Watford 1 Chelsea 2
Saturday 2nd November 2019 17:30
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 2: Don’t know if it was a police decision because last time they had the whole Shed they bought flares, or whether we just couldn’t tolerate anymore whiny Southerners pretending to be Mancs, but the stand was half empty. It was a steady start. CHO almost played in Michy after after three minutes, and Kovacic had flown out of the blocks, as the visitors were subjected to a barrage of “live round the corner.” United were flailing somewhat. After ten minutes McTominay had been booked after clattering into Kovacic like a drunken cart horse. That’s what happens when you train with Phil Jones. It’s catching.
A truly awful corner from them on 12 made our usual disasters look competent, but somehow they got on the end of a shot which went thankfully wide. Their sum achievement so far was somehow mustering 29% possession, and yet we hadn’t fashioned any meaningful effort on goal with all of the work we’d put in. McTominay couldn’t take what he was dishing out. Michy booked for a foul that saw him rolling about on the floor like he’d had a limb severed. A relentless ditty from them about how happy Solskjaer makes them. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Then the game was turned completely arse about face when Alonso tried to make up for losing the ball and gave away a silly penalty. Rashford converted having done nothing else so far. Typically. 100% against the run of play, but that’s what you get when you don’t make the most of being on top. We hadn’t yet managed a shot on target. We just needed to show our teeth. Playing the ball about prettily is nice, but sometimes you need to read a game right and just get stuck in to make it work. We were too nice. The telling point was that Slabhead hadn’t just stashed Michy in his pocket, he’d packaged him up and mailed him back to Belgium. There has to be something severely off with The Beard that you don’t stick him in this game if you are resting Abraham, because he would not have given Manchester’s answer to Wreck it Ralph a moment of peace at the back.
The highlight of the night sitting in the posh seats with JK? Other than the gin and pick n mix? The moment CHO came flying over the advertising boards beneath us. One elderly fan was so incensed (beclad in blue and white afro wig and multiple scarfs) that she gave Williams sh*t, decided that wasn’t sufficient and then powered up her mobility scooter, drove up to the boards as far it would go (slightly ramming them) and proceeded to give it to him louder. She’s a legend. I met her at Leicester last season, she’s been going to games for half a century and when they tried to park her with the home fans she hammered them with swear words that I’ve never even heard of!
Anyway, the second half was better. Zouma was leaping at high balls into the box like a trout on speed, we looked much better going forward. Gilmour, who was excellent, absolutely deserving the standing ovation he got when he was subbed, broke again and when he got a follow up shot off it drew emphatic shouts of handball, which of course got ignored. A misguided shot by Pulisic on 52 should have been laid off to a teammate on either side, another ball went across the face of goal a minute later. Different side to the first half, and yet not scoring. Rashford’s MO, I’ve noticed, is to climb all over people he can’t keep up with. Another handball shout from a Reece James ball went ignored. The crowd sang for Abraham - and with good reason, for Michy had not been good enough thus far. Tammy and Mason Mount were getting ready. You watch, said JK, now he’ll score a wonderful goal. And in that moment he did. And in the next instant I asked JK for the winning lottery numbers. 1-1.
United clearly second best, then halfway through the second half, Pedro gave away what I thought at the time was a necessary free kick outside the box. Rashford decided to pick that moment to score a world class goal. Apparently it was because of the ball. Either way, he had done literally nothing but score two goals, if that makes any sense. Tosser. As could have been anticipated, they then wasted time like they were Burnley. For our part, we never really grabbed hold of this game. We were down to Kovacic and Zouma taking shots at twenty yards with three minutes left. Frustration mounted. Ref Paul Tierney disappointing, to an extent, less so that the lino on the East Stand side, though to be fair the guy looked like a Ken doll after a plastic lobotomy who’d been thumped in the face with a mallet and left with a permanently baffled expression on his face. I we had done our job properly, United wouldn’t have got a result. We did not.
In the News: Pulisic was so ecstatic after Burnley that he almost forgot to take home the match ball. Spy nearly had heart failure because everyone labelled him Chelsea’s youngest ever to score three in a game. Jimmy Greaves was 17. Frank is understandably a little peeved at the notion that he has had no choice but to play our academy boys. He points out that at every turn they have EARNED the right to play for Chelsea, and that despite the transfer ban, he could still field a full team without any of them if he had to. Apparently he turned down offers for Zouma in the summer. Good show, because since that horror show at Old Trafford he has hardly looked back. Xhaka-gate has been highly entertaining, his having been thick enough to tell his own fans to f*ck off. Apparently the club are going to offer him counselling. Though I fear nothing can work through the life disappointment of ending up in North London. Apparently he’s grief stricken. Probably about that last point. And apparently Bill Kenwright offered £1m of his own money to help stop Bury going under. What a nice chap.
