goals. Is it the end of the world? No. Six goals so far and all of them from Mount or Abraham. How’s that for yoof? I think we should just do what Gerrard did his whole career and fake niggly ingrowing toenails and fake injuries so nobody goes on international duty. These next couple of weeks are really important for Frank and his team. Rudi and Kante we need back desperately to be able to shut teams out. The likes of Pedro Pony, Ruben and CHO coming back will give us infinitely more options going forward. Then maybe we can all calm the f*ck down.
Chelsea 1 Leicester 1
Sunday 18th August 2019 16:30
You’d have been forgiven for forgetting that there was a football game on today, and assuming that this was a vast gathering of the Super Frank Appreciation Society. Which is fine with me as a one-off.
In the News: F*cking VAR, VAR, VAR. The Virtual A*sehole Rampage. The first talking point for every Premier League game now is computers. Not the football. I’m all for things like the goal line technology. Did it cross the line or didn’t it. Simple. But this is an outrage. To quote someone slightly less sweary than me: “The refs or linesman didn’t always get it right but it was part of the game day experience and post match. Now like so much in society football is being “sanitised” to make it “too pc” like everything else in life. To err is human in any aspect of life FFS.” Amen. This f*ckwitted pursuit of perfection has fundamentally changed, nay, RUINED the league overnight.
It’s about how I react and keep my head up, said Tammy. Showing maturity beyond his years after his penalty miss. Same can’t be said for some of the a*seholes on social media. His girlfriend was eloquent too, although one of the technophobes being me asked today “what’s being a vlogger?” You make videos of yourself talking and put them on the internet. And if enough people give a sh*t someone might pay you.“ I get that much, he says, but what does it mean?” Honestly, I replied, it probably means she hasn’t got a real job and Tammy pays for everything. Jan Vertonghen dropped for a lack of fitness. Dick. And Sp*rs are trying to bribe Eriksen to stay for £200k a week. I wouldn’t spend my time in Seven Sisters for that. Additionally, Kolasinac and Ozil supposedly now caught up in all out gang warfare. North London never was a happy place. David Moyes says he would consider managing Beckham’s new side. Isn’t that big of him. He’d consider moving to Miami for an easy life after making a tit of himself all over Europe. I bet the other David is really excited. Wilfrid Bony is training with Newport because no club wants him, United still can’t find anyone that wants to give Sanchez £560k a week. “Paul can’t do everything at United” says his brother, as the European window drags on. They either misheard him and he said “anything” or his brother has been sniffing the same funny substance as his big-headed brother. Oh and Eden has spent £10m on the ugliest new age mansion you can imagine in Madrid. It looks like a Stasi holding pen from the outside and Dirk Diggler’s 70s porn hub within.
The Others: Pep VARdiola is outraged. Day that ends in a Y so Sp*rs must have been given something for nothing by some mug sitting at a computer in Stockley Park. The Scouse were PLUNGED into an injury crisis when one of their own fans invaded the pitch after penalties in Istanbul and broke Adrian. Little did they know they’d have been better off if they’d plunged him into the Mersey with rocks tied to his ankles themselves. Because he did play, and nearly gifted a spirited Southampton a way back into the game.
Us: I don’t have any problem with the ability of either Christensen or Zouma. Together, though, I’m not convinced. Leaders and followers, that’s what it’s about. There needs to be a gobby centre back in charge, the leader, and for me both of them are playing like followers, which makes us frail. Bound to be rotation after such a long midweek slog. Mount started, so did Kante. Bench for Kovacic and Willian.
Them: So blinded by their hideous kit I couldn’t tell you. Although I did chuckle at Vardy running about in it. I took pleasure in his pain.
The inevitable Frank love in; which was nice. A real buzz around the Bridge today before the game. It’s quite amusing to watch us lot wandering about wondering what to moan about, for we do love a good whinge. Here’s something: Card only at the Kiosks. All checked by VAR too says Boycie, too. Reckons he waited 25 minutes for them to confirm his coffee.
Fast start - so fast Pedro Unicorn had hit the side netting before a minute was up. Then we had a save from a Mount shot and a follow up from Pulisic that led to a corner. Behold, an open goal, but nobody was there to prod it in. Rabid atmosphere inside the ground, players fired up, fans fired up. At this point we’d come out and punched Leicester in the face. 99% possession They’d only managed to claw that back to 4% in their favour when Mason smashed home a goal six mins into his home debut. Not heard the Bridge this loud since Napoli at home in 2012. Pedro Unicorn had been like a train. We had been relentless for ten minutes before Leicester finally started to get into the game. As in touched the ball. Then it settled down, though we still had our chances.
Almost two for us on 20 when Mount had a free header, but he nutted it weakly and straight at Schmeichel; but doesn’t he always seem to be in the right place at the moment? Then the Kante twins came from nowhere like little roadrunners to stab it wide on 25. When are we going to take a decent corner? We’ve been asking for at least a decade. Now, is the answer, provided their are at the feet of Mason Mount. Back away, Willian. Back. Away. The fact that Zouma was playing left wing and taking three Powerpuff Girls at a time shows you how much defending he’s had to do. Not for want of trying, but Leicester had achieved nothing to far. On 27 Kante was away again but nobody managed to get a shot, then they may have got in. Kepa had a Courtoisesque brainfart on 29, but we got away with it and they still hadn’t managed to fashion a shot on target.
The way we are hurtling out of the blocks at the moment: If you can steal early goals it can cover a variety of deficiencies later on and change the way that opposition approach the game entirely. Smart. But you have to have made the most of the energy expenditure and we hadn’t. Naughty foul from Jorginho on 36. This is where VAR almost awarded Sp*rs a penalty. The free kick from them went unmolested across the face of the goal. 35 minutes in and they’d played their way fully into it. Curses. But still they hadn’t exactly missed any sitters and we’d defended solidly enough. Zouma in particular continued to build on his midweek performance. So. Let’s get in for half time without fucking it up. Corner for us to round things off thanks to some f*ckwttery from Schmeichel, but the shot from Jorginho that we eventually got was way over. That’ll do. But work to do in the second half.
Leicester threw the kitchen sink at us as soon as the whistle went for the second half. And effectively. Some timely defending to back up Kepa on 49 kept them out, just, but the fact that we let ourselves get into that position was stupid. If Vardy wasn’t a cockwomble they could have scored by now. He squandered many a gilt-edged chance today. Five minutes in and they’d got a bit of an inkling about what might happen if possession turned over with them so high up, i.e. they’d get mauled like we did at Old Trafford. I appreciated Zouma out sprinting ratface. That was satisfying. Good to see him stretch his legs like that and get there first, for I still remember the scream when he went down with that knee injury. Speaking of, a break for the Unicorn to get some treatment. During which, even Maddison had to laugh when we were singing Who's the w*nker in the pink, at him as he waited to take a corner, and Your kit is sh*t. Good job they’ve got a sense of humour about it, because they will get that abuse at 18 other away games this season. And deservedly so. Choudhury looked like a Neapolitan ice cream when you added his big, luxuriant chocolate afro and his yellow boots. Wolf whistles abounded all afternoon.
