Chelsea 1 Tossers 1
Saturday 29th September 2018 17:30
In the News: Chequebook Pulis, not satisfied with Pogba-gate has apparently launched into Rashford not warming down properly. You could look at this the other way though - in that this is presumably the kind of menial slap down players get daily from their managers and laugh at the Press Plebs for deeming it newsworthy. Pogba, in the meantime is more interested in having everybody scrabble round on the floor looking for his massive diamond earring. Pays people to do so. If this isn't a tragic example of just how simple this man is. Instead of paying someone to find it, buy a new f*cking earring. Or alternatively. Don't. And look like slightly less of a twat. The Diving Little Sh*t is injured. Shame. And just as smug-grin worthy was Thibaut conceding three goals in about half an hour midweek.
Everything has been about our game. Allison says he used to lock himself in a room if he made a mistake. Not anymore. I'm not surprised. There's hardly a lower benchmark to have as your predecessor than Brigitte Nielsen is there? You can't sink any lower. Though admittedly he has tried already with his Cruyff turns. Classic Daily Fail headline re our crisis of having "two non-scoring strikers." Word count didn't run to context, namely who gives a sh*t when Eden is the league's top scorer and this is somewhat the result of The Beard being both unselfish and ahead of basically the entire league with his assists. And we're unbeaten. We're not exactly hard up. But as to the other striker, we’ll get to him later.
Best outcome of the cup victory? The Red Scouse bleating about how Chelsea beat their B team. Perhaps more accurate to say that Chelsea's B Team and Hazard beat their B Team and Salah, Firminho, Firminho's teeth and Mane. So all their favourite representatives. And the crying little bitch baby that is Henderson. The Daily Fail's three wise men are at it again. Let's focus specifically on Keown, who has verily provided a masterclass in punditry with his big match preview of our fixture. He imparted the following wisdom:
The Scouse visit us three days after we put them out of the cup. Thanks. We'd noticed.
Jurgen Klopp looked angry when they lost. What about him screeching at Shaqiri gave Martin that idea?
Saturdays game may well be won or lost in midfield. Staggering insight. Or stating the bloody obvious. You decide.
Sarri might have to decide whether to start Morata or The Beard. No sh*t. Considering that the alternative is pulling Gianfranco out out of retirement.
He gets paid for this.
The Others: West Ham 3 Manchester United 1. Puts our game against the former in a different light doesn’t it. Those of a Chelsea persuasion are not as surprised as the rest of the football world that Chequebook Pulis has gone into meltdown again. Or that Plan B basically equates to sticking a pair of pants on his head, pencils up each nostril and saying wibble. Wolves beat Southampton at home, City put in a reserved 2-0 showing over Brighton, Huddersfield did humanity no favours against Sp*rs, Everton comfortably beat Fulham and the Goons turned over Watford.
Well it was fun on the Fulham Road before kick off. Turf wars with half and half scarf seller. Then their bus rolled past and I nearly choked on my own vomit. For renting an Ellison's corporate coach like anyone else isn't enough for the Scouse. Like Firminho's gob it's visible from space. And if the fact that it was bright red wasn't offensive enough they plastered "We are L*******l. This means more." What does that even mean? It certainly means they are more pukeworthy than any club I can think of. It’s sanctimonious twattery for the sake of sanctimonious twattery. And in this sphere. Every year is their year.
Us: The now standard nine that go on the team sheet every top game, with The Beard preferred over Morata, unsurprising when you factor in Van Dick, as Alf Garnett (sitcoms alias) rechristened him yesterday. And Willian gets the start that he usually fights out with Pedro Pony.
Them: I just don't care. Eleven tedious w*nkers. One of whom was dressed as a radioactive f*cking marshmallow. Led by the most tedious of all, Jordan Horrendousen, as he was dubbed in the Shed Upper. Who by all that is right and just in the world based on his capabilities should be flipping horsemeat patties somewhere in the northeast.
So it's standard now with them. You want to get through the first half an hour without them banging in two goals, or preferably conceding at all, so that the game actually becomes something more intelligent than everybody bombing up and down and seeing who's ahead when the final whistle goes. As expected, the pace for this opening spell was absolutely relentless from both sides. Horrendouson started whinging on precisely 1 minute. He makes Rooney look stoic. (That fat Scouser what moved to America) The first decent chance from them came on ten minutes, but went soaring over the bar. In the first quarter of an hour, thanks to the feigning of injuries and trying to hide the ball, Mane had gone from being someone I don’t give a toss about to someone I actively wanted to punch in the face. It made it ten times funnier when he shanked a half chance wide.
Refwatch: Andre Marriner?! Are you f*cking serious? Why not just sprinkle us all with petrol and torch us. It would be less painful than a match with this moron in charge. His general atrocious, w*nk attempts to police a game of football started to go downhill in the third minute, with the most laughable example of an advantage I've ever seen in my life. Here's a hint. It's not an advantage if they are still kicking you. A couple of minutes later again. Apparently when you retain the ball for 0.4 of a second after being fouled it is not an advantage. The nicest thing I can say about him is that I was a bit surprised he wasn’t more sh*t.
