Chelsea 5 Stoke City 0
Saturday 30th December 2017 15:00
In the News: Most of the amusement this week has come from the shy, retiring, self-pronounced non-drama queen that is Chequebook Pulis. Says he hasn't been able to spend enough money to win. Just the £300m. It's obviously not that he has become boring and repetitive as a manager, and that he has no flexibility or seemingly any desire to evolve. Oh and when people counter with the fact that he spent a monstrous amount of money on Lukaku, who doesn't do anything, he says he is tired. Poor baby.
Jamie Carragher made a relevant point this week. (It happens occasionally) He said that the way in which teams come out and play against the top six in the league is flat out embarrassing. They don't even try, and that this is not why the world tunes in to watch it. Are we becoming just like the Spanish league? Where everything below the Champions League scrap is just irrelevant and tedious? Perish the thought. But Newcastle didn't so much as attempt to play football until the 85th minute against City. And it surely is a trend that is becoming more pronounced. Jazz-Hands Fellaini believes that he has been harshly treated in English football. On the contrary I think the hapless tit has been completely overindulged by officials as he cannons round various stadia fouling people and trying to kill them with his elbows. Sanchez went to celebrate a goal only to find that none of his teammates wanted to celebrate with him. The amusing thing about this was the expression on his face, which seemed not to understand why this might be the case.
And Transfer Silly Season has officially begun. Conte spoke the absolute truth when he said this week that our ability to keep Eden Hazard will depend on demonstrating our own ambition as a club. He wants to win European trophies, and for once Madrid don't exactly look like the force they should be. So perhaps if we look like a club bent on conquering Europe he might consider staying. As it stands though, Chelsea have not discussed any contract with Eden. It's too early. So anything you are reading about him rejecting deals is made up nonsense. But Courtois is close to signing a new five year contract.
I don't know what is funnier, the fact that Liverpool have spent 75m on Virgil van Dijk, or the fact that they think is going to fix their defensive issues in one hit. Apparently City, who obviously can't watch other people spending money without spunking cash on something, are monitoring Ryan Bertrand and Jonny Evans. To bump their homegrown quota no doubt. Because neither will even see the pitch. And Southampton and Stoke are supposedly set to fight it out over Spaghetti Legs Sturridge. Oh how the ego has fallen. This is the same schmuck that was banging on Ancelotti's door complaining about not starting as a lone centre forward ahead of Drogba.
The Others: I gave Jamie Vardy a pass on being a cheating little w*nker for putting Leicester ahead of the Scouse. Then I took it away again after they made a comeback. Neil Barnett dubbed Newcastle vs. Brighton the "Park the Bus Derby" at half time. A predictable 0-0. Same scoreline to round off the year for high-flying Burnley at Huddersfield. Swansea, of all teams, made a comeback at Watford to win 1-2, Bournemouth inflicted defeat on Fat Sam and the Scouse's Academy (Southampton) rounded off everyone's year with some festive cheer by inflicting more pain on Chequebook and his mob. Their fans are getting a look at the other side of Matic, they have no strikers and Pogba just embarrasses himself every time the staff go round to his house and drag him out of bed. In the words of Fake Klopp: (special alias) "after the best part of two decades of strutting arrogance there is something delicious about listening to United fans lashing out every which way now they are the most expensive ordinary team in the league."
Us: Christensen was able to take to the bench, but Conte did not risk starting him after illness kept him sidelined on Boxing Day. Hazard dropped to the bench, where he was kept company by Fabregas and Bakayoko.
Them: Let’s address this Mark Hughes business. He is an undisputed cockwobbler - I start getting angry at the sight of him. But I can do not better than quote TCW's (Trench Coat Wanker - special alias) in its entirety on the subject from Facebook :
"The return of “Hughesy”…”Sparky”…f*ck off.
I absolutely detested him as a United player.
I grudgingly gave him grace when he arrived at Stamford Bridge, mainly because he said he was a Chelsea fan as a child and had a Bonetti shirt. I’m not convinced.
I suppose I will always fondly remember the Liverpool and Vicenza performances.
But, and it's a f*cking enormous one...when he put out that team of thugs at Ewood Park in February 2005, specifically to maim our players with a series of assaults, and eventually succeeded with Robben, I lost all respect for him.
He's an arrogant, talentless cock who has failed miserably everywhere he has managed…Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR.
The snide broke all the rules to try and sign John Terry in an attempt to save his job at Manchester City.
He failed to qualify for a World Cup or European Championship during his five years in charge of Wales.
Remember his pathetic indignation when Chelsea had the temerity to dish it back to Stoke last season ?
It's my birthday tomorrow, and my ideal present would be a Chelsea victory so gloriously magnificent over his horrible pub team that the prick gets sacked.
Happily for TCW - "Sterk" had won one single game away from home all season. They had defensive personnel woes, including not being able to field Kurt Zouma against us, not to mention Hughes's team selection was batsh*t crazy, leaving the likes of Shaqiri and Allen on the bench.
We were gunning for our eighth consecutive home win. What could possibly go wrong on his birthday? I'll tell you what. Today's referee? Kevin Not-My-Friend.
Thanks to the tossers at TfL, there are still no tubes running in the direction of Stamford Bridge and so the ground looked half empty in the run up to kick off. I'm not convinced that anyone actually knows what day it is in this week before Christmas and New Year, so I wouldn't be surprised if a few hundred people woke up tomorrow and realised they'd missed the game too, but shortly before 3pm the seats finally filled up for kick-off.
Those who struggled to SW6 today will be glad they did. We had opportunities in the opening minute and it quickly transpired that not even on his worst day could Kevin Friend save these jobbers from annihilation. After two and half minutes we were ahead. A Willian free kick came in high from the touchline. Out of five Sterk players in the six yard box, four of them didn’t even bother to leave the ground to try and intercept the ball and the last did this pathetic little skip thing that gave him about six inches of added height but took him away from Rudiger, who soared into the air completely unmolested and headed it home. What a Christmas present from the meatheads for him. Shambolic defending and Butland (Butlins, according to auto-spell, I like this) just pranced a yard off his line and made no attempt to come for the ball in the six-yard box. Chumps.
Within a few minutes he was left on his line opening and closing his mouth like a guppy. To be fair, I don't think any keeper would have seen this coming. Pesto. (I can’t help but refer to him as this in conversation now, which makes people look at me like I’m a moron) The ball he played wasn’t great - he had a meathead coming at him to intercept. But on the outside of the box Tenacious Double D controlled it once, then like a cheeky f*cker hit it with the outside of his foot to score a stunning debut goal for the Blues, Butlins (why not, it makes me laugh) could do nothing but watch it sail past him into the top right hand corner. I’m a little bit in love with the new boy.
We’d had 75% possession in the opening ten minutes, were 2-0 up and the opposition had been frankly embarrassing. This was the worst possible scenario for them. To be two behind so early on and left to come out for 80 plus minutes to try and salvage the game. Were they even capable of this? Their better attacking players were on the bench, inexplicably. Charlie Adam? Are you sh*tting me? I did fashion at school and they taught us that vertical stripes were slimming. Nope. He can barely kick a ball without falling on his fat a*se. The only reason he exists in football is as some form of equal opportunities employee who makes slightly wide middle aged men in the stands continue to buy into the fantasy that one day they too might be professional footballers. Who did they have on the bench by way of firepower to bring on? Crouuuuuuch. (You have to say it really low and basically like you are belching to get the right effect) Does the circus know you’re here? That’s right, a big top runaway who is almost as bad now at football as he is at writing his football column for the Daily Fail, where his admittedly admirable sense of humour is lost in print and he just sounds like a complete f*cktard. Still, who gives a sh*t. It had been ages since we trounced someone by an Ancelotti-like scoreline. We wanted more. Even if many of us were too fat, drunk, traumatised by the journey to the Bridge or plain exhausted after Christmas to articulate this properly.
I lost count of how many we could have scored. We nicknamed Rudi “Antonio Iniesta,” this lot made him look so good he ventured up the field. He was sublime. Morata was allowed to run the whole length of their half without anybody bothering to try and intercept him, until Butlins blocked his shot. Their fans were giving it large. What else could they do? They must be longing for the days of Real Pulis. All those epic 0-0s where they cheered like they won the Champions League. At home. They put up a far better showing than their hapless players. On 22 minutes Willian, while three meatheads ran about him like headless chickens, their minds blown when he changed direction with the ball, stroked it across the outside of the eighteen yard box to Pesto. More meatheads stood oblivious as he stopped the ball, and touched it on. I’m pretty sure he would have had time to smoke a fag before hitting it past Butlins, he had that much time while they just stared at him bewildered. It seemed to happen in slow motion. Poor Butlins. If he didn’t have such a hilarious bunch of no-hopers in front of him, he might rival Pickford for England. As it is; hung, out, to, dry. By the half hour mark the possession had come up, with Sterk confounding rapidly diminishing expectations and actually stringing some passes together, but they had done literally nothing with it. No shot on or off target. The only anxious person in blue at Stamford Bridge was Morata, who clearly understood that for him not to score in this game would be a tad unacceptable.
Sacked in the morning? Hardly anyone sang it. Frankly at this point it looked like it would be a miracle if Sparky had a job by half past five. I could see TCW’s grin from the other end of the ground. They had a goal chalked off just before half time. Because the only way they could put it in the net was with a hand. The heat map of our box didn't even show a freezing cold little blue blob where someone fell over. It was an abyss. It was as void as Chequebook Pulis's bowels at full time yesterday. Courtois spent half time warming up because he had done so little. Which left his seat free in the dressing room for Butlins to sit on it and beg Conte to sign him. If you’d have lined up van Gerwyn, Barney and Phil Taylor in front of him he would have had more protection than I witness from Stoke’s makeshift defence in the opening 45 minutes. Shower of sh*t is about the nicest thing I could say about the away side. The match had resembled that scene in Game of Thrones where The Mountain dispensed with Oberon Martell. (Don’t google if you have a weak stomach)
3-0. Scoreline of death. Where multiple goal bets go to die on your accumulators. We didn’t need to try, and Sterk knew they had no hope of getting back into the game. Damage limitation. The fact that the away fans stayed in the stand drinking piss water (Singha beer) well after the play resumed said it all.
Berahino had their only shot of the afternoon shortly after play resumed, when he inexplicably managed to turn Gary Cahill, but Courtois made an easy save. The rest of the chances we ours. A right foot shot from Moses was always curling away from the far post, Morata missed another one on one, because he has a habit of hitting them straight at the keeper. Willian could have had more than one. Pesto, basically got away with loitering on the edge of the box and taking potshots at them all afternoon from range completely unmarked.
Just when you thought Sterk’s afternoon couldn’t have got any worse, they managed to bring Willian down in the box seemingly AFTER they had taken the ball off him. Sigh. After that momentary pause where you wondered if Friend would have the audacity to book him for diving (wouldn’t be the first time) we were awarded the penalty. Morata had gone off, Batman wanted it, but Willy deservedly claimed it for himself. Butland didn’t even dive, he just sort of crumpled to the ground, hoping it would swallow him up and end this nightmare. 4-0.
Refwatch: The only decision he really had to make was the penalty. Because Sterk were rarely close enough to try and foul us. Not even Kevin could have fucking this up, though he managed to book Pesto for diving just to maintain his cockwomble status. He had no help from his lino in front of the West Stand, who never did anything with his flag until after Friend had already made a decision. Which led us to discussing what the job requirements must be?
“Wanted - football linesmen - must be incapable of making a decision without deferring to somebody else, must enjoy taking dog’s abuse and must be willing to skip sideways for long periods of time. No education requirements.”
4-0 wakes everybody on the winning side up again. I don’t know why, but it does. Maybe it’s because you can smell a tanking. You had to feel for the two lonely photographers left down the Shed End in the second half to anticipate a Sterk goal. I’m pretty sure I heard one of them snoring. I’d forgotten Charlie Adam was even on the pitch until he tried to flatten Willian on 79 minutes. Then he went off. Moving faster than we had seen all afternoon. Never underestimate the motivation when he has a ten minute headstart on the dressing room fridge. Finally on 87 minutes a sh*t header from a meathead fell onto the foot of substitute Zappacosta who did Butlins on his near post to make all of TCW's birthday wishes come true. 5-0. Two minutes added? That’s the pity injury time. Where it should be five but the whole world feels so sorry for you being continually bent over that the officials just decide to put you out of your misery.