Half an hour to go and it was going to be time for Tammy. Different prospect for the defenders. Huge reception for him as expected. Another shocking effort from them on 60. It had more chance of going in the net at Craven Cottage. Tammy had got straight into the game with a very determined look on his face. Already we were creating more, and on 63 the Kante twins broke through, but we faffed trying to get a shot it of it. Then we had some neat interplay between Tammy, Mason Mount and Emerson to break out on 64, before it bounced off the striker’s foot at the other end and went haywire. But still we looked fragile, and our whole defence was stationary for their goal. Free header for a dodo. That’s what auto spell does to Ndidi’s name and I can live with that. To be honest it had been coming for a while. Over to you, Frank. Plenty of time to fix this, but we looked like a team that played 120 minutes three days ago. Obviously not as tired as the poor Scouse though. A shocking miss from Maddison on 72 when he should have given them the lead, but it was all a bit shambolic from us. Some very tired legs out there and after Kovacic and Willian replaced Jorginho and Pulisic, Pedro Pony and Dave were going to have to last the 90 when they already looked utterly w*nkered.
Another criminal miss from Vardy this time as they played Christensen out of it with ease. Ref/Varwatch: Jesus wept. Look at what football has become. In the quest for perfection, which Chelsea fans alone have lived without for 114 years, the game has lost the plot and VAR has become a weekly inclusion. It was going to be Graham Scott on the pitch, but he got lost, or wanted to watch the cricket and didn’t turn up till kick off, so it was Oliver Langfield. Whoever he is. Doesn’t know what a foul is. Cards are evidently still in Scott’s pocket because he couldn’t find them. VAR was led by Mike Dean and thankfully did nothing to f*ck up the game, for once. 76 Willian was in, but hit the side netting. Any result was possible at this point, because the ball was just up and down the pitch. The fresh legs perked us up, but we would have needed three more pairs of them to really replace everyone who was lagging. Another excellent ball was squandered by Dave, who was one of them. Off we went up the other end, and then it was our turn to attack again. Both teams were riddled with silly mistakes at this point.
A free kick from Mount well over on 82, and our attacking intent was now well and truly back, but it had been lacking for too large a portion of this game. Leathered by Mason on 84 and that was as close as we came to the win, but it deflected out as it headed for the top corner. Dear Leicester. His name might be Mount but it’s not a f*cking invitation. Stop climbing all over him. Great stop by Kepa on 88, Zouma wasn’t far off moments later, but he shouldn’t really have had a go. There were better options. As four minutes of injury time started, Tammy did really well but it came off his foot all wrong. Not impressed with Willian giving it away and then standing there while Mount tracked back like a beast to win it back for him. Wake up Willy. By this time Dave was so bollocksed he couldn’t even jog the length of the pitch, and we were lucky it didn’t cost us. Vardy kicked the ball away like the petulant twat he is at the last, and that was that.
So: Welcome to our reality this season. Leicester were never going to be pushovers. We have exactly the same points from these two fixtures as we got out of them last season. There was no utter capitulation, more a general degradation of what we were trying to do as the game went on and the almost-heroics of Istanbul caught up with too many players. The opening spell was brilliant, and we need to get better at not tapering off. When you have got someone so void of ideas as Sarri, there is no hope. Frank is full of ideas, but lacking in experience, and needs time to establish which of them work best. So there is always hope. Unless he turns into a dribbling lunatic like Chequebook Pulis and starts sleeping in laundry hampers and chucking his pet chihuahua over the garden wall. Individually Pedro Pony’s effort was commendable. Ran his legs off.
Mount refuses to be bullied off the ball, and his delivery into the box on set plays is also arguably the best we’ve had for a long while. More good signs from Pulisic, who already looks to be settling in with far more ease than the likes of Ramires ever did. Zouma was excellent today for the most part. He improved again after Turkey, and dare I say looked more like a leader. Lots of pivotal interventions today but the burst of speed against a half-whippet (explains the nose) like Vardy was extremely encouraging. A couple of days off now, I imagine, and a chance to recharge again before we really will be looking for three points up at Norwich.
Many thanks to all those who contributed to the summer party at the domestic violence refuge this week - it was a huge success. Unless you were one of the mums who had to clean up after it. The generosity of our Chelsea family (and beyond) continues to astound all involved. We’ve also provided a new bike for one of the kids who had his stolen, some free professional tax advice for one mum and are looking at some vocational training for another. Not long till I start hounding you all for their Christmas present money!
If you like what you read and want to contribute towards the cost of keeping me at cup /European games or sozzled on enough gin to be amusing, I have a Patreon page here: https://www.patreon.com/girlwholikesballs
Poor Tired Red Scouse 2 Chelsea 2 (Gits win 5-4 on penalties)
European Super Cup
Wednesday 14th August 2019 20:00
Victor Meldrew (Sitcom alias) went. Can we all stand and give a round of applause to the group of fans that acquiesced to spend their time and money on a pointless game two days after a car crash at Old Trafford. Only to surrounded by 50,000 scousers, most of them plastic.
In the News: A load of dull sh*t talking about the European transfer nonsense, how the Armageddon is night, complete with Aerosmith power ballad, at Stamford Bridge and probably handing the Scouse the title already yawn.
Them: Made some changes. Because they were sooooooooo tired. In case you failed to have that hammered into your brain last night.
Us: Interesting team selection. Frank said he had to freshen it up because we only played on Sunday. He also had an eye on giving a shot to the guys who got us there, such as The Beard. Tammy and Mason dropped to the bench, Kante twins not only ready to come back into the starting line up, but ended up running round like a boss for about four hours, and so recently injured, looked fitter than half of theirs. More of the good stuff from Sunday please. Same positivity and daring, but more awake on the counter for a start. It needed to be more constrained. More sensible. And it was.
A high octane start, Scouse playing a high line and risking the wrath of Pedro Unicorn and Pulisic getting in behind. On 5 minutes we defended a corner and got to the ball first. Boom. Progress. In fact we defended well at the beginning full stop. Kepa was also decisive in the opening spell, especially on 15 when some little Egyptian bloke I’ve never heard of was away. Then it was our turn. The Beard broke straight afterwards. If only he was fast, as it was he saw his opportunity closing out, took the shot to early and shanked it. Great play from him though. Another good ball, this time from Kovacic to The Unicorn on 20 but barged off it by the defender. Best chance of the game yet and he was involved again, playing a 1-2 with The Beard. Off the crossbar. Fecking woodwork is getting on my tits this week.
It was not as harebrained as the start of Sunday, but still really positive. A bicycle kick from The Beard was not on target, but not embarrassing either. Perfect choice of our three strikers to go up against van Dyke because he was giving him no quarter. Mane unmarked on 29 but luckily his header was sh*t. Goalkeeper denied Kovacic shortly afterwards. Apparently we might see more of him surging forward this year now he’s not constrained by Sarri rules. Hopefully he’s been practicing his shooting. Better team so far by a mile. Though that meant nothing at Old Trafford. Possession was even, but all of theirs had been at the back. Then BOOM!!! Kante twins had been the difference compared to Sunday. His ball forward after shaking off the Vermin led Pulisic to play a perfect assist through to The Beard and we were ahead. The youngster scored himself straight after, with a cut across and corner shot that was 100% Hazard, but he was offside. The Scouse were switching sides all over the place trying to change it up and get a foothold. That said, at some point surely it was going to show that they had had two more days rest, right?
