Game 10: Southampton 0 Chelsea 2
Sunday 30th October 2016 16:00
I am going to mention the score last Sunday at every given opportunity. Brace yourself, it is going to be like Michael Owen commentating and giving us a constant stream of consciousness about his "glory days" that nobody asked for.
I couldn’t be bothered to blog on Wednesday night. In terms of the football, too many changes made to expect a smooth performance along the lines of what destroyed the Mancs last week. With regard to the rest, that stadium is in no way suited for football in terms of layout, location, segregation, atmosphere, basically anything. If you could get their fans to stop throwing the contents of their pockets at you long enough, they would agree with you. To cap it off, its operation is quite clearly in the hands of fools with no comprehension of public safety. Karen Brady’s comments on the whole sorry affair sum up the delusional approach of West Ham, which is right up there with HWWNBN last week when he said that his team were the better side. (Yes, last week. When we beat him. 4-0) Let’s give the Hammers the credit they duly deserve though, eh? Despite not having the facility to ensure adequate policing, or to guarantee that six year olds don't get a lighter to the face, they've made sure that there are a sufficient number of BUBBLE MACHINES to go round. F*ckwits.
The Others: Sticking with them, if Lukaku’s self-inflated opinion of his own ability is enough to ordinarily make you want to slap him round the face with a kipper, I think we can all appreciate at least, that every time he plays against West Ham he puts one past the gits. Sp*rs’ inability to get three points, again, means we've pulled clear of them. Gus Poyet’s comments about Sunderland’s woes approached Cantona-esque levels in terms of meaningless waffle, and don’t change the fact that they got bitch-slapped again. Arsenal put four past them. The same number that we inflicted on HWWNBN last week, incidentally. When we beat his team 4-0. Moyes & Co. could be six points adrift already if Swansea beat Stoke tomorrow night in a match that will probably draw similar viewing figures as that that the BBC could expect if they resurrected Eldorado. Speaking of HWWNBN. He saw red, Herrera saw red, those that remained couldn’t have hit a barn door if you’d given them your favourite cow, a f*ck off huge laser and a massive catapult, so HWWNBN blamed everyone but himself (probably) and they sit 8th. Shame.
Our Game: Normal service was resumed after the EFL Cup travesty with us fielding the exact team that reduced HWWNBN to a shivering wreck, dribbling nonsense to the press last week and quite rightly pissing his pants every time someone shows him a picture of Antonio Conte. As far as the Saints were concerned, our Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand returned after an injury layoff, Romeu started for them, but more importantly than both, Charlie Austin was present up front, which ensured that myself and Tracey (muppet alias) would be screaming NOT THE FACE everytime someone’s foot/arm went anywhere near him and became the usual drooling, sex pest messes that we always end up in his presence.
We had all expected this to be a challenging match, and Southampton had more possession in the first half and some good attempts. Austin headed it wide, Tadic’s free kick was palmed easily away, though none of their attempts caused my blood pressure to reach Emirates levels. But it only took us six minutes and half a dozen passes strung together at once to get from our goal to theirs and for Hazard to put us ahead. He made it look easy, putting the ball through Forster’s legs after nobody bothered to challenge him. The home team went down the “bleating for a foul every time we get touched” approach, which they largely did to great effect in the first half. (Helped along by Mike Jones, because every time he takes charge of a game it is like Russian roulette with a whistle for ninety minutes as you run the gauntlet of what you will and will not get given owing to randomness such as what side of bed he got out of, or whether Mars is in alignment with Jupiter, or whatever. Today the bloody hippy decided to make love not war and leave all of his cards at home, which is great if you were not Hazard getting repeatedly kicked to the floor) Nora, as in Batty (we’re branching out into sitcom names too now for lack of muppets) was muchly disgruntled by the break, and if he’d had a broom he might have started violating Tadic with it on account of him spending more time on his back than a dead woodlouse, and because their song for him is almost as God awful as this “We’ve won it all” monstrosity that has sprung up.
After a short interlude during which we were subjected to what looked like wank contemporary dance by some people dressed up as sperm, we went close just after the break thanks to some great work from Kante. Alonso headed over the bar too, before Diego, who had touched the ball about a dozen times all afternoon and twice in their box if he was lucky, got one half chance and put it in the top corner. Sadly for Southampton, this is the kind of form he is in. He only needs one half chance at the moment to put you on your arse. The home side got off lightly on the hour too, when neither Diego nor Pesto (still not fighting the autocorrect) could quite get a shot off after Moses’s initial effort had come back out. The Saints were not a pushover by any means. Austin put one over the bar, Davis had one bounce on the top of it, the lovely Charlie even put it in the back of the net, but he’d made his run past Luiz just a touch early and ended up offside. (Even if he had scored against us I’d still lick him any day of the week) But then they seemed to run out of steam. Their subs didn’t turn the game in their favour, ours ensured we freshened things up and shored up at the back and at the end of the match, it looked once again as if we would be the side to score if another goal came. Hazard, who was nigh on unplayable today, had his shot parried and couldn’t get to the ball again before Fonte for the follow up. Moses had another strike as the game wound down before Willian put one wide just before full time.