So: Hughes got exactly what what he deserved for that team he picked, even allowing for missing personnel. I’ve not seen such an enjoyably pathetic performance at the Bridge from an away side since we trounced CP 4-0. Sterk were that bad, that during the game and in The Cock afterwards we managed to utilise the entire alphabet in coming up with words that described just how terrible they were today:
Quagmire (well done Cookie)
Void of ideas
xecrable (You don’t need the E really)
“You've had your day out now f*ck off home” (Top points from Mowgli)
Zappacosta even scored
One of our number pointed out a stat (I’m too drunk to bother checking it) that people complain that young British managers don’t get enough of a chance in the Premier League. Fat Sam, Hughes, Real Pulis and Pardew (who I don’t mind so much) have apparently had 28 premier league jobs between them, all of which they have failed miserably at. So if others are not getting a chance it's because the same cycle of sh*te keeps going around and around. About time they got f*cked off then in favour of some new blood then isn’t it?
Anyway, screw them. Sterk may have been terrible, but we worked hard today. Willian led the way, and was at his absolute best, running everything down, shrugging off multiple meatheads and pulling all of the strings going forward. Two assists and a goal was the least of what he deserved, along with a fair bit of contrition from the nappy sh*tters who so love getting on his case. Where’s the one that called him a cancer on Chelsea? Rudiger too proved why it will be very difficult to leave him out as he continues to find his feet. The only disappointment today for me was Morata squandering more chances. You could see it on his face every time he missed, but this was just the kind of performance we wanted before a trip to the Emirates midweek, and done with giving key players a rest too. Before that though, in the words of Eddie Murphy, Merry New Year. Second in the table, through to the knockout stages of the CL, still in the Coca-Cola cup even, means that even the most rabid of nappy sh*tters should be able to enjoy it. At least a little bit.
*Picture of celebratory TDD comes from Chelsea's official site.
Chelsea 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Boxing Day, 2017 15:00
Your trip to London is hardly breaching Wildling territory is it?
In the News: Nothing really since Saturday, aside from the output of some sad f*cker at the Daily Fail who had to spend Christmas Day trawling social media accounts of semi-illiterate footballers with more money than sense (or seemingly taste in decor) and talking about it. Oh but the Valencia manager had to visit hospital after "his car collided with a wild boar." This was interesting wording, because it implies some sort of face off situation between pig and machine in which the car made a conscious decision to take it out and the driver took no active part. At least dinner yesterday was taken care of. My Christmas news: my crapped out laptop failed to add half my shopping to the Waitrose order, which left Mowgli (special alias) in a monster truck trawling Surrey in search of roast potatoes on Christmas morning. And Bertie the kitten approves of turkey and gravy. I don't approve so much of the kitty wind that followed all night long as a result.
The Others: Southampton were evidently still p*ssed from yesterday. Harry F*cking Kane has broken some record. Yawn. Does it come with a trophy? No, didn't think so. I'm reliably informed he is still hiding under a bench in the home dressing room, in a puddle of his drool, crying and claiming he didn't touch it, let alone break it, and that it wasn't his fault. Watford came from behind to beat Leicester, the spirit of Real Pulis lives on at West Brom, with Fat Sam's input where the scoreline was 0-0. There were score draws for Huddersfield and Stoke, Bournemouth and West Ham. United had to rely on Lingard (desperate times) to dig them out of the sh*t against Burnley, and they managed it with seconds to spare.
Us: No Christensen. Sick apparently. Yes, sick and tired of watching us miss all of our attempts on goal.
Them: I recognised Tim Krul and Boycie, (sitcom alias) says the only thing he knows about them is that he and Marlene saw Rod Stewart at their Stadium.
Prepare yourself for a hungover stream of consciousness. The drinking started at 11 yesterday morning with Tanquaray Rangpur and elderflower tonic after I realised that I had offered to cook the dinner, and ended about fourteen hours later with Unicorn Tears. My first note reads: "Pregnant Morata had a good chance on 4 minutes from a narrow angle, straight after a wide shit from Hazard." That's how difficult this was to write today.
After five minutes I was hoping we'd be beginning to build a bit of momentum. Nope. It was a pretty even contest. It took us 15 minutes to win a corner, which tells you how dynamic our play was. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about.
Rudi headed it on to Bakayoko who poked it wide on 18 minutes and things looked like they might be looking up, but the time wasting had already begun with their goalkeeper. I've seen coastlines erode faster than Mat Ryan moves. He makes Phil Jagielka look like a whippet. They were good in the air at the back and disciplined in the box but I think if we'd actually been applying any decent pressure we could have cracked them. Their fans were buoyant, hysterical even; their answer for everything was to call everyone a w*nker - like five year olds that have just discovered a naughty word and want to use it for everything. One point of hilarity was the singing of "you're not fit to referee" because they'd had one (correct) decision against them that they didn't like. After twenty minutes.
On the pitch we just hadn't been good enough, with another chance squandered by Bakayoko. He's getting into the right positions, but his finishing needs work. We really needed to take this by the scruff of the neck. Moses could have had the opening goal when he rose to hit it home, but it was an instinctive block from Ryan. You can see why they hardly score, as they'd had but one lonely shot off target in the opening half an hour. Eden went down - because he's a wanker - apparently, winning us a free kick in prime territory, but Cesc's set piece was a tame, floaty effort somewhere in between a shot and a cross. Moments later he had another opportunity when he tried to get on the end of a fine chip, but it was too high for the Spaniard.
The fans were pleading: "Come on Chelsea." The away support were shouting ole every time they passed the ball to each other in their own halves. I'd resorted to stuffing Malteser reindeer heads in my mouth to stay awake. I'd rather have been watching Chequebook Pulis suffer at that precise moment, as word was spreading through the Shed that United were two behind at home. As half time approached, Cesc sent a stinging shot into the hands of Mat Ryan, Rudiger put an effort just wide shortly afterwards. I was getting frustrated and so typed this: I'm going to put this out there. I wish Morata was as committed during football matches as he is to producing content on social media. I don't give a f*ck about seeing a picture of what you and your wife had for breakfast, As a paying fan I just want to see you score some goals. And not fall over.
At half time self, Boycie and Marlene indulged like Gooners on Champagne truffles and prayed that things would get better after the break. Pretend Klopp (special alias) sent me a text saying "order the bloody Uber now and end my pain" Hopefully they'd had an angry Italian boot up the arse in the dressing room.
It appeared so. Joy of joys, along came Morata as soon as the game resumed. Well more accurately along came his saviour, Dave crossed his usual perfect ball onto his mate's head. Don't celebrate. For f*ck sake, don't celebrate. We've only got one song, apparently. Er, right. Hazard punted one wide just two minutes later. Praise baby Jesus we will see some pace about this game from them now they are behind. Indeed they had their one and only shot on target on 53 minutes, though it rolled harmlessly into Thibaut's arms. At the other end George Michael (He gets to be George again today if he sings Last Christmas) struck one of his spectacular free kicks, but it was palmed away by Ryan from the top corner. Brighton were taking a pasting now - because we'd finally begun to turn the screw. A blinding cross by Hazard didn't quite find Morata's head, before Fabregas turned a cross into the box where it found George Michael's instead. In it went to double the lead. Thank God for that. This was more like it. Someone fondled my bobble for luck at half time and it worked. I want the assist. Smoke was coming off the back of Hazard's heels now, we were toying with them like Bertie toyed with cast off wrapping paper and decorative bells on Christmas morning, chances were flying in, but normal service had resumed and we began squandering all our attempts on goal. I had 3.5 goals in our game as the last thing to come in on my accumulator, so spent much of the remainder of the game shouting things like: "You're all rich enough already you gits, put it in the bloody net."
Brighton showing little motivation to get back in it, aside from the occasional foray over the halfway line. I don't think that there was any belief they would get back on terms. Their fans had fun telling Courtois he was sh*t the whole half. There's comedy in that.
Mat Ryan didn't get the memo. He was still time-wasting. He's got a more laborious turning circle than the Queen Mary 2.
Willian replaced Eden, Morata went off for Michy having had a much better half, which made me feel guilty for stropping at him before the break. Only ten odd minutes for Batman to do something, but come on mate. You'll rarely be up against a team so bereft of interest as Brighton were by this point. With his first touch he held the ball up and won a corner. This was a good start. A brutal shot by Kante on 84 flew just wide, before he went off for Tenacious Double D after another exemplary game. With the game won, everyone wanted to resume their festive celebrations. With two minutes to go people were doing impressions of the final whistle. The stadium was emptying out as people prepared for a miserable journey home in pouring rain, as nobody bothered to marry the fixture list with Christmas transport closures. Again. Merry Christmas TfL, you twats. No tube, no trains, Uber didn't know what hit them come the final whistle. But three points safe, hurrah.
Refwatch: Mike Dean - a w*nker too apparently - a very solid performance, really liked the way he didn't interfere with the crunching 50-50s. I can think of nothing negative to say about him, which is probably the first and last time this will ever happen on this blog.
So: We did enough, but not a lot more. Nine shots on target two goals - these conversion stats have got to come up in the new year when we get into the business end of the season. Otherwise we will achieve precisely nothing. We appear to have fixed our atrocious starts to matches, but this needs addressing urgently for games when our chances will be limited much more by better teams. Am I the only one that feels like we are in limbo? With a mercurial manager that probably has one eye on the exit door, so that whatever we do achieve is a temporary effort before we go back to the drawing board again in the summer? Then he does charming things like get the champagne out at the press conference. Still, it could be worse, we could be lumbered with Chequebook Pulis, a managerial has-been who is as mad as a box of frogs. "When you speak about responsibilities to win the Premier League, T*ttenham don't have that responsibility because they do not have the same history as us. Arsenal and Chelsea don't have the responsibility to win it." Oh do f*ck off. Along with the sh*tc**t on twitter who referred to Willian as a "cancer" in our club. Stoke on Saturday, then I think the District Line still isn't running. Hurrah.
For those who took part in my collection for children living in a safe house who have been victims of domestic violence; here is an update:
Thanks to 80 odd donors from all over the world, we raised £3.5k for women and children at a safe house in a CFC appropriate area who have been victims of domestic violence. Most were part of the Chelsea family but the contributors included generous souls who support Arsenal, Newcastle and others, not to mention those who aren't even interested in football. I have been astounded by the response to a cause for which necessarily, you don't get to see what happens to your money. In particular the chaps at Manor Lodge #8296 through the lovely Steve Gurr and Ryan Smith made a large donation at their Christmas party and under the organisation of determined Blue Mandy Franks the 8th Holborn Beavers made decorations for the home, collected clothes and toys (as did Emma Freeman) and donated a 32" TV, Nintendo Wii and games for the communal room. This was particularly timely as both of their TVs had died of old age. As you are aware none of the childrens' requests were demanding. They asked for dressing up clothes, science toys, dolls, art supplies, cars, Lego and most heartbreakingly for me as a writer, they wanted books to fuel their passion for reading. We managed to take care of every request we received, including for a last minute arrival, a beautiful little boy I met when we visited who will be two in January. He almost (almost, not quite) made me broody. In the end we provided five packages for each child, though many contained multiple components. Importantly, we provided educational/engagement toys for toddlers at a crucial stage of their development. We also received donations from Body Shop, Debenhams, The Perfume Shop, the Fragrance Shop and Molton Brown for the mum's which we put into gift packs. We were able to make another gift for each lady in the home through generous donations from Jan Gurr and my trek mummy, the beautiful Mary Ross went out to Lush and bought a gift box for each woman.
