Certainly a fan’s guide to VAR, but perhaps more accurately what the Premier League WANT you to know.
Yesterday a number of club reps were invited to VAR HQ at Stockley Park for a conflab about how it’s going to work in the league this season, what it will involve and how they will approach issues. Along with two typically humourless lower tier journalists. But one of those was Sp*rs, so he’s arguably got nothing to smile about anyway. Ostensibly we all turned up because they promised to let us play with the system ourselves at the end.
There was a slight concern that I was being lured into a trap, that PGMOL had seen everything I’ve ever written about their match officials and that I’d end up being guarded in a dungeon under Stockley Park by Ade Edmundson doing a slightly historically inaccurate impression of the Red Baron. Or Hugh Laurie in the role of Prince Ludwig the Indestructible.
Let me say this now. If they can convince me, they can convince anyone.
What is VAR so far as the league is concerned?
The principle of VAR is laid down by IFAB, the International Football Association Board, who set the rules of the game worldwide. That said, despite this international authority, there is wiggle room, subjective interpretation within their framework that has been invoked.
So to begin with, it was up to the Premier League to decide how they were going to bring in VAR and what standards they were going to set. And after two and a half years of testing and investigation, they were ready to tell us in very polished and well-rehearsed format where they are at on the eve of it being implemented at every game in the league this season.
What you are about to read has apparently been preached ad nauseam to clubs and their players. They say that they have had a revolving procession of fans, journalists, officials, and “stakeholders” (this is why I quit working in an office, terms like this) coming in in an attempt to make the move to VAR as transparent as possible. In other words there is a massive drive on education. Although the biggest flaw I foresee is that Alan Shearer is the star of the video. Mr. Charisma. I’d be chewing my own wrists open after five minutes.
I asked who the VAR officials are. The 18 Select Group One referees, they say. And five Select Group Two. So a pool of 23 highly functioning officials. Not to mention all of the Assistant Referees who will carry out the roll of AVAR (Assistant VAR) alongside them. They like acronyms. “Assistant” is literally one more syllable and it’s an actual word, but go figure. I have a slight concern with this. Presumably the massive increase in referee workload on any given set of fixtures is costing them a fortune if you have to call in the likes of Michael Oliver the day after a fixture he has overseen to sit and watch another on TV. More importantly, though, Select Group Two was only introduced a few years ago. They are Championship referees. Who will now have a large stake in how your team’s day is panning out on a much higher level. “The games are usually spread out” was the response to my query on this, which was given as a reassurance as to the standard of the available referees in control of the VAR console, which I’m not sure I was entirely appeased by. My worry is they are diluting the pool to make the numbers up, but I suppose time will tell.
When will it be invoked during a game?
The Premier League were insistent that in the implementation of VAR they have been at pains to make it as minimally invasive as possible, with the maintenance of the speed and intensity of the PL a distinct and primary objective. They claim that their match incident accuracy is at present 82%, and that expect this to go up with VAR. However, They have no expectation that they will reach 100% accuracy.
Their tagline is MINIMUM INTERVENTION, MAXIMUM BENEFIT. In an ideal world, you wont even know it is there, they say. “Minimising inconsistency” was the bullet point given to us by the delightful PGMOL rep. It is only for “TOP LINE INTERVENTION:” that is for CLEAR AND OBVIOUS transgressions on the part of the match officials at the ground with respect of certain important events in a game, and AT ALL TIMES THE FINAL DECISION IS TO REST WITH THE REFEREE ON THE PITCH.
If there is doubt in his mind about what he is being told, the referee can enter the RRA. The Referee Review Area with the screen and sh*t on the side of the pitch. There were contradictions straight away. They have been told they can use it whenever they want.
For example for things they categorically did not see or for if they think they disagree with the review coming in via their headset. They can go and have a look to shut up the competing benches too, if they deem it necessary. But conversely the league want it used sparingly. More potential additional subjective opinion. One referee’s justified quick look is another’s panic stricken conviction that it’s all dragging on too long.
This next one was an important one for me, and I like the answer: THERE IS NO SCOPE FOR THE REFEREE TO STOP AND PHONE A FRIEND. As always, the referee must make a decision in the midst of the game. Only if that decision falls under clear and obvious, will it will be pulled by the VAR official at Stockley. If it does not, the game moves on.
So what are the important things that a VAR official in the plush match centre at Stockley Park can interfere with? (Forget the spectre of that awful trailer last season with ten people crammed in it, that was a one off and the Premier League is minted)
The Premier League refers to them as KMIs (yay, more acronyms) or KEY MATCH INCIDENTS.
There are four:
EVERY SINGLE GOAL IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE IS GOING TO BE CHECKED. Last season the officials cocked up 41 on/offside calls. 31 of those occurred when the score was level or one goal difference. This they want to fix. Primarily, I expect, to shut Sean Dyche up after Burnley had that goal disallowed against Watford.
This was my biggest bone of contention in the course of these sessions so far as the match-going fan is concerned. The Premier League claim that is takes an average of sixty seconds for a group of fans to celebrate a goal. During those sixty seconds, without fail, the match centre is going to select the “phase of play,” (we’ll get to that later) rewatch it and decide if there was anything wrong with it. “95% of the goals are fine.” I was not appeased by that. These checks will not come up on the screen. Unless you know this is the case, you will not know the check is going on, because it will not be advertised. You will get all the way to the end of the hypothetical and precise sixty second celebration, the ball will be back in the centre circle, and then in one in twenty instances now, which is what? A couple of times a season for each team? You will then be told the goal doesn’t stand. Their response? Tough. “You will probably know there was something wrong with the goal in the first place.” I know myself, that nagging doubt is going to be at the back of my mind now, every time.
The giving and not giving of. VAR will check these and advise the referee. I asked about fouling in the box and how much people get away with it, especially defenders, and asked if there was a directive on quashing this as part of the implementation of VAR. The answer was a flippant anti-Chelsea jibe declared “off the record." We’ll take that as a no then. We’ll also take that as an admission that Premier League Relations makes no distinction between “blocking” and Peter Crouch spending seven years trying to mate with Gary Cahill in the box.
VAR will also monitor every penalty taken, looking for things like Vertonghen encroaching, missing the goalkeeper doing anything naughty, double touch and feigning. So once again, whenever a penalty goes in, its not going to be quite definitive until it has been reviewed. But you can kill the time by celebrating on the off chance.
Direct Red Cards (Not second yellows)
Obvious one. And yes, THE APPEALS PROCESS WILL STILL EXIST OF A RED CARD IS GIVEN VIA VAR. However, because it will have been utilised, the Premier League thinks that going forward the bar will be much higher for getting a decision overturned.
And then there is Mistaken identity, which is pretty self explanatory.
Offsides are an oddity that is going to at least take a while to evolve. Not because you cant tell if they are on or not, but because you are fundamentally asking referees and assistants to complete rethink the way they approach them.
WHEN IT IS A CLEAR AND IMMEDIATE GOALSCORING CHANCE the assistant is now being told to HOLD HIS FLAG. The referee is being told NOT TO BLOW HIS WHISTLE. VAR will sort it out. First couple of match days that will go tits up, guarantee you. It goes against all of their training. On a positive note, after the whole Harry F*cking Kane debacle in the cup semi final, from which the Sp*rs journalist clearly still hasn’t recovered, they will be employing 3D lines to ascertain the decision at all times.
Now this is where VAR is going to really make the sh*t hit the fan:
There will be no faffing with throw ins, corners, yellow cards. THERE WILL BE NO INTERVENTION FOR SIMULATION UNLESS IT INVOLVES A PENALTY BEING AWARDED OR A RED CARD. Salah will be pleased. And, if this is to be taken literally, VAR WILL NOT INTERVENE IN OFF THE BALL SPITTING, SCRAPPING, STAMPING, MELEES ETC. UNLESS THE VAR OFFICIAL THINKS SOMEONE SHOULD BE SENT OFF AND WASN’T or vice versa. Which considering how many players warrant a yellow in these circumstances that may latterly effect the game, I think they are missing a trick. What I am trying to say is, that although in principle minimal intervention is laudable, there are going to be untold scenarios throughout the season when you will be screaming for the common sense of a review, and it wont be happening because it cant be pigeonholed into your four categories.
VAR is categorically NOT to be used in the Premier League for the re-refereeing of games. Unless the referee has cocked it up in fine style, there will be NO AMENDING OF SUBJECTIVE DECISIONS on his part. So far as the “CLEAR AND OBVIOUS” is concerned, they claim that their benchmark is higher than you will have seen before, namely handballs in the Champions League, but once again, that is going to be a subjective decision on the part of the second referee sitting at Stockley as to whether it qualifies.
The Premier League have no expectation that VAR will solve all subjective decisions. Kompany against the Scouse last season was a case study with his tackle on Salah. The referee gave a yellow, and there was not enough video evidence to imply that the referee had made a “clear and obvious” error by not sending him off. Therefore with VAR, the decision was subjective, and the referees call is what stands, even if the VAR official personally disagrees with it.
More layers of subjectivity equal more opportunities for people to disagree and scream at each other, and this kind of thing is undoubtedly where the main controversy will come from with VAR.
Which incidentally, is not a dignified procedure. We heard a few checks throughout the afternoon. It constitutes four, perhaps five people all shouting over the top of each other at the same time. Remember that one of them will still be trying to officiate a live football match while they hash out a check. Will he be able to concentrate in the midst of all this? It all comes down to whether he can hear it all, in other words, to what extent the VAR official is leaning on the red button whilst its all going on. Not entirely reassuring.