It certainly looked that way as soon as the whistle went for the second half and they immediately equalised. Shot wide from them, then a save from Kepa once again on 50. Christensen and Zouma had reverted back to Sunday’s latter stages. Too vulnerable on the counter. Firminho had come on and taken a massive dump on their evening. Time to act like grown ups. Don’t collapse, hold firm and weather the storm, because even with two days extra to prepare they couldn’t keep this pace up. And we did just that. Dropped much deeper, tried to settle down again and then predictably they went off the boil. Then we started to make inroads. Great ball in to Pulisic but they got a foot in on it 64. Mount and Abraham were ready to come on, and Firminho looked bollocksed after 25 mins. How are they collectively more tired than us? They’ve had a lot of high profile games says Jermaine Penis. Charity Shield. Norwich at home. This. Some other friendly wank. So no more than us. Because one was against Norwich. Only high profile there is Milner’s forehead.
Kepa kept us in it on 74 with a stunning double save. First one despite everyone’s legs in the way and the reaction time for the second was stellar. Tammy back and defending right on top of both of those too. Good work. Courtois would have still been trying to get down for the first one come the weekend. Promising chance from the Unicorn on 81, but it went straight at VD. This is my nickname for Virgil, because Mr Ballon D’or (Bitch please) is about as welcome as a dose of that in my world.
We were back on top now and would remain so, though this waiting to raise the flag for offside in Europe is about as welcome as Wayne Rooney running at your nan with his todger out. Total dross. Also sh*t for the players in terms of wasting energy. Poor Mason saw his effort disallowed, but he was doing really well since his introduction. Criminal miss from Mane on 8 but the flag was up again. Did I mention how much I welcome this delayed flag waving in Europe? Course we were hearing now about how tired their little legs are. Aw. Then it’s because the poor Scouse lambs have got to play on Saturday. Klopp’s spindly scarecrow hand was forced personnel wise otherwise they would have walked this. No mention of the fact we’d left the pitch at Old Trafford and had to get straight into the plane. Zouma once again first to a corner at their end. He’s doing well at that so far, he’s like a runaway rhino but he is struggling to aim those headers at the moment. Little less rhino, more finesse is a job for him in the coming weeks.
Extra time it was after they faffed a ball going across the face of goal right at the end. Flaccid comeback from “The Ox” after they made a massive deal out of it on BT. Forgot he was there. Don’t even know when he went off. Don’t care. On 97 minutes Abraham was running toe to toe with VD, but Adrian got in the way. Not being thrashed off the ball though by a brutal centre back, which is really good. Then their makeshift keeper went and brought down Tammy. Penalty from the referee. She was pretty adamant and VAR couldn’t overrule her as she hadn’t made a “clear and obvious error.” Good. Refwatch: Why should I mention that they were all girls? In a patronising tone about how well they did. Game flowed, not fussy at all. Behold how the world did not end with boobs on the pitch. Mind you Allardyce has ensured that that’s not exactly new. It was no different to having blokes in charge, she was certainly fitter than Phil Dowd ever was in terms of being up with play. One dodgy corner was all you could level at the officials. I forgot they even had vaginas. Which is probably the best compliment you could pay them.
I’ve neglected to mention they’d scored a goal at some point and gone ahead, because I hate them. Anyway, Jorginho booed by the whole stadium as he lay the ball down for the spot kick. Basically rolled it in whilst sticking his finger up at the keeper. Now the commentators really wouldn’t shut up about how poor Liverpool have got to play on Saturday. Jermaine Penis apparently sitting down in the commentary box because he was tired too. About as much stamina as he had as a player.
Abraham a gnats fart away from giving us the lead back on 103, but everyone looking proper ragged now with fifteen minutes left to play. Emerson lying on the floor grabbing his junk, cramp issues for others. On 112 Mount forced a reaction save from Adrian after a killer ball from Jorginho started us off. Seconds later the Unicorn was inches away. 114 we were in miles of space with Emerson on the ball, but the best he could manage was a corner after insisting on a shot and denying Tammy a crack at it in the box. Unlucky not to have finished them off tonight.
Off we go then on the lottery of penalties.
Firminho: Sends Kepa the wrong way
Jorginho: Does exactly the same to Adrian
Fabinho: (Who was pretending he couldn’t walk two minutes ago) Kepa doesn’t move
Barkley: Smashed home
Origi: Kepa got there but it goes under him. Surprised Origi could see the goal with that stupid fringe
Mason Mount: Never in doubt - top corner
Alexander-Arnold: Kepa knew he was going right, we knew he was going right, yet agin somehow it wriggles in
Emerson: Right down the middle in response to Adrian yelling at him
Salah: Sends Kepa the wrong way
All down to Tammy Abraham: and it was a poor effort. Indecisive. Oh well. I think everyone will agree that that was much, much better than we were expecting.
So: Hell of a learning curve from Frank & Co. after Old Trafford with no time to prepare for this and it was approached in style. Some exciting individual showings. Remember Sunday was Zouma’s first start for us since May 2017. He did much, much better, as did Christensen. The difference with the twins on the pitch is palpable, especially where those two are concerned. Kovacic had a good game, and Kepa was outstanding at times and was close to being the difference in the shootout. He is really growing into that price tag for me. Not pressing so high, more measured and the result was that but for a twenty minute blast at the beginning of the second half, we were the better side all night long. I’m more than happy with how we acquitted ourselves. Many had us down to take a pasting. Time to get down to proper business now with three points against Leicester on Sunday.
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Manchester United 4 Chelsea 0
Sunday 11th August 2019 16:30
Me and my epic toothache went all the way to Manchester and all we got as this lousy referee who doesn’t know what a head injury looks like. A reality check, but nowhere near worthy of soiling ourselves over.
In the News: Not much since the previews. Just some Blue Squirrel on Luiz, who says he went to L’Arse to win trophies. Had become utterly dominant in the dressing room. Also, you think Jorginho was the biggest Sarri advocate in there? Think again. Add that to the fact that things have never been comfortable between He and Frank, and it was a no brainer.
The Others: Sheldon (Sitcom alias) reckons the Red Scouse keepers sound like a middle aged couple. Adrian and Allison. We’ve decided they live in Hemel Hempstead and go on caravan holidays to Wales. First goal of the season was scored by the opposition. Imagine my surprise. Same applies to how lucky Sp*rs got to get back in against Villa. L’Arse inspired nobody. VAR ran amok this weekend, and frankly there is much more I’d rather do with my life every week than reanalyse every decision. One thing is certain, even after sitting through that official Premier League brainwashing session. Even I didn’t grasp how much football will never be the same again. And that makes me sad. Granted we were at one of the only ridiculous, wank grounds that is unable to properly engage the crowd with VAR because they won’t buy a television, but I honestly feel like my long term future as a match going fan is longer a given.
Us: What a start for Mount to negotiate. Same for Tammy. Youngest Chelsea starting eleven since the last time Allardyce managed to notch his belt.
Never seen such a comparative lack of home shirts in the Chelsea end. Probably because it’s wank.
Emerson left them for dust in the opening minutes but couldn’t hold it up long enough to play the ball in, Kovacic managed that, but it floated way too long and into De Gea’s hands. Then it was Mason’s turn to burst free. Then Tammy hit the post. A really positive start. Five minutes in and they’d not been out of their own half once. They couldn’t retain the ball for sh*t.