When the money we raised took on a level I never expected we asked the home if we could render any practical assistance beyond Christmas. We were told about a woman who has lived there for an astonishing three years with her three children while the Home Office make an absolute meal of her case. I was fortunate enough to meet her on Thursday, she is an absolutely lovely young woman, and the children are beautiful, impeccably behaved and a credit to her. They were lacking in winter clothes and other important items so we have given her a substantial sum in M&S and Next vouchers to take them shopping and make sure they have clothes. Her eldest, I'm told, will love this outing with his mum, as he is quite fashion conscious! Given the length of time they have been accommodated in extremely cramped, difficult circumstances, we will also, on the recommendation of the childrens' development officer, be sending them on a short family holiday here in the U.K. to spend some time away from the home. You are all absolutely amazing, and together we've done something really special for children who have had the cards stacked against them through no fault of their own. Special thanks are also due to Chelsea Cherokeez, Bertie the kitten for hours spend inspecting the wrapping quality of Louise Churchill, who wrapped all 80 odd gifts in her own time, Michelle Brand, who took on the Build a Bear workshop and saved me from a fate worse than being a Sp*rs fan. My brother put in a hard shift on delivery morning and our Uber driver remained on his own time to help load everything into a side office without the kids seeing. We will receive a letter about today from the home in the new year, but for obvious reasons we won't be able to see them enjoying their presents. Here's hoping that our efforts help them believe in Santa for another year, and I'm so proud that we've managed to make a lasting impact on a young family desperately in need of a little kindness. Thank you all. Merry Christmas, you make me proud to be Chelsea. KTBFFH
*Photo of brilliantly ecstatic Rudiger comes from Chelsea's official website
Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Saturday 23rd December 12:30.
Yes, nothing says festive cheer on the part of the FA the day before Christmas Eve more than sending people FOR A 12:30 KICK OFF IN THE LAND OF SCOUSE.
In the News: St. Pep is under investigation by the Spanish police. So perhaps he isn’t entirely coated in teflon. Fraud, obviously, considering he buys success wherever he rocks up, but apparently it’s to do with his participation in the movement for Catalan independence. Imagine my surprise though. Nobody in the 30 man brawl between the two Manchester clubs will face any sanctions from the FA. And yet Morata is suspended for having the cheek to celebrate scoring a goal in a manner that players have celebrated scoring goals for decades. Scolari reckons Anelka got him sacked at Chelsea because he wouldn’t play on the wing. I’ve tried to block out most of his tenure, but it occasionally rears its head in the form of ugly flashbacks and I’m pretty sure that Anelka was the least of the many reasons that that bellend got shuffled off in the end. The main one being that he transpired to be sh*t at his job. Our Carabao Cup semi-final is going to feature VAR, which is great, until the FA come up with the wisdom of having Marriner referee the game and a knob like Moss at the screen, which means there will be two wankers in charge instead of one. I can see this being a nightmare.
United; remember that club managed by that bloke who says he doesn’t do drama. They have conducted their own “research” to “prove” that they are more hard done by than everyone else according to the fixture list. Tell that to our fans this morning. Tell that to all the Scousers for whom there were no trains to get them back to the ghetto last night. (Oh how I laughed, till I realised they’d probably stay in London) Also, speaking of a lack of melodrama, staff had to be sent to Pogba’s house to get him out of bed this week, which is in no way circus-like and ridiculous. And after the fog fiasco before their cup defeat, they did their 15 minute, environmental conscientious flight to Leicester with just the 28 hours to spare.
People who have had too much to drink already over Christmas include Rooney, clearly, Crouch, who says that Bristol City are going to win the Carabao Cup. And Ryan Giggs reckons he told United to buy Mbappe AND Jesus for £5m. They didn’t listen. Just ask his brother why nobody trusts his judgement. And transfer b*llocks from the latter part of this week: Allardyce says that in addition to players being expensive to buy there is not enough talent worldwide. Yes, Fat Sam finds a whole new level to which to escalate his self-important, know-all arrogance by making a sweeping declaration about the entire footballing planet. One that is ridiculous and that he didn’t bother to try and clarify in any way at all with, you know, facts and stuff. Sanchez had apparently shaken hands on a new deal at Arsenal, but the 10-2 defeat by Bayern made him change his mind. No sh*t. Courtois is apparently set to become the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, Kenedy is off to Newcastle, Conte continues his pleas for January signings with subtlety and finesse to rival Trump’s twitter account and Manchester City care so little about spending money, that they’ve started signing professional FIFA players. Baby Jesus wept. As did the shepherds, the wise men and four-legged thing in the stable.
The Others: Football almost every day over Christmas begins. F*ck all those countries lauding their winter breaks, they don’t know what they’re missing. Friday night in North London proved satisfying because I predicted a goalfest with my bet, through Ozil skidding about like four minutes of work in two years give him the right to a f*cking knee slide provoke a wry smile. Arsenal and the Scouse, giving you a primetime example of why they aren’t going to win anything of note this season. It wouldn’t be Arsenal without some fan f*ckwittery, either. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the fan eating his way through a bag of carrots live on Sky. My favourite moment of the night? James Milner: “We’ve got to become more boring.” Coming from the most boring man on the planet. Or, of course, you could just sell Mignolet.
Paul Clement has been sacked, as if Swansea are going to be any less woeful with anyone else in charge. They drew with Palace, Southampton drew with Huddersfield and Brighton scored a goal for the first time in three years, or whatever. Newcastle won at West Ham. When we couldn’t. F*ck sake, and City took advantage of playing another team battling relegation to take three points. Why does it feel like these are the only teams they play? Sp*rs won. Rubbish. Jermaine Penis and Slippy G have been putting forth arguments as to why it’s ok for the Diving Little Sh*tbag to dive. The fact that you both did it is not a valid reason. One of you was an awful footballer and the other is a Scouser, so nobody thinks you’ve got any moral integrity anyway.
I’ve had my first Christmas present - Chequebook Pulis looking like his head was going to explode at the King Power Stadium. Sadly they made a comeback. Observations from tonight? Lindelhof is the worst tackler I’ve since seen. He’s like a bull in a china shop, wearing a blindfold, armed with a flamethrower and a sub machine gun. On roller skates. And watching Wes Morgan trying to defend is like watching two halves of a panto horse pulling in different directions.
Them: Allardyce changed his back four which had served him so well, bringing in more experience, but Phil “The Milk Float” Jagielka against our forwards? That made me hopeful. Rooney taken “ill” in the last 24 hours apparently - blatant hangover.
Us: Only three starters from the Bournemouth game survived and we went into this having lost only one of our last ten, although we managed that in spectacularly bad style. Rudiger in for Cahill. Willian, Hazard and Pesto (f*ck off autospell) play up front after Morata’s ridiculous suspension. Conte has has played these jobbers four times so far and is 12-1 up on aggregate. Easy. Right?
I’ve come to associate the sound of the Z Cars theme tune with anticipation of much boredom, refereeing skulduggery, because we always seem to get screwed up there and a huge feeling of under-accomplishment in recent years. And now Fat Sam has arrived with sh*t on a stick football. No wonder the place was swathed in depressing fog. Still, silver lining and all that, 48 hours before the big day, a chance to since Feed the Scousers.
The perilous early kick off. Again. Please don’t f*ck up the first quarter of an hour. Going behind this grotesque numpty will equal a shocking afternoon. We had a very early half chance with a cross from Moses and a shot into the side netting from Alonso. Good news, we appeared to have turned up on time. This is a measure of satisfaction for me at the moment, not shooting ourselves in the foot like idiots before the game has properly got started. In fact we had 80% possession in the opening fifteen minutes, steadily trying to build a way through while Everton utilised a back six at times. The 20th minute found Alonso and Willy standing over a free kick just outside the box. Oh the anticipation. Willian did the right thing, tried to curl it round the wall, but it was high. Then they started trying to push out a bit more, but they were having to work hard. They’d picked up two bookings just in the early spell too, which left their fans living up to their crown of the moaniest supporters in the league after the latest one, booing and giving out an aggressive rendition of their one song, which is comprised of one word. So far Jagielka, who looked completely shagged out after half an hour has only bested one of our forwards if he has stood still and let them run offside, but although we’d had a few attempts, nothing of particularly exciting note had transpired at either end.
It was 8 degrees in the land of Scouse. This is not gloves weather. In Newcastle that’s time for BBQs and budgie smugglers. No Moses, just, no. In fact. YOU WERE WEARING A T-SHIRT! I like you, but this has got to stop. On 34 minutes, a player with more sartorial self respect (Bakayoko) surged forward, cut it left to Pesto who smashed it goalward, but it was tipped over skilfully by the Everton keeper. Mignolet might want to study that video, as that bloke used one hand and managed it instead of waving two “lettuce hands” (great insult) at it like a fool. Two minutes later the home side managed some sustained and slightly scary buildup but it was broken up by Willian, of all people, so it can’t have been that terrifying. They could have nicked a lead after a rare, rare loss of possession by Christensen right at the end of the half, but Everton couldn’t get their sh*t together in the box. And of all people, who has kept us out at the other end? That’s right, Jagielka getting in the way of Bakayoko who had wound his way into another Lampard-like position, but hit it with little conviction. Typical.
Another defender on for Everton at half time and a striker too. No changes for Chelsea. We know we don’t like draws, and we certainly don’t do 0-0, so brace yourselves. Within in a couple of minutes Pesto and Alonso could have put us ahead. Everton started to look better going forward, but inside four minutes Allardyce was forced into his final change, vastly impairing his time-wasting ability for later on. We were not under threat, really, but the midfield was now cluttered and there was no flow to the football, or any space to let fly with any creativity. Probably exactly what Allardyce, who looked even more embarrassing than usual with a stupid earpiece on, was going for. Just before the hour Hazard was scythed down by Keane and looked to be in some distress. He likes a lie down every now and again, but this looked like it hurt. Thankfully he seemed to run it off. If he was trying to get the next week off he should have gone at it napalm style like Charlie Austin today and attempted to decapitate an opponent and get a straight red before limping off convincingly as Plan B.
Time for changes, as they had wormed their way back at least into possession since the break, even if there was not real threat of an end result. Cesc came on for Pesto on the hour and suddenly we were pressing. Hazard forced a save when he put in a low drive to the right hand corner, but still we were in their box, pouring forward. Six on target from us, none from them. Back and back they went. Carragher wouldn’t have accused them of being so far back they were Stanley Park today, they were halfway down the M6 at this stage.
On 70 minutes Willian made way for Michy, who really could have done with one of his super-sub goals. Five minutes later Moses put in a cross and Ashley Williams deflected it onto his own crossbar and that was the closest we had been to a goal. Rudiger, who had an excellent game today, turned one goalward but it went straight into Pickford’s hands too. The closest they came all afternoon to a shot on target was Calvert-Lewin getting into the box, but he somehow ended up with his back to goal and then he fell flat on his face and tried to make out he had been fouled. Hazard tried smashing it into the six yard box on 81, in the hope that we would get lucky but nope, then Bakayoko tried an overhead kick and well, let’s not talk about that. Fabregas had a shot deflected. Is this sounding familiar? All these chances - 33 in total today, and no end result. It was starting to feel like the jammy gits had at least weathered the storm when on 86 another deflection flew directly into Pickford’s hands. Grr. They had freely given up possession all afternoon, and still not mustered a proper shot, but we’re Chelsea, so I wasn’t ruling them out from haplessly orchestrating a smash and grab either. Four minutes added on. The chance to win it for Everton came to Keane, who put it over the bar. Then they were off again on 91. This Sandro striker of theirs had been dogsh*t. If he could hold the ball up, pass or shoot, they might have beaten us today.
Refwatch: Madley, his Christmas nickname can be Pudding. It might be exhaustion, or it might be a random outpouring of holiday spirit, but he wasn’t that bad today. Maybe he was festively drunk. Needs to pull his shorts up though. In serious danger of an arse crack explosion and I don’t need that sh*t in my life.
So: All the luck was with them today, but had we been sharper I don’t think they would have been able to stop us. We weren’t. I think we deserved more than a point, but it is our own fault we didn’t get it. This match always threatened to be a banana skin, and in truth I’m never that disappointed with us coming away from that dump with a point. Not clinical enough again and it transpired to be nothing more or less than I expected from a visit to them, namely:
12 Squandered Chances
11 Murdered Packs of Chewing Gum
10 Scousers Defending
9 Hours of Travelling
8 Shots on Target
7 Corners Wasted
6 More Hints About Transfers From Conte
5 Chins on Fat Sam
4 Still AWOL Xmas Cards
3 Gin and Tonics
2 More Dropped Points
And an Unnecessary Pair of F*cking Gloves
Merry Christmas one and all, till Boxing Day.