PGMOL do not think VAR will hugely increase the amount of time added on, especially as the process becomes more streamlined. Once again, they are determined to avoid faffery. However, the most controversial point of the afternoon, which turned into an existential and highly confusing physical debate, is the issue of whether or not you will get all the time back spent on it.
Now, ostensibly the referee will do what he has always done, and record the time lost on the pitch to substitutions, celebrations, time-wasting etc. The AVAR will record the time spent actually checking VAR decisions. The two will be added together and will go up on the board, as if it is ever quite that simple.
However. Consider this:
Azpilicueta is hacked down two footed by someone horrible, let’s say Herrera, on the edge of our box on 50:00
The referee didn’t see it.
The game continues to 50:15 before the VAR official has the chance to watch delayed footage and decides that a review is in order.
The mandate says that the window for the check is the next restart of play, or if the ball is out of play, the second restart.
On the pitch, the ball pings around substantially before Lukaku air kicks it and it goes out of play.
Michael Oliver finally invokes this on 51:30 and the AVAR starts his clock because the game has stopped.
What has happened to that minute and thirty seconds? It wasn’t recorded as lost because it could have simply ended up being part of the game if we play on.
But if Herrera gets sent off as a result of the check, then it is a minute and thirty seconds that has effectively been wiped out. Because we should have been back there sending him off and all the pinging about was irrelevant.
They don’t go back in time to 50:00 after it has been established that a transgression has occurred and account for it. It is a is a big grey area, that cannot be regulated with any consistency and in complete honesty, we were told by PGMOL that you can’t guarantee you’re going to get back all that time. The stat is that in any given game, the ball is in play, the game is on, for about 55 minutes. This could go down with VAR. They just hope it will be a rarity.
How are the players to be moderated with the influx of VAR?
They are not allowed to:
Enter the RRA (apparently they’ve been told, so that’s that. I give it till October before there is ruck in front of one of the screens)
They are not allowed to interfere with the referee’s communications either.
Crowding the referee is not allowed anyway, so that will not be a problem. (Cue fan laughter)
And then there are the two hilarious ones:
Excessive use of the “VAR symbol” (drawing a box with your fingers) is not allowed. Now, the referees have been told not to book absolutely everyone that does it and to be lenient. Apparently there is a line somewhere, probably all to do with the wrist action, that turns it from inquisitive to dissent and then they will get booked. So that’s nicely clear then. Which brings us on to players and managers not being allowed to question the integrity of VAR. Just where the line is between disagreeing with it and doing that is, nobody at the Premier League knows. Ask the FA, they said. So presumably it maintains enough vaguery so that everyone will get penalised apart from the Red Scouse, United and Arsenal. Nothing has changed there then.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - WHAT WILL THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MATCH-GOING FAN BE?
Apparently this is what the clubs have said they want, and so it will be:
VAR logo comes up on the screen and it tells you that a check is occurring and why.
Then the decision comes up.
They are also planning to show a definitive clip, that shows you the best angle of how the VAR official has come to the decision. This will be accompanied by a “definitive” PA announcement. Remember those one in twenty goals that will be suddenly disallowed? I asked if we’d get clips of them too. We were told yes, we will.
You might think it would be nice to get the same view as the people at home? Who will be getting multiple angles as the decision is made and can form their own opinions and feel included.
Not allowed. IFAB apparently. Nonsense.
And at no point have any cheapskates like the Red Scouse, or the Mancs, who don’t have a screen, been compelled to get one. You’ll get the graphics on the scoreboard telling you that there is a review and that’s it. So your experience of VAR and just how inclusive it is to the match-going fan all depend on where you are too.
So how are PGMOL approaching all of this?
Then we got technical, with an excellent Q&A with the poor chap whose job it is to manage all of the Premier League referees on a weekly basis which explained how they have approached this innovation. Key is the fact that they are determined to faff less than we’ve seen across the globe with other implementations. The biggest surprise is that it seems the referees actually do work for a living beyond match day. Therapeutic windows and calibrating decisions and all kinds of scientific sh*t. Who knew! Michael Oliver sounds nothing like you’d expect, and apparently Jon Moss is actually nice. Our referees are a pleasure to work with so far as the technicians are concerned, who spend a lot of time out with FIFA and the Champions League too.
My first question - this handball sh*t we saw in the Champions League. Where if your thumb so much as twitched the other side got a penalty. Not happening, so far as the Premier League is concerned, they promise.
Then we got to have a go
So we got to pretend to be a VAR official in the suite. This is broadly what happens:
You have a top screen showing you the game in real time. Always.
And there is a bottom screen. Everything on that is running on a three second delay to give the official time to clock something in real time, then look down to watch it again from multiple angles.
Those angles are determined by Hawk-Eye technicians sitting next to them, who have access to between 12 and 20-odd cameras depending on whether or not a game is being televised. If it's the latter end, there are two of them. They’re incredibly switched on, and mostly know what a VAR man is going to want pulled as they watch the game too, but the official has a green button that he can punch to bookmark a point that they can immediately jump back to for him. He also has a red button which sadly does not power a comedy ejector seat, but patches him through to the match referee’s headset.
If he punches green, the first thing the technicians give the VAR official is the clip at normal speed so that he can gauge the intensity. Then come the slow-mos. There’s a joke about men and multitasking in here somewhere, but while all of this is going on, the AVAR man is still watching real time in case any MORE incidents take place.
I had numerous shots at working with David, a Blue technician, in pulling out incidents and running them. Including this 3D offside thing, which he pulled off in nine seconds and definitely (unfortunately) placed Mane onside in one of the Scouse games last season. Note. David will never be allowed to work on a Chelsea game. Just like the officials, the technicians are not allowed to work on their own clubs. Life in the hub is fast paced, it’s a team effort, and it requires a phenomenal level of concentration. Sometimes David gets to the end of a game and he’s been so focused on the technical process of monitoring for discrepancies and running them for the VAR official, that he doesn’t know what the score is.
One thing that became apparent is that you are not going to remove the spontaneous, subjective human aspect from the football. In fact, you are adding multiple layers of subjectivity to the fray. Up to four more people. Because in the heat of the moment you have the VAR official, one, or two technicians depending on the number of cameras at a game, as well as the AVAR all ascertaining in their own opinion, as a team, whether or not, for sentence, the referee’s actions constitute “clear and obvious” errors. Not only that, but quickly and without time for second thought, at the console I had to declare where I thought the passage of play started that led to my chosen incident. To be nice and vague, phase of play determinations include any combination or instance of: gaining possession, ability of the defence to re-set, immediacy, and the defence gaining possession. This is another thing I predict controversy on. Just how far back do you go?
VAR, to my mind, is basically a new way of doing things that utilises technology, but it isn’t going to fix football’s issues. In my opinion, at least at the beginning it is just going to create new ones. We don’t have the lackadaisical luxury of cricket, and the Premier League simply aren’t willing to operate matches at the speed of the egg-chasers. It is going to be an immense learning curve for absolutely every “stakeholder” in the game. That said, PGMOL and the Premier League are as ready as they will ever be. You can’t say that a monumental amount of thought, investigation, training, not to mention money has gone into it. One thing is for sure, the next few weeks are going to be bumpy while it beds in, and they know that. I expect I’ll hate it when it goes against us, and love it when it doesn’t. Just like every fan out there. Either way, I don’t think we’ll be able to judge VAR’s worth on a week in, week out basis in the league before Christmas. For me, still concerned about a number of things that threaten to impact my enjoyment at the stadium.
Chelsea 4 Arsenal 1
Europa League Final, 29th/30th May (seeing as it was played in the middle of the night) 2019
Calling from f*cking Baku. How can you top the most ludicrous season in recent years? I know let’s get sent all the way past the f*cking Middle East, via every city in between to watch a game between us and L’Arse at a cost of thousands. You could not make this sh*t up. Unless you’re UEFA, and your heads are collectively so far up your own a*ses that they’re threatening to swallow your own tonsils.
In the News: Juventus players have allegedly already been told that Sarri will be managing them next season. We’ve canned so many managers, is it really so out of the question that one of them would eventually turn around and do it to us? But this leaves Napoli raging, and demanding they sack Carlo and have him back. Can we just do a job swap? If he goes I think it will be his decision, or a mutual agreement, not a sacking. He’s an oddball, but then we’re an oddball of a club too, so who are we to judge. He stomped out of training the day before the game, allegedly because Luiz and Higuain had a ruck, but actually because he wanted to practise all 40 of his set plays and the press wouldn’t f*ck off. Which sounds pretty likely. And if you saw our first free kick last night, you’ll understand why he was so p*ssed off. Hudson-Odoi set to be offered the No.10 shirt, as we appear to gearing up for life under a transfer ban by extending contracts. Big Willy and The Beard have already added their names to a list which features David Luiz. We played a friendly. In Boston. Before a final. Ruben is now out for months because the plastic pitch was sh*t. As I said on Twitter, we sacrificed him for nigh on a year to end hatred worldwide, and as a result I hate New England Revolution and their pitch, and I hate the idea of post-season friendlies even more that I did before it happened. So that was worth it.