Barkley’s turn next but he ran into trouble. A few wayward balls, but the determination to win the it back was notable from the very beginning. Across the face of goal on nine minutes, so close for Tammy again. Long rang shot from Mount went straight into De Gea’s hands, and conversely, fifteen minutes and they’ve not had anything resembling a shot.
We did, however, resemble the Red Scouse when Klopp first arrived. We ran about like head-cases for the opening twenty. If we had scored, great, but we didn’t. And much like them, when we didn’t get that early goal, we then started to slow down and they got a proper foothold in the game while we had knackered ourselves for nothing.
Penalty. Zouma caught out. Not that we got to see the replay because the richest club in the world are too f*cking tight to buy a tv. Surely in 2019 and with the onset of this technology it should be f*cking mandatory? Although it’s not like we were in any doubt about whether the Premier League give a toss about the match going fan.
Never was a lead less deserved. Never was “we forgot that you were here” more relevant. Plastic bastards. Set play defending wobbly on 21, but decisive from Christensen on the corner that followed. We were clearly shaken by that travesty. Anthony Taylor making Manc friends by ignoring head injuries and then pulling it back after they’d almost capitalised on Christensen leaving a gap in the defence by being semi-conscious.
Couldn’t get a hold back in the game at this point. Apart from when we gave the game up as lost, this was the only time they looked like the better side. Zouma looked more nervous than Lukaku turning up for his Slimming World weekly weigh in. Half an hour and we had a couple of opportunities to whack it in their box, but failed. Then Tammy was in with Ross but couldn’t quite poke it through to him. Bit if inexperience showing, perhaps, from some of the little’uns. Must be clinical.
Checking Goal said VAR with their offside effort. What f*cking goal? Not even Stevie f*cking Wonder would have had that reviewed. Peasants. Then Zouma finally gets a tackle in and climbs back on the horse, and Taylor books him. Twat.
Shot from Ross saved on 39, pile driver follow up from Pedro Pony blocked. Then underside of the crossbar from Emerson a minute later. But for a splinter of wood or a bit of luck we could have converted any one of five attempts in the opening half.
Two minutes added on. We had the ball for all of it and barely got a shot off. That was the first time today where I thought “I miss Eden,” but lots to be positive about. They, on the other hand, were disgustingly fortunate. Felt like the introduction of any one of Kante, The Beard, possibly Pusilic could swing the play fully in our favour.
Corner straight off on the restart, Zouma almost got his big head on it but not quite. They must have fast tracked Slab’ead through his induction because he’s already got the odious whining red Manc thing down pat.
Refwatch: Anthony Taylor. In case you hadn’t noticed. VAR doesn’t make me want to bitch slap his overly shiny head any less. In case you hadn’t noticed. Another biased yellow on Jorginho five minutes into the second half. No free kicks for us when we get flattened, half the challenge immediately after and we get pulled. They even check it for a red card. Ludicrous. Use of VAR today was baffling, didn’t tie in with things we were told at Stockley Park. Not helped by fact that Taylor is a same snivelling little dog-nonce. Sorry, forgot, snivelling little dog-nonce FROM GREATER MANCHESTER. A computer intervention is not going to improve my opinion of this fool’s contribution to the refereeing world. It would take a miracle. And hard drugs.
Shot from them blocked soon afterwards, couldn’t get it away until Ross finally dug it out and booted it upfield. Palmed away by De Gea on 55. No card for trying to kill Pulisic. No free kick for Tammy being pulled down either. In fact, I guarantee you they conveniently decided that it wasn’t even classed as being in the same “phase of play” as the goal that immediately followed at the other end and therefore they ignored it when they did the mandatory review of the f*cking thing. Even if they wouldn’t have crossed the hallway line without committing it. Then a minute later it was three. Utter smash and grab by a team that have been second best for all but fifteen minutes.
The Beard on. Then a short while later Kante for Jorginho, who was on that pathetic yellow. Taylor predictably started to actually officiate the game now they were three clear. At this point my painkillers started to wear off. And I still had twenty minutes of this wank-puffin’s refereeing to endure. Pusilic did well on his debut considering the state of the game, Mount I thought was better in the second half. A lot more confident on the ball. They were actually singing Chequebook Pulis’s name like rampant hypocrites when yet another break occurred because Taylor ignored our centre back lying prone on the floor. Almost a goal for Mount on 84 but that was about as good as it got.
So: They were not remotely four goals better than us today. Plus including Taylor there were twelve of them. Poor Frank. But really? I honestly don’t think he’ll lose that much sleep over a game that could quite easily have gone the complete opposite way. Rarely will we be so utterly luckless in a game. Suck it up and move on.
Problems include: Taking our chances. Harsh lesson in that for a young side today. Silly errors. Naïveté on the field, you cannot bomb around like that and give the ball away constantly and hope to win Premier League games. This was not just the “yoot.” Dave gave it away 22 times, more than anyone else. Defending needs much work. Especially on set pieces. Tammy isn’t ready. Not to the extent that Mount is. If we had been able to buy a striker he’d be out on loan somewhere in the lower half of the league this season as part of his development. That showed. Don’t expect miracles from him.
Poor Kurt was a car crash today. I don’t doubt he can play better than that, but his pace is a concern for me. He will play, but not in fixtures like yesterday’s if Frank can help if. We need Rudi back ASAP. All that said, not bad at all for a large portion of the game. Kante still to come back in properly, then Rudi, Ruben, CHO. This will arguably be as weak as our squad is this season. Fixtures against the top six are just coming too soon for us. Our season starts on Sunday, with a run again Leicester, Norwich and Sheffield United. That is when we will get a proper measure of the work Frank has done so far.
On the funny side, this will give the Manc bellends a massively inflated sense of hope about this season, which will be all the more hilarious when they do f*ck all again. More holes in their game than a pair of TCW's skanky discarded old fishnets. The amount of chances they gave us? Remember that fight scene in Gladiator, where Russell Crowe shoved one sword in a guy, then another. Yanked them out and decapitated him in one crossover move? That’s what the likes of City are going to do to them.
The rest of the footballing world is forgetting how many Chelsea fans remember when we were categorically, undisputedly shit. We’re hardier in the stands than you think, and we are in no way shit. Time for everyone to put their money where their mouth is in terms of accepting that this is a very different kind of season for us. Frank has been in charge a month, and he’s set a complete revolution in motion. A revolution people begged for from the club. In the words of Take That. Just have a little patience. As for some of the newer breed, who start defecating and screaming at YouTube every time we drop a point, when they decide Lampard is out of his depth by Thursday morning, they can do one. Because we’ve got precisely 48 before Istanbul. Never was a match a more pointless barometer of his, or his players’ ability at a given place in time. Well played Premier League, well played.
Let’s start with Summer’s Top Ten Funniest Moments:
10. South Korean fans are threatening to sue after Ronaldo didn’t play in a friendly. They say they were promised at least 45 minutes of his presence. Billable hours through the roof for his legal team of late.
9. Nobody wants Coutinho anymore. Not a single bid. There’s a lesson in there for players being groomed by their agents and grabbing these new super money moves. Farca couldn’t even get rid of him on loan in the end.
8. Same goes for Neymar, so far. Scrabbling about trying to find a way out the bed he made for himself by going to France in the first place. Go figure. Barcelona have signed Frodo Griezmann instead. PSG have even offered to drop the price by £110m, apparently, still not tempting anyone. Possibly because he’s a monumental dick.