*Picture of what it does to you when you have to spend a day in the land of Scouse comes from Chelsea' official website
Chelsea 2 AFC Bournemouth 1
Carabao Cup Quarter Final
Wednesday 20th December 2017 19:45
In the News: Chequebook Pulis says he never makes a circus out of winning. The absolute ringleader of making a circus out of everything down to having a fart on the bench, claims that he is not a drama queen. Dog over fence. Laundry basket. Even today United thought they would be clever and fly down to Bristol at the last minute. They ended up diverted to Cardiff on account of fog. You can submit your favourite elaborate CP melodrama below to further mock his statement.
The Daily Fail thinks that Lukaku painting his Rolls Royce in United colours is worthy of a whole article, while JT says he thinks Conte is here to stay, which tells you above everything else that JT still wants a job at Chelsea because he's towing the party line, and that he'll be home soon, wherever Conte is. Mikel, who joined the shameless exodus to China without a flicker of remorse has drawn the line at suggestion of playing for Allardyce at Everton with as much disgust as if he had just watched someone curl one out on the street in front of him. Never, he says. Transfer madness continues. Rafa is planning to swoop for Luiz in January. Unless he's swooping in a Chinook with a Velcro net to grab him by the hair I suspect he will come up short. If you were impressed by how often Alonso manages to find the goal from set pieces, check out the video online that shows him finding a basketball net. And Andreas Christensen's accuracy stats are now so good that even Roger Federer, who gets his wife pregnant with twins every five minutes is starting to get jealous. Did you think you'd see him getting the night off for cup games this soon? No, me neither. 'Tis the season to be petty. Barcelona will refuse to give Real a guard of honour after their victory in the World Club Cup and the FA have been churlish enough to fine Wimbledon for refusing to refer to Milton Keynes as "Dons" during their visit in September. 'Tis seemingly also the season to get completely sh*tfaced before rolling up to do a press conference. Klopp is insisting that Oxlade-Chamberlain is "unbelievable." Unbelievably overrated, maybe. And finally 'tis the season to be massive hypocrites. United are bitching about how much Sevilla are having the audacity to charge them for Champions League tickets. I will remember sitting in the Gods at Old Trafford against them for the equivalent cost of several premium bottles of gin.
The Others: At least there was some scope for St. Pep the Overrated to sh*t his pants for half an hour last night before his side finally put Leicester out. Arsenal dispensed with West Ham and Chequebook Pulis made ten changes. The Wimbledon bound tube cackled with glee when news of the shock result came through from the West Country. I wonder whose fault it will be? I'm going to predict "the fog." But who cares? Bristol City have set light to the big top and United have crashed out of the competition. Hurrah. I wonder if Eden will think twice about his £90m move to Old Trafford now, to play for a manager he clearly couldn't stand by the time he was fired, and whom he still takes every opportunity to dig at in the press he can find.
Our Game: The press have been scrooging the sh*t out of this competition this week, so just because they p*ss me off I'm going to write it up as if it was the most exciting match Stamford Bridge has ever seen. I've gauged whether I think I've hit them mark by imagining each paragraph read out by Jonathan Kydd on the Fancast in dramatic tones. He can record it for me as my Christmas present.
At 19:43 the lights went down. The heartbeat came over the tannoy system, images flashed up on the screens and the lights pulsed. The flag wafted across the Matthew Harding Lower at a drunken angle, and so beganeth the dramatic opening strains of The Liquidator. Eight changes for us, seven for them, which means that come tomorrow we will be harangued as the enemies of football for not showing the Carabao Cup or our opponents enough respect. In keeping with our panto villain status in the world of football, we got out first yellow card after less than two minutes. Ampadu, the teenage sensation leaving scorch marks on the pitch, who has modelled his hair on Chuckie from Rugrats, had tried to decapitate Defoe. Youngest player ever booked in a Chelsea shirt apparently. He is about the first Chelsea player that I have watched and thought, biologically I could almost be his f*cking mother. I'm definitely going to need a gin when I get home.
Bournemouth rampaged to life, throwing themselves into action like Bruce Willis swinging off the side of Nakatomi Plaza wielding an automatic weapon. (Yes it's time for Christmas film references) They burst towards the goal on five minutes, some bloke in black and red swung his leg back, he connected with the ball and thankfully for us all he leathered it wide. Their fans were buoyant too, and although I shook my fist at them, it's hard to hate a set of visitors who insult you by singing "Is this the Emirates?"
We began to settle down, third game in a row now where we haven't been laughable for the opening spell of the game. It was an even contest, players clad in red and blue weaving in out of each other backlit by brilliant green, their shadows cast long by the floodlights. Within a quarter of an hour Chelsea were ahead, pouncing opportunistically. A sweeping back heel from Kenedy, (He's not getting anything but coal from Santa this week, especially if Santa is Chinese) our hearts were in our mouths as it fell to Cesc's feet, but instead of shooting at a narrow angle he unselfishly sent it out to Willian who thumped it into the net.
Soon afterwards Defoe scuttled off. He'd been well and truly Ampadued, which is going to be a thing, I can tell. Ethan was Godzilla, Jermaine was Japan. We could have had a second. Pesto (Merry Christmas autospell) sent it through to Zappacosta, a cunning ball; as cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University. The ball fell to Michy, who promptly air kicked it from three yards out. Then Pesto was on it again, leaping on to a loose ball. The shot from Michy was blocked, cannoning back out to Zappacosta, who sent it back in and the final clearance fell to Captain Cahill, who rose to the air like a salmon, poised to volley the ball. In slow motion he hit it, and the crowd groaned as it sailed just over the bar. Bournemouth had had 40% of the possession, but had fashioned very little that felt like it was going to give us a nightmare before Christmas. (titter) When they looked to threaten, our makeshift side proved adept at tenaciously winning the ball back. On 36 minutes the ball looked to be stuck to Zappacosta's foot as he weaved his way into the box. In it came to Michy, who had his back to goal. He paused, he dragged it back, he turned, and face planted the defender and ended up on the floor. It was looking like tonight might be another missed opportunity for Chelsea's forgotten equivalent of Macauley Culkin in Home Alone, where his mother didn’t care enough to check that he was even on the plane before she left the continent. Kenedy rampaged through the entire Bournemouth right side shortly afterwards, but then smacked it fifteen yards wide, so it was with a one goal lead that the Blues trudged off the field at half time.
Bournemouth began the second half like Rocky Balboa slugging his way through fifteen rounds against Ivan Drago. (The bout takes place on Christmas Day, which means it’s a Christmas film, just) Like phoenixeses (whatever the plural is) rising from the ashes they pressed, narrowly missing out thanks to spritely leaps from Caballero; then Kenedy ended up crumpled in a heap after one attempt, and Cahill had to use his face to clear another. The atmosphere had been building; and now we had a raucous blend of typical championship songs from Bournemouth and a chorus of “Stand up if you hate T*ttenham.” F*ck T*ttenham.
Fabregas was clearing corners. What is this madness!? It was almost as implausible as the plot for Home Alone 2! Surely this woman has learned to count her damn kids by now? Bournemouth have had their fun, I’d like the little big gun now please. Sure enough as Zappacosta writhed in agony like a sticky bandit who has been smacked in the face with a can of paint, there was my favourite sight of all. Eden Hazard seductively (well in my brain anyway) removing items of clothing. On he came, bouncing into the action closely followed by Bakayoko. Take that b*tches. I hope. Although of course I anticipated watching him get kicked up and down like a Gremlin by the opposition and the referee doing absolutely nothing. Which is largely what happened at first. Refwatch: Ebeneezer Mason, and not the cute Donald Duck version, one of the more malevolent ones. Our refereeing Grinch had his Bournemouth boxers on. His jaunty whistle blowing grates on my nerves. He's so flushed and pasty he looks like an undercooked Christmas turkey. Overly picky and oblivious to fouls on Chelsea players. There was a massive outpouring of irony when he finally booked a Bournemouth player on 72 minutes, the crowd snarling and snapping after an hour and a half of his limp little half-a*sed hand gestures and shoulder shrugs. The fact also, that he let Dan Gosling get away with being a vicious little thunderc*nt all evening made me rage. It took Kenedy going down like he'd been whacked by Tim Allen, eight reindeer and a sleigh to get a decision out of him. It was a bad tempered last fifteen minutes. Morata entered the fray shortly before Ibe squandered the away side’s best chance of the night, dragging it left of the post. On 80 minutes an Inspector Gadget one handed save from Caballero saved our blushes. Mason was insatiable, trying to play his whistle like a f*cking harmonica as he gave soft decision after soft decision Bournemouth’s way. In the name of Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the bloody donkey, please let us get to the final whistle.
No such luck. The ball came out off of Morata’s head, was played out to none other than the little thunderc*nt himself, Gosling, who smashed it in from range. The keeper stood no chance. All those about to make a dash for the train, sit your a*ses back down. I’d like to say that the thought of going out of the competition dominated my thoughts, but in reality, I was more despairing of my journey home being delayed by about an hour when I have to be up at the crack of dawn to deliver two car loads of presents to our homeless kids.
Happily, Bournemouth’s glory lasted all of about 40 seconds. Zappacosta punted it forward, Eden was away, he back heeled the ball to Morata who saved us all from the potential agony of a penalty shoot out and an outrageous bedtime on a school night. Take that, you cockle-munching bellends! Hysteria from 9/10 of the stadium. Their only response? “We support out local team.” Yawn. Ebeneezer Mason’s last bah-humbug act was to book Morata for having the audacity to celebrate scoring the winning goal, meaning that we will be without our main striker for the appallingly timed trip to Everton the day before Christmas Eve. Here’s hoping that the Rudolph sh*tting in Mason’s garden as he flies over on Sunday night is the only thing he receives this Christmas.
So: Conte has stuck with rotation in this competition and his players have not let him down. A semi-final against L’Arse it is. Imagine my surprise that Pepalicious got Bristol City. Caballero solid. Rudiger strode up and down the back line like a gazelle, a gazelle on ketamine mowing down everything in his path. Kenedy - who is this person? This bloke who appears once every six weeks from nowhere and looks like a real footballer? But Michy, oh Michy. Destoyer of West Brom, Winner of Leagues, Khaleesi of the great astroturf sea at Cobham and Master of Twitter. When I was paying attention he looked to be stuck up top alone, as ineffective as a fairy sitting aloft on a Christmas tree. Hoofing the ball up to him is not kind. My old nan told me if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. Obviously I play pretty fast and loose with that wisdom on this blog, but this is me saying nothing. Except “sigh.” At the opposite end of the spectrum, Chuckie Ampadu take a bow. Even if you do make me feel old. (Not as old as TCW (special alias) feels tonight though. “That’s why we f*cking sold you Begovic!” He apparently hollered. Should have gone to SpecSavers) A teenage midfielder playing at the heart of central defence and doing it like a boss. Blocks and clearances aplenty, almost 99% accurate according to the stat nutters. If at all unsure, he didn’t go at it like a bonkers David Luiz in his early Chelsea days, he passed the ball back to the keeper plain and simple. We like him.
*Photo of Tenacious Double D is shamelessly for my enjoyment and comes from Chelsea's official website.
Chelsea 1 Southampton 0
Saturday 16th December 2017 15:00
In the News: Apparently we are looking at a mass exodus at Arsenal. Well at least Jack Wilshere will be happy, because if his weetabix legs happen to be working for once at the time he might get some proper football. This is what happens when you should have moved your manager on five years ago. Sunderland have won a game at home for the first time in almost a year. "The Wisdom of Slippy." A new and occasional tribute I'm going to do to the utter, intelligible b*llocks that comes out of the mouth of the worst pundit in the world. Since the emergence of all the other pundits. Gerrard says Hazard is almost as good as Mbappe. How many tens of thousands of pounds did you get paid for that gem of ignorantness you peasant? I could have demonstrated that this pillock had nothing intelligent to say at his interview stage with BT by pointing at his forehead. Anyone who has no forehead clearly has no room for a f*cking brain in his head. If you hear any drivel come out of his mouth that you feel needs mocking send it my way.
I sh*t you not. The "issue" of the Frank Lampard 200 goals song was raised with the club. The issue being, that saying he scored against the Pikeys is offensive to the travelling community. I'm just going to leave you all to curse to high heaven about such nonsense on your own, because I've been told my swearing is excessive in ordinary circumstances, when I'm NOT faced with f*ckwittery of the highest and most tragic order.