JT came out the winner against Frank in the richest game in football. So Villa are back in the Premier League. Personally, I think it’s too early to consider either of them managing at Chelsea - but then, we’ve done crazier. Scolari springs to mind, (god he makes Sarri look debonaire) and AVB. (A veritable bellend) I just don’t want to see their standing at the club damaged by rushing one of them back before they are ready. Best part of the result? “kingkopite” tweeting: “So Villa finish fifth in the league with 76 points and get a trophy. We finish 2nd in a more difficult league with 97 points and get nothing. Absolute disgrace!” Oh, King Kopite, don’t ever change. Your kind are the House Lannister of football, for those who’ve seen Game of Thrones. Convinced of your own greatness, yet more than a bit scabby underneath, badly behaved and walking about wearing a lot of gold that someone else paid for, insisting that everyone owes you their allegiance while you enjoy questionable relations with your sisters. Prince William and Carew celebrating in their box was not nearly as heart-warming as Mike Dean going absolutely bonkers over Tranmere Rovers in the crowd as they gained promotion to League One. The most human showing I’ve ever seen from a referee. They have feelings. Who knew?
There appears to be some match coming up this weekend. Kudos to Chequebook Pulis, who is clearly bored out of his mind, because he’s stuck his head about ground just long enough to say he was desperate to work, but mainly to remind Klippity Klopp that he will look like a c*nt if he loses a third CL final. God willing it doesn’t happen. God it makes me shudder writing that. But footage of Harry F*cking Kane dribbling into ol’ big ears might actually end me. Kompany has left City after eleven years , bowing out after the slaughtered Watford in the FA Cup final. I’ve got a new one for Deeney - as well as kebab face. “He looks like a lasagne that’s been punched.” I had to giggle at the City fan who got into the press box at Wembley after the match and laid down an expletive-ridden rant about their red bias that made me look positively f*cking angelic.
Solskjaer cancelled his post-season briefing. Because hauling every in to remind them that they were pathetic on the run in was presumably deemed too cruel. Rashford is holding off on contract renewal because he is not happy with the direction that the club are taking under Solskjaer. They’ve been careening, Thelma and Louise style, towards the edge of a cliff ever since Moyes arrived, so what’s given him this sudden epiphany, who knows? Apparently Fergie is upset that he’s been sidelined in making major decisions. He remembers that he retired, right? And you do have to feel slightly for Rashford and Lingard, who have been blasted as arrogant for marking their place in the 0.012% of players who make it in the Premier League on social media. Yes, how dare they be proud of this. Thus hurting the feelings of the 99.988% who don’t. Politically correct w*nk. Do f*ck off. Arsenal may not be the only team contemplating life away from the Champions League, as City’s astronomical spending appears to be catching up with them. Barca faffed their domestic treble by losing to Valencia in the Spanish cup final. Hurrah. And Joey Barton’s stag do spiralled into “extreme violence” on a Cornish beach. If I had read you the headline without mentioning whose stag do it was, you would have pinned that on him before anyone else in football.
Transfer Bollocks: Yes, it has descended on us.
Higuain apparently set to be sent back to Italy after thieving a medal last night. Apparently we can sign Kovacic though.
Batistuta, who looks half human after a good haircut, has apparently expressed a desire to manage Boro. Makes you wonder if they performed a lobotomy with the little scissors while they were at it
Bale is being ousted by Real. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a knob and I couldn’t care less. But you’ve got to some kind of w*nkers to sh*t on a player that’s helped you to three consecutive Champions League wins.
The Pointless Clutching At Straws
Podgettino’s cousin says he is interested in going to Juve. Surely they can’t be that desperate for news already?
Hughton sacked by Brighton. Have a f*cking word. Replaced him with Graham Potter, who has precisely one season in the Championship behind him managing in this country, and bossing a Swedish side before that. Which strikes me as not only massively ungrateful but singularly stupid.
The Downright Hilarious
Morata says he wants to stay at Atletico forever and everever. Will do “everything in his power.” Don’t bother, douche, I’ve already planted some dubious fundamentalist literature in your London flat and tipped off the Home Office. Now let’s hope that they don’t realise you can’t read…
Why This Was a Stupid F*cking Idea: I’m not letting this go without another rant. 200 plus times we’ve played these bellends. And never has the setup be so ridiculous. Let me start by saying that I don’t hate Baku, or Azerbaijan, I hate UEFA for inflicting a totally mis-organised and ill-considered farce on two sets of fans who had spent a fortune following their clubs in this bloody competition all season and had zero chance of enjoying the final they had earned as much as their team. Neither of the paltry, insulting allocations were sold. For a EUROPEAN FINAL. In fact there were barely 6,000 fans travelling via the clubs combined. Let’s point out that this is not people from London. This is all the two clubs could muster in selling to any of their members etc. ANYWHERE.
UEFA said, and I quote, it would be “utterly unfair to exclude a venue on the basis of its decentralised location.” This was despite the fact that their OWN REPORT said it was a bad, bad idea. It’s also utterly unfair to hold it in a place that is nigh on impossible to get to, without the logistical infrastructure to get people into the country, which is arguably not even in Europe, where one of the players had to STAY AT HOME because his personal safety was not assured. They swore it would be. Then the police proceeded to stop every fan so much as wearing a shirt with Mikhitarian’s name on it. All of these things should have been considered by the game’s governing body and walked through to the only sensible conclusion. Those who did go had to part with at least four figures, take nigh on a week off and sit surrounded by locals wearing Scouse and United shirts or, even worse, not even half and half scarves but three fold f*ckwittery. Us, L’Arse and UEFA. People were literally wandering about the stadium trying to find other travelling fans, whether they be red or blue, to avoid the complete carpeting of plasticdom that inevitably represented the non-capacity crowd at this game when they ruled out a location that would enable the real fans to go there. The resulting atmosphere, at best, resembled a friendly, not anything like the occasion it should have been. They have learned literally nothing from this fiasco. Euros next year - a group is being played in Baku. The other venue for those poor teams? F*cking Rome.
And yet there was a game to be played. And I will write about it. Unfortunately for all of us BT Sport managed to get there. At least they levelled, well, bulldozed their playing field and actually came up with a balanced panel. Well, nearly. Keown. Urgh. Eidur, and Cesc. Who they wanted you to believe was a neutral representative and desperately tried to convince the viewing public of such, before he was reminded that he was going to get a medal if Chelsea won. What broke Arsenal’s supremacy over Chelsea c.2005? They asked. Keown needled with a comment about Roman’s money, and someone buy Eidur a drink for his response: Well, its also when we bought Didier, who took care of Arsenal after that.
Us: Kepa in a final in his first European season, Hazard’s first final, in his last game, and Sarri, but was it his last game too? Kante played, very risky, with injections. Martin Keown says that said injections are painful and that it is not a comfortable experience. An allergic reaction to one might be the explanation for his face. Pedro Pony feeling something nasty in his hamstring according to Cesc, but he too started. The Beard, as was right and holy, got the nod ahead of Higuain.
Them: Mistakeland-Niles was the only English players starting on either side, in an all-English final. He didn’t scare me, but theoretically their attack was more potent than ours. More potent than Randolph Churchill in the latter stages of syphillis rambling in the House of Lords if you listen to BT.
So, we had a manager who’d never won a trophy, and it was Eden Hazard’s last game in a Chelsea shirt. Bigger stakes for them. They’d be consigned to this dross for another season unless they won, and they’d have trouble signing top players. Waxwork Corpse had won this three times. And Petr Cech was to bow out and retire after an exemplary career. I had literally no idea, and the only prediction I made pre-game was that it would be over in normal time. Huge booing for the sh*t anthem. Good. VAR was being used, heaven help us. And Italian officials. Here’s hoping that some rampant, biased nationalism doing us some favours. Robbie f*cking Savage was on the commentary team. Was that seriously the best you could do?
An 11pm kick off, yet another reason choosing a venue on the Caspian Sea was thick. Early long ball from David Luiz across to Pedro Pony, trying to get behind Kolasinac, and Monreal, and Monreal’s Massive Nose. Familiar, but effective. Sounded like a naff International friendly in the stadium. Rubbish. The teams had claimed 61 goals between them so far in this competition, so of course there were none in the first half. They squandered a good chance early on when Kepa made a ridiculous short range punch, but Aubameyang hit it like a dick. A little limp one. Ten minutes gone and still nothing to raise my interest above a pastry and cheese induced stupor, sitting in Calais watching this as I wait to do D-Day 75 stuff. The Beard doing a retro Hollywood cowboy slow motion death after Sokratis trod on him made me smile though. Free kick. Nobody moved to try and intercept the ball that Eden put into the box. Which was odd.
Our defenders were sleeping seconds later, and Dave was called into action to put it out for a corner. They had a daft penalty shout, which unsurprisingly Robbie Savage with his sh*t hair and lack of general wisdom said they should have been given. If he goes down from that touch that’s nobody’s problem but his own. Pussy. Twenty minutes gone and no shots on target, dead even possession. Five minutes later we suddenly burst out. Kante was away, showing no signs of his injury and putting it in to The Beard; but under much pressure his fellow Frenchman got it all wrong and fluffed his lines.