7. Platini was arrested. Presumably as well as being bent there is a charge in there for the placing of that wildly inaccurate and misleading memorial on the Western Front that he managed to put his name on fifty times.
6. Daniel Sturridge had his Pomeranian dognapped in LA. Proof of life, ransom, the works. Luckily he doesn’t have any actual football to concentrate on. I have no sympathy for anyone who spent in excess of £30k on a f*cking Pomeranian in the first place. That’s the universe’s way of telling you to give your head a wobble.
5. The Gareth Bale saga is as hilarious as him trying to hide his burgeoning bald patch with a topknot that looks worse. The most reviled man in the white half of Madrid, despite thirteen trophies, and scoring in two Champions League finals. Even more hilariously, Bale has scored more than double the amount of goals that the man who hates him, Zidane, ever did. But then he’s managed to build replicas of famous golf holes in his back garden, and yet not learned three words of Spanish in six years. Even funnier, he was said to be so devastated when his Chinese deal was blocked he refused to go to work. Too distressed. Now it looks like he will stay, because Real Madrid is that fickle that if he hangs around another week he might actually outlast the manager.
4. In a stunning instance of “woe the f*ck is me” Zaha has had a good whinge about his pain at United. All alone he was. So sad. “They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself.” Hell? REALLY? Firstly, you big drama queen, the were paying you a seven figure salary. Secondly, you are a two and a half hour train ride from Euston. Thirdly, IT’S NOT FORBIDDEN FOR YOU TO LEAVE YOUR LUXURY ABODE. And also, what part of you is that thick that it can’t comprehend using some of your exorbitant salary to puzzle your way around buying your own car? Actually, scratch that, because the idea of him being behind the wheel of even a bumper car with such a lack of intelligence is terrifying.
3. “I am sorry, I had drunk too much.” This was, Clinton N’Jie’s, (formerly of Sp*rs) excuse after he accidentally streamed himself having sex online.
2. Diego. Don’t ever change. He scored four of seven against Real then got sent off in a 22 man brawl.
1. Kolasinac beating off car-jackers as Ozil stood by like a damsel in distress. There are so many hilarious connotations but my favourite was this. “Emery is concerned about Ozil’s mental state after the attempted car-jacking.” AFTER. He’d seen his mental state before, right? Because he was a fair few sandwiches short of a picnic before anyone threatened to steal his diamanté studded earrings.
PREMIER LEAGUE PREDICTIONS
A.I. Boffins predict that City will win the title, United and Sp*rs will fight out the Europa League final and Frank Lampard to be top a Xmas. Their wording, not mine.
Top Six Contenders - You’d think with a transfer ban they’d have all stretched away from us, but it’s like they’ve gone out of their way to keep us in it.
Arsenal - This is going to be hilarious.
Ozil apparently squeaked: “I swear - you’re not a coach” in Turkish when he was subbed over the summer. Ironic. Considering he is not a footballer 98% of the time. In the understatement of the century, Torreira “thinks life might have been better in Italy.” Then we had the “Five-Captain Farce. ”Ramsey and Cech had left, Ozil and Xhaka are a joke. So as usual nobody is in charge at Arsenal, because Koscielny went AWOL and refused to travel pre-season too. L’Arse had less shots than Palace, Southampton, not to mention eight other clubs last season. Their new star man? “Chelsea… it's the club that makes me dream.” Pepe captured on video saying we’re the only London club he’d ever want to play for.
They might actually do better than last season, but not without giving us all plenty to laugh at. Their away form was pathetic last time out, and while they’ve got a shiny new striker on finance, they are relying on a combination of Mustafi, Luiz and Xhaka to keep teams out at the other end. This after every attempt to sign a defender they actually wanted failed and they suddenly sprang for Sideshow Bob instead. The only one with a brain, Koscielny, did his runner in the end. The only surprise there being that it took him so long to flee. The rest of their signings lack the real wow-factor, and they’ve lost Ramsey on a free (criminally negligent) Cech, and Iwobi as well as Koscielny. Is it me or should they be crapping themselves at the depth of their goalkeepers too? On balance, they seem much the same to me, and surely we’ve still got enough to finish above these clowns.
Man Utd - No better off than last year.
Solskjaer was said to be wanting rid of 14 at the beginning of the summer. Reportedly the club were using Mourinho’s transfer wish list seven months after sacking him. Which doesn’t surprise me. The Dybala deal has been going back and forth most of the summer. Woodward apparently went weeks without even contacting Maguire, who they desperately wanted. Eriksen gave up on them saying the club lacked ambition. This is Manchester United. And he plays for T*ttenham. If ever there was a punch in the face. Maradona was insisting that if he took over he could make them win trophies again. Jesus. Perhaps if his liver could be guaranteed for another nine months. But most of the news revolved around the fact that Old Trafford turned out to be Ungrateful Turd Central this summer. Pogba. There is literally no link between perception and reality as far as this thunderc*nt is concerned. He’s special. He says. “Not happy with being the highest earner and wants to win Ballon D’Or.” You do realise you actually have to be good at something other than TALKING for that to be feasible, right? Just didn’t turn up to fly to Cardiff. Pause. FLY TO CARDIFF. Jesus wept. He went nowhere in the end. Which is what the snake deserves. His agent also got what he deserved too. As in not a f*cking penny. Raiola and his ilk are the scourge of football. Looks like a cheap extra from the sopranos. He’s a poor man’s Luca Brasi. Warrants no more than an early death scene choking on a poisoned meatball, and nobody remembers who he was half an hour after the film has finished. Then there was Lukaku bitching about how hard done by he is. Says an overweight, under-motivated embarrassment of an £85m signing. Inter have apparently paid nearly that again for him, finally. Obviously paying by the pound.
So when it all came out in the wash, they offloaded the (not inconsiderable) bulk of Lukaku, released Valencia and lost Herrera to PSG. In exchange, they’ve got two squad players in James and Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire. Slabhead, saviour of the mighty Manchester United and worthy of £150m of investment. Lot to put on the shoulders of a central defender who isn’t worth much more than £30m, tops. If I was a Manc I wouldn’t be getting too excited about their prospects. Might be tight between us and them, but I’d fancy us, on the basis that the longer Solskjaer is there, the more he is going to get found out if Ferguson isn’t actually just calling all the shots for him like he did during his opening spell.
City - Still the ones to beat.
Their biggest worry is living with that lemon yellow and peach kit all season. Looks like one of those sweaty change colour t-shirts we kids all had in the 90s. That and the fact that Pep might have fallen on his shiny head over the summer. He thinks Phil Foden is the most talented player he has EVER seen.
They didn’t need to go on a shopping spree. That said they’ve broken their club record still, and strengthened again. The fact that their nearest rivals from last season have not, and that the rest of the top six are either banned from signing (ahem) or just haven’t done enough to bridge the gap makes me believe that it’s entirely in their hands. Yes Kompany has gone, as he’s a big name with a long association, but in reality his on-pitch influence has been on the wane for a while. If St. Pep and his minions don’t completely f*ck it up, the league is theirs.
Red Scouse - Could have done with some strengthening.