The Others: After Michael Owen stated that the Scouse could score any amount of goals against anyone in the world in their awesomeness, they failed to score any against West Brom midweek. Huzzah. Palace got their first away win of the season at Leicester, who like us seem to have mastered the art of going from sublime to sh*t in a matter of hours. Sp*rs lost. Woohoo. And currently Burnley are a bigger threat to the Champions League places. And Arsenal are closer to relegation than they are to the top. City won again, proving that if you spend a billion pounds a year on everything in the shop you too can make your manager look invincible.
Us: I wonder what version of Chelsea we will get today... Were we going to get Chuck Norris Chelsea, who are on you and have disposed of you before you've even seen it coming, or were we going to get the hungover pub team version who look like they don't know how to put one foot in front of the other without falling arse over tit? No Morata, not healthy enough to start, but that meant that we got Hazard, Willian and Pesto (cock off autospell) starting together, which not a few of us have been whining for of late.
Them: Happy Charlie Austin Day everybody of the female species or homosexual male persuasion. Perv and be merry. Southampton are about as bonkers as us it would seem. Drew with Arsenal, then tanked by Leicester in the last week. Apparently they had a plan to deal with Hazard. If this master plan turns out to be taking it in turns to kick him, then I think we've seen it before. Every week.
The weather was almost as changeable as the two sides have been with bright sunshine, rain and freezing cold wind all at the same time. It was that bizarre atmosphere you get just before Christmas when everyone has got other things they need, want, or are being ordered to do by their non football other halves instead of being at the match. Luckily I have Boycie (Sitcom alias) as my human hot water bottle in the cold winter months. There was a flurry of Southampton possession before we got hold of the ball, but we were lucky not to go behind on eight minutes when there was no Southampton player there to tap it in, with what was the best chance of the game so far. It was by no means an explosive start by either side but we had, for the second game in a row, managed to not be collectively f*cking woeful in the opening ten minutes. After a quarter of an hour Willian wound his way into the box for what turned out be a pretty naff final effort that went wide. But it was a good start. Mario Lemina had only been on the pitch a minute when he was deprived of any baby-making ability by a brutal shot after some exciting one touch build up play from our forwards. Straight afterwards Forster had to palm away a volley back into the box from Alonso and then Cahill struck again from outside the box. We had had the better of it thus far, but we weren't exactly smacking them about. The three musketeers combined brilliantly to arrive in the six yard box on the half hour but somehow the ball ended up wobbling into Fraser Forster's hands. Out of seemingly nowhere two minutes later, Alonso found himself with a stunning opportunity but once again Forster was in the way. Grr. Then a crucial deflection denied a Bakayoko shot: not the first time he had been poised on the outside of the box today to have the ball laid back to him. Two minutes later Pesto hit the post. Jesus wept won't somebody just score? Time added on? Should be 15 says Alf Garnett. (Sitcom alias) Bet we only get a minute, replies Boycie. Two. What a joke. Never mind, because along comes the hairstyle formerly known as George Michael to leather in a free kick into the bottom left hand corner with the last kick of the half. The ball was a bit loose at times and possession squandered, but we deserved a lead at the break. Oi Pellegrino. Your plan to neuter Hazard isn't working.
There was a little more urgency about both sides after the break. Time and time again Bakayoko was putting himself forward - he's done this the last two games now that I've noticed and I've liked it. Dave hit another shot on 52 minutes but it took flight at a steeper trajectory than Apollo 11 and ended up in the Putney. For all our chances, Southampton were definitely not out of this.
Alf: Romeu with a step over!
Me: He tried that once for us and did his cruciate.
Please God Chelsea score another goal and put me out of my misery.
But wait. Stop the clock. On 60 minutes on came Charlie Austin. Merry Christmas to me. He had an immediate impact for them, but I did have to laugh at the irony of the Saints fans complaining about us moving too slowly. We are the victims of time wasting so often that I literally could not give a rat's a*se when it's the other way around. Especially when they had been at it to embarrassingly levels only half an hour before. Suck it up b*tches.
Which brings me to Refwatch: Roger East did penalise them for fouling Hazard which is more than most of his brethren ever does. However, time wasting was already approaching stupid levels after just half an hour. Wagged his finger, no more, ended up booking one of ours for it much later. Typical. Usual brain farts too. Just before half time Gabbiadini came storming in, missed the ball and fell over and he penalised Bakayoko, who it looked like had no more input than standing still as a brainless red and white blur came flying past him on a collision course with the floor. Sigh. Also when he paces ten yards out, his steps get smaller and smaller until they're like non existent sad little hamster steps and it annoys me. But he really wasn't that bad today, no more than niggly complaints to be made against him. Must have been merry from the PGMOL Christmas party last night.
Forster kept them in it as the half progressed, with a number of flying and often overly-spectacular saves. Southampton called for a penalty on 72 minutes, but the ball looked like it but Cesc in the nuts. They had only mustered two shots on goal by this point, but by no means were we counting our chickens. We’ve been here clinging onto a one goal lead too many times. Once again we had not been clinical enough in front of goal. Morata came on for Hazard and his first contribution was to force another save from Forster, but seconds later Thibaut was blocking a Charlie Austin effort with his legs. Then Morata was storming up the other end. My blood pressure can’t handle this. Fabregas pulled a shot wide, then a right-footed attempt was blocked from our number 9. On 81 minutes we made our final change, bring Zappacosta on for Moses. That's all the time we were going to be able to eek out of substitutions. Willian wasted some more pretending to be injured, but to be fair to him if I'd been out there in that miserable rain I'd have been rolling in the floor feeling sorry for myself too. Charlie Austin came closest of all to getting an equaliser for the away side five minutes from the end but it skimmed just past the post. I love you Charlie, but please don’t nick these points off us.
They could have score again soon afterwards thanks to the worst use of advantage I have ever seen given. Here's a hint Roger, if the other team almost scored, it was not an advantage for Chelsea. Four minutes of injury time? What? Of course. That would be all the time that wasn’t added on in the first half when we wanted it. By this point I’d ratcheted up to about 35% nappy sh*tter. As the seconds edged agonisingly by, both Duracell Dave and Willian made surging runs forward in search of a second goal. Then Roger East booked a Chelsea player for time wasting. F*cking hell. I take back everything positive I’ve said about him. It’s on occasions like this when I miss Drogba. He’d run down to the corner with fifteen minutes to go and stay there with the ball till the whistle, in the face of attackers, defenders, not even the SAS could have got it off of him. But happily, Southampton were out of time and out of ideas.
So: The Hazard plan worked slightly better in the second half. We weren’t awful today by any stretch of the imagination, we played a good side; but once again our goal return for chances manufactured is not good enough and is going to cost us in other games if it does not improve. But then no team does well across a season without accumulating some functional 1-0 wins. Some really pacy, creative stuff strung together by the three forwards in the first hour. Poor Michy tho, eh? If he doesn’t get a start against Bournemouth he might as well dig a hole and climb in it. Expect to see many changes midweek. Until then I’m off to sort out more Christmas presents for the shelter kids. It’s no wonder Santa needs to be left booze to remain permanently sh*tfaced while he’s out on his sleigh. I’ve only got to handle 14 kids and my brain is mush.
Here's a Christmas game for you to play with Alexa and a group of friends. Your group goes round in a circle and does their lives in music; chooses songs from different categories to form the most f*cked up communal playlist in the world. Can’t recommend this highly enough for the holiday season - it provokes conversation and memories and awesomeness as well as drunken singsongs and mockery until you end at “best song of all time.” We started off on Fleetwood Mac and our credibility evaporated into a Take That karaoke session. 4am we finished. Here’s some of the tracks that got an airing:
First Single You Ever Bought
Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police
Kings of the Wild Frontier - Adam and the Ants
Iko Iko - Natasha
Could It Be Magic - Take That
Best Song Off the First Album You Ever Bought
Grease - Frankie Valli
Love Plus One - Haircut 100
Stand and Deliver - Adam and the Ants
Wonderful World - Worlds Apart
Songs You Were Obsessed With Before the Age of 18
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Rebel Without A Pause - Public Enemy
It's a Sin - Petshop Boys
Waiting for a Star to Fall - Boy Meets Girl
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
U Sure Do - Strike
Sometimes - James
Animal Nitrate - Suede
I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys
Songs That Made You Feel Immensely Cool Listening To Them:
Common People - Pulp
Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Songs that give you nightmares
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Plaistow Patricia - The Blockheads
Voyage Voyage - Desireless
Free - Ultra Nate
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Super Trouper - ABBA
Bye Bye Bye - NSync
Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet
Song That Reminds You of a Night Out on the Town
Rozalla - Everybody’s Free
Watchin - Freemasons
Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer - Sophie Ellis Bextor
Best Live Song You've Ever Heard 586 - New Order
Going Backwards - Depeche Mode
Dancing On The Ceiling - Lionel Richie
This Must Be The Place - Talking Heads
Best Song Of All Time
Ramble on - led zeppelin
The Chain Fleetwood Mac
Life On Mars - David Bowie
Back for Good - Take That
Never Forget - Take That
Patience - Take That
Huddersfield Town 1 Chelsea 3
Tuesday 12th December 2017 20:00
Jet lag + monster flu = waking up half an hour before you were due to leave for Huddersfield. From the other side of London. Oops.
In the News: In my opinion, Conte spoke a lot of sense in the aftermath of the Saturday morning clusterf*ck. Not good enough, not capitalising on our chances, oh and that those three points lost are not the end of our season by any of our means. He also made sure he mentioned that he was building a base, and hinted plentifiously (if it isn’t a word it should be) that he doesn’t consider his squad to be complete by any means. We have Barcelona in the first knockout round of the Champions League. Oh well. Better the devil you know in my opinion. It’s not like we didn’t get the better of them a few years back when they were a much better side, and in a cup game, who knows? Rather our draw than the Sp*ds. I’d hate to face Juventus over two legs because they’d be much more likely to shut us out. Tie of the round is Real vs PSG. I’d laugh my head off if Paris get knocked out this early and have literally nothing but soul-destroying French domestic football to look forward until mid-September 2018. Urgh and this brawl in Manchester, as if one of those happening there is news. Predictably Pep reckons he is innocent. Isn't he always? Chequebook Pulis came out with a semi-nonsensical appraisal that made everyone think he is losing the plot. Doesn’t he always? Wenger made an irrelevant contribution to the debate. Doesn’t he always? He says that Manchester City should learn from sumo wrestlers and respectfully not show any signs of enjoying victory. Someone has been on the mulled wine early this year. I did chuckle at the put down slung at Zlatan by a City employee: “You talk a lot… but you move a little.” Funny. Enjoy walking home in the dark mate.
Transfer rot continues. We’ve been linked with Jamaican youngster Bailey so far this week, and with ballsing up Arsenal’s neverendingly amateur attempts to sign Thomas Lemar from Monaco. Real Madrid apparently want Salah. I would laugh if he deserted the Scouse after five minutes. Everyone wants to leave Arsenal. Shock. Andre Villas Boas has quite his job to enter the Dakar Rally next year. What the f*ck? Oh and Ross Barkley has a ten inch scar on his leg but is nearly ready to play football again. His hair covers the scar where they attempted to revive his brain with those little paddle thingies following his daft almost-move in the summer.
Them: They have beaten United at home, and almost got a point out of City so they are not chumps by any means. In fact, on paper we should be more concerned about Huddersfield away than the East London pikeys.
Us: Willian in for Fabregas. Changing from Morata to Hazard up front was going to mess with their preparation I would have thought. Ouch for Michy, who once again wasn’t trusted to start up front. My problem with this? Just the lack of height in the box. Cahill out for Rudiger, in for Zappacosta.
A soaking wet night in Huddersfield. You could almost hear the glee in Robbie Savage’s voice at the thought of an upset in some grim conditions. Hats off to his co-commentator for pointing out that Robbie loved nights like this because he was always one of the minnows.