We were stringing some good play together, but the end product wasn’t there. That said, Eden was clearly in the mood today, after dumping Alexander-Arnold on his a*se he swaggered away with that walk of his. The one that says “I’m going to f*ck you right up.” As was entirely predictable, the pace of the game waned slightly, else they’d have all collapsed, but we were getting towards that magical half hour mark when BOOM! Hazard. Though the radioactive marshmallow should have saved it from where we were sitting. First blood to us, accompanied with loud chants of No Noise from the History Boys. We could have had another almost straight away. On 27 minutes a ball was pinged into the Beard, but without enough pace on it to make his header damaging. A minute later though, Luiz, who headbutted away just about every troublesome ball that came his way, was making a clearance for us. Then the score was maintained by a block of epicness by Rudi. Just get to half time Chelsea, please.
Predictably, the darks arts were in play. Robertson had an automatic two hands on the back of anyone within reach. On the half hour Marriner, being a twat, awarded a free kick after a ludicrous Milner dive. The fourth roll was probably unnecessary, and the size of his cranium repeatedly smacking the pitch registered 4.2 on the Richter Scale. I’ve never seen him so animated. Even with the worst case of crabs in history you never will again. Another one of them was hanging onto Willian with two hands as he tried to lay what would have been a perfect ball to Eden. My favourite? The embarrassing sight of Van Dick rolling about on the floor feigning agony and waffling about how hard done by he was when The Beard put him on the floor. After he’d spent an entire half molesting him. By all sense of moral decency he should have proposed marriage at full time. Even for a Scouser the hypocrisy was damning. But the away end was blissfully quiet. And we had managed not to do anything stupid by the time the break came. Get in.
I expected an onslaught of teeth and hair from their front three now after Klopp lit a rocket under them at half time, and yet it was strangely lacking. In fact some great play almost set Eden in straight away. Mighty Salah, in the meantime, was backing out of going up against Rudi at the other end. Eden had so much space it was laughable, after Klopp’s arrogant insistence that they weren’t going to man mark him. Horrendousen couldn’t even get close enough to foul him. He was having such a shit day that he was lying in the centre circle playing possum. Of course he made a miraculous recovery as soon as the ball was put out though.
They began to press more, but I wouldn’t say we were under the cosh. The biggest save from Kepa had been when Dave played a ball back to him that went a bit wayward. He was called into action though on 57. Universal opinion around us was that Courtois never would have got down to that, he was so quick to the ground. More a suprised observation as to his capability than a dig at our former keeper. We had opportunities to win it too, namely a one on one that was kept out by the radioactive marshmallow. But legs were getting tired, it had been relentless. 65 and Morata came on for The Beard. It gave them a different kind of problem to mark up front, but I was sceptical. Yes the long ball wasn’t working, but he just wasn’t going to menace Van Dick enough at the back, and far from simply affecting our goalscoring opportunities, it meant they were unharassed in attempting to start off playing the ball out from the back. The Beard had relentless antagonised the Scouse defence all afternoon.
Salah left for Shaqiri on 66. It was basically like giving us a twelve men. He was mugged twice in two minutes, once by Alvaro; he missed a complete sitter, and a free kick into the box missed everyone. Kovacic had a shot saved on 68 going towards the corner, but the game was getting scrappy. It was rife for someone to be punished for an error. Luiz repelled it off the line on 72 minutes, before Willian was off for Moses. We could really have done with Pedro Pony today. They were really pinging the ball about now, trying to get the tempo up again. Victor was away on 76 minutes, whence Milner did all that someone of his limited IQ and imagination could and brought him down. Horrendousen went off for Keita, and they looked to be running out of ideas. But we were running out of steam. Ten minutes to go and Barkley was on to match Keita’s energy, but when the chips fell after all the changes, it was slightly in their favour, though they still couldn’t put it in the net. A free kick went straight to Kepa, Keita followed it up with an appalling shot.
The clock was moving so slowly that if he had hair, Alf Garnett would have been ripping it out. Milner was off, and Kepa told Marriner to f*ck off as stood and had a drink before putting the ball back into play; while the referee, for the first time in at least a decade, appeared to have suddenly developed a conscience when it came to time-wasting.
Sturridge on. Their last roll of the dice. Don’t you dare even think about it you nasty little git. Morata had begun to deliver some crunching tackles to break up their play, but out of nowhere, minutes after his introduction, one of a number of our rejects now resident on Merseyside went and equalised. Who else but the guy who did nothing but whine at Chelsea with a goal the likes of which he will never, ever repeat in this lifetime. Four minutes added on, during which there were handbags in their box as we tried to get it over the line, Marriner didn’t notice when they gave themselves 10 yards headstart on a free kick and Luiz responded by sarcastically taking one of ours basically off the pitch to shut him up when he couldn’t resist interfering with one of ours that was a foot out of place.
So: Jesus wept. The bellends think it's May. You know when you're closing in on the league and every last point you can grab is taking you closer to the trophy and you disproportionately overreact to them all? That's what they were like. It didn't seem to register that Salah was all style and no substance, Mane was dogsh*t and Firminho was anonymous. Which let me tell you with those teeth is no mean feat. They were reliant on a never-has-been who until this week has never stayed fit for four days in a row in his entire career. And certainly won't ever score another goal like that.