The Press Plebs were handing Liverpool the league on 15th July after a pre-season win against Bradford. Then they lost four games in a row and all Klopp has done since is moan about how tired his players are going to be. Before he turned his attentions to whining about a Friday kick off against Norwich. Which gives his players two more days to recover in time to play us in Istanbul. Joker. He has Oxlade-Chamberlain back, though he has a calf problem. He’s also relying on the return of Lallana and Keita to make the difference, and I don’t see it.
Because all told, they spent next to nothing, including bringing in a 16 year old and two blokes nobody has heard of. It isn’t going to cut it, no matter how much dead weight they’ve cut loose. Yes, they scored 97 points last season, and all of their tedious plebs cried like little bitch-babies because they didn’t get a special trophy, but they both need to replicate that this season and hope that an even stronger City squad implodes. It would take an act of god (a very un-benevolent one so far as the rest of us are concerned) to see them win the league.
Sp*rs - Still not done enough to challenge for the title.
Trippier has gone to Atletico. Eriksen, with one year left on his contract, has been clawing at the door like Bertie my Feline Overlord trying to get to a cupboard full of Dreamies. “I’m at a place were I want to try something new.” He says. Yes. Like winning. Before he dies of old age. Still not convinced he’ll be around come the closing of the window in Europe. “I am just a coach, not manager” Podgettino bemoaned at the lack of transfer activity. To be fair to Levy, he’s had to lay out seven figures on renovations at the new stadium, because the WAGs all complained that their five star lounge wasn’t good enough. Maybe they can swap with the cheese room.
They might have sprung into action with a club record signing and grabbing a couple of others with five minutes to go, but their last two signings came from Notts County and Leeds. Isn’t going to alter their prospects for this season. They will still, in my opinion, be batting around in the race for second or third at best. Certainly haven’t done enough to catch City. If they don’t win a trophy this season surely more will run for the exit.
The Also-Rans - As in teams who wouldn’t expect to be dicing with relegation at any point this season, but will be doing really well if they are in with a shout of the Europa League.
Everton spent most of the summer trying to prise Zaha away from Palace, and failing. Despite trying to leverage the deal using half their squad. In fact they failed at a few of the ones they wanted. That said, Iwobi and Delph should be good signings for them, and they have had a good clear out. Can’t see them being in any danger, but likewise can’t see them setting the league alight either. Same with Leicester City. Spent the money from the Maguire deal, and if they really perform well they could be sniffing around the top end of this group. Best bit of business Palace did was keeping hold of Zaha, despite his handing in a transfer request. He’s said to be severely p*ssed off. Hodgson was also fuming at the end of July about a lack of transfer business and says he knew nothing about Everton’s Zaha bid. Presumably he hasn’t worked out the internet then. They tried to ponce Reece James off of us. We rejected a bid of £25m for a player who hasn’t got a single appearance in the Premier League. In the end they did add Cahill, Ayew and McCarthy to their ranks, and I’d be surprised if they are in trouble come next spring. Watford should be fine - they won (or didn’t, perhaps) the Danny Welbeck Lottery after the crocked halfwit spent most of the summer limping up and down the country with his agent demanding a £5m signing on fee and £100,000 a week. They’ve bought in bodies in, though, very cash-efficiently which probably offsets that stupidity. Same with Wolves, who really impressed last time out. Carried on the Portuguese theme this summer, but have also brought in players from PSG, Real and AC Milan.
The Touch and Gos - Not necessarily in any danger, but not completely immune either.
Villa have spent a fortune. I think they’ve spent it far more wisely than, for instance, Fulham, last season but it’s always a worry trying to bed that many players in at once while so many have gone the other way. I always hope for Bournemouth, but they’ve just lost Brookes to a nasty injury. Fingers crossed for them, but it could be dicey. Slapped a £75m price tag on Ake to keep Leicester away, but it never really looked like happening. Burnley’s shiniest signing is arguably relieving us of having Danny Drinkwater clutter up Stamford Bridge again this season. Few bodies in, a few out, can’t see their lot changing much. Norwich, if they do well, won’t be sh*tting their pants come May, because they’ve added experience. Rather a lot of changes in personnel, like Villa they will need most of them to click for things go to plan. Southampton won’t be immune to panic either, I don’t think, but on paper they shouldn’t go down, still angers me that they just continue to go backwards. Could be close with West Ham in terms of whether they look like facing a battle of avoid the drop. I am inclined to think that with Pellegrini’s experience he should see them through. You thought we were sh*t at strikers, West Ham have used THIRTY since 2010 and they’ve scored 147 on 705 games. Higuain was apparently the answer at one stage. Then obviously someone got a slap and that went away.
The Relegation Scrap - This lot will be doing well to avoid the drop.
Was close last time, and despite the business they’ve done this summer, Brighton will probably be looking at another fight this time round. That said, less of a changeover in personnel, I think, so there is more stability there. Newcastle continue free-falling into the realms of the dancing f*cking acid elephants in Dumbo thanks to Ashley. Rafa was off, Chequebook Pulis apparently wanted the job, but only if it was under another owner. In the end, the whole fan base chucked their toys out of the pram when Steve f*cking Bruce was appointed. Nothing says a lack of ambition like this appointment. That and when you were not in a good place before, and you’ve sold one of your better players, and your replacements are coming from places like bankrupt Bolton and Ligue 2 Amiens, and include bringing Carroll the Wonderhorse back on a pay as you play basis; as the person in charge of this club you don’t deserve any better than facing oblivion. Sadly, the fans do. Newcomers Sheffield United will do well to stay up. Not saying they categorically won’t, but it’s going to be a baptism of fire.
So: Take all of this, Chuck in VAR, shake the living hell out of it and spring the lid and you’ve got ten months of carnage, controversy, joy and pain to come, whoever you support. Top Four, maybe last 16 or even last 8 in the Champions League would be outstanding for us if the draws are favourable. Maybe we’ll get a really decent run in one of the domestic cups. If you want to put money on anything, make it this: By November Sam Allardyce will be slinking around the fringes like a vulture waiting for someone to get canned so that he can come in and bore the living daylights out of us all. Till then you can find him quaffing Big Macs in your local and watching it all on TV like the rest of us. Where he belongs…
Welcome to the Twilight Zone. No, not sh*t looking metrosexual vampires and the most god awful plot, script and acting that the world has ever seen; but a world where Chelsea fans have very little to complain about. Not that this will stop various nappy sh*tting contingents, I’m sure.
One thing we will have to live without in 2019/20 is Eden Hazard. We all knew it was coming, and quite frankly anyone who hates him for going needs a good pimp-slapping. He got his life-long dream move to Real to play for his childhood hero. And he signed off with class. “Leaving Chelsea is the biggest and toughest decision in my career,” he said. He would not have left us for any other club, that much is true. “I gave my life, my legs, my buttocks, everything,” he apparently said to Aubameyang at the Europa League final. No prizes for guessing which one I will miss the most. He wasn’t always perfect, but he was a kid when he signed for us. Notably he ate himself into semi-oblivion one summer under Chequebook Pulis and contributed to his demise. But he was still thinner than Costa and let’s be honest, he wasn’t the only player on strike and the biggest architect of of said demise was the arch lunatic himself. 352 games 110 goals 81 assists and 6 trophies. I will miss him so much, not only his phenomenal talent but his cheeky sense of humour (comedy dig at Sarri on the way out, apologising for being a sh*t defender) and the best a*se in football to boot. But life moves on.