So: Southampton were not bad today, maybe not at their best, but they were not certainly not dominated. And yet somehow they didn’t really threaten to get a result. Composure was the watchword today for us. The fact that it was back with JT out of the side again probably has long term connotations for him that we’ll all have to acknowledge sooner rather than later. I have to give Matic some credit, as I’ve slated him so much, because he is looking more like his old self and not a three legged, lanky Bambi wearing a blindfold and running in treacle. Moses’s work rate was as phenomenal as it was when we beat United last week (4-0) and not just going forward. Like Kante, he never stops and once again the latter's concentration, his placement, his tackling were all first rate. Costa, too, put in a mostly selfless afternoon’s work. He ran their defence ragged largely for the benefit of others and his goal was a just reward for this effort. A fourth straight win, also our fourth straight clean sheet in the league, fourth straight game where Diego hasnt tried to eat anyone and a fourth straight outing where Conte hasn’t had a voice left to do his post match interview. No point looking at the table yet, but, we have double the amount of points we were looking at this time last season and are a single point off the top. More importantly, we are still ahead of Sp*rs.
On a punditry note, Kevin Kilbane looked like a really poor Liam Gallagher impersonator on MOTD2 and Ruud is dead to me after he picked the Scouse to win the league and gave the worst rendition of the Thriller bass line I’ve ever heard. As for halloween costumes, I do not approve of them at football matches, but if I had to pick a winner, I’d give the title of best effort to Steptoe, for his awesome impression of a cantankerous, grouchy git all afternoon. Love you, you wanker.
Match Nine: Chelsea 4 Manchester United 0
Sunday 23rd October 2016 16:00
I predicted 3-0 and I said if we scored early we would smash them, but I was taking the piss, before you start asking me for next week’s lottery numbers.
The others: By kick off today, everyone had either done us a favour or potentially saved us from ourselves, depending on your level of optimism. Anyway, f*ck 'em, let's get on to the good stuff!
Our game: The muted reception pre-game for He Who Will Not Be Named was akin to the smattering of half-arsed applause you get when someone drags you to see their kid’s school play, when by the time it ends, everyone clapping is already mentally at the bar, a Wetherspoon’s if necessary, thinking about what kind of alcohol they are going to use to dull the pain.
They turned us around at the toss, which was annoying for about, say, thirty seconds, by which time Pesto (ok autospell, I concede, you clearly know what I am trying to type better than I do) made two defenders and a goalkeeper look as silly as a Scouse Nivea ad by running round them and scoring. Turning him into The Booked One for celebrating with the fans seemed a shade petty less than a minute in.
This blew HWWNBN’s famous bus-parking tactics, employed to such great effect at Anfield earlier in the week, completely to sh*t. Despite this his team settled well, with Ibrahimovic narrowly heading one over the bar, but there was no real dynamism in the final third. At the other end, we had a couple more shots before in the twentieth minute, Cahill ran away from anything resembling a defender and picked up a lucky deflection to net another. On the half hour mark they looked ropey every time we got in their box, especially when Blind just let people walk past him, but they did still get forward on occasion too, prompting at least one save by Courtois, who isn’t quite The Redeemed One in my estimation after today but he admittedly had a good game. We did particularly well in our own box, given recent performances in defence and the height that they had in there. There was a distinct lack of Flappy Ones trying to prevent a meltdown.
Fellaini's hair is one of life's existential questions. (Bear with me, I’ve been on the celebratory gin) How and why? He dyed it blond and ended up ginger months ago. I can only assume that it's the fact that nobody likes him that has led not one acquaintance to say: "Mate, you look like a complete bellend. Shave your head." And therefore, I suppose, is why it is. (Must stop watching philosophical factual programming when insomnia strikes) More importantly, why is he allowed to foul everyone and not get carded? “He fouls, therefore he is:” coming to a cheap Manc t-shirt stall near you. Anyway, all of this means I did not feel in the slightest bit guilty when Sideshow somehow sidestepped a red card after crashing in at knee height. Fellaini gets away with it three times a game.