Xhaka just about clipped the bar after Dave had bailed us out once again. L’Arse had the slight edge and the Waxwork Corpse was padding back and forth on the touchline like a partially embalmed tabby. However the best chance yet fell to Emerson shortly afterwards. He went for the far corner but Sokratis threw himself into its path and put it out for the corner. Moments later, on the half hour, an attempted one-two involving Hazard, who had been quiet so far, just failed and went behind the Belgian in the box. 33 and it was Emerson again, this time beaten away comprehensively by Cech, but it was our brightest spell so far. Punch away by Kepa at the other end on 36. Robbie Savage criticising his goal keeping decisions. Couldn’t even play his own position, so should f*ck off. Then we had an even better chance. It fell to The Beard, but was met by a one handed save by Cech, who went down quicker than Sam Allardyce flinging himself onto an abandoned picnic blanket. Not quite enough in it, panicked a bit for me, and they beat us to the second ball; but we were getting closer. Pedro Pony hit another straight after, which deflected out for a corner. A pretty even first half, poised for an act of greatness from someone to really set the game in motion.
The match resumed past midnight local time. Waxwork Corpse needs to join The Beard in a 1950s western. Walks like a stereotypical cheesy cowboy. Or like he’s shat himself. But anyway, on the pitch Eden was ready to amp it up. He sprung forth, only to be bodychecked by Monreal. Nothing given though The Beard did get a shot off. Naff corner from Eden on the follow up. One man in particular deserved to put us ahead in this final, after being the poster boy for the competition all season, and seconds later when a slightly dodgy ball came in from Emerson, The Beard’s outrageously muscular neck did the work at an awkward height and enabled him to somehow flick it on target. Subdued celebration - but you could see what it meant to him on his face. Officially the top scorer in this competition too. Sarri also resisted the urge to be happy and promptly started scribbling in his notebook. I recognise not one Chelsea fan they have shown on TV tonight. That never happens. Gooners looking depressed. No fan should have had to do this f*cking journey to go home empty handed. Oh well. I’ll get over it. For the next twenty minutes L’Arse capitulated like a French army forced to choose between a fight and the worlds biggest lump of stinky cheese.
Hazard was off again on 52, with a swagger in that bum now, then Pedro Unicorn (for he was excellent) was away. Sh*t or bust for Arsenal, as The Beard tried to break his own crotch. They had to come out. Torreira smashed it, on the rebound Aubameyang was halfway into a bicycle kick, but had the sportsmanship to stop when he saw Christensen’s face come flying into the frame and he realised it was going to be in the way. The ball was instantly back up the other end. Hazard to Pedro Unicorn, who left poor Pete no chance when he swung his leg across and stuck it in the opposite corner. Koscielny had failed to replicate Christensen’s bravery at the other end and 2-0 it was. The Goons had half an hour to try and turn it around. And if they had any sense they wouldn’t be giving up yet, because as we have proved so many times this season, we can’t be trusted not to do something reeealllllly stupid.
But lo and behold, the stupidity was all theirs tonight. Kovacic in, Pedro Unicorn to The Beard. Mistakeland-Niles gets on completely the wrong side of him and brings him down. Not only that, but f*ck me, we get given a penalty. Wonders never cease. Up saunters Eden to poke in his 109th goal for the club. 3-0. They were doing an impression of us. Utterly baffled on the sideline, Dracula’s cousin, watching his mob inexplicably crumble, prepared to send on Iwobi and Guendouzi to salvage something. If possible the atmosphere was even flatter than before, with their mob silenced. But they clawed one back. Banging volley from Iwobi seconds after his introduction, not a chance for Kepa as it went barrelling into the net. This is us. You didn’t think it would be easy did you?
Pedro Unicorn off for Willian. We needn’t have worried about a Goon comeback. Hazard seemed determined to give us a parting gift. Eden to The Beard, back to Eden who slammed it into the bottom corner. Four goals in 23 minutes. He finishes his career with us on 110. Their heads had really dropped now. Hazard almost grabbed a third on 74, but Cech had the time to sort that out. Back up the other end it went, but Aubameyang’s shot was pretty pathetic, Barkley coming on for Kovacic - who along with Jorginho and Kante absolutely bossed this game in the second half. Conversely, off shuffled Ozil, looking more defeated than the Kaiser making a run for Holland in 1918. Shameful, spineless individual.
Little Willy ran the length of the pitch and almost scored, but once again Cech was equal to the effort. He was the only Goon entitled to hold his head up. Willian was in again on 79, but Sokratis put it out. They were deader in the water than submarine with the sun roof open. Dave could have scored on 80, and it had become mostly about not conceding a fifth for them. They couldn’t even score in front of a goal with no Kepa in it on 82, and Aubameyang was offside anyway. Willock surely in on 83, put it wide. Their subs had made a difference, but too little too late. No hatrick for Eden, but off on 88 for a standing ovation. Bingo! The crying Arsenal kid! My night was complete. Lacazette and Aubameyang’s Laurel and Hardy coming together on 90 minutes summed up the night for those two.
So: Europa league for them next season. Their travelling fans didn’t deserve that damning result. Neither did the Waxwork Corpse after they inexplicably fell apart in the second half. Bellerin deserves to be miserable for his dangly earrings. For once they all looked as deflated and beaten as Ozil. What is wrong with that fool? Is it psychological? In the studio Cesc didn’t think so. “I just think some players have it, some don’t.” He was talking about the ability to inspire. He didn’t call him a terrible footballer, but he said he was made to look better than he perhaps is when he was surrounded by greatness at Real. He isn’t the source of that greatness, and he doesn’t have it in him to be the main man. He also needs to play in a team that dominates possession, and he just doesn’t see the slant he did in Spain. There’s been much talk about “letting Ramsey leave.” Arguably he’s running screaming from a setup that is doomed to fail for several years to come. Emery has already bled the maximum out of that group of players.
But who cares about them? Two defeats in our last 19 games. We are the only club ever to win this competition unbeaten, and yet I’ve never seen such understated celebrations at a European win. Because there was no proper crowd to celebrate with. Thanks to UEFA. Rudi at least had a shirt on over his suit that set off his crutches nicely, tho he was piggy backed round for much of the festivities. Pedro Unicorn is the first player to win World Cup, European Championship. Premier League, Champions League and the Europa League, and he looked justifiably smug about it with the trophy slung over his shoulder. If you’re wondering why Dave and Cahill almost dropped it - the base is made of f*cking lead. Weighs a ton. Speaking of Cahill, I’m not sure why he couldn’t have a few minutes at the end by way of a send off. It irked me. At least he got to jointly attempt to lift the trophy. The media prised a comment out of Eden like the scavenging little b*stards they are. He was plying the party line “tonight is all about this win” but they kept on pushing. And we all knew it was on the way. Rob Green - European winner. Love it. Wonder how Conktois feels about that? Well done Christensen too, who apparently didn’t miss a single minute in this cup campaign. Gary Neville was moaning about Kepa, who was understandably nervy at the beginning of his first European final. What? “Can’t accept him.” Well its a good job he’s winning trophies with Chelsea instead of having been at Valencia for that two week spell you were in charge. Bellend.
As for Sarri, he crossed the white lines. F*ck a duck. Drank his orange juice with a cigar ready to go in his pocket. He may not have our love, but surely he deserves a modicum of respect for what he has achieved in one season in English football, however turgid it was at times. If you didn’t feel a bit of warmth for him as he turned that medal over in his hands with a little grin on his face, his first, then your heart is colder than a witch’s tit. That was a dream coming true for him, and if he buggers off and takes nothing else but the lingering smell of nicotine with him, he deserves that much.
The book will be out in the next few days, as soon as I’ve written a tribute to Eden and finished editing it. It’ll also have the “missing” blogs and exclusive season reviews. It’s been a blast, at least some of the time. Other times I’ve wanted to don a jetpack and blast my way clear of the weirdest display of up and down I’ve ever seen from us in a single term. Peace out. See you next season, bitches.
Leicester City 0 Chelsea 0
Sunday 12th May 2019 15:00
This is a big deal. Regulars will remember that not only is Sexpest really old. (You might recall the virginity story about the woman born in the reign of Queen Victoria, or the accidental Facebook spamming that made him look like he was trying to groom 214 of his fourteen year old granddaughter’s friends) He’s so old school he went to his first Chelsea game in 1953, but he is currently scrapping with two types of cancer and a dickie heart. So it was damn good to see him today, as his outings have been all too rare of late.
In the News: Literally every move Hazard makes is recorded and scrutinised by the press plebs. Last week he shook his head when someone hollered through his car window at a red light and asked him to stay. Or, in the world of what actually happened he was looking at the road, turned to face them when they shouted and then he was checking to see if the lights had changed. Because that’s what you do when you’re driving.
Ovrebo has given an interview slathered in self pity ten years on from THAT game. “I became the biggest fool in world football.” Well, you earned it. Also bemoaning that that game cost him a place officiating at the World Cup in South Africa. Boo f*cking hoo. Police gave him an escort to the plane. That should remind you just how bad it was. Four penalties and a Barcelona red card. I remember my brother letting out a hulk roar and chucking his free flag on the pitch along with several hundred other people by the time Ballack was chasing the Norwegian up the pitch towards The Shed threatening to rip his balls off and shove them down his throat. Never have I been to a football game, other than that, when you just turn to each other and say: “It doesn’t matter what we do, this guy has decided we are not going to win this game.” One of his remarks was that he struggled to stay calm when Ballack was going off at him. I’m not surprised. I think I’d rather have a Panzer tank run over my foot. He says he got to the dressing room at full time and thought “OK Tom Henning, this has not been your best night.” Astute f*cker wasn’t he? Just not on the pitch. Unless the penny finally dropped when Drogba screamed “it’s a f*cking disgrace” at the TV cameras. Ive got angry again just writing about it. Unsurprisingly, UEFA told him not to talk about it because they just wanted to sweep the whole controversy under the rug. Dicks.