The Others: Total clownery in the land of Scouse midweek. The Goons managed to lead 12 times and still get knocked out by the jammy red turds. And today? Jammy, feckworthy, lucky red b*stards, who have spent the last month robbing points they didn’t really earn. Still, we can always laugh at United. Who lost to the mighty Bournemouth, and L’Arse, who drew at home to Wolves. West Ham inexplicably capitulated at home to the Geordies, who scored two goals in a game for the first time under Steve Bruce, who admitted that he realised his team were rubbish whilst sitting on the toilet. Let’s face it though, under Steve Bruce is a suffocating place to be for anyone. Another impeccable performance from Sheffield United, another home win for Brighton, and City managed to get their sh*t together in the end. So Operation ABL still intact.
Them: Heard two of their fans in the cafe beforehand. “We’ve been punching above our weight for years now, this is our level.” Seemed like an apt appraisal based on my not really paying attention to them but looking at the league table.
Us: Kepa returned, as did Dave, Alonso taken out prior to Ajax on Tuesday and Emerson back in. Jorginho and Kovacic in front of them, Mount, Little Willy and Abraham and Pulisic leading the charge. Gilmour earned a place on the bench with his display on Wednesday.
We were going for a fifth away win against a side who haven’t won any game yet this season. I was Sexpest’s babysitter today, which meant I got to threaten to let his chair roll downhill every time he was inappropriate (every time he opened his mouth) and that I got to blog side by side with Chris Evans (special alias) who came to Watford dressed up as ginger Delboy. Dumbo (special alias again) had seen that Anthony Taylor was in charge with Mike Dean in the VAR f*ckwit bunker in Middlesex and predicted nothing but doom. I scoffed at this, till about the 80th minute.
The away support was in fine voice, but it took four minutes and a goal from Tammy to get us singing about Chelsea instead of all the people we apparently don’t like. I’m not preachy, or PC bonkers, but there is nothing funny, in any context, about calling someone a sex offender, no matter how much you dislike or disagree with them. What a ball from Jorginho. Chris Evans and I spontaneously developed the girliest celebration possible, which involves jumping up and down and squealing whilst holding hands. His wife was disturbed. Watford could barely get a foot on the ball at that point, unless it was in the desperate attempt of hacking it away. Gray jumped so early at one point, he’d come down and left a dent in the pitch before the ball even arrived. Nothing was going right for them. Watford ran about like headless chickens, and yet we weren’t exactly making anything more happen in the box. which meant it was not over yet.
On 17 minutes an effort was blocked, before a minute later a Pulisic attempt was predictably saved by Ben Foster, who seems to play out of his skin every time we meet him. At this point it looked like those blokes in the cafe were right. A brilliant turn from Pulisic on 23, off he went, though our final effort bobbled painfully across the face of goal. At this point the wasp, or whatever their mascot is, was losing the will to live. He’d had a brief spell banging on a drum, but was now alternating between sitting on it with as much of a hangdog expression as is possible for an inanimate costume head, lying on the floor like the act of watching Watford hurt, or chatting to a bald bloke in the crowd. And yet soon he was back up on his drum, for we were still not being clinical enough, and they began to come into it more. Their first corner on 38 ended with a shot that went slightly wide, before a block by Zouma in 49 slightly made up for the short sleeves and gloves combo. We nearly managed to double our lead on 42, when a Mason Mount shot was shoved up onto the bar by Foster. Git. The “Oh goodie,” said Chris and I, a set piece aimed at us to finish the half. And yet we survived to go into the break ahead.
Home side's staff couldn’t have been nicer to Sexpest in his chair today, nor the Chelsea fans, who were hampered by a total lack of room for the disabled fans to move or get to a toilet at half time. On a side note, Sexpest trued to get me to hold his little willy, at which point I shoved his chair through the cubicle door and shut it behind him. How did their setup ever get signed off? The whole thing is dependant on two Stannah stairlifts that make Kolo Toure look like a whippet and roughly ten wheelchairs would be stranded on the upper levels with no other way out if there was an emergency.
They looked far better at the restart, though Ben Foster is so predisposed to time wasting that he doesn’t seem to realise that it doesn’t do any good when you are losing. It was soon even more for nothing though, because on 54, Pulisic arrived perfectly to pick up on Tammy Abraham’s ball into the six yard box. Little Willy and Kovacic also instrumental. 1-2. The American took us close again on 57, but the ball deflected harmlessly across the face of goal. Chris and I had decided that we wished we could be linos. Because it is slightly tempting to yearn for a job where you can turn up and literally do f*ck all and get paid for it. It’s either that or we are running for parliament.