I think we all just wanted half-time after that, without fouling it up and conceding. Apart from the fools who were BOUNCING at just 2-0 and before the break! (This is tempting of the bad juju on such a basic level that you all deserve to be slapped about the face with a mouldy kipper until you learn the error of your ways) Martin Atkinson’s low point today was moaning to the players that he couldn't see everything as an excuse for ignoring Bailly literally straddling Cahill and tea-bagging his face to prevent him from defending a United attack. Other than than he was mostly fair, in that he made a few clangers against either side. We almost got a third right before the break, but though The Scrappy One (Diego) got round Bailly his shot was blocked.
Costa was just marginally offside after the break, (ok, more like the length of Courtois’s hooter than marginally, but I suppose it was worth putting it in the back of the net in case the officials had smoked a spliff at half time). They looked much better without Fellaini, who had gone off for Mata at half time, but they soon lost Bailly at the back to injury. Blind went across to take his place in the centre of defence. My notes on this just say: “Yay.” "Clearly either on the sauce or on the take" was one assessment. He was woeful, not least for the tackles he refused to make. Perhaps he just lost the will to live after he saw his own topknot in the mirror.
We were trapped in our own half somewhat and very nervy by the hour mark, and what we all wanted was to break away and put the game away with a third. Which is exactly what we got. After Moses (The Rejuvenated One) had got all the way up the pitch only to be denied by Smalling, in the next attack Hazard slid it straight under De Gea’s arms for a third.
For all the possession they had today, United crafted results out of it for the most part as masterfully as a chimp smearing a turd on a canvas and calling it art. Ibrahimovic was impotent, though he was cutting an isolated figure with little support. Pogba was truly awful. Which brings me to Pogbawatch: I had marked down to bung him up to a value of £9m after his midweek goal, but I’m seriously considering whether or not it is legitimate to take his value down after today. He’s apparently worth three Kantes. (Pause for canned laughter) When Pesto is robbing you of the ball repeatedly, and his tackles are apt to come along with all the frequency of a Southern Rail conductor bothering to turn up for work, you really are up sh*t creek.
When they gave Kante (The Miniature One) enough time to get in the box and aim it in the right direction (considering his hair trigger usually results in a shot at least thirty feet over the bar) then you might as well go home. If I'd been closer to HWWNBN I would have given him my snotty white Starbucks napkin to wave. We even tried to hand them a goal right at the end and they still f*cked it up. He got off with some witty chants of “you’re not special anymore” and “we want you to stay” but there was no malice in any of it, which was quite a relief actually. It’s always easier to be gracious when you’re tanking him!
Had Costa not hit his strike straight at De Gea, it could have been five. The only remaining joy at the other end was a brilliant cross by Mata and then a save from Ibrahimovic’s ensuing shot. HWWNBN standing in front of the away dugout in the 85th minute, at 4-0 down, trying to orchestrate that clusterf*ck must have been up there in the demoralisation stakes with Adolf Hitler sitting in his bunker staring a handful of cyanide pills and a revolver in 1945 and debating which one would be more enjoyable. To paraphrase Pepe the King Prawn (new muppet alas) “If you're Nathaniel Chalobah (The Promising One) and you are getting away with Cruyff turning in your own box with Pogba and Ibrahimovic standing in front of you, it really is a sign than f*cks are no longer given.”
Whose fault is it? Torres? No, but seriously, (ok not that seriously) he's gone down a different route post match. HWWNBN says they were the better team. (Pause for more canned laughter) We defended with nine men and counter-attacked occasionally with two, apparently. (Pause for canned laughter of increased intensity with loud cackling woman in foreground close to microphone reserved for things like Del Boy falling over in the bar) Apparently he’s had a pop at Conte for engaging with the fans too. Our keeper and defenders were the harder worked, he says. Apart from being a sore loser, he’s obviously forgetting that part of Cahill's heavy workload was scoring against him. (There were a lot of goals, he may have forgotten) Oh and he has obviously not factored in the amount of effort De Gea had to expend in repeatedly picking the ball out of his own net.
So: None of ours had a bad game today, not even the oft-maligned Matic or Courtois. I still think we are enjoying a bit of a free reign as far as people being able to research and deploy against this new system is concerned. It will get tougher. To single out just a couple: Moses was probably just about my man of the match for his work in defence as well as in attack. I really hope (now that we have realised that he is only 25?!) that this is him proving that he has served his apprenticeship and that he is not just having a good run that will fade. Alonso (The Fit One) thinks quickly and acts decisively under pressure. I’m tempted to say we have not had a left sided defender this good on set plays and getting things calmly out of danger since we said goodbye to Ashley Cole. Long may that continue too.