We had 75% possession in the opening ten minutes, but aside from Pesto’s (too ill to care about autospell) offside goal on five minutes we hadn’t fashioned anything else. I’ve not got the hump. Yet. We’re using our width much better than at the weekend and don’t look completely f*cking incompetent. Also we’ve stayed on our feet. Superb rant sent my way on Facebook re the amount of time we spent on the floor at West Ham. if Morata had fallen over one more time, Mark was all set to risk a lifetime ban to go on the pitch to show him how your legs work in tandem to prevent this. “My kids learnt this by f*cking two years of age.” Also, he knows someone who knows someone who is boinking Bakayoko and reckons that any ropey performance is either down to her being the greatest shag in the world or a sleeper agent for Sp*rs.
Speaking of: 22 minutes and I laughed my head off. Because who should pop up to take advantage of shoddy work at the back by Huddersfield but the nappy sh*tters’ latest victim, Timoue. He did exactly what we were lamenting the absence of on the fancast last night since Lampard left. He steamed into the box past the forwards on the off chance and got his reward. His third goal of the season. And everyone sang his name. I suspect there may have been a few hypocrites in the away end at that point. Savage was heartbroken. Good. Chelsea have not lost a league game from a leading possession since Conte took over. So I was feeling positive about this now, despite being off my face on cold and flu medication and spewing more wrongness out of my nose than has come out of Chequebook Pulis since this brawl on Sunday.
In the first half an hour Huddersfield had offered almost nothing going forward. Rudiger had been so isolated at the back that he had an exclusion zone around him bigger than the one Michael Owe is going to get at the BT Sport Christmas Party. Because really, who wants to hear him tell stories about himself all night in that boring voice? We had a very high effort from Kante on 36 minutes, Bakayoko could have had a second with a header as the half wound down but it looked like we might go into the break just the one up. Until Willy came along. What I said about no height in the box? Who needs it when Willian is there to head, yes head, the ball into the back of the net. A two goal lead was the least of what we deserved at that point. We could have had a third when Pesto received the ball from Hazard but his shot was run down by the Huddersfield keeper. Why were we incapable of this sh*t on Saturday? I have to say that I thought it was because instead of waiting an hour before bringing them on, Willian and Pesto had started. Thibaut had only touched the ball five times.
As you were after the break. 0-3 up within five minutes. Alonso had all the time in the world to pick out a cross after some bobbling around Willian and insufficient defending from the home side it fell to Pesto, who his in with consummate precision. At one point Huddersfield were desperate enough to try taking Chelsea throw ins and hoping that nobody would notice, but then they made some changes. Courtois made his first save on the hour mark, and the ball was cleared by Azpicwelleter (that’s how you pronounce it according to Slippy G. Mind you he can’t pronounce anything properly. That’s harder to say than saying it RIGHT. Bellend) Shortly afterwards another home shot rose comfortably over the bar. The home side had been sparked into life, you had to think too late to make any impact on the result. And surely pressing would leave them exposed at the back again. Tom Ince showed why he doesn’t score goals before Bakayoko capitalised on another error to play the ball into Hazard. The Belgian back heeled the ball to Pesto, who shot wide just before he made way for Batshuayi, who left his water bottle on the bench. His first contribution was to be offside, but Conte had given him a good long stint to try and stake a claim for some attention. TDD (Tenacious Double D) came on too, as did 17 year old Ampadu, who made his first league appearance. Hilarity now ensues, because Ethan plays for Wales, which means that Robbie Savage has to say something nice about one of our players. “It’s nice to see a Chelsea youth player getting a chance.” Tosser. He did, however, acknowledge that TDD, as a Leicester player couldn’t possibly not go to Chelsea if the opportunity was there. Santa already knows you’ve been a w*nker Robbie. There’s no dialling it back now.
3-0 is scoreline of death. Losing team stops caring, winning team dials it back (Conte still leaps up and down like a flea on speed) Michy didn’t help himself by being offside as many times as Loic Remy. When he did get right in on goal he handballed it. Sigh. The Huddersfield fans amused themselves by singing that we’re not Champions anymore. Someone draw them a cartoon of how it works.
Refwatch: Marriner. PGMOL’s Christmas present to me. I’d rather have had a lump of coal. He did nothing to annoy me in the first 45 minutes, which is a first. But he veers from satisfactory to complete f*cking insanity in the course of 90 minutes so I wasn’t holding my breath. He actually penalised Huddersfield players for fouling Hazard, which would be impressive had he not neglected to show anyone a yellow card for a bookable offence. Here you go: At no point did I want to hit him in the face with a brick tonight. Merry Christmas Andre, that is the nicest thing I will ever say about you. No clean sheet for T-Bo. Rudiger was wayward in his marking, the keeper was slow off the mark and the header was nailed by the Huddersfield sub with confidence.
So: Why oh why do we veer from making it look so easy to face-planting like idiots in the space of just a few hours?! I’m not going to be churlish about the last fifteen seconds, because aside from that this was exactly the sort of performance that we wanted after such a sh*tfest on Saturday. We never looked in danger of dropping points. To a man they put the weekend behind them and turned up like we’d expect. Bakayoko in particular put in an extremely solid showing tonight. I don’t care if we don’t set the league on fire, week in, week out, but I want us to be like this, consistently competent. I couldn’t claim with any confidence that we will come out and do the same thing in four days time against Southampton. Brilliant post match interview from Eden and Willy. The latter forgot to award us three points for the win and had to be corrected. We’re only eleven points off the top. Back in it, says Hazard in fits of laughter. Then he refused to take the man of the match award and presented it to his mate instead. But can we get JT back on one of his Villa days off again? Because someone needs to have a serious word with Moses about this gloves and short sleeves thing. More importantly, Rudi in gloves, AC in long sleeves. Have a word John. Chelsea defenders DO NOT wear gloves. Or long sleeves. They’d never have dared do such a lam-a*se thing sharing a dressing room with Ivanovic. Next they will all be coordinating their outfits like Arsenal.
There are five days left to contribute to the fund for the SW London shelter that looks after women and children that are victims of domestic violence. We’ve had some astounding donations from across the globe and are just trying to make sure now that as well as looking after the childrens’ Christmas wishlists, and treating their mums, we can provide more practical help into the new year for one particular family in desperate need of clothing and food whilst their situation is resolved. You can paypal donations to email@example.com, contact me for bank transfer details or I can collect cash at the Southampton game this weekend.
*Picture of Chelsea's in-house boyband comes from the club's official website
West Ham United 1 Chelsea 0
Saturday 9th December 7:30am (NY Time)
In the News: Real Madrid seem to be amping up their pursuit of Hazard. Conversely, I don't think we're done so far as trying to get Sandro from Juventus is concerned but this is all for the summer, not the impending month of pain, made up b*llocks and eventual inaction that makes up the January transfer window. Can't wait. Ronaldo announced that he wants seven kids when he accepted the Balon d'or, and the look on his girlfriend's face standing next to him was priceless. More importantly, Kante finished eighth in the race for the award, which was two places ahead of Harry F*cking Kane (try saying his name without swearing, it's not possible) How Hazard was behind that bellend beggars belief. Mike Ashley is holding Newcastle takeover talks in his local curry house, which will only be a surprise if you are one of about two people in the world that thought he had any class. Fat Sam is already mocking his ridiculous pay packet. He didn't even bother travelling with Everton for their Europa League game. He's also got it written into his contract that there will never be an preseason friendlies in Singapore. Where chewing gun is banned. We're used to Arsenal claiming a sell out when they've got empty seats, but it was made all the more ridiculous this week when less than 30,000 had turned up for their game against Bate Borisov; Podgettino thinks not signing any players might have affected Sp*rs's chances of winning the league. How has it taken him till December to work that out? And all hail the Lillestrom player, who celebrated winning the Norwegian cup by publicly stripping naked and putting his cock in the trophy.
The Others: You'd be forgiven for not knowing there was anything but the Manc Derby going on this weekend. Apparently there were only four countries not showing it. I wish I had been in one. Chequebook Pulis was his usual shy and retiring self in the build up, calling City cheats and claiming that his team had no height advantage because he has Mata. Noel Gallagher can't take a joke, and used the back of a guitar to have a particularly savage dig at Gary Neville after his jovial and fully justified prod at Sky recruiting a musician as a pundit for City. I didn't get to monitor any of the scores because I was busy being mown down 20,000 santas in Manhattan (Santa Con) and because football was dead to me for the weekend after how sh*t we were. Suffice to say with the exception of City and those tedious, unpredictable wankers squatting at Wembley, (nobody had a particularly great weekend towards the top of the table.
Them : David Moyes has crawled back out from whatever rock he has been hiding under. Joy. Their big news was that Joe Hart had been dropped. They were 19th before kick off and had statistically the worst defence in the league. Anyone with any experience of supporting Chelsea knew what was coming...
Us: Eleven people started the game in blue today. Three more came on. I'm not angry with any of them. Just disappointed.
When the alarm went off in Lower Manhattan at 6am it provoked the usual bitter response I reserve for having to get up early for an away game. Where am I? What is this hell? To be fair, some w*nker starting off the hotel fire alarm in the middle of the night didn't help. That and I have been dog sick ever since I got to New York. Things I've learned since I got here? There are basically no traffic rules, it's every pedestrian and car for themselves, and as long as you use someone as a human shield crossing on the appropriate side of you, you should be ok. Beware anyone dressed as Santa, because they are all sh*tfaced and annoying, back onto cabbies, on my unfortunate sampling, 40% of them are illegal in some way. And blame you when they get pulled over. (I sh*t you not. "Why did you run that red sir?" "SHE told me to hurry up." What the f*ck? I've not spoken to you since we got in the cab!) And New Yorkers say f*ck more than I do.
To their credit, everyone else turning up at the Football Factory looked more awake than I did. And I had had a fifteen minute head start sitting two doors down in Dunkin' Donuts chugging on caffeine. Over here the game was televised by NBC, who have, out of naivety or sheer desperation, hired Robbie Earle as a pundit. I remember watching him as a kid. And not being that impressed. When I knew nothing about football I knew that he was sh*t. Although he made me laugh when he suggested that when Moyes' appointment was announced, the West Ham players' what's app group would have been awash with crying emojis. The was another Robbie too. Buggered if I recognised him. Guess what they call them. The Two Robbies. Jesus wept. So the moral of the story is that you can cross the Atlantic, and pundits are still tossers.
Morata visibly cringed when he walked and heard the bubble song. I love him. Antonio (theirs, not ours) was time wasting after 42 seconds, but he needn't have bothered. You know it's too early in the morning when another CFC tourist accidentally cheers when Arnautovic scores because he thought it was us. What is it with us and starting every game with a ten-fifteen minute sh*tfest of incompetence and dawdling about like we've not got out of bed early enough? Morata summed up our dreadful start when he went down screaming for a penalty when nobody came anywhere near touching him. That's not going to do him any favours when it comes to getting referees to stop ignoring him.
There was precisely one shot in the opening quarter of an hour: their goal. We had done absolutely nothing. Then true to form, as if by magic we suddenly looked like a football team, as if everyone woke up and realised that they'd boarded an executive coach and turned up in the a*se end of London first thing on a Saturday morning with a purpose. On 19 minutes Dave attempted to put one of his now trademark Morata-bound crosses into the box, but some meathead in claret and blue got in the way. It came out to Eden Hazard but his shot bobbled wide.
Thanks to Rodrigo, who claims that he and his brothers were El Salvador's two lone Chelsea fans back in the day, I was drinking gin at 7:50 in the morning. That's how bad this was, and it still was not dulling the pain. These a*seholes always play the game of their lives against us. Granville (sitcom alias) was texting me from Colliers Wood lamenting that hockey had been cancelled, landing him in front of this nightmare instead of freezing his b*llocks off in a park somewhere. On 27 minutes I think we registered our first shot on target, from Kante. I love the twins, both of them, but half the time they can't hit a barn door so that one of them was the only one that had come close spoke volumes about our output. On the touchlines Batshuayi was hugging a hot water bottle to his face, possibly trying to pour boiling water in his eyes to make the hurting of this game stop. Conte was going batsh*t crazy. I don't think anyone was particularly awful, but the whole lot of them as a group just equalled "meh." Morata tried a shot on 34 minutes and took out Winston Reid's face instead. Almost consolation. Not quite. We were on top now, finally. It had only taken 1/3 of the game. Bakayoko had an attempt deflected wide, and Antonio was pacing the technical area like a caged lion waiting to get at them at the break. Hairdryers at the ready. "Just get one before half time" we said. But no. Instead of hammering them for the last few minutes of the half, it was the other way around. Moyes, despite being inexplicably bright red, and looking like he might keep over in a fit of apoplexy, had prepped his hapless band of pikeys well, and we had obliged their enthusiasm and discipline by being woeful.