Watford hadn’t rolled over and died, but they were back in the same depressed state as the opening spell of the first half now. On 61 minutes, I sh*t you not, Kovacic, who had his name sung for lengthy spells today (It’s not mind-blowing, it’s the old Matic song) actually got a f*cking shot on target. Which is rarer that rocking horse sh*t. Also a mass of singing for Vialli, both of which are far more worthy than singing about Sp*rs or journalists. The Croatian, of whom a picture has emerged that apparently shows him as a child being snubbed by Slippy G, was at it again as the clock ticked over to 64, with a driving ball along the floor that was nearly picked out on the line. Close again on 68, but only a corner after Abraham’s shot was blocked by Mariappa.
Mount was next on 72. At this point I made a note of my surprise that referee Anthony Taylor - usually a thunderc**t of the highest order when it comes to Chelsea, had done nothing to displease me so far. But his time was coming. 75 minutes and Chris Evans says to me: “another goal and a clean sheet will do nicely.” But this is us. Five minutes later along came VAR.
We had had a penalty shout ignored, presumably because it did not constitute a CLEAR AND OBVIOUS error. So tell, me in the name of all that is holy WHAT WAS CLEAR AND OBVIOUS about the nonsensical twattery that, after stalling the game way beyond their timeframes given out at Stockley Park, in which we all sat there baffled in the ground, that resulted in a f*cking penalty for Watford? What about the one for us that didn’t get checked? Utter balls. In the words of El Salvador (special alias) “The only thing more despicable than VAR will be when Deschamps plays Kante against Moldova.” Once again no check by the referee on the screen available? It took them longer than their own parameters for making a decision to even alert the fans in the ground as to what was going on. “F*ck VAR” sang the away end, as on the pitch we tried to do our best Ben Foster impressions and wind the clock down.
CHO on with seven and a half minutes to go, then Tammy off on 87 for the Batman. Watford have a sign next to their clock that says: “The original family club,” as if a family never went to a football match until 1881. By the time we were notified of five added minutes, I had reverted to my standard position re Anthony Taylor: wanting to beat his shiny head with aplastic club like it was a piñata. Who knows what would come out. Certainly not any sense. Michy on the break on 89 minutes, but his run could not match the skill of his turn. Back we came again, but the cross too strong. Suddenly Watford looked like Real Madrid coming forward. Clawing our way over the line didn’t begin to describe it. We were Sam Allardyce dragging himself across the desert on his hands in pursuit of a mirage of a pork pie. Ben Foster, of all people, nearly nicked them a point. He was extremely gracious about the outstanding save from Kepa that denied him a first ever goal, which made me feel slightly bad about always giving him so much sh*t for habitual his time-wasting. But only slightly. As we left, one of the Watford stewards joined in singing Super Frank, which was fun.
So: The utter lunacy of VAR remains. In no way, shape, or form are the league abiding by their own ever fluid, ever changeable parameters when it comes to implementing it. It is so subjective in every individual game as to make it laughable as a tool for improving their percentages across the league, which they have admitted is their lofty ambition. Listen to Frank. He sat in on a meeting himself this week which has once again borne this out. Happily, however, despite their f*ckwittery, (which MoTD will just gloss over) pending the Leicester result (Palace away tomorrow) we sit third, and are now only two points shy of St Pep and his fantasy football squad. Eight wins out of nine, top end of the league just behind a side worth half a billion, 23 goals thus far in the league and Tammy equal top scorer. Not bad for a club who couldn’t sign anyone in the summer, eh? With a manager half the country thought would fall on his a*se? Kovacic majestic, again, some outstanding moments from the likes of Jorginho, Mount, Abraham and Dave at his tenacious best. Kepa the star at the end. Sexpest told us at his birthday party last night that one of the Krays once caught him nicking off them. He got away with a finger wag. Cookie Monster and I have just done a covert run to Chelsea Village Stores when her husband wasn’t looking so we are equipped for the last bit of the journey home with cans of gin and tonic and we’ll be home in time for MoTD. That planning took twelve seconds, so lord knows why the league can’t function sensibly with VAR when they had a year to get ready.
The annual collection for the domestic violence shelter that I run at Chelsea is now up and running. Each year we play Santa to the children living in the refuge with their mums, without a home to call their own over the festive period. This year in addition we have managed to provide winter wardrobes, fund a summer event at the home, send them out at Easter for a day, assist with things like food delivery and a sensory garden and even taken one family to Disneyland Paris. We’re also looking at educational courses for some of the mums to get back on their feet with work. You can use any of the donation details from last year. Paypal address is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact me on Twitter/Facebook for bank details. Alternatively, in the run up to Christmas there will be elves on hand at games home and away to take donations if you contact in advance. I’ve also got some things to auction, namely a signed pair of Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s boots, a signed Carabao Cup final shirt, and a signed training shirt from the winning Europa League run last season. All of these have been kindly donated and we have offers to frame them up nicely from fellow Blues. Watch out for an alert when I put them onto eBay in the next couple of weeks.