HWWNBN is not new and shiny anymore, and he's not evolving. As it stands, his best days are getting further and further behind him and if he doesn't begin to adapt he's going to end up The Forgotten One. But in matters about which we still give a sh*t: I'm loving the conducting of the crowd on Conte's part. We are fourth. And one point off the top. We are physically in a position to quite literally sh*t on the Sp*rs below for the first time in way too long. I'd be amazed if Southampton are that easy to turn over next week, but in the meantime we've got a trip to that lovely new stadium that we all paid for to get out of the way on Wednesday. Till then, this Happy One is going back to her gin.
And so it is upon us. Do you know what? I’m not even going to waffle on about it. We had some good times, he’ll always be a part of the club’s history and rightly so, but the histrionics and the often frustrating, negative football, as well as the media drama are their problem now, not ours. As I said on Sunday our options are as follows:
The others: None of this Friday night nonsense this week. The early kick off on Saturday is Bournemouth, who were brilliant last week, vs. Sp*rs. (God speed, seaside chums) Arsenal have yet another seemingly easy fixture at home against Boro, which seems to occur every week (none easier than us, apparently) Burnley host Everton, and Hull will hope to get one over on hapless Stoke after receiving a proper Trump-style, grubby, surely-not-legal ravaging at the hands of Bournemouth last week. Leicester take on Palace, Swansea, who deserved a point at least last week, play Watford and West Ham face bottom Sunderland. The late kick off is the Scouse vs. my new ‘bestie’ Tony Pulis, who despite being tedious, bland, and looking like a wino in his old tracksuit and grubby hat, is my hero after robbing points off the spuds. Before we kick off on Sunday, City (I still haven’t stopped laughing after Wednesday) play Southampton. Who knows, Pep might even play that striker that, you know, scores goals, instead of attempting to prove he’s got the biggest b*llocks at the club by leaving him out in favour of The Ginge. Oh well, he can at least be happy he’s got a keeper that’s great with his feet at the back, eh?
Our game: JT is in ‘good shape’. The Boss says he’s trained well and he is apparently available for Sunday. Willian came back on Thursday morning, he has trained twice and he’s fine, but whether he is in the right frame of mind to play is not clear. The decision hasn’t been made yet. Wasn’t entirely clear whether Oscar is back in the country yet after the death of his grandfather, and Ivanovic is still carrying a muscular injury that he picked up on international duty. Zouma update: he has been training with the under 21s, and Conte is hoping to move him up to train with the first team next week. Fabregas still has a muscle strain in a “very strange place”. It is in a part of his thigh not normally prone to injury and not his cock, which someone thankfully had clarified amidst much laughter. Press plebs earning their money.
As for Contewatch: (Each week, using all of my FBI profiling skills, meticulously absorbed watching 12 seasons of Criminal Minds, I rate him on the Mourinho Scale, a careful and scientific calculation based on the premise that the more dishevelled and tramp-like a manager gets, the more he is about to strike the male menopause and have a total meltdown) Defcon 1. (For those unfamiliar, 1 is normal and it goes up to 5 when the Russians are coming) He looked more tired than anything, which made for some pauses for translating, but it didn’t help that the press plebs worded their annoying HWWNBN questions like incoherent muppets. I’d be pissed off if I had to deal with them, but he was laughing at Fabregas’s manhood with everyone else by the end. They talked a bit about the young players that have managed to get some pitch time too. Chalobah recently said there is a clear pathway to the team now for those that earn it and Conte says this aspect is important for him too, and that Chelsea should reap the benefit of bringing these kids through at a high level.
Actually turning up against some of our closest rivals is long overdue after the Vermin and that nightmare trip to north London. We are unbeaten against this lot in the last 11 ties in all competitions. I fully expect it to be next to impossible to break them down by the time he has put the handbrake on the bus in front of the Matthew Harding before kick off, but we can but hope that enough of our attacking players turn up feisty and can overrun them. It wouldn’t surprise me if it is dull as Monday night was. Put it this way, if I was a Gooner, I’d be considering taken some knitting with me. (Find the video on youtube, it’s hilarious) Massively important for us not to concede first, as that plays into their hands with the now infamous tactics that he will employ away from home.
Chelsea 3 Leicester City 0
Saturday 15th October 2016 15:00
When you sit up half the night after a party at the dog track writing your blog then fall asleep without posting it…
The others: If Carlsberg did football days, we were almost there yesterday. I take back every thing I have ever said about Tony Pulis. (For five minutes anyway) Footballing genius. Obviously a win would have been better than a draw, but it’ll do. Same for City, who failed to beat Everton despite being given multiple penalties. Shame. More importantly, the topknot/nivea mob will have to win 4-0 tomorrow (I think, but I’m running out of fingers) to go top, which I trust is a steep enough task for us to put the old WW2 warning sirens away for another week. Benteke’s penalty was hilarious, and then after that Match of the Day turns into a blur and I don’t remember anything else. Apart from swearing at Gary Lineker every time he came on the screen. At least I think it was Gary Lineker
Our game: Nothing sinister in the team selection today, all those who were missing had a perfectly acceptable reason. Sticking with the three at the back, Pesto (it’s easier to just admit defeat with my iPhone autocorrect) took the place of Willian, who was given a vocal tribute by the fans and goal celebration tributes by his colleagues in his sad absence.