I feel robbed because we almost got over the line. But that said, we are the only ones so far to have played multiple top end rivals, I think, and we are still unbeaten. We've played these muppets, who along with the Press Plebs think they are the second coming, twice in a week and come out without losing. They've only escaped from double defeat by the ill-judged grace of something deeply skulduggerous and unholy. e.g. Sturridge doing something that justifies his employment. All we've heard in the opening weeks of the season is yackworthy waxing lyrical about how, with City, they are far ahead of us and the rest of the pack. One more fixture takes us into yet another sh*tty international break. And they've got to play City in theirs. So by just getting it done at Southampton we could find ourselves level with both of them at the top. Their coach just went past me on the way out of West London and as it slowed to a crawl I felt the urge to run and kick the giant red b*stard with my girly little foot. I settled for more gin instead. And chuckling mightily at the coincidental draw (at a stupid time on a Saturday night) that is going to see Frank return home in the cup.
*Picture of Dave looking as baffled as the rest of us comes from Chelsea's official website
Red Scouse 1 Chelsea 2
Carabao Cup 3rd Round Wednesday 26th September 2018
In the News: Salah is getting awards for nothing now, but it was at the expense of Bale and his topknot so I can’t bring myself to care. Sunderland have had to sack another player for not coming to work. Their record club-signing. Who hasn’t turned up to any training session since they were relegated. Ouch. West Ham risk losing Declan Rice because they’ve offered him twelve grand a week. Bellends. At the other end of the scale, Sanchez is getting half a million a week for doing a lot less work. And Evra has gone up in my estimation with the admission that he once took a dump in Pique’s shoes. Chequebook Pulis and Pogba have plummeted to news depths in their soap-opera like relationship, people actually seem surprised that the construction on the Qatar world cup is a corrupt farce, and a fifteen year old has made his debut for Fulham. I can’t remember what I was doing when I was fifteen, getting drunk in a pub in Godalming and missing the last train home with Patsy (sitcom alias) I think.
The Others: Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Sorry. One more. Bahahahahahahahahahahaha. Get in there Frank. I love Phil Jones. He is the most entertaining thing in football. Probably. CP has admitted that he knew they were f*cked when he went forward to take a penalty. Sadly the Sp*ds came from behind and floundered through a penalty shootout against Watford. Bournemouth managed to spare their blushes, Burnley’s resurgence was short-lived when they got punted out of the competition by Burton. West Ham scored more goals against Macclesfield than they have in the last year. City had no slip ups, Leicester needed penalties to dispense with Wolves and the Goons, Fulham and Palace went through comfortably.
Them: Mignolet makes his first appearance since January, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Fabinho, Milner, Keita, Shaqiri, Mane and Sturridge. Couple of names on the bench but I think across the match day 18 probably slightly weaker than us on paper. But then on that basis we should have destroyed West Ham. And we didn’t.
Us: Big Willy, Dave, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson, Fabregas, Kovacic, Barkley, Moses, Willian and Morata. So possibly only two or three you’re probably guaranteed to see start at the weekend. Luiz, Hazard, Kante and Jorginho on the bench though, along with Hudson-Odoi and Zappacosta.
So a big deal for a lot of players who are used to playing starting football and have fallen out of favour on both sides, plus some fringe players and newcomers looking to make a showing. A good chance to see who has got the deeper reserves in their squad, perhaps.
How else do you start than with a rendition of Slippy G falling on his arse? Hurrah. On the pitch the impetus was with us. The first shot on target was ours, but Christensen’s headed effort never had enough power on it to trouble even Mignolet. Moses was industrious but rusty, not helped by Moreno fouling him every thirty seconds. Moreno, who seems to be hiding under a shit wig from the embarrassment of his past showings. We dominated possession in the opening ten minutes and wholly had the better of them in midfield. Barkley was spritely. A little too desperate to sock it to them with a long rang effort on 10 minutes, but clearly looking to impress the manager again.
They had begun to stir, but thus far anything they had tried had died at the intervention of Gary Cahill. Willian was next to have a go on 12 minutes, but still nothing too troubling for Mignolet to deal with. Where’s your famous atmosphere? We taunted. We looked more like a team. Morata came closest of all on 17 thanks to a fabulous ball from Cesc with a double attempt that just couldn’t bend a little further to cross the line. Inches away. Genuine inches. Not man inches. He had another saved a minute later, but he would have been very lucky if that had gone under the keeper at his near post, even if he is sh*t. He was trying. You had to give him that. The Beard given the night off midweek. That should tell you everything about his plight at the moment.
Observation. Klopp’s tooth-job just highlights how dirty his face is. This was already looking like it was going to have to be decided by the power hitters coming off the bench later on. Half hour and a penalty shout from them, for which the referee showed no interest at all. Blatant dive from Keita. Horrific attempt at cheating. We were winning all the second balls, they didn’t have any creativity to match Cesc on the field. And yet we hadn’t scored.
35 they moaned again, against Cesc for a penalty, but no chance - ricocheted at him from close range. But straight afterwards they broke, and despite Morata powering, yes powering back to help defend they put it in for Keita. Great save from Big Willy. Another counter attack on 38 minutes ended up on the head of Mane, but again, Big Willy was in the way and there was nobody coming into the box to thump it home. Do not now concede Chelsea, for God sake. An error from Christensen under pressure from Mane set up Shaqiri, but he hit it like a bellend and we remained on terms.