I did have to chuckle at Conktois: “Welcome to the best club in the world.” Get it in quick mate, you won’t be there much longer. Eden’s unveiling in the Spanish capital took in more fans than four of Real’s league games last season. A few weeks later Zidane is teetering on the edge and everyone is fat shaming the new signing. The boy had earned a f*cking quarter pounder or two over the summer. I’ve just seen a video of him trying on a new suit and he looks pretty damn good to me. He’s probably already hankering after the comparative lack of hysteria at Chelsea. And that’s saying something.
One departure we weren’t so sorry about: Sarri. In the one single instance of him showing any professional or indeed social awareness during his entire tenure in London, he buggered off. We didn’t like him. We didn’t want to sit through that sh*t again this season. And yet how could we sack him when he’s just won a European trophy? I’m willing to bet that Bruce Buck verily chewed his nicotine stained hand off and offered to let him pluck the £7m out of his g-string waistband when he turned up offering his resignation. Pretty evident he was hankering over a move to Juve, and by mid-June he was finally gone. Thus making everyone’s life easier and along with another loon manager we’ve recently seen the back of, causing chaos across Serie A. It is going to be a clusterf*ck of hysteria and Ill-tempered skulduggery next season. Conte has broken Juve hearts by going to Inter, and Napoli fans are tearing down Sarri plaques and drafting death threats. Icardi is just baffled that he woke up one morning to find that he’s no longer the most hated w*nk-puffin in Italy.
Side note: On Sarri’s departure Zola was offered and turned down an ambassadorial role. He leaves with no egg on his face or anywhere else, untainted. Mainly because I don’t think Sarri said more than four words (probably “where’s my fag butt?”) to him all season.
Cue the Press Plebs making up a lot of nonsense who might be our manager this coming season. Javi Gracia, Steve Holland, Chequebook effin’ Pulis (If I was an editor I’d have refused point blank to pay anyone for submitting that) Allegri, Vierra (WTF?) the Wolves manager with the Uncle Albert beard whose head is stuck on upside down. Even Ralf Rangnick - whoever that is. He sounds like a dodgy villain out of yet another sh*t Marvel film.
But one name dominated the list from the very beginning. Frank - they wouldn’t, would they? Is it not too soon? Or is it perfect because we’re banned from shopping and the weight of expectation will be as low as it has been for fifteen years?! I was halfway up a mountain in Utah when they confirmed he was coming home. Hurrah. But it was not just Frank, and this is why I’m excited:
Jodi - a fantastic four year spell with the youth. Those last two years? Seven trophies. 4th and 5th successive FA Youth Cups and a quadruple to end. Not to mention assistant manager for Frank last season. His affinity with Chelsea is priceless. He came through our ranks himself and all those players we’ll have to look at because of the transfer embargo? He knows them. So does Joe Edwards, who Frank tried to take to Derby too. He has been promoted. If that means more to see of him, then huzzah. He’s fit. Chris Jones did go to Derby, after 12 years with us and he’s come back too. We have a young, vibrant management team who love our club. This has to be a good thing. Eddie is still about too, and the club have FINALLY addressed the void between boardroom and pitch left when the much-maligned pantomime villain, Emanalo, departed. Petr Cech has also come home, as an advisor to Marina and Makalele is back too as a youth mentor. Leaders we’ve missed in the dressing room so much over the last couple of years are back at the club.
Well if you wanted to know how invested in Frank and his new regime the club are, you have only to look at the last 24 hours of the transfer window. We’re on a ban. We have our best centre back out till at least September. We’d just broken our cardinal rule of no more than a year on a contract for an over 30 for David Luiz. And yet in the space of one day the sh*t has hit the fan, and we’ve drop kicked him out the door and let him join a “rival.” (It’s Arsenal, I can’t quite say that with a straight face after the last twenty years) The two had never been close. The arch-professional who takes his football dead seriously and the class clown, but it happened quickly and it’s a huge statement of intent going forward. You cannot have a former teammate undermine the new manager, and the speed with which he was dispensed suggests that it might have been a concern.
You never know what was simmering in the background, but it baffled them as much as us. My one Gooner friend is predicting that each game will be won/lost 10-9 and Emery and Kronke will be in the centre of the pitch screaming “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?” This is a player they’ve mocked us for for a number of years, and suddenly he’s their problem. Another Gooner was heard lamenting that he’d rather they’d taken Cahill. On a ten year deal. Another quip? Rare you see a transfer where both teams are made instantly better for it. Let’s also not forget that off-loading Luiz has enabled us to cut one of those foreign players we were over our quota on. On a serious note, whilst his football could be erratic, his class as a human being was not. He actually gave a sh*t about the connection between the players and the fans. And there’s a long affiliation, including, of course, Munich. Thanks for the memories, on and off the field, old chum. God Speed, you bonkers lunatic. I won’t be booing you when we run into each other again. If you get a moment, look at some of the very recent reviews of his restaurant and have a giggle. Well played, Chelsealand.
Cahill went to Palace, Rob Green retired, and deals were done to get rid of Fankaty Dabo, (Coventry) Ola Aina, (Torino) Jay Dasilva, (Bristol City) Tomas Kalas, (Bristol City) and Kasey Palmer. (Bristol City) Those last three netted us nearly £15m. We released Todd Kane, Eduardo and Kyle Scott, and Baba Rahman and Marco Van Ginkel are floating about in the ether somewhere. The latter whilst recovering from long term injury.
Which brings us to the Chelsea Loan Army. Manpower that Haig would have wept with joy over if he’d been presented with those numbers in early 1918. Morata “lifted the lid on his Chelsea hell” this summer. Didn’t “feel loved by the club or the fans.” And here was me thinking he was as thick as pig sh*t as well as a whinge-bag of epically vomit-inducing proportions. Who knew that the message was actually getting through all the time? Oh, “and his team mates did not trust him.” No sh*t, Sherlock. Every time they have you the ball you either lost it, sat down on the pitch and cried, were offside or got booked. We wanted rid of him so badly this summer we tried to strong arm Atletico into actually paying up for him, threatening to recall him from loan. Then when it looked like we might have to have him back we quickly bent over and let them shaft us financially. They’ve promised to buy him at the end of this coming season, apparently. If I was them, that would be a lie.