Latest appeal against transfer ban fails. Now we got to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Apparently we are looking at leaving Stamford Bridge to cut costs. Though this comes from the same “Sports Newspaper of the Year” that claimed we’d been knocked out of the Europa League on penalties this week. We’ve busted our usual over 30s transfer policy to offer Luiz a two year deal. This made me all nostalgic. Do you remember when he first signed and he only knew “Come on Chelsea” and “Geezer” in English? Apparently we are set to bring Zouma back from loan. News indeed. Like we do with 99.9% of loanees at the end of a season. Oh and we’re the only club dumb enough to be trying to buy Coutinho right now. Because nothing gives Chelsea a boner more than a goal scorer who can’t score goals. Granville (sitcom alias) wants us to sell Willian. Says he’d rather spend the money on Cup-a-Soups and Monster Munch than keep him. Morata wishes Gary Cahill a happy retirement. Only for Alonso to have to point out he’s not retiring. Dumba*se. Is it in any wonder Atletico are baulking at the thought of paying for the privilege of having him pout and Instagram his way through life at theirs next season? Tag is £15m. If they’re stropping at that, how do they think we feel?!
I have nothing against Baku, I’d like to visit one day. But urgh. Here we go. UEFA. Here’s some maths for you which illustrates how utterly corrupt the b*stards are. 1,000 is about the minimum number of pounds it will cost you to get to the final. 5,700 is the return distance in miles. LONDON IS CLOSER TO BAGHDAD. But you’ll have to travel further than that, because there are no direct flights. 8 is the number of miles that separate Stamford Bridge and The Emirates, for those who like their ranting with a dose of irony. Even if you wanted to do all of this, there are only 5,800 tickets for each set of fans in a 70,000 seater stadium. UEFA put out a statement about this that basically says “we aren’t giving you any tickets because you can’t get there.” That showed zero remorse for having picked a f*cking stupid venue for a European final. In Asia. 19 is the number of days you have to sort a visa out, because there is no Moscow-style waiver setup. And it’s on a f*cking Wednesday. Added to that, there are security concerns. Oh and Mikhitarian is Armenian, so he can’t play. If a player cant get there… The Azerbaijan government are wiling to let him in, but realistically it’s going to be the equivalent of a christian walking into the coliseum to find Russell Crowe grinning at him with a whopping great big sword in his hand.
Madrid set to freeze Bale out. What, because they’ve been so warm and friendly to him this season? Inter and Juve apparently chasing Sanchez. What the f*ck for? I can only assume that he owes them money, because it certainly can’t be because they want him to play football.
The Others: None of us have to emigrate. Huzzah! 97 points, 89 goals, only one defeat, and no trophy. Glorious. They had a chance for a ten point lead at one stage. Klippity and Co. were gracious in defeat, but it will always be their fans that make it such an overwhelmingly gratifying moment when the hope dissolves and they realise that once again it’s not their year. Not the instant gratification of the Demba Ba moment, I grant you; but a slow motion, gradual face plant in a pungent, toxic, red cloud of delusion and self-aggrandisement that led to fantasy scenes of pubs full of Scousers celebrating one moment and then clocking Aguero’s equaliser, realising that it was slipping out of their grasp and actually being speechless for the first time in the much yapped about history of their gagworthy football club.
Don’t shoot Vinny! No!!! Thank f*ck he did. Because he saved us from global Armageddon last Monday against Leicester. A petition was launched by the Red Scouse to investigate Iheanacho’s miss. Probably. Kompany’s goal deserved to win that game, no matter how nervy they were. "A moment like Barcelona was worth more than silverware,” said Klippity Klopp prior to today. He’s obviously being shot up with whatever delusional anti-truth serum gets pumped into everyone’s veins the second they arrive they for a medical. Either that or Michael Owen awaits every new arrival with a bloody effective crash course in how to become an instant tedious b*stard. On the coach we were debating whether he has sex with his missus like he presents football. We surmised she counts the cracks in the ceiling while he drones on about his glory days or his racehorses in that monotonous voice until the memory of that goal against Argentina in 1998 makes him spunk a little damp puff of air and then she can get on with the housework.
Though I like the fact that there was a podium at Anfailed just in case. And fake winners medals. I hope they nick them all only to find they’re made of chocolate. Their tedious fans were declaring that they deserved a trophy for finishing second. I can fashion something out of a Bertie dump if they like. From his litter tray to their trophy cabinet. Can’t say it better than Shankly. If you’re first, you’re first. If you’re second you’re nothing. Mwhahahahahhahaha. (Evil panto laugh)
United are on the scrap heap. They have to qualify for the Europa League. Cardiff’s first goals at Old Trafford since Sp*rs weren’t famous for being Sp*rsy, like, a century ago. Sacked in the morning they were singing. The defending for the second Welsh goal was so bad that it was like watching half a dozen Carry On films rolled into one. Pogba was channelling Diego today, but without being scary. Apart from the awarding of a permanent contract to the Norwegian God of Bullsh*t (new alias) the Mancs turned down De Ligt, one of the Ajax starlets. Because his dad is fat. Their players are so embarrassed by themselves that they didn’t want to go to their own awards dinner. The answer to their defensive woes is Slabhead from Leicester apparently, though they’ve got to fight off clubs who aren’t staring down the barrel of a lit 32lb cannon. Out of the whole world of football. Slabhead. They might as well have just bloody kept Jonny Evans for all the chance they’ve got of pulling that off. Sancho reportedly p*ssed himself laughing when he found out they seriously wanted him to go there. NGoB has already declared that anybody who isn’t fit for pre-season doesn’t get to go on tour. Does that mean he’ll have to be fit to do his job too?
In other teams that finished below us, fancy having to go all the way to a dump like Turf Moor on the last day when nothing you do will make a difference or improve upon your general failure. Shame. Granit Xhaka thinks that all of the top six should get into the Champions League. He does realise that in that case L’Arse would just finish 7th? And Granville pointed out that based on all the nonsense Sp*rs hysteria in January, we were in the title race after all! Who came fourth in a three horse race?
Them: I met Foxy. Foxy is a dead fox that one of their fans wears on his head. This actually looks much better than it sounds. The stuffed head sits on his cap and then the rest of him flops down the back like a Davy Crockett hat - he wears a little shirt and everything. Very cute. It’s 60 years old so he predates Sp*rs’s last title win, which was a long, long, LONG time ago, when people weren’t so tree huggy. Secondly it's a fox, and they’re b*stards anyway. Judging by the expression on his face he went out fighting, anyway. And now he’s famous. Like a dead impressionist who nobody heard of when they were breathing.
Us: Caballero, Luiz, Dave, Zappacosta, Alonso, Jorginho, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Pedro Pony, Higuain. Which is my way of saying: lots of changes.
Before they thanked their own fans, we got a lovely reception and congratulations from the club and the home support for making the Europa League final. They weren’t loving us so much on two minutes when Slabhead nodded off, Barkley whipped round the back of the defence and got a shot off. There was a little flurry from them at the start but then we started to get into it. Willian was particularly spritely with a European final on the horizon. It was like watching Malouda when he realised his contract was about to expire. Let's not be cynical though. There was a chance for a few to make an impression with Baku looming.
Low shot from Little Willy on 13 minutes, but not enough on it and it went straight to the keeper. While they took it back off for another go at us, both ends of the ground were in last day party mode. The away support was having a merry time bantering with the yokels, sorry, locals. Curse We’ve won it all ditty, to which they responded You’ve never won League One. My point exactly. 17 and Jorginho played a neat ball out to Pedro Pony with the outside of his foot, but his attempt at a volley was scuffed and then they whacked the side netting. In truth we were all more interested in what everybody else was doing.
City still 0-0 and the Scouse were ahead. Certain quarters at Anfailed were getting a little ahead of themselves. Edgy moments in the away end back at the King Power. And a fair bit of the home crowd too. Won’t someone come and deliver us from this nightmare before it’s too late? Big cheer for Cardiff winning at Old Trafford, as attentions turned to Loftus-Cheek.
(To Push It, but Salt & Pepa)
Been Chelsea since youth - but couldn’t get a game
On loan at Palace - it just wasnt the same
In centre-mid now - he’s playing every week
Lewisham Ballack - it’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Du du du du du du it’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Du du du du du du it’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Hang on. Stop everything. BRIGHTON WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING?!
Bugger our game, now everyone is singing Come on Citeh and We hate Scousers
We only had to wait a few minutes for Pep and his minions to get their sh*t together. In came Aguero to bitchslap Scouse celebrations in the face. It’ was like this script was being written by an Evertonian with a chip on his shoulder big enough to defeat Sam Allardyce’s appetite. Rapturous celebrations from us and plenty of Leicester, followed by much gloating in the shape of the Demba Ba ditty and Have you ever seen Gerrard win the league?
Pretty much zero attention being paid to our game until we celebrated a Vardy effort being headed right at Big Willy. Hard cheese rat face, but really we should have been concentrating, because, after all, the Sp*ds were winning and we wanted to finish third. It was dead even at the moment, but not entertaining. They weren’t matching each other, just cancelling each other out. Just over from Pedro Pony, then quick reactions from Zappacosta in the box on 36 to deny them a close range chance.