We had got increasingly sloppy at the back of midfield, not so many second balls for us now. One more minute to survive, announced the sad Scouse Eeyore/Beatles impersonator on the tannoy. A corner to end the half just missed the heads of Cahill and Morata and we went into the break at 0-0.
They burst out of the blocks in the second half. Presumably after a roasting from Wurzel Kloppage. On 45 minutes Sturridge was one on one with not the keeper, but the empty goal. He missed. Possibly the best display of footballing karma I’ve seen since Gerrard fell on his face. Then tried to get up. And fell over again. Or since the Champions League Final. But another Christensen error and we’d almost conceded again. The game was swinging their way now.
Refwatch: Kevin Not-My-Friend tonight. There was a baffling moment where he did something pro-Chelsea and my world was askew, but then he reverted to form with what was obviously a heinous and unwarranted vendetta against Kovacic. Mane managed to miss another sitter after Barkley headed the ball on for the opposition and the resulting corner ended up on the roof of the net. Little wonder that Eden was getting ready to come on for Willian on 56.
Too late as it turned out. F*cking Sturridge of all people. What are the odds on him being fit for long enough to play an actual game of football against us then actually scoring. Not sure where half the defence was. Too busy punching things to care. Kante came on for Kovacic too, who was hamstrung by having been booked just after the hour and not having any fun now he wasn’t allowed to kick them. We’d not been in it yet in this half. If Mignolet manages to keep his first ever clean sheet in a game of football against us it will be marginally f*cking disappointing.
Mane off with twenty minutes left, to be replaced by a giant set of plastic teeth greased up with Nivea. In the meantime in blue, Barkley had faded away, as had Moses, but more importantly Fabregas looked to be running out of steam. Christensen looked to be injured and the last sub was used on bringing on Luiz. Unfortunate for Hudson-Odoi.
Then out of nowhere EMERSOOOOOOOOOON! Of all people! Morata punked them all by going early - master of the dark arts that he is - the Scouse line held but then when the other’s started running they were left behind. 1-1. Or possibly not. VAR. Of all f*cking things. Where was that when they were scoring goals with their hands? That’s all these whingers need, an excuse to have all the supposed footballing injustices committed against them reviewed. Nonetheless it stood. F*ck ‘em.
Henderson put a cross in straight after but Firminho, weighed down by his fake chompers, couldn’t reach it in time to go for the header. Sturridge almost put them back ahead but managed to hit the bar. That really would have been taking the p*ss. It looked like we were going to have to scrap our way to penalties, then along came Hazard and crushed all their sad little hopes and dreams. Shrugs off three players, one of them twice, launches forward and leaves Mignolet flailing on the floor as he puts it past him into the far corner.
Have that you gits.
Obviously Salah was their next move. On with about five minutes to go, the guy who couldn’t kick a football straight when he played for us comes on as their big gun. Furry, Machiavellian little git. But it didn’t do them any good. Fabregas of all people was winning the ball back in midfield, we were looking go forward again and all Henderson could do was drag Eden down, then knock him down with both knees in the back, and then shout at him like a petulant little c*nt as he was penalised. for it. Just over a minute for them to try and equalise. Expect a truck load of injury time for them at home. Henderson repeated his donkey like endeavours to stop our main man and got booked for it, stomping off chuntering away like a drunk denied service at half eleven in the morning in your local Wetherspoons because he’s had a skinful already.
What a surprise. Five minutes. Wurzel Klopp having a right rant on the touchline. Any opportunities coming their way were being squandered. We were inexplicably still playing on 96 and a half minutes and Mignolet was up. He can’t even function at the right end of the pitch half the time so Lord knows what they thought he would be doing. Thankfully he was as flaccid as the rest of them in the event and they were out.
So: Tatty-bye f*ckwits! We may have just handed them a couple of nights off midweek before Christmas, but sod it. I’m ecstatic. Unlike Klopp who was going full rant at Shaqiri. I watched Eden’s interview after: Says it means more when it’s it at Anfield. But he doesn’t know if it qualifies for his top five. Which is depressing for everyone else. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME. Apparently on the bench Kante told him to sort it out, because he didn’t want to end up taking a penalty. Like he says though, the game on Saturday is more important. They’ll be fired up now, but we want a repeat. Without the going behind bit.
*Smug picture of Eden comes from the club's official website
West Ham United 0 Chelsea 0
Sunday 23rd September 2018 13:30
I really wish Sarri was wearing a massive gold medallion in this photograph.
In the News: Ferguson has returned to Old Trafford for the first time since his illness. Assou-Ekotto, remember the idiot with the tragic hair that used to play for Sp*rs? He is bashing Mbappe for not being African enough, Rodgers is bemoaning being manager of Celtic as if it is difficult. And Google Beghuis, Feyenoord, Dive if you want a laugh. Yes, it has been verily been a slow few days since our last match for the Press Plebs.
The Others: Bournemouth’s title challenge (I have a Bournemouth buddy with a £10k bet for them to do it) took a knock with an inexplicable thumping from Burnley, Chequebook Pulis gave us something new to laugh at, at the top end City and the Red Scouse turned over potential relegation fodder comfortably, like you’re supposed to.
Them: Arnautovic - hurrah. Injured.
Us: Pedro Pony misses out with his shoulder injury, Eden comes back in, and I doubt anyone would dispute at the moment that The Beard is Sarri’s preferred man up front.