The first half was brilliantly void of all the hapless f*ckmuppetry we have come to expect in the last eighteen months. We maintained 75% possession, Leicester (who were well below par today) didn’t get into our box until the 33rd minute (that I remember) and Courtois had nothing to do, except contemplate how much nicer Spain is than England. (It’s south, I’m sure you can sniff it out with that conk of yours, feel free to head there anytime) Conte’s new system is nicely balanced, with an emphasis on swift attacking, but never allowing everyone to bomb into the box and leave us open to a counter-attack. There were always at least two or three concentrating on preventing that from happening. Leicester’s tactics weren’t so far off what they did away from home last season with such success, but the difference today was that we were assured, well-drilled and did not look likely to collapse at the back and allow them to get into the game (I know, I thought I had been transported to a parallel universe too). Leicester’s defending for Costa’s goal was reminiscent of our car crash at the back for the Vermin’s first goal at ours. They were all over the place although Hazard’s goal was more fortuitous when the ball ricocheted off his head into precisely the right spot to put him in on goal. But he put it away in style. I’m not sure what combination of threats and or coercion Conte has employed since Arsenal, but the work rate was stunning. We could have been even further ahead by half time from two Luiz free kicks, one of which looked stupidly high from behind the goal but sank like a stone to hit the crossbar.
We came back out with less intensity, and Leicester had upped theirs, which made for a more competitive match after the break, even if they failed to record a shot on target. Penalty shouts were dismissed at both end (obviously ours was nailed on and theirs was ridiculous, though I didn’t have a great view of one and was checking my phone for the other) We woke up again suddenly on the hour mark. Kante, who was once again excellent, steamed forward at one stage playing in Moses, who really should have scored. Vardy got nothing past Luiz, who made him look average when he tried. Mahrez and Slimani added something more to their game, but too late and Alonso managed to martial the former. We were about an inch away from an annoying own goal, but luckily Luiz ended up clearing off the post in what was (as far as my addled brain can remember) Leicester’s best chance at getting one back. That says it all about their effort today I’m afraid. Pesto’s legs went and Chalobah was given another richly deserved appearance. Once again he was solid and fitted into the team like he belongs there. Even Pierre (A new muppet alias) who has the ultimate man crush on Loftus Cheek now admits the possibly Nathaniel looks the more likely to break through. Kante had an awesome chance to make it three, for once hitting a strike on target that was parried away by his old teammate. (He has many, many virtues, but a sense of direction on goal is not one of them) Every bounce and loose ball came to us (for once) and you know it's your day when Matic runs round half the Leicester team in their box to fire off a shot. Moses sweeping goal that sealed the points once and for all was as graceful as the back somersault that followed.
So: I am distinctly impressed with Moses and Alonso, the former in particular continues to defy all expectations. (Although someone told me Moses was brainless on the way home which roused shouty gin Alex. The volume went up considerably when the idiot in question then tried to say that Luiz didn’t do any defending yesterday because “that wasn’t his job”, that Pesto was our man of the match and that Oscar is a player beyond reproach. Always) Costa was a paragon of virtue and he certainly wasn’t “demanding to be taken off to avoid picking up a yellow.” As much as it pains the press plebs, he didn’t so much as scowl at anyone yesterday that I saw. When you have the opposition eating your dust what would the point be in turning around and going backwards to punch them in the face? It seems that form and confidence has calmed His Scrappiness down a bit, and in defiance of red-aligned pundits has not taken anything out of his game. He was rubbing his right hamstring from about the 40th minute and after playing within himself for most of the second half, presumably because he wasn’t entirely comfortable, he asked to be subbed when the result was assured. Hopefully it’s not going to hamper his fitness for next week. What we started properly at Hull has begun to develop nicely. Dave looked the most uncomfortable with his new role in that game, but that certainly wasn’t the case yesterday.
So thoughts turn to next week. Pierre raised the interesting question of what stance we take with the return of HWWNBN. The options appear to be:
I’m going to end with a rant as to the depravity of the standard of spelling and grammar in todays media. I spend a fair part of my week consulting newspapers from a century ago and the difference is staggering. I know the press plebs want to get their stuff up faster than anyone else in a 24 hour news cycle, but (Daily Fail - know thy enemy) surely there should be someone on staff that knows that “jiterry” is spelled “jittery” (I’m sure even Word would have pointed that out - my spellcheck has just flagged it!) and that “Chelsea are looking increasingly uncomfortable with his three-man central defence system, and were not threatened by Leicester once,” doesn’t make sense? Bellends.