At Brighton, Laporte had cannoned out of nowhere and headed the ball downwards into the net. Bet 365 pinged me, so where we were stood, we were already singing when the City goal went up on the screen. Back to the top they went. Get in. Vardy in on 44. Off he sprinted, then he played one of the worst f*cking crosses you’ve ever seen and in the end Big Willy lay dry humping the ball and somehow we still weren’t losing. In the meantime Ruben had come close again, before in injury time, Barkley played the ball through to Higuain for a sitter. Which he missed. As they walked off the pitch there was a rampant chorus of Oh Tammy Tammy, Tammy Tammy Tammy Tammy Abraham.
Do you know what we don’t get any credit from the Daily Fail and other sh*trags of its ilk for as Chelsea fans? The complete ease and open mindedness with which we have embraced the idea of gender fluid toilets. Every game I go to a game there are random chaps wandering round the ladies, and it’s just become as accepted by all involved. Nobody even bats an eyelid anymore.
The second half began with a long range effort leathered by Tielemans, but it was a choppy start to the second half, and the crowd needed to get going again. Lots of niggly fouls from them. Barkley shanked one just wide on 52, while we got big love from most of our end for Hazard as he came out to warm up. If they loved him that much they might have collectively noticed that it was in fact Kovacic running up and down. Yeah, we’d know that a*se anywhere, and that was not it. Nonetheless there were the needy chants of We want you to stay, they came back with He’s off to Madrid, to which they got back Eden Hazard, he won you the league and so on. That got a round of applause. Then the real Eden actually did come out to warm up. Another one off the line from Zappacosta. That’s two in a week. We could have maybe had a chance on 59 if our striker had you know, tried to strike the ball in the box instead of watching it rolling out of play until the fans screamed at him. At which point he began a derogatory jog.
You know the song, Love Will Tear Us Apart? Joy Division?
Sp*rs, Sp*rs are falling apart again.
They were winning. Then not winning. Then losing. Then not losing. Either way, if Everton hung on to a draw, we would finish above the jobbers even if we didn’t score. And frankly, by this point Sexpest had a better chance of scoring than any player out there on either side.
We were still having a go, but it was very shoddy in the final third and we’d lost interest in the stands. Well, I had. Clearance by Slabhead on 81. Lame penalty shout by us on 82. Then it was Operation Sexpest. He’s on wheels at the moment, and I had to go and find him as the clock ticked down in order to deliver him back to his coach. There he was basking in the sunshine in his chair, close enough to the pitch that Higuain would have heard his brutal opinion when he let the ball roll out. He’d made a friend too. She’s been going to Chelsea since 1959 and thus reserves the right to tell any player she likes that he is being a dickhead. She exercised this right on half the team in the last five minutes. This was after the stewards at Leicester (who were very nice to our disabled fans today by the way) tried to inform her that we were out of wheelchair spaces, that she’d have to sit with the home fans and not cheer if we scored. She told them to f*ck off. The fact that she was kitted head to toe in Chelsea gear, as was her mobility thingy, probably made the argument ever so slightly redundant. Anyway, they had a fab time together, and with the stewards. On the final whistle I decided to wheel Sexpest as close to the pitch as possible, in the hope that a player would pay attention to him. Thank you David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, for making him feel special and ensuring that he got a shirt from the former. Being the weirdo perv that he is, the first thing he did was sniff it. Then he made me sniff it. Our number 30 smells remarkably un-offensive at the end of a game of football.
So: I’ll dissect our season properly in the book of the blog, after Baku, but suffice to say on the plus side, we were never going to beat the top two after what they spent, with a new manager when theirs have had a few years to acclimatise to the Premier League. They were the only two that finished ahead of us. And we made two finals, might possibly take a European trophy. Glass half full, though Smutbuddy on the Fancast is going to literally soil himself out of rage when he sees that I’ve written that. In miserable bugger mode, Sarri hinted that catching the Scouse or City is basically impossible. We could discuss everything bad there is about him now, and what’s been wrong with us this season, but I’m too busy p*ssing myself laughing at the Scouse and it’s a buzz kill. Soon my pretties, soon.
On to Baku we go. Well, half a dozen or so fans might make it. This is a conversation with my one Gooner friend:
“I don’t want Hazard having a good leaving party!!"
“Don’t worry, we’re going to have to try and keep him off the burgers for seventeen days.”
"I’m on Deliveroo sorting him out now!”
As for Sexpest, we delivered him home safe and sound. Actually thrilled and chirping away like an excited kid about his day out. He even ended up with two of us briefly in his bedroom, so he was happy. He’s determined that he’s going to be walking in and out of games next season, so channel your best wishes, pray for him, send him dirty pictures or some Scouse bashing memes; whatever, anything you can to keep his spirits up and restore him to full filthy git mode. Because he’s adamant that he’s not going to be beaten. And we love him and we want him back.
Chelsea 1 (2) Eintracht Frankfurt 1 (2) (Chelsea win 4-3 on penalties)
Thursday 9th May 2019 20:00
I could not have put it better myself. The credit, however, goes to the mad bloke jumping and down behind me when the last penalty went in.
In the News: I’ll get back to the usual mockery at the weekend, but I want to say something about what hasn’t been in the footballing press of late. A creditable apology. Earlier this season Colin Wing was accused of making a racist remark against Raheem Sterling. He always insisted that he called him a “Manc c***.” In the context of the game this was shortly after Sterling had dumped one of our players on the floor. Mean response, maybe. But the simple fact is that if you removed every fan who said something horrible to a player in the heat of the moment from a match, grounds up and down the country would be empty. Some people do it, some people don’t, but if you’re a match going fan, it is not new to you. It is an environment you willingly enter. The press even hired their own lip-readers who backed Mr. Wing’s claim, and not even the player was able to claim that he heard anyone racially abusing him.
We need to do everything we can to kick all forms of discrimination out of football. It revolts me. It should revolt everybody. Nobody should be expected to work in an environment where they get that thrown at them. I know I would walk off the job. I am an ethnic minority myself, and I have not one single ounce of compassion for what happens to people who are guilty of these offences, no matter which club they support. That said, they must ACTUALLY be guilty. It is for the police, victims, witnesses and the courts, with the help of the clubs, to work out who is. Not the press. Or the FA, who allegedly offered the Met money to convict. I’d be really interested to know if a transaction like this has actually been carried through at any point and at whose expense.
At no point was Mr. Wing ever cautioned, charged or prosecuted for a crime, and yet his life is in ruins. It was a witch hunt using keyboards instead of pitch forks. It made Salem look restrained. To quote a Fancast regular, Joe Tweedie: “Trial by social media is one of the worst things about today. It's so real time that companies feel compelled to act because if they don't they're being "cancelled" or harbouring "racists". No one has time for the due diligence to occur. And when social media is wrong, as it often is, there are no repercussions. People just move onto the next outrage. The next person to cancel.”
Colin Wing was charged, brutally prosecuted, he and his family vilified, before he was hung out to dry as a racist within 48 hours by the media. They produced pictures of his house. They harassed his neighbours in the middle of the night. This is wrong. It’s terrifying, in fact, the force with which this whirlwind of indignation destroyed a man whom the authorities and the alleged victim (in this case, I don’t for one second belittle abuse that Sterling or anyone else has suffered at other times) never saw fit to accuse of a crime, and then moved on to the next story leaving carnage behind.
I liken all this to submarine warfare in WW1. You had all this established practice about seizing enemy ships and giving passengers and crew time to evacuate safely before you ran off with the spoils from the time of Henry VIII. It allowed for a reasonable and balanced process where people didn’t get hurt and the perpetrators were encouraged not to act like a*seholes. Then along comes this technology that makes it possible to obliterate an enemy ship in minutes without all of this pesky humanity and touchy feely sh*t and it flies in the face of it to surface and give them a warning as to what is coming. So this technology sucks the responsibility out of their actions for those who have access to it. You’re not going to stop people using this invention, because it’s shiny and effective and somehow people are willing to overlook the fact that this new practice is outrageous and casts the established rules aside and causes mass casualties by its appalling behaviour. They’re going to blow you to sh*t and carry on with their day because it’s possible to do so. And that is what has happened to Colin Wing. He didn’t get his due process, and when finally it came out in the wash that he wasn’t guilty, nobody gave a sh*t. Who is regulating these morons who evidently can’t moderate themselves? Since the case was dropped in its entirety, the lack of remorse on the part of these supposed journalists has been non-existent.
Another Churchill once said something about great power coming with great responsibility. In this case the power comes with great numbers of followers, a great reach in the world of social media. The people manipulating them, because that is what is is, do have a duty to act responsibly, and in this case, they did the opposite. And now the law has proved them incorrect they should acknowledge it. Matthew Syed, you can go first.
The Others: Epic games involving English clubs this week. Chelsea women won 0-8 at Yeovil on Tuesday night and the following evening Everton U23s seized a narrow victory over Newcastle’s youth in what was a pulsating game. Probably.
Ok. I will pick these bits out because you know the press would if it was us... Nothing but respect, we were told as the Red Scouse gargled along to that god awful song before kick off. Yes look at the darlings. I wonder which were the ones setting off the fireworks so respectfully outside the Farca hotel the night before the game? Not enough media spunk to go round with Scouse and Messi in the same game. The following night was equally as sickening. We had Jermaine Penis waffling on about the Diving Little Sh*t and his reformed character. His matureness. Is this fool on crack? Ali tried to start a pinch up in the first leg?