West Ham are sh*t, but they have never, ever lost their first three home games in a season. So brace yourself. You knew what was coming…
“You’re not West Ham anymore” was the chant that greeted kick off. Five minutes in and they had more of the game, though they hadn’t fashioned anything meaningful out of it, trying to shoot from well outside the box but mostly failing to get that far. My favourite came on seven minutes when a perfectly weighted cross went out to Zabaleta and the donkey air kicked it and the ball bobbled out.
At the other end, Rudi rounded off a third shot on target for us as we passed the ten minute marker. We’d worked our way into the game by then, in fact we had begun to dominate it. Hazard had another shot shortly afterwards. The West Ham defenders looked like they were hanging out of their a*ses already, but we’d not yet really threatened Flappyhandski in the pikey goal, which obviously means we had achieved basically nothing.
On 22 minutes The Beard almost latched onto the end of a great ball, but he basically rolled over and fell on his facial hair, and if not for the fact that Antonio hit the ball like a complete bellend we would have been behind on the half hour. Alonso was totally caught out a few moments later and they were in again - well done Kepa for bailing us out that time. They had rallied, and looked wholly more likely to produce something going forward. We’d just stopped playing neat little balls into Willian and Hazard, which is what had been f*cking with them early on. A Kante header (no, not a typo) went wide on 44, but no cigar.
In the second half the weather had muchly improved, our chances not so much so. Pellegrino had managed to convince them they could have a go. And they were. Yarmalenko wearing his 90s tribute shirt - looked like he could get in it twice - put one over in the first five minutes. We made no further inroads into scoring, and Barkley and Morata were warming up.
It was 56 minutes before we saw anything really promising, but Willian’s ball across the goal found nobody in yellow in the box To everyone else, this fixture is a piece of piss. To us, never. We always manage to do something to a*se it up and in this case it was to do everything right in the build, to overdo it even, to put all the effort in and then crap out before we reached the climax. We could really have done with Pedro Pony, sitting on the bench waiting to come on today as we had been toothless so far. The Beard had been his usual unselfish self, but he was getting nothing go through to him.
We pulled our finger out on the hour mark. Once again we were dominating possession, but hadn’t fashioned anything of note in an hour against a team that are physically incapable of keeping a clean sheet. A joyful experience, this was not.
Morata on for for the beard. The Frenchman had been given nothing to work with, and looked justifiably pissed off about leaving the field with us level. Time for the Spaniard to step up. He could have had a goal with his first touch. And his second, if not for Flappyhandski. Rudiger had broken himself - in the groin possibly. Cahill was ripping his clothes off on the touchline at the thought of getting involved. Just in the week where he was publicly mooting the possibility of having to look for a new club.
15 minutes to go.
On 76 they should absolutely, 100% have been ahead. Yarmalenko managed to miss the whole goal when Kepa was rooted to the spot and head it wide. Excellent. Barkley was about to become sub number three. On for Kovacic. I’m going to do my best this week not to mention his ar… dammit. Failed already.
10 minutes to go
80 minutes gone and Willian was away, scampering down the let wing and leaving Zabaleta for dust, Kante was on the end of the cross but his shot was about 300ft high.
5 minutes to go
We’d scored in all four matches in the league after 80 minutes so far this season, so fear not, (she types, even though she was crapping herself) there was time yet. Some of which was wasted by Noble and his defiantly receding hairline sauntering off. Woe is us. Morata backheels it into the net on 88 but Kante was well offside before he played him the ball
Four minutes of injury time, which was more exciting than the rest of the game combined, during which Barkley forced a save out of them almost immediately. Cue Douglas Haig’s backs to the wall speech for the home side; hatches battened, fox holes dug - any other naval or military imagery you care to insert. Short relief when Declan Rice was dumb enough to go down with cramp. Off the pitch. Snodgrass tried to sever Willian’s legs, Hazard was in on 92 but it went straight to the keeper and another day out at the squattery usurped by that ‘orrible lot ended in disappointment.
Refwatch: Mike Dean, gloriously anonymous.
So: A demonstration of how we are very much still a work in progress under our new manager. Sarri is going to need at least 20 fags after this. Frustrating, but not the worst that has happened to us at theirs, and not the worst we will suffer this season. Still unbeaten. We’ll just have to go and beat the b*stards next Saturday to close the gap again. Ahem. Was Eden better or worse for having Thursday night off? Discuss. Just a mildly challenging week to look forward to.
PAOK 0 Chelsea 1
Thursday (Urgh) 20th September 2018 17:55
But not in that order. Not since the British Army landed a completely pointless force at Salonika in WW1 has a group of Englishmen been so reticent to make a trip to Greece. And for equally good reason, as people were being attacked as early as Thursday morning.
In the News: Not a thrilling week. Where’s an Andy Carroll drunken kebab brawl or Lord Joseph of Barton making a cock of himself to spice things up when you need it? There is the hilarious revelation that Wait Hart Lane is not finished because everyone building it was off their face on coke. Or drunk. Which is a slightly unexpected explanation for why everything keeps exploding or falling down and trying to electrocute people. Equally funny, Zaha has been complaining (again). This time it is the shock that living in Manchester was depressing. No sh*t, Sherlock.
The Others: Ask me after Christmas, when I care about this competition. Though what with Sp*rs tanking, Fabian Delph’s defending and Ronaldo crying, the Champions League was plenty entertaining this week.