There isn’t really much left to say about England. Halfway through the Slovenia game I was totting up in my head if I have enough trips to the WW1 battlefields under my belt to start attempting to claim Belgian nationality. Was Eric born Dier or is it an ironic statement? He’s like the Zoolander of the England squad, if he tries to go in more than one direction and pass the ball back to the keeper it is a disaster. And am I the only person that is sick to death of listening to people talk about Wayne Rooney? He’s been an eternal disappointment as far as tournaments go. Him being rubbish is not news, even if he has racked up a record amount of goals against Montenegrin goat herders and postmen from San Marino. And it doesnt say much about Hart’s stature as a keeper or his personality that he has only been on loan for a few weeks and I had already forgotten that he existed. That said, he was our best player. Sigh.
Elsewhere has it been such a slow news week that the press plebs had to fabricate a Conte sacking prophecy just to give themselves something to do yesterday afternoon? I can answer that question myself by flicking through the Daily Fail’s football headlines this morning. They include more of their turgid countdowns and gems such as: “Southgate is the Clinton to Allardyce’s Trump” (Firstly, Southgate hasn’t got the tits to pull that off, secondly it’s a bit of a backhanded compliment to anybody to have it pointed out that you are a crook and not a moron, isn’t it? Thirdly, I’m not sure that Allardyce would get away with grabbing anyone by the p***y even if he WAS a billionaire) There is also a whole article dedicated to whether or not Bilic has had a hair transplant in the last fortnight and a comparison between Steve Bruce and Mr Potato Head. Thankyou Northcliffe, for bringing this to the world.
Nothing much going on as far as we are concerned the past two weeks apart from ticketgate. I’m not sure that West Ham’s blind stupidity/incompetence should be a justifiable reason for offering less than the minimum allocation to the away fans. There is no proper reason for it other than their inability to get their sh*t together, in which case if they can't play by the rules they should have forfeited the advantage of a home tie and it should have been moved to The Bridge. The cynic in me thinks that if it had been say, the Scousers or the United fans on the receiving end the outcome might have been different. (City are irrelevant, they can't fill their own stadium) Other than that it seems that our club now pays someone to dick around making Instagram collages now. Nice work if you can get it.
The others: Am I the only one that hates the early Saturday kick off because if you cock it up you then have to sit through everyone else’s match (or avoid them pointedly) while football moves on without you? After our weekend fate is sealed, Arsenal will take on Swansea, who will want to put some space between themselves and the relegation places and Bournemouth take on Hull. There’s an important top end fixture (draw please) between Man City and Everton, and a bottom of the table clash between Stoke and Sunderland. I hope Pulis has West Brom at his tedious, frustrating, borefest finest for the visit of Sp*rs. On Saturday evening there is yet ANOTHER televised West Ham game as they travel to Palace. I’m starting to think the head of match selection at Scouse Sports might be a Millwall fan who is collecting all of these hilarious defeats as football porn. Super Sunday, I feel, might be a bit of false advertising this week with Boro against Watford and then Southampton at home to Burnley. Perfect for me, as it is the old dear’s birthday and I can score some points by “missing” all my televised football. (She says she reads this blog, but I doubt it) God help us, if the Kloppites and their sh*t topknots get a twist of good luck and a victory at home to United on Monday night, they could be top. (In this scenario I think we’d all rather see HWWNBN take three points) In which case it's earplugs in, cancel the Sky subscription and dig yourself a bunker in the back garden. Because it will be unbearable.
Our game: Leicester's away form has been shady of late, but to keep it interesting is the fact that we are quite often a danger to ourselves. The result was 1-1 in this fixture last year, and the last time we lost this one was in 2000.
Turns out the press plebs are even more annoying when they are chatting amongst themselves waiting for the press conference to start. Contewatch: (Each week, using all of my FBI profiling skills, meticulously absorbed watching 12 seasons of Criminal Minds, I will rate him on the Mourinho Scale, a careful and scientific calculation based on the premise that the more dishevelled and tramp-like a manager gets, the more he is about to strike the male menopause and have a total meltdown) Came in smiling, first question about being sacked prompted hilarious laughter on his part. Credit too to just laugh at the smug git who then went along the “well it is Chelsea” route whilst sitting at our stadium. I might have been tempted to shove that long pointy microphone somewhere instead. Defcon 1. (For those unfamiliar, 1 is normal and it goes up to 5 when the Russians are coming)
Willian understandably is on compassionate leave, and heartfelt sympathies go out ot him on the loss of his mum. No mention of when he may be back. The boss wouldn’t say whether JT starts, but he is available. And well done Tammy Abrahams, going great guns in the Championship. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see where we end up farming him out to next year instead of trying to nurture the talent we spend millions on fostering at youth level.