Us: Hudson-Odoi outside in his pyjamas eclipsed anything involving personnel on the pitch. The Beard up front, and yes, Hazard started.
Them: They wore white and their flags were made out of bin liners. I was too nervous to notice anything else, except for the fact that despite how raucous they were in the ground, I was in Fulham from about 3pm and their behaviour appeared to be impeccable.
Last home game of the season. Firm start from us, not the hideous stuttering we’ve borne witness to on occasion this term. I wondered if they would try and conserve energy after the faded so badly last week, but it didn’t look like it. Slightly less of a headless chicken approach, but the difference was negligible. First shot from them in the shape of a header, but it was a comfortable save from Kepa. 10 minutes gone and a penalty shout. Looked more hapless than malicious, but it did seem that he just fell over Ruben and took him down. Nothing doing. Another couple of close calls but on twenty minutes and we still hadn’t had a clear shot. On 23 minutes, after much faffing on a free kick we finally took it and I was sure Luiz had flicked it on, but somehow they managed to scramble it clear. Gits.
In the opening half an hour, 99% of our crosses into the box so far had been toss, but it you are going to trust any player right now to take matters into his own hands it’s Ruben. We were in a direct line with it in The Shed and you could see it was going in as soon as it left his foot. BOOM. 1-0. He was almost in again straight afterwards, and moving on there wasn’t a lot coming from Frankfurt that looked like it was actually going to get them a goal. When they did look scary on 36 minutes, Luiz came to our rescue. Willian tried to pick a fight with Falette after a sh*tty tackle. Good job the referee intervened, otherwise Little Willy was getting knocked into the ground like a tent peg by that beast. Gilt edged chance for Ruben to get his second on 39, but it was deflected out. All in all a very satisfactory half of football. Didn’t trust us. Obviously saving up all the batsh*t crazy drama for after the break.
Great block by Dave to start the second half. They were screaming for a penalty on 48 minutes, then again on 49. Neither of them were, because I say so, but it’s ok, we were feeling benevolent so we let them have an away goal anyway. That seemed to give us a boot up the a*se. The ball was flicked back to The Beard by Hazard on 50, but he socked it wide. We couldn’t quite get a proper grip on the game. Nothing The Beard tried paid off up front, no real magic from Eden so far either. In fairness to Sarri, he did, actually, look tired. Familiar territory. Our season in a nutshell, but it was a measure of Ruben’s strength that they’d just taken to kicking him because they couldn’t handle him. They were all over us. On 58 minutes Kepa was required to punch it clear, but then like the loveably(ish) incompetent, bonkers lunatics that we’ve become this season, we were straight up the other end and trying to scrap it in. Willian off on 61 for Pedro Pony. No offence Willy, but I feel much better with him chipping in at the back with the pressure were under now. All of which is if our own making.
First corner of the second half for us on 69 minutes. Typically sh*t. A thumping long range shot from Luiz was off target. We were a man down shortly afterwards with Christensen’s forced departure. Instead of bringing Cahill on, Sarri moved Dave in there and brought Zappacosta on on the right. If this was to go tits up now he was really going to get it from the fans. Perhaps he didn’t think Cahill had 45 minutes in his legs if it went to extra time. Bearing in mind he’s ignored him all season. Free kick on 75 minutes. Get everyone up. And then do nothing. Urgh. The football gods wept at the state of that. Ruben dug us out of a hole straight afterwards and the result was a long shot that needed prompt attention from the Frankfurt keeper. But no cigar.
We just looked utterly cagey with the ball now, terrified of f*cking it up. Ruben defending like a boss with ten minutes ago. And he needed to, because we kept giving the sodding ball away. Why have we always got to be the problem child? Everyone one else has got the job done and taken their place in the finals and here we were. Dave was almost sent off on 83, because he was playing in the wrong bloody position. The one he got away with after his yellow resulted in a dangerous free kick. An actual dangerous free kick, not when Bet365 tells you it is and the opposition are still in their own half. Luiz’s face put the block in. He was becoming more and more dominant in the box.
Pandemonium then when Sarri decided to take Ruben off for Barkley. Outraged boos as our best player tonight walked off to a chorus of “f*ck Sarriball.” On 87 Ross did drive us forward for The Beard to have a rare stab at goal, but it was straight at the keeper. Total inability to pass the ball to each other as the seconds ticked down. Dave was marking someone a foot and a half taller, two foot wider than him and he was on a yellow. Excellent game management boss. If we were going to make it through this, it was arguably in spite of the game plan, not because of it, but do we have to give him the benefit of the doubt for knowing better than we do what shape each tired individual is in at the end of a long season?
Five minutes added on. Free kick on 90. God love the guy behind me. THIS IS THE ONE, he shouted. Christ knows where he managed to find any positivity after this half. But it was us doing the pressing. Corner. Taken slowly. Nobody attacking it and it sailed into the keeper’s hands. Then the game rolled over and died. If you were us. Attempting to just pass it around and not lose. Ended up giving a free kick away. Luiz to the rescue again. They were even less enthusiastic about taking a corner. I’ve seen Sam Allardyce move faster after a trip to an all you can eat buffet.
Oh goodie. Extra time. Can we bring Ruben back on? Sliding save from them as we began the first half. Lots of Chelsea players shouting at each other, apart from Ross who was concentrating on trying to bury it in the top corner. Close. We looked somewhat rejuvenated, they looked like they were wasting time to get to penalties. The Beard, who’d been sadly ineffectual all night, went off after five minutes for Higuain. Somewhere Sheldon (sitcom alias) was screaming at his TV. They sloppily gave it straight to Hazard, but then we couldn’t get our sh*t together in the box. Just sloppy football end to end now. Panic stations.We nearly cocked it right up after ten minutes, lucky not to be out. Their keeper was making Ben Foster look like a whippet every time he had to put the ball back into play. Hurrah for Ross, who was at least trying to kick the ball at the goal when he got it. Lots of oafish, late and very tired tackles coming in from them by now. If only we were sensible enough to take advantage of their exhaustion.
Fifteen minutes left for us to get our sh*t together. Another crucial save from Luiz’s face. It didn’t look like either team could be particularly a*sed by now if I’m honest. We had a minute wiped off the clock by someone tying their bootlace. Nobody wanted to win, they were just terrified of losing. Emerson tried to win it single-handedly on twenty minutes. Nearly did it, sadly also nearly killed himself in the process. Really well held up by Barkley to win us a corner when play restarted. Best shot in ages on 24 from Zappacosta but tipped away.
Goal? No. Free kick to them. This is purgatory. It’s Lost and we’re destined to live this game on a loop for all eternity not knowing if we’re going to win it. Remember how we all lasted six years watching that programme and then realised that it was in actual fact a pointless waste of time? This is where this semi-final is headed. 29 minutes and up we go again. Pedro Pony lined one up. It it was deflected early. Zappacosta booked for kicking the ball away as they broke. Couldn’t blame him at that point. I’d have made the most of it and kicked it at someone’s face. Luiz with the clearance again. Whatever happened from here he’d played this like a final. He’d left absolutely everything out there.
Penalties against Germans. My favourite thing ever. After drinking battery acid and watching anything that involves Alan Carr. We got penalties at the shed end for once. Here’s a vote for you - was it
A) because Mark Worrall moved to The Shed for the night or
B) Because they are running away from Mowgli who had gone down to the MH?
Them first: Easy along the ground
Ross: Emphatic and smashed in
Them: Kepa right way, just under his body
Dave: Low and to the corner, too slow. His body language telegraphed where he was sending it.
Them: I had to run for a pee. Not a clue.
Jorginho: Go on, everyone has got to say something nice after tonight. Total opposite of Dave, no hint at which way he was going.
Them: Best penalty stop ever. One knee from Kepa, killed it dead.
Luiz: Belted it.
Them: Saved! Atchung bitches! Proper save this time. Tonight’s hero.
Hazard: Fate. Not been that confident since The Drog walked up in Munich.
So: We had the chance to bury them in the first leg. We didn’t. We had the chance to bury them in the first half. We didn’t. At all other times they chucked everything at us. But all of that is forgotten. Ruben was outstanding again, Luiz grew into the game like the warrior he has been for us since the CL campaign in 2012. Kepa may have the least scary face in football, even when he’s gobbing off before a spot kick, but he still managed to fend off the opposition when it mattered in the shootout. Verily, we have slain the best that Europe has to offer. Ahem. We have chewed a path so far through the continent that we’ve actually come out the other side. For a final in Asia. F*ck sake. And with quite probably his last kick of a football at Stamford Bridge, Eden, we never doubted you.
Chelsea 3 Watford 0
Sunday 5th May 2019 14:00
No, not Eden. But Sarri was tasked with top four. And he’s done it. With a game to spare. Strap yourselves in, because you’ve got to live with his methods, his substitutions, his love affair with poor, maligned Jorginho AND that hideous new shirt come August.
In the News: Hazard valuation. £30m less than Pogba? F*ck off. Luiz looks more likely than not to stay on next season, Ruben contract likely to be addressed sooner rather than later to avoid another mess like CHO, and Kepa has given a frank interview re the cup final incident that admits that his dad gave him a right whooping aftewards.
Podgettino to be given a WAR CHEST of £100m. That’s not a war chest. That’s barely f*cking pocket money anymore. The equivalent, apparently, of Pogba with one and a half legs. Yeah that’ll do it. That will solve all of your Sp*rsy problems. Roma, Lyon and Celtic all in for Chequebook Pulis. Give it another ten years and he will just be another Steve Bruce/Neil Warnock bobbing up and down between the Premier League and the Championship. And Farca fans apparently looking to exact revenge this week in the land of Scouse by pushing locals unwillingly into job centres. Badoom-tish.