Here I have to give credit to Rodrigo's visiting Cousin Alberto. Hanging out of his a*se having only stopped drinking three hours before, and having been dragged out of bed and shoved into a Chelsea shirt, he was more enthused than us. He had just got straight back on the beer with the philosophy "f*ck yeah". Even though it was possibly the sh*ttest 45 minutes of collective football Chelsea have played since our season of shame, his colours were nailed to the wall and he has decided that till the day he dies, he is a blue. To be fair he had a decent football compass to begin with, having sat down at kick off with the croaky remnants of his voice, stating that all Arsenal, Scouse and Uefalona fans are smug b*stards. We spent most of halftime mocking Farca fans. Rodrigo says that when El Salvador's legions of glory hunting Messi fans bore him with tales of their miniature hero, he asks them for a YouTube link of him scoring against Chelsea. Tap tap tap. No results found.
Round about half time the crowd on the pub woke up and started singing. We were just hoping for the same response from the players. Bakayoko had been hooked for Pesto. (f*ck off autospell, it's too early) To me, this looked like a tactical switch aimed at a more dynamic offensive effort, which would further stretch their tin pot defence. Unfortunately the nappy sh*tters, who have now seemingly moved on from blaming Cahill for every goal conceded, every severe weather front and every traffic jam in Britain, took it as vindication of their complaints that the latest object of their hysteria is responsible for everything that goes wrong during a Chelsea match.
The change in our performance was not exactly awe-inspiring, but it was encouraging. We could have had an equaliser on 49 minutes, but then a sloppy pass from Cahill left Arnautovic running on goal practically unopposed. Luckily for us he can't multi task for sh*t and couldn't stay onside whilst plotting a run into the box. I don't know who the Brits calling the game were, but one of them kept calling Cesc "Farbegaaaaarse." Who are these commentators? We raged. They're idiots, pointed out Cousin Alberto, who is now the fountain of all football logic as far as I'm concerned. Whilst West Ham screamed for nonsensical penalties and we continued to fluff our lines, we tried to explain to two Latin Americans why one should never confuse "Do one" with "I'll give you one" especially if one is male and addressing another bloke.
Zappacosta hit one just wide on 57. It might have been a cross but it was one of our better efforts. Which says it all. Then something remarkable happened. A premier league referee booked a member of Chelsea's opposition for time-wasting. Which means that I might actually have to say something nice about Anthony Taylor for the first time since... well, since Arsenal were contenders for a meaningful trophy. To be fair, he needn't have bothered. He could have added half an hour on at the end and we would have still been too incompetent to make use of it in this game. West Ham we're doing enough to keep us at bay, so Conte threw the kitchen sink at them. With roughly half an hour to go, I think (two gins down before 9am, things were fuzzy) we had Willian, Pesto, Morata, Hazard and Cesc on the pitch. If we couldn't make that work against the worst defence in the league, which is managed by Moyes, we are morons.
We appear to be morons. Christensen had a shot blocked by Reid, before Morata squandered out best chance of the game on 82 minutes. Should have buried it.
Eden put one just over the bar shortly afterwards but it was just not our day. NBC were claiming that West Ham have taken the title from us. Lunacy. That's like stating that King Harold was killed by the anonymous blacksmith who forged an arrowhead. Five minutes added on. In the words of Rodrigo we should have asked if we could have saved those five minutes for a game where we would actually have been doing something remotely worthwhile.
So: Being the abject pessimist that I am, I warned you all this was coming. This was a glaring example of what happens when you start badly (as we keep doing) and don't take your chances (as we keep doing). We've been let off the hook a couple of times and this time we weren't. The fact that we were outshone by a collection of other clubs' rejects in an athletic stadium made it all the more annoying. Looking at the big picture it doesn't really change my expectations. This shows why our benchmark this year should be top three and not retaining the title. Conte is rotating the squad well, but our performances are frustratingly inconsistent. This is perhaps what we should have expected last year, but he basically went and shot himself in the foot by winning the title first time out. I maintain that third with automatic CL qualification, last 16 or last 8 in Europe, steadying the squad whilst integrating a couple of young players like AC or Musonda and finding a way to bring Loftus Cheek on is a solid season. So far none of that looks out of reach.
*Picture of pensive Conte comes from Chelsea's official website
Chelsea 1 Atletico Madrid 1
Tuesday 5th December 2017 19:45
In the News: Clattenburg. Front and centre. Just the way he likes it. What an egotistical f*ckbag this weave-wearing bellend is. He "allowed" T*ttenham to self-destruct at the bridge apparently. We can only lament that when Copernicus and Galileo championed the idea that the earth was not at the centre of the universe, that neither of them thought to add a caveat that it did not revolve around Mark Clattenburg either. In his (clearly damaged) head, he orchestrated the whole game to ensure that he could not be blamed for them losing the title. That's why he didn't show any one of the blatant red cards that should have come out of his pocket, but merely booked everyone in white and facilitated a mass brawl because he didn't fancy doing his job properly, in case it would mean people didn't like him. Guess what sh*thead? Nobody likes you anyway. But we can all rest assure that moving to the desert has not dented his implicit belief that being a referee is the same thing as being a member of the Rolling Stones. Priceless contribution from Twitter: "Do you think he makes his missus wear a Mark Clattenburg mask when he shags her? They'd both be screaming Mark for 15 seconds... I bet he tells he to put it on in the third person: "Mark Clattenburg wants you to wear the mask."
Crystal Palace are planning a £100m renovation of Selhurst Park. I know, I know, who cares, but if you watch the animation, THE BLOODY POSTS ARE GONE. For once, something that has come out of the much maligned Michael Emanalo's mouth has the blessing of all Chelsea fans. Conte has the full backing of the board and is going nowhere apparently. Pogba is dumb enough to have got himself suspended from the Manchester derby, as much as we'd all like to stamp on Bellerin. Well, his top knot at least. Speaking of suspensions, you will not be surprised to hear that whilst Antonio has been charged, Pep is not adjudged to have made the game look bad by running up and down like a crazed lunatic and screaming in people's faces. People that he doesn't even know, let alone employ. Apparently City are set to make Sterling the highest paid player in the league. Well if the rest of us are scratching our heads at least the mothers of his legion of offspring will be celebrating. Scouse derby is about the most exciting prospect for the FA Cup third round. I predict 12-12 because neither of them can defend to save their lives. God help Shrewsbury, who have got West Ham coming to town. And Frank. Oh Frank, saying that at the price he cost Bakayoko needs to start delivering. From a player who himself took a good long while to settle into his football I'd have expected a bit more sympathy for a young player. Is he the finished article? Absolutely not, but that one stinker in the Land of Scouse seems to have wiped clean a lot of people's memories about how he manned up and played when he wasn't fit and turned in a number of good performances.
Us: I've got that many presents to buy for our shelter kids and so much accounting to do to make sure they get the most out of our money that I can't remember what I ate for breakfast, let alone who is rotating out for who. This is who played tonight: Courtois, Dave, Christensen, Cahill, Moses, Bakayoko, Kante, Fabregas, Zapppacosta, Hazard and Morata.
Them: A return for Nando, who was well received, but not for Diego who remained caged at home with his dog. Filipe Luis was back too, who I always forget exists until I see his dopey hairdo again.
Lots of Cup faces in the Shed Upper tonight, as in strangers. I got a giant madman who wanted two thirds of my seat as well as his own. Before we'd even kicked off I'd had every part of his anatomy rubbed up against me. I wouldn't have complained if he looked like Chris Hemsworth. But he looked more like Vladimir Klitchsko and Miranda Hart’s lovechild. Oh and we had a visiting band of Cahill nappy sh*tters behind us who had obviously heard that it was fashionable to mug him off every time he touched the ball. Yawn.
Alonso got himself into a good position after one minute but his shot was speculative. There was not a lot of early possession for them but they had one tipped over the bar after four minutes. The opening spell was quite even, but I expected more zip from a passionate side who needed to go out and make a statement to have any hope of staying in the competition. The better chances were ours. Morata could have had a first half hat trick. An outstanding effort on 16 minutes just skimmed wide. Shortly afterwards a brilliantly worked chance from Victor Moses to Morata was saved at short range by the keeper. And our striker was in the thick of it again when he had a narrow angle shot knocked clear. He must have thought he'd wandered into a parallel universe, because every time he was fouled he got a free kick. Some sublime theft of the ball by Bakayoko from Greizmann just after the half hour unfortunately floated into the arms of the keeper when he attempted to drive it home, then a great drive from Zappacosta on 36 was just palmed away from the keeper before Bakayoko threw himself at the ball at close range in the box and just missed. We had definitely looked the more likely to score in the first half and it was a mixture of bad luck and a wee bit of f*ckmuppetry in the box that meant we hadn't found the net. I just expected them to be more up for it. Or were they confident and just patient? They had by no means been bad, though they certainly had the hump at the referees refusal to into a more Spanish style of officiating, shall we say. (Blowing the whistle every time someone fell over) Their worst attempt to con him came just before half time when I was disgusted to see them trying to get Cahill sent off for a collision. In real time it looked accidental, and he tried to pull out. Strong showing from the ref when he had a whole team screaming in his face. Not even a flicker on his giveaf*ckometer. I can't remember the last time I saw such a sensible 45 minutes from an official.
Was it a stretch to think that they were just holding steady and doing nothing flash in the knowledge that they would get at least one good chance out of our defence? I dunno. I thought they would be like us in that second leg against Napoli back in 2012. Their fans tried hard enough but even they were chastened by the end of the half. And this when Carrier Bag were holding Roma at 0-0. Koke stopping Kante from taking a free kick just before half time was the feistiest they got in the first half. Anyway this is all getting philosophical. We had defended well, with little drama when they had come forward, putting in some decent blocks, but although they had been solid this was by no means the monstrous Atletico side of recent years. 0-0 at half time, but not because of them. The lack of goals was down to our finishing in the main.
They clearly took a massive b*llocking at half time from Simeone, because they burst out of the blocks after the break. That and they'd probably heard that Roma weren't winning. However we weren't far behind, and it took an impressive save on 48 to deny a Christensen header. Within a minute Hazard left a defender on his arse and his shot was put over the bar. From the corner too we almost took the lead. Their newfound attacking determination was leaving them susceptible at the back, but Madrid's best chance so far came on 52 when the ball ricocheted off the post. Koke came in for a flying header but having dived one way, Courtois was up quickly and diving the other to catch the follow up comfortably. Admirable goalkeeping. It was end to end and on 55 Torres played in Niguez who had come steaming in completely unmopposed to head it home with ease. A familiar refrain as far as we were concerned. Chances squandered. Paying the price. Atletico were looking more and more comfortable on the ball, and had locked Hazard down effectively. We were looking frustrated and just that little bit sloppy. To cap it off, Roma had gone ahead so we had slipped to second in the group. Probably. Maths was never my strong point as you couldn’t bullsh*t your way to the answer in the exam.
Understandably, Antonio shuffled the pack almost immediately, taking off Bakayoko for a more attacking player in Pesto (f*ck off autospell) He had an immediate impact as far as our attacking was concerned, but still we squandered our chances. We were into shameless time-wasting territory now, but it was kept in check reasonably well. Which brings me to Refwatch: Danny Makelie of Holland, take a bow. Good use of advantage right from the off. I liked him. For once if our players were fouled there was no underlying or existing preconceptions. It was all done on the merits of nothing more than what was happening on the pitch tonight and both teams got what they should have. His cards were reasonable too, and the only two decisions I remember were when he got dicked over by his oddball lino in front of the West Stand, who was a useless twat. Compared to the referees we have in our league, Makelie had balls of epic, steel, Kyle's dad proportions. Sign him up please Premier League muppets. And show the saggy likes of Jonathan Moss how it is done.