Them: Only two of them were Greek. I couldn’t name them, or the nine that weren’t.
Us: Five changes - Willian in, Barkley, Christensen, Morata, Zappacosta. Cahill only on the bench - not a single second played for Sarri yet in a competitive game. A strong side, indicating that Sarri is taking this competition seriously. And lucky he is, because even they were about to make a meal out of this.
Through no fault of Chelsea Football Club (we hashed this out in fine detail at the Fan’s Forum meeting last week) this was a disaster waiting to happen on account of the general horror show that quite often occurs in trying to carry out a professional football fixture in Greece. I have been to that area, to bus around looking at Alexander the Great stuff. Good fun, but a begging letter taped to Ross Barkley’s bare a*se would not have got me out there for this game with UEFA turning basically a blind, bored eye to the reality of the problems of this fixture.
I came to France instead, because it has most of my favourite things. Namely, wine, Frenchmen, war stuff and road tripping opportunities. Added to the fact that when the sun sets and the restaurants open, no matter what town you are in, it assumes the irresistible whiff of garlic butter and what’s not to like? So here I was, watching a stream of this game in an Orléans hotel room, where I'm less likely to get shot, but sadly not at all likely to get a bag of crisps off of Bruce Buck, and I was starving. Instead I was listening to Glenn Hoddle waffling about Barkley having fallen out of favour. Which makes me want to shoot him. Or myself. What?? He needs to keep Fabregas out of the side? Yes that’s right, the same Fabregas who isn’t even in the side because he’s been injured and whose time has basically passed. This was going to be a f*cking long night.
The ground looked like downtown Beirut in the home end with the flares before kick off, but was actually tame by their “ring of fire” standards. We kicked off in bright yellow, which would make our players nice targets later on. I have a memory blank about anything that happened between 0 and 4 minutes, which probably means I was dozing off. Which was not a good start. Thanks to Willian, our captain for the night, within six minutes we were ahead. Awful, awful defending and pounced on with glee by Little Willy. And then I would have missed nothing if I had shut the laptop an gone out.
They decided to put two up front and try and attack a bit more, but as time would tell, still didn’t really have much to offer going forward. Morata could have made it two before the opening ten minutes were up, but his header was wide. In the opening twenty my app claimed that they had had 45% possession. B*llocks. This was exactly like the Salonika campaign. Everybody involved wishing they were somewhere else. Morata was desperately trying to run himself more into this game, but on 26 minutes, when he finally had a shot teed up he got over excited and smacked it over the bar. The dynamic commentary team of Nigel Spackman and some other bloke with the charisma of a wet poisson related to Michael Owen were banging on and on about our quality in depth, but all of our quality was plodding rather harmlessly about the pitch at this stage. Definitely not in top gear. Definitely like a cup tie against a lower league side where you drop to their level and all the intensity in your game keels over and lies there with its legs in the air. Like Dele Alli.
Willian floated another in for Morata on the half hour but he couldn’t get any power or direction on it. By this time I was just watching the beacon that is Barkley’s backside bobbing about the pitch and zoning out. On 35 minutes we won a corner. I almost cheered like a Gooner. Come on. Entertain me. Another flap from the keeper, another flap from Morata, who was never in the right place to get a shot off from the touchline anyway. Surely he had to score in this fixture? It isn’t going to press a case for him being picked against West Ham, not when a strong scrapper like The Beard might already be the favourite to start in a turgid fixture like that.
Save from them on a Pedro Pony run. (He’s so awesome that apparently, in the mind of a five year old little blues girl it’s the same as owning your very own pony) God this was tedious. We were running rings around them. But, and brace yourself for a classic nonsense football platitude: the only thing lacking from us was a goal. In fact, before half time we only fashioned one more shot on target. And it got worse after the break.
In the opening fifteen minutes of the second half, it was actually more difficult NOT to score another goal than it was to continue ambling forward against a weak side who were basically inviting us to double our lead. They did give it a go, bless ‘em. They might even have been a bit threatening if they had known the offside rule. Sarri was ready to shake things up. On came Cesc for his first ever Europa League game in place of Jorginho. And Dave to give Alonso a rest. Why? How? Are Chelsea only one up? Asked Spackman in the commentary box. I’ll tell you for why, Nigel. Because I had more than 2.5 goals in this game. That’s why. It was to spite me.
Pedro Pony, who had indeed been unicorn-like again tonight, had one palmed away on 71. They were actually looking more like having an impact now, because our energy levels had gone the way of Voldemort Shelvey’s hair and we were still plodding. Willian going over to take a corner was slower than watching Bosingwa time-waste while tripping over his own monobrow circa 2012. The Beard was getting ready to come on. Oh dear Alvaro. Not the night he would have wanted. His penultimate contribution was to be offside. His last act, to fall over.
Kepa was forced to make a save on 80, and he looked a little shaky tonight when under pressure. But then trying to concentrate suddenly after doing nothing for so long would be hard on anyone. I could barely keep my eyes open, so I’m not judging. The Beard had a tameish long range shot on 85 - but it was a shot within five minutes of his introduction which was more productive than both Morata and myself, for I spent the second half doing the most intensive floss job ever on my teeth. The game was dragged out even longer by a totally ridiculous non-fight instigated by an angry Egyptian who was still yapping away at the final whistle. Rudiger was torn between head-butting him and crying with laughter. And Pedro Pony got floored by a knee in his pretty face. Boo. But it actually looked more like his left arm was the problem and that’s bad if it interrupts the momentum he’s built up so far this season. All the Greeks appeared to be naked in the crowd by this point, which is one way to entertain yourself in certain defeat.