Ampadu to Leipzig the most important loan so far as the future is concerned, carrying out the same strategy that has been so successful with Christensen. Here’s where the music stopped for everyone else:
Nathan Baxter (Ross County)
Richard Nartey (Burton Albion)
Mario Pasalic (Atalanta)
Charly Musonda (Vitesse Arnhem)
Nathan (Atletico Mineiro)
Daishawn Redan (Hertha Berlin)
Jake Clarke-Salter (Birmingham City)
Matt Miazga (Reading)
Lewis Baker (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
Dujon Sterling (Wigan Athletic)
Conor Gallagher (Charlton Athletic)
Jacob Maddox (Tranmere Rovers)
Trevor Chalobah (Huddersfield Town)
Danny Drinkwater (Burnley)
Josh Grant (Plymouth)
Izzy Brown (Luton Town)
Victor Moses (Fenerbahce)
Luke McCormick (Shrewsbury Town)
Ike Ugbo (Roda JC)
We may be banned from signing players, but in a rare show of sensible adulting, the club did tie down Pulisic at the beginning of the year, and he finally arrived, so we do have a new face. With the ban, though, the most important thing was to tie down the players we have. Mason Mount has signed a long term deal. Hurrah. Ruben’s dad has been having a moan. Said if he played under Podgettino he’d have had 80-90 league appearances by now. I put in a call to Childline. What kind of parenting is that? Wilfully talking about your boy being a Sp*d? “I only want to play for Chelsea,” replied Ruben, also putting his name to a new contract. In the most shameful display of tapping up the world of football has ever seen, Bayern still wouldn’t f*ck off with regard to Hudson-Odoi. First it was said to be a pathetic £22m. Then it went up to nearly £50m. Frank was apparently given the final say on Willian and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t extend his contract. We’ve dispensed with having a veritable grandad as our third goalkeeping choice too, which had become a habit. Jamie Cumming has a new deal and he will be the third choice keeper. So youth at the forefront again. Reece James is another one we’ll be looking at giving a new contract too. Unsurprisingly, we did nothing to try and retain the services (she says laughing) of Higuain. We did, however, secure Kovacic on a permanent deal. I didn’t really have a problem with this, he’s the new Mikel. Ok he will never score a goal or do anything magical but that isn’t what he’s there for. I didn’t object, especially in light of our current transfer predicament, but there were many loud protestations on the world of Twitter, which is always a good barometer for sensible opinion. (Ahem) Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy??!!? they shrieked.
Let me tell you why. Picture a woman with her husband’s credit card. Chelsea is that woman. The shops are about to shut, and the tight-fisted bugger never treats her like this. She has got five minutes to make a purchase otherwise it will likely be a year before her stingy husband offers her his card again. Now, in the shop they only have one pair of shoes in her size. It’s a slightly bland pair of shoes that don’t exactly fill her heart with a joy, but it’s her last chance to own new shoes before the window of opportunity shuts. The woman buys the shoes. Every. Time. Knowing that they are probably ugly and knowing that in a year they might well be forgotten about and gathering dust at the back of her wardrobe. Kovacic is a slightly boring pair of shoes that happened to fit. I can live with that. Because he might well go with more outfits than the woman anticipated. If not, she has lost nothing and in a year when the card is offered again she will just go and buy two pairs of really shiny shoes to make up for it.
And so we came to pre-season.
1-1 against Bohemians. Press plebs having a field day, until we then beat St Patricks 0-4. Goals for Mount, Emerson, and two for The Beard. A sponsorship deal with Yokohama meant we were bound to have to pitch up in Japan eventually. Whilst there we lost to something that sounded like a slightly dodgy retro moped, but beat Barcelona. Let’s be honest, none of those really mattered result wise, for they were all about everyone trickling back and trying to build their fitness up. Reading constituted another workout and would be the last game with wholesale nonsense changes before we start seriously getting ready for the upcoming fixtures. They looked like a side only a few days from their opening league encounter, i.e. more ready than us. A bit of luck to help them ahead, but the finish deserved it. Wiped out bu a stunning free kick from Barkley. Kenedy scored. More surprisingly, he had managed to get out of the Far East this time without offending several million people. The Salzburg game, against a team whose season had already begin, was another goalfest. Pulisic and Barkley dismantled them in five minutes. Then carried on bitchslapping them. The American might not be Eden - but two goals and winning a penalty in less than ten minutes was pretty sexual. Not as much so as Pedro Unicorn, who has already scored the goal of the season, with a filthy flick that came from nowhere after he outran the pass from Barkley. We rounded of our preparations for the United game by clawing our way back from 2-0 in Germany thanks to penalties from Barkley and Tammy Abraham.
So: It feels like my football club again, is the general refrain across West London at the moment. It promises to be a bold new era, if the club sticks with it. That said, any of this nonsense about Lampard being the first manager to go is irrelevant. It would take a Luiz-style turnaround. My feeling? Frank is safe for this season no matter what happens.
Youth will get a chance. We have no choice. The average age of our squads, give or take:
2016/17: 27 years and 10 months
2017/18: 27 years old.
This time last year: 26 years and 8 months.
This time around? Currently 26 years and 1 month. Largely held up that high now by Big Willy being 37 now.
One important thing Sideshow Bob did say before he went bombing out of the door though: “You have to think about opening the door - not the door opening for you.” Still no room for complacency amongst the younger ranks. This is a narrow window of opportunity, and they have to grab it with both hands if it is to be a launchpad for the rest of their careers.
Entertainment Value. One thing that is already apparent if pre-season is anything to go by, is that the turgid days of watching Sarri do the same thing, week in, week out, are a thing of the past. This goes for formation as well as personnel. Don’t forget, Lampard has seen more of the managing elite (obviously not AVB or Scolari) than most players get to in their careers, to make up somewhat for his lack of experience as a manager. He’s had a front row seat to observe what does, and does not work. At Chelsea.
Ones to Watch. “I grew up watching Lampard… it feels amazing to be here,” says Pulisic, and this kind of enthusiasm seems rife throughout the ranks. He’s promising to deliver speed and creativity. Can’t help but wonder how that would have worked out under Sarri. Anyhow, we saw some flashes of brilliance in pre-season. He’s a kid. He’s-not going to give us everything we’ve lost in Eden this season, but he’s certainly going to give us something. Jorginho is doomed! Everyone screamed as soon as his dad left the building. “I might ask different things of Jorginho,” says Frank. In the meantime, the player who was singled out for all the faults of the manager in his first season has a chance to start again, to some extent. And we should given him that chance. “He has left and I have stayed here and I need to do a job for my team at Chelsea.” He’s got four more years on his contract and is excited to crack on. Frank will give him more space and of course, a chance to use an ounce of creativity not based on an elaborate flow chart of boredom. He also thinks he is more aggressive now and ready to make a bigger impact in the Premier League. Massively excited to see what Mason Mount does this season, but equally, I think Barkley really is the one to watch. Not only does he look like a serious athlete at Chelsea, not only did he have a banging pre-season, but dare I say he’s starting to emerge as a bit of a leader on the field. He’s playing for his footballing idol now, which can only be a good thing, seeing as he’s the closest thing to Lampard we’ve had since Lampard left. If Tammy gets 15 goals, Cundy will consider it a huge success. I like to think he’d do a bit better than than, even if I do suspect we’ll see more of Giroud. God knows with Batshuayi, the mad little bugger is a law unto himself. It’s like trying to predict the weather in Iceland.
But let’s be realistic. We’ve lost our best player. Eden is irreplaceable in terms of a one out, new one in scenario. Ruben is still injured, as is Hudson-Odoi. You can basically write off the first half of the season for both of them in terms of any real impact. With luck we’ll have Rudi back in September, but that’s a number of key players not running out for us come this weekend. Still some work to be done after pre-season too. We continued to be really vulnerable on corners throughout, never getting to the ball first. But the pressure is off, somewhat. I ran a poll and it turned out, as fans our expectations haven’t changed that much. Most people said they wanted top four, but I fall in with the second large group, who basically said top six - any European place would be an achievement this time out. We’ve got to accept that as a club we’ve changed tack quite brutally since we last kicked a ball in anger, and that it won’t all be smooth sailing. But then, it’s not like we ever have a season without drama, is it?