In the crowd we tried to get the team going with a stadium wide chant of Chelsea/Champions with just over a quarter of an hour to go. Conte rolled the dice again taking off Zappacosta and bringing on Willian, who was at his mesmerising best during his cameo tonight, (save for one kick) into the game. It worked within about a minute. Not because we finally managed to hit the target, but thanks to a nifty own goal by Stefan Savic, which was announced a little over enthusiastically as belonging to Hazard. Whatever, it had been a long time coming and then we nearly got two in two minutes. Morata missed a glaring chance and suddenly we were all over them. There was a rollicking atmosphere at the Bridge now. Are we winning the group or not? The internet at the Bridge is shit and I can't find out... Finally get into Bet365 and realise we are smashing Roma on goal difference. But I'm not sure that that matters and that it's one of these bellend scenarios where they do it on head to head. W*nkers. So we do need another one. Morata. For Batshuayi. You know the script Batman. It's expected of you now. But it was not to be. Willian shanked the ball and missed a sitter, (That’s the one kick) then we inexplicably left the entire Atletico team unmarked in the six yard box as the ball was played in. But every one of them missed it. Phew. Michy scuffed it in the box, he could have had his goal five minutes later as we went into injury time but ultimately we failed to put the ball in the net for ourselves.
So: Supposed group of death successfully navigated. Which leaves us second and with three options: Uefalona, PSG, again, (yawn) or a mad trip to Turkey. I’m fine with that. We’ve gone from no European football to the CL knockout stages, which is I think the minimum that we all expected. Sooner or later if you want to win this thing, as we know, you’re going to have to face some b*stard opposition and get past them. This is fine. I don’t want to Arsenal my way to a trophy. I couldn’t bear the thought of going to East London on Saturday. Not only is full of West Ham, everyone talks funny and it smells. So what to do… I’ve decided to go and watch the game in New York instead. Preferably at the Football Factory. Where I can blog the wrong way round for once, and tell all the regulars what it’s like to do a game Yank style. Far better than a trip the arsehole of the world to suffer again how the grimy squatters have butchered Britains Olympic legacy.
Don't forget that you can still donate to the fund for children at a safe house in SW London who, with their mothers are victims of domestic violence and homeless this Christmas. We are taking care of what they have asked Santa for, but additionally we have some children who are in desperate need of clothes, and short of warm garments and even underwear. You can send donations via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact me for bank transfer details via Facebook. Alternatively, I can take cash donations at the Huddersfield and Southampton games. Tonight I've come home with a number of these, so thank you! The fund closes on 17th December.
*Team photo comes from Chelsea's official website.
Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1
Saturday 2nd December 2017 12:30
In the News: So Mingolet (intentional sic) gets away with attempting to murder an opponent, nothing gets done to Lukaku for being a thug. Where do the F*ckwit association decide to direct their paltry wrath this week? At Antonio Conte. For being right. You couldn't make it up. In response the boss has gone a bit Chequebook. Difficult to believe that they haven't pointedly decided to single us out for sh*t fixtures. It hasn't been great, I'll give him that, with us repeatedly being scheduled to play early on a Saturday after a Wednesday game. I'm just pleased that it's the Toon Army that have had to leave home at 3am to play us for once and not the other way around. If any manager deserves a dressing down it's not ours. When Pep started jumping around like a coked up Jack-in-a-box in front of Nathan Redmond I would have paid money to see the Southampton player put him on the ground with a swift head butt and tell the FA he felt for his personal safety. What kind of oddball does that to someone else's employee? And as for the "I was paying him compliments" line, or whatever wittering nonsense he came up with whilst picking his nose in front of the camera this time, 90% of communication is body language and there wasn't anything remotely positive about that cringeworthy display. At least he's acknowledged he's a twat I suppose. Still don't like him. Speaking of cringeworthy, Podgettino is releasing a tell-all book about last season. Ew. Tacky. Also what a waste of time. I can do it in eleven words:
They won nothing. Again. But they put pressure on. The End.
Hilariously, as predicted their players are lining up to jump ship. The Diving Little Sh*t doesn't appear to give a crap at the moment. Alderweireld is understandably insulted by their refusal to pay him more than 50k a week which is nonsense in today's market. I'm pretty sure Ross Turnbull earned at least half of that at Chelsea. And Danny F*cking Rose, evil, cheating little turd that he is, has made no secret of his desire to run away.
On to things that make me angry. Fat Sam, for the inevitable 18 months he will last at Everton is going to get paid about £8m. Criminal. The top brass at the club say he is underrated. On the contrary, I think I've given him plenty of credit for being a crooked, tedious bore with the chewing action of a geriatric goat. Out of nowhere the classless oaf decided to have a pop at the Watford Manager. Silva's record cannot be compared to his "whatsoever" apparently. Firstly, that's a mighty big word for you Sam, and secondly, I'm sure Silva, Watford and indeed the whole Premier League are immensely grateful that there's only one of you. Still, at least the Toffees can thank their lucky stars they didn't get Real Pulis. If you're the Daily Fail, apparently taking a picture of Ian Holloway lying on a bench getting a tattoo is newsworthy. Even when you don't have a picture of the tattoo. Half an article. About nothing. Once again someone is getting paid to produce this sh*t. Oh and some draw took place for some competition in Russia. Just when you thought Gary Lineker couldn't stoop any lower in pursuit of cash than crisp adverts, he shows up endorsing a corrupt event that nobody even wants to sponsor. England are in some group. With some other countries. Nobody cares.
And transfer nonsense this week? Ozil to Chequebook Pulis on a free. Enjoy. Also, Barcelona to put in a bid for our little Willy if they don't get Coutinho. Bit if a sideways move. Bench/Starter at Chelsea to Mostly Bench at UEFAlona. Would be sunnier there I suppose. And regarding my plan to sell Bertie to Real Madrid for £80m (if they are willing to spend that on Martial it was a given) and his buy back "claws" (I stole that) the deal fell through. His personal terms were just too demanding. All that premium cat food and the massive toy box. He wanted Ronaldo's spot in the dressing room too, it was next to the radiator. Plus he baulked at the lack of marmite products available in Spain.
The Others: Let's all take a moment to bask in the joy of Sp*rs failing to win a match. Again. 1-1 with Watford. A bore draw for West Brom and Palace, the Scouse won at Brighton and Huddersfield lost at Everton. As usual the Red Swarm painted up this Arse/United affair like it was going to blow the mind. First billion dollar game apparently. They did realise that this was Chequebook Pulis right? Pogba has got the intelligence of a mangy wet sponge and even he is moaning about all the work he has to do on defensive tactics. Somehow with 70% possession, Arsenal managed to f*ck it up by conceding three goals from three shots on target. Snigger.
I cut a virtuous figure shopping for the food bank before kick off (with the help of my minions from the London is Blue) and sitting in the pub with my lemonade. Let's leave out the part where I had already been necking limoncello at the CFCUK stall before 10:30.
Them: Maybe we should feel sorry for Rafa. He's gone from managing Real Madrid to being at a club where the board give him a score come summer and say "don't spend it all at once treacle." With the exception of Shelvey, with his uncanny resemblance to Lord Voldemort (this is a reference to the villain in Harry Potter for those of you who have been in a cave for the last twenty years) I honestly don't think I'd recognise any of the Newcastle players if you offered me a million pounds.
Us: And we rotate again, mostly with a Champions League game on the horizon. Danny Drinkwater came in, as did Moses, Dave and Hazard. Out went Willian, Cahill, Pesto (yawn autospell) and Zappacosta.
There was a flurry of early possession from them. Hazard chested the ball down for Alonso on nine minutes but his shot was wide. They had the better of it in the opening spell. In fact they were all over us. I don't know what it is about us at the moment that means we have to knob about for the opening five/ten minutes before we get out sh*t together. We paid for it today when they went ahead: a faffy attempt at defending, a possible handball and an eventual tap in. You can guess part of what happened next. Their goalkeeper, cunningly disguised as a traffic cone, got his first time-wasting warning after less than quarter of an hour, his second a few minutes later. We were not awful by any means, just frustrating when it came to retaining the ball. Hazard should have scored after a trademark long pass from Fabregas, there were two penalty shouts from Morata which of course were not given. The first one, I wasn't convinced but the second was outrageous. Christensen watched a header float agonisingly towards goal only to see it hit the post. We didn't have to wait much longer though. On twenty minutes another sublime cross in from Dave to Morata, the defender gets a foot on it, but only to drop it down for Eden Hazard to smash it home.
Well that knocked them on their a*ses. We had got the measure of them in midfield, largely thanks to an on-song Fabregas and Drinkwater, who continues to impress as he builds up his form after injury. For obvious reasons he fits right in next to Kante and I love how determined he is to win the ball. I'm going to call him Tenacious Double D.
A little over ten minutes after our equaliser Rudi ran it forward, Moses inherited it after a poor header from the defender out wide and hammered it past the goalie and two more barcodes ready to be headed in by Morata for his tenth goal of the season. Their defenders were lying face down in the six yard box. Quite rightly dying of shame. Baby Boycie, (sitcom alias) whose brother started glory supporting Newcastle in the nineties and was in the away end, was leaping up and down doing the wanker sign at him. Then we had a cringeworthy chorus of we don't care about Rafa. I could never get on with this, because I don't care about him and that means I certainly don't want to sing about him. I did chuckle when he tried to kick a football today and was treated to a rousing chorus of "What the F*cking Hell Was That?" Morata's goal appeared to knock all the wind out of Newcastle, if not their manager. We could have had another when TDD hit a long range effort but it curled away from the goal. Approaching halftime Newcastle had offered nothing since we went ahead except slapstick. Doing his own sh*t festive version of The Nutcracker, Perez pirouetted round the ball four times and fell in his arse. 2-1 it was at the break.
We had two good chances to put the game to bed within a couple of minutes of the restart. Rafa had started the second half by leaving six back whenever they made a rare foray forward, which said it all about Newcastle for most of the game today. It's not that the intent wasn't there to have a go, but the quality was certainly lacking and as this became more and more evident they continued to fade away save for a final death throe in injury time.
On 53 minutes Hazard had a shot on target deflected, which almost then went in the corner, before a third penalty shout was waved away. Which brings me to Refwatch: Kevin Not-My-Friend was just as inconsistent and nonsensical as always. Right from the off. He even managed to foul Fabregas himself he's that f*cking incompetent. And rude because he twattish hand signal that in no way acknowledged that he was in the way. He also doesn't know what obstruction is. And he's finickity. Which is a word I think I've made up. But it means anal and annoying.
Therefore we were all stunned on 73 minutes when Moses was brought down in the area by a hapless Ritchie and he awarded a penalty. Newcastle had few complaints though and having seen it again not even Kevin could have f*cked that up. Hazard steps up, sends the traffic cone the wrong way and hits it in with ease. He could have had another two minutes later but he was run out of it. He was not to have the match ball today. Conte already had Tuesday in mind and replaced him with Willian. Fabregas too made way for Bakayoko, who made his first appearance since a day to forget in the land of Scouse. Moments later Cahill too came on for Christensen. There were opportunities for a fourth with some pinball in the box and Kante could have had a goal had he not run round and round the ball in circles in the box instead of getting a shot off. The highlight of the remaining time though were the chants of “Harry Potter, he’s coming for you” at Shelvey. Even better, I doff my wooly hat to one wit in The Shed, because every time JonJo drew his leg back to kick the ball he shouted EXPELIARMUS! at him at the top of his voice. Three mins of injury time saw Newcastle make more of a fist at getting a goal back, but it was too little too late.
So: At least they came to play football. Even if it was mostly badly. Despite going behind we made it look a bit easy in the end. I can forgive Moses for not being entirely match fit, but not for wearing gloves with short sleeves. Dave didn’t have his best day but I don't feel like I can criticise him, ever. It would be like bitching at Mother Theresa for having a lie in. I didn’t think anybody had a bad game today, least of all Christensen who just looks like part of the furniture now. On to Tuesday, where a win will ensure that we wont be left with a 66% chance of facing another miserable bout of police brutality in Paris or a trip to UEFAlona where the crooked buggers will know the final score before kick off. This would have been posted hours earlier were it not for the Podcest mashup that went out live featuring regulars from both the Chelsea Fancast and the lovely visiting yanks from London is Blue. Many f*cks were exclaimed, but none were given. And I drank a lot of gin.
*Picture of angry traffic cone and happy Hazard is from Chelsea's official website