So: To all those who made the trip, I say take thee out and get thyself sh*tfaced. You’ve earned it. There will be another five of these episodes before the Europa League even threatens to get remotely interesting. Brace yourselves. On to West Ham, where if I haven’t sorted out a phone by Sunday, I will again look like Sarri scribbling away in my little notebook. But I don’t have the excuse of getting paid millions of pounds. I just look like a twat.
*Picture of Little Willy comes from Chelsea's Official Site. Prize if you can guess what he's got wedged down the back of his shorts...
Eden Hazard - BOOM Cardiff City - Faceplant.
Saturday 15th September 2018 15:00
Another international break has died the turgid death it deserves. Huzzah. Though it’s only about a f*cking fortnight till the next one. Booooooooooooo.
In the News: This has been that dire that the Daily Fail have been reporting on what it is like to play FIFA again. Sigh. I’ve been on the Gallipoli peninsula. It was essentially a walking holiday, but under the leadership of a lunatic Red Scouser, a West Ham fan, a Fenerbahce nut and accompanied by several ex-soldiers and possibly the only United fan left in the world that doesn’t want to see Chequebook Pulis fall over again, this time down a gaping crevasse somewhere in Antarctica, I’ve been invariably too sh*tfaced and wasted on four hours sleep a night to care what it is going on in the newspapers. That said, the Spartak fan in our group was massively excited about the arrival of John Terry, but I’m hoping he held off on getting that shirt printed. And Djilobodji - remember him? Our saviour one dire transfer window not many moons ago that nobody had heard of? He’s been sacked by Sunderland after he went AWOL and arrived back at the club fat.
The Others: Vertonghen reminded us all that he’s one of the most vile sh*ts in the game by trying to gauge out Firminho’s eyeball. Probably weighed it up and deemed it a safer bet that punching those teeth and shattering his arm up to the elbow. It didn’t help his side, who failed. Shame. Watford somehow managed to lose despite Matic being sent off and De Gea flinging himself about like an epileptic salmon, I’m guessing when a simple foot through the ball would have done. Zaha is moaning about a lack of protection - let’s have him swap shirts with Eden for a day. Or show him a photo of Ramires’s shin scars. City swept aside Fulham, and Arsenal won their third game in a row, which is no fun at all. And Bournemouth are now only 30 points from safety. Actually, not only that, but they are closer to winning the league right now than the Goons, Sp*rs and Chequebook Pulis. Boom. Again.
Us: Sh*t starts to get real now, with a mass of fixtures on the horizon. Pedro Pony (apparently, in the mind of a five year old girl, the greatest compliment you can pay anyone is to say there are as awesome as a pony, and little Mia bestowed this honour on him at the Bournemouth game) got the nod over Willian for today, as did The Beard over Morata. This looked like a slap in the face, but for reasons that will become apparent turned out to be a good call. Kovacic started alongside Kante, and other than that it was as you would expect.
Them: I recognised Harry Arter. I’d heard of Junior Hoilett but if you gave me a grand I couldn’t point him out.
So obviously anything other than a crushing victory would be a bit embarrassing and having said that, being Chelsea, we would find a way to make a massive drama out of it. They were very excited after three minutes to get a corner. In fact at this point the away supporters were excited by everything. The Beard almost manufactured a chance on the break but it didn’t quite come off. He got his head on another a couple of minutes later, but couldn’t quite direct it. On 8 minutes George Michael pulled one back for him again, he but failed to get any control on it. He was looking extremely spritely despite being weighed down by all that facial hair.
It wasn’t all us though, they weren’t setting the world on fire, but they were at least giving it a go. They could have gone ahead at least once in the opening minutes. Don’t take any credit away from them for their endeavour at this stage, but don’t underestimate already the contribution of their man of the match either. Jonathan Moss. I’m just going to slate him throughout so let’s just name and shame him straight off. Slightly thinner this season, but no less sh*t at his job. A hugely fortunate goal for them after a quarter of an hour. Considering that Sol F*cking Bamba has the touch of a wrecking ball operated by Gazza after he’s been out on a binge. Poor Kepa was left rooted to the spot. But more terrifying than this lapse and surprise goal was the revelation when they ran over to the bench to celebrate, that Neil Warnock was wearing SHORTS. Some things you can never unsee.
Oh well, well over an hour to atone for this nonsense and within two minutes we had almost equalised twice. At least it had served to give us a kick up the a*se and it had woken the crowd up. We do love a bit of siege mentality at The Bridge. We’d have to actually get the ball in play though. For the away support were hiding it. And when it did emerge, the time-wasting that had been instantly implemented meant that most of the action revolved around some bloke in neon orange making a ridiculous faff of putting the ball down in his box and kicking it. Moss was joyfully awarding them free kicks every time they fell over, I had counted half a dozen from them that Mss had blissfully overlooked to the extent that half the shed was contemplating a pitch invasion to cock-punch him. He was even stopping play for fake leg injuries. They wouldn’t even give the ball back along sporting lines either after pretending to be injured. Either Harry Arter is a monumental f*ckmuppet or a cheating turd.