Leicester are hoping that Drinkwater will be fit, but Mendy is out with an ankle injury. Whilst I have nothing against them as a club, and obviously we love Claudio, I’d like a spanking controversial win just so I can run home for Match of the Day and watch Lineker squirm. (I like to think he'd be sitting on that awful sofa with his make up running, stuffing crisps in his face like a teenage girl that just found out Bieber was getting married) I put the likliehood of three points somewhere in between the possibility of the Scouse getting a penalty on Monday night to help them along and the much lesser chances that Courtois will manage to get to the end of the weekend without opening his mouth and pissing everybody off again.
Hull City 0 Chelsea 2
Saturday 1st October 2016 15:00
Rocky III today - first half completely forgettable, only interesting when we got to the end bit where the punch up happens.
Whilst everyone else was getting up at the crack of dawn to travel to Hull, I was bunging a fat cat into a small box and lugging all 7kgs of him to the vet to have him put down after a week of turmoil and being peed on by the poor sod. Except ‘JT’ (joyously) made a more miraculous comeback than us at Leicester in the cup and he lives - he might have to be renamed Lazarus if his recovery continues. Anyway, it meant that for once I got to experience the comfort of viewing our game in a not entirely legal fashion with said cat by my side as well as a cheeky rum and pepsi max and some peanut butter chocolate birthday goodness courtesy of Janice. The down side was simultaneously having to listen to Steve McLaren (it was that or man screaming in Arabic) commentate on 5Live Extra in a manner that made me want to euthanise myself by half time.
The others: If Carlsberg did smug football moments eh? Allardyce has lasted about as long as England Manager as he evidently did on his last journey into slimming world. Ta-ta c**tchops, don’t let the door hit you in your wobbly arse on the way out. No such creature deserves to manage England - and for it to get such a rise out of me, when I couldn’t give a crap about international football, is really saying something. Entrapment hasn’t won, you moron, your lack of judgment and (want of) intelligence has failed. Next stop a contract with the F*ckmuppet Factory (AKA the BT Sport panel). Although what with ‘Arry and Savage already there I’m not sure they have got a big enough studio for that much bullsh*t. Oh and I love Jimmy Floyd, but if he thinks that the market value of his wisdom is £55k for a talk, he possibly has a slightly inflated sense of his own motivational skills. In the meantime give me the England job. I’ll make my team selection by gathering them all at St. George’s and having them spend the prep week doing Jackass style team building challenges such as seeing how many toy cars they can wedge under Jack Wilshere’s scrotum.
You can almost hear the shouts of “It’s our year” coming from all the Scouse, though they’ve conceded more than we have so I don’t think anyone need be traumatised by the fact that they are second yet. And yet with just three points between us, behold how the press plebs tout them as title contenders and we are a laughing stock. Sigh. Lallana limped off with a dubious-to-prove injury that will rule him out just long enough to get out of England duty, but be back for their next fixture. Shocker. I’ll be more surprised if I ever see an international break where they don’t pull this constant ploy with at least one player crying ‘groin strain,’ ‘thigh twinge’ or ‘ingrowing toenail.’ I’ll be even more shocked though, to see a game where the Vermin aren’t assisted to three points by sending offs and dubious penalties in their favour.
That nonsense is almost as annoying as Ivanovic’s revelation (even allowing for press pleb selective interpretation) that the players either ignored, or just didn’t bother to do as Conte had asked against Arsenal. Either way, the result was the same, and may all who started (bar the three I exempted last week) spend the international break with gushing (yes GUSHING) diorrhea; incapacitated on the floor whilst somebody plays them a Taylor Swift album with twelve annoying songs about being dumped on a never-ending loop.
Our game: I’m guessing that either Branna’s revelation, or his performance last week, or a combination of both is what a) led to him being dropped and b) raised Conte to Defcon 2 with an angry scowl and dishevelled hair. As much as it saddens me (let nobody forget what he has done for our club, starting not least with two headers in 2009 against the team we never dirty this blog by typing the name of, in case you hadn't noticed ) it has been a long time coming now. Today was the first time (apparently) that he has been dropped since the days of AVB - whoever he is. (Possibly one of those management temps we hire from August - November every year.)