Well that deteriorated quickly. Cardiff had defaulted back to sh*t on a stick football. With a loud chorus of “Sheep shagging b*stards, we know what we are.” In the face of all this wankery we were persisting in looking for an equaliser. An attempt from The Beard went wide, another hit Kovacic on the back. On 23 Pedro Pony looked like he was going to bend it in but the ball carried on going wide, and three minutes later he almost put it on The Beard’s head but the ball drifted out onto the roof of the net. In the face of their adversity, Cardiff introduced a new ploy. If throwing yourself on the floor doesn’t get Moss’s attention, grab your face and scream until he stops play. Cunning.
But the chances were still accumulating and they had ceased to attempt to put up any kind of opposition. They were rightly punished for their cynicism by Eden, thanks to The Beard, was left in a position to run at a load of donkeys like the little genius that he is and slot in an equaliser. Hurrah. Back on track. Well Llion will be relieved because now he’s a shade further away from having to travel back to Cardiff with them gloating in his face. They were much deflated now. Harry Arter, who had swiftly become the most hated man in West London, had given up and sat down on the pitch with a sad puppy dog face. Things got worse for him and his leek munching chums shortly before half time when once again The Beard set Hazard up to score. My favourite bit of it? His detour to celebrate in front of them profusely. Lovable, cheeky little f*cker. We had turned it around and they were complaining about how long it was taking Kepa to kick the ball. Boom. Last play of the half? Kante half leaping for a header on goal with an absolutely petrified look on his face about what he was going to do when it arrived. Bless.
Here’s one for half time. Next time you read about big bad racist Chelsea in the press, and how mean and bigoted we all are, and how we laugh at the holocaust and minorities (like me) cower at the thought of showing our face, note that for the first time today I saw a girl wearing the hijab at a football match. In fetching blue I might add, as she chatted in the Shed End with strangers, appeared to have a great time and quite rightly no one gave a flying f*ck about her veil. You’ll never read about that in the papers.
Arter was not enjoying his day so much. He had had enough of being the pantomime villain and f*cked off before the restart. Unfortunately Jonathon Moss didn’t follow his example. It was a low key beginning. Kovacic was not at all comfortable and went off for Barkley within five minutes. For a big lolloping bellend Bamba was a thorn in our side. It’s the Fellaini effect. It’s not that he’s actually a good defender. It’s the fact that nobody wants to get too close to him less one of his massive, flailing inspector gadget limbs end your career. Thanks largely to his unconscious endeavours, there had been no real chances to speak of by the hour mark. Please Chelsea, get another goal before these hapless twats bang in an equaliser off of someone’s nutsack.
Pedro Pony was doing his best - another shot saved on 61, a minute later he was involved in sending the ball across the face of goal. But they had one effort scoot past the post too and Sarri changed it up with 25 minutes to go. On came Willian for PP. Cardiff, in the meantime, had descended into farce. One of them attempted to fly through the air and mount Luiz, fell on the floor and then moaned about wanting a free kick. “I hope you broke your collar bone you c*nt!” was one response from behind us.
They’d bought on some substitutes - Jizz Richards, Gary Madine, some other bloke I’ve never heard of. None of them made them look any less hapless. A motley element of their crew was kicking off by this point. Though it has to be said that the Cardiff fans made a bigger donation to our charity boxes outside than any away contingent I can remember. The Goons literally gave us £1.50. But their mood was not improved by a completely moronic foul on Willian in the box. Never in doubt who was going to take it, and finally on 80 minutes we went two goals clear and Eden claimed the match ball by making the penalty look easy.
Cue chants of Engerlund, Engerlund, Engerlund, 1-0 and You F*cked It Up, You’re Going Down With the Pikeys, and You’ve Had Your Day Out, Now F*ck Off Home. Oh. And a huge sigh of relief from Llion, who was about to do so in the same direction. Willian sealed it with one of his specials and then we were into running the clock down territory. They wanted a penalty when Paterson - which one of our number insists is spelt F-U-C-K-W-I-T tripped over Luiz lying prone on the floor and started crying about a penalty, and Kepa did have to palm one away, but the game was done. After a short intervention during which Moss had a lengthy chat with Warnock, presumably insisting he put those knees away, the points were ours.
So: Top of the league. Though I won’t go rushing to any newspapers because they will not tell you anything about us confounding expectations this season, they will all be beating another one out over the red Scouse. Yawn. Eden was given license to roam again, and ran the show. I don’t see Morata being left out as a particular slight on him today, I see using The Beard instead as a tactically astute decision when you look at their defence. He’s the better man at wrestling for the ball against meatheads, winning it in the air and chipping in in defence. It was a Drogbaesque performance from him today. Individually some great moments from the likes of Rudi, but our defence looks fragile. I don’t doubt that we can score against the likes of Klippity Klopp and his Nivea muppets or St. Pep’s angels, but if we can concede to Cardiff at home, we undoubtedly will against them. Possibly heavily. We’ve done all that could have been asked of us so far, but this is where we really get tested, with the onset of two more competitions and tougher fixtures.
*I couldn't find the origin of this photo, but it is is awesome and taken by a very talented photographer who deserves full credit for their fabulous work