The thought of another game with Sideshow and Gary Cahill at the heart of defence was about as terrifying as acknowledging how close Donald Trump is to being the leader of the free world. But Conte decided to stick with the formation he began experimenting with when the game was out of reach last week, so the two were joined by Dave at the back. Thrilled to see Alonso and Moses get well earned starts as wingback-type people. Last season was so frustrating when we kept seeing the same under achievers getting on the pitch every week, but this selection today, to my mind, rewarded the ones that have proved they deserve a chance as well as playing to the squad’s strengths if you were trying to move towards this particular way of playing. This includes Chalobah with his place on the bench. There have to be consequences for failing and rewards for playing well, else all is anarchy as we saw under HWWNBN last season when everybody got fat and started taking digs at each other in the papers like a bunch of schoolgirls. I’m pretty sure Cahill would have been dropped if not for JT’s injury too, and I felt for Fabregas, but it was an away game. I get it, as far as the starting XI goes. The dilemma continues as far as finding a place for him goes.
So it started with Hull, Hull, more Hull and by the 7th minute McLaren had written us off for dead in his monotone drawl. It was a new system and it showed. We were not quite on it in terms of where to pass the ball and who should be where, and we just looked outnumbered in midfield, with Matic and Kante being smothered. But after ten minutes, Willian and Hazard seemed to twig that if this is going to work, they need to drop back further than they have been used to. Abracadabra. The possesion starts to turn, it starts to look a lot more promising and suddenly most of Hull’s effort is in trying to win the ball back. If there was a down side to this system it seemed in the first half that Costa was cutting an isolated in the box at the other end. Again.
I think Moses should have had a penalty. It turns out that they have this witchcraft which involves replaying things in slow motion on television for the armchair fans and having watched it from 47 angles, I think the referee was a bellend not to spot it in real time. If I didn’t care so little about Steve McLaren that I’d forgotten he’d existed until today, I’d be pissed off that he basically spent the whole of first half in commentary willing Hull to score. They didn’t, and neither did we. Hull had conceded nine in their last two games (albeit with ten men in both, I think) but we couldn’t even fashion a decent attempt. Oh, and they had midfielders at full back. Possibly explains one point from a possible nine. The highlight of the first half was that when I got bored I was free to go and pour myself more Morgan Spice, and thenI was able to follow the cat to the litter tray to see how long he peed for. Fifteen seconds. This is as exciting as Drogba’s Munich penalty in this house at the moment. (This is vet instruction, to clarify, not some weirdo cat toilet fetish)
The now (I’m assuming) standard Conte ‘opening-a-can-of-whoop-arse’ at half time yielded instant results. Within two minutes (praise the Lord, Hallelujah, etc.) we had a shot on target. The best chance fashioned thus far was then punted over the bar by Kante after Costa hit the post. Hull were defending doggedly and (shockingly) we weren’t doing bad on that front either, so it was going to take a moment of individual flare to break the deadlock. This came from Willian on the hour mark when he curled one into the top right corner and left the goalkeeper staring at it as it went past him. I can’t say anything mean about Hull. (although doing Tiger impressions at them last season was a good five minutes of amusement) I feel for their players, their manager and most importantly their fans, but as soon as they had to come out the game well and truly turned in our favour. I’m guessing that this sudden phenomena of Matic running through the whole of the opposition is because of the rest of the league’s assumption is that he will either take 500 touches and trip over the ball, pass it back to Courtois, give it to them, or blaze it into row Z. So they just leave him to it. (I would) But it paid dividends for us again this afternoon when his ambling run ended up falling to Costa, who put the ball exactly where Willian had. The latter had a penalty shout that was more blatant than Moses’s in the first half, but we dont wear red (well he dosen’t anymore) or wear shellsuits so we don’t get given them.
So: CLEAN SHEET! CLEAN SHEET! No you have not been sucked into a parallel universe where we voted to remain in Europe and it is socially acceptable to wear Crocs. Some players are evidently going to take longer to grips with the new system than others (Dave springs to mind) but I’m OK with that. It took several years of misjudgement and epic failure in the transfer market (De Bruyne, anyone?) and a systematic management comedy of errors from board level (mostly) down to players who couldn’t be arsed to put us in this position, so it isn’t likely we’re going to be fixed overnight. Costa’s blinding start to the season continues, yet another stellar game from Kante (we won’t mention the shot) and Chalobah gets his long awaited Chelsea league debut. Will he make the grade instead of Loftus-Cheek? Will commentators stop lazily amalgamating Conte and Kante into one hybrid player/manager at any point this season? Will Gary Lineker ever be able to comment on anything, ever again without mentioning Leicester? He’s really starting to get on my tits now.
We are sixth as we head into another abomination of an international break - although we will get lots of mileage out of laughing at Big (mouth) Sam over the coming weeks - and we are three/four (depending on tomorrow) points off second place. I’ll take that. On that note, I’m off to force feed JT (feline version) some more painkillers and measure the size of his last piss puddle.