The Others: It’s like the tenth circle of hell listening to Scouse orientated pundits w*nking themselves silly every time they score a goal during this title run in. God-willing by Monday night City will have gone ahead again. Klippity Klopp said he’d pack up and go and manage in Switzerland if he didn’t win a title in four years up there. Fingers crossed. His middle name is Norbert. I did not know that until I Wikipediaed him to see how much longer we have to watch him jumping up and down like Wurzel Gummidge smacked off his tits on Match of the Day before he f*cks off to the land of watches, hidden bank accounts and awesome chocolate.
Oh Sp*rs. No away points since 20th January. Is that worse than Arsenal’s away run lately? And note that this horrendous and hilarious decline began immediately that they insisted that they were a third horse in the title race. Down to nine men, Son suckered into a red card that is karma when measured against his diving, and it was a day that ends in a y, so “Eric Dire was lucky to be on the pitch.” A tale of two penalties elsewhere in North London. They could only draw with Brighton, thus sending us into the Champions League next season and making it all but impossible for them to join us unless they win the Europa League. This from my one Gooner friend on Emery: “He could or could not be a good manager but when you have defenders like Mustafi, Sokratis & Lichsteiner with Xhaka, Iwobi, El-neny in front of them you’re going to struggle… Still find it ironic that when we have a poor season and Chelsea have a poor season, Sp*rs will finish three or so points ahead of us and 1 behind you yet they are the f*cking future of football and we should all be dipping down to suck their cocks. They’ve lost a third of all of their league games!!” And United have spectacularly bombed out of the hunt for the top four completely with a tragic draw with Huddersfield. All they had to do was beat two already relegated teams to put themselves in with a chance. They need to cull their squad dramatically. Which is ludicrous when you considered what they have spent on wages and fees of late. Apparently willing to SPEND £13m to get rid of the woeful, pathetic spectre of Sanchez. Allegedly their divas lose 25% of their wages for not qualifying and Pogba misses out on £1.8m bonus. However will get by? They don’t deserve the money or the Champions League.
And the relegation scrap is done. Nobody should suffer what Cardiff did with the loss of a player in such awful circumstances, that was terrible, but Warnock has blamed literally everyone but himself for their plight, before snapping that he won’t miss the league that he insists they shouldn’t have been relegated from when they go down. On about not being able to afford to say what he thinks, and conversely speculating about, nay, threatening, to write a book. Whatever. He’s gone. Again. Gringott’s can have him back.
Us: Higuain back in the starting eleven. Sheldon (sitcom alias) refuses to refer to him as anything but Fatty Boom-Boom. And the welcome, for me and many others, addition of Cahill to the bench to cover the two centre backs. Immediately wanted to see him at least for a token appearance at the end so that we could give him an appropriate send off.
Them: Urgh. Troy Deeney. I said last week that he had a face like a doner kebab. I want to amend this: to a doner kebab that’s been dropped on the floor outside the shop at 4am and trod on/tripped over by Andy Carroll. Incidentally, when asked if he wanted to defend Deeney on the radio on Friday, a Watford fan said he loved him as a player, but couldn’t defend his face.
Watford clearly turned up, putting the thought of their cup final to one side and stomping all over us in the opening spell. They had a shot well wide on six minutes, that they got a little too excited about, before an excellent save by Kepa kept us in it. I thought he’d jumped too early but somehow he got his hand to it and turned it out. Sadly in the same move Kante was broken. F*ck sake. We’ll only see him again this season now, speculates Sarri, if we make it to Baku. Flat start for us. No shots on or off target, thirty percent possession and Pedro Pony had spent the whole game fiddling with his left boot so far.
Ruben came on after just 9 minutes to replace the stricken N’golo and promptly picked up impressively where he left off on Thursday night. We started to slowly improve. A deft effort from Jorginho after a cut back from Eden on 13, but it looped high and into the keepers hands. It has not gone untouched that getting smacked over the head the other day has meant he suddenly speaks English football. Sadly there was never enough on that one. A Fatty Boom-Boom effort (I know, it’s mean, I’ll stop) was blocked on 15 and inexplicably resulted in a goal kick. Oh joy. Ben Foster. The worst time waster in the league. Kebab face was making a nuisance of himself at the other end, and they had a shot over the bar on 19 minutes. Only one team in it at the moment. The chap behind me was only willing to pass them the slimmest of compliments: “They’re like a good Burnley.”
A sublime ball from Jorginho was about an inch too long for Hazard, who went straight back in but then had a shot at the corner flag. My pre-match prediction was 2-1 after they scored the first and we went through the wringer, but this had looked a tad optimistic up till now. They almost scored again, before Mowgli pipes up with: “How long have we had a red stripe on our backs?” Naturally we looked at him like he was a madman. Since kick off. Dickhead. “They don’t usually wear the new kit the season before do they?” Sigh. We’d got slightly better, but were still frustrating. Typical cynical foul on Eden on 28. The free kick went across the face of the goal, but when it came back, Luiz was sat on. This game was exactly what you would have predicted before hand. Turgid.
Brilliant work from Eden on 35 in the box, he finally got his pass out to Pedro Pony but the latter didn’t have the right angle for the shot. This was a classic example of our ineptitude: Ball dug out by Jorginho. Ruben turns, very skilfully. Faffed on edge of box before Eden crossed it right in front of the box. Higuain just watched it go past, no effort to find it at all. He gets that that is his job, right? Another fine effort at getting forward on 39, another corner not given despite the fact that Watford put it out. Great interplay between Higuain and Pedro Pony from a Ruben flick, but the shot was wide. A minute later Foster put the ball back into play. Git. Typically we were starting to look good, just as we ran out of time before the break. Possibly sulked a bit too much at half time because we had improved and played our way into it. And because we scored straight away.
Hazard shot goes out for a corner. He takes it short to Pedro Pony, who gives it back and a flick up from Eden finds Ruben muscling Chalobah off the ball on the edge the six yard box. Banging header. We were nearly in again straight away, and were smashing them at this point. Either Sarri had said something sensible or they’d all chuffed down their Weetabix at half time. Unlike Mowgli, who inexplicably had drunk A GLASS OF WINE.
Awful, awful, AWFUL defending by Watford about a minute after the goal and Luiz rises to head in another and double the lead. As his hair has started to recede, every time the wind lifts it up he looks more and more like Doc Brown. Legend. Take that Foster, you muppet. All that work for nothing on the part of the visitors. T*ttenham Hotsp*r it’s Happening Again was the refrain all around the Bridge. Delofeu came close for them on 55. How has he ended up playing for them? How we didn’t make it three shortly afterwards I can’t tell you. Hazard stays on his feet in the box, plays it to Pedro Pony whose shot is palmed away and Ruben can’t quite get a proper attempt off with a defender sliding in. Just wide.
Cahill warming up. Good. 39 games in a row, apparently, since we’ve seen him. Typical flying save against Chelsea from Foster from another Higuain shot. Refwatch: Paul Tierney: Learn what a corner is you bellend. Other than that some good use of advantage and did not fall for any shenanigans. Other than Ben Foster, who seems to have some f*cking Jedi power when it comes to wasting time that ensures that no official can see it. Or maybe it’s as simple as him hiding behind that tramp beard.
73 minutes gone and they were calling for a penalty. I couldn’t figure out why, and I didn’t really care. Four minutes later the whole thing was over when Higuain dinked it over Foster. They couldn’t muster anything more but smacking the crossbar and scoring an offside goal. We got our Cahill love-in. Deeney fell over on the edge of the box. The fact that he tried to roll inside and claim a penalty was funny because a) he left a dent where he originally went down and b) he found out he was too cumbersome to turn himself over. That was it, save for The Beard coming close on 88 and a last, daft effort in injury time.
So: 3-0 probably harsh on them, but who really cares? Sheldon still isn’t having Higuain. Says scoring against Watford, Burnley, Fulham and Huddersfield ain’t all that. Bizarrely, considering a rollercoaster of f*ckwittery and some of the worst football I can remember us playing, coupled with some of the worst decisions by a manager since Fabregas kept getting played in his utter w*nk, purple and non-magic-hat phase, we have cemented a place in the top four. And come Thursday we might be in a European Final. Go figure.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1 Chelsea 1
Thursday 2nd May 2019 20:00
In the News: Our new kit is rancid. I think I last saw something that nasty on Byker Grove in the early 90s. Anyone who says they like it and wasn’t off their face on acid during that time period, LIES. Knowing that the club make a point of butting against the Peoples Republic of Nike when it comes to their ludicrous demands I dread to think what the alternatives looked like if THIS is the one that got through. I’m not offended because I wanted to buy it. I didn’t want to wear it. I’m offended because I’ve got to LOOK AT IT for nigh on a year all over Europe. That’s how sh*t it is. Oh yay, Eden is wearing it in the picture. Maybe, but he looks like it is causing him actual, physical and emotional PAIN. After one photoshoot. We might as well have got a cattle prod and zapped him closer to the door.
“Of course I want to stay at Arsenal,” says Ozil. “I have two more years left here.” No sh*t. What he meant to add was, “and I’ve realised that I’m more likely to trip over a purple unicorn outside Finsbury Park station than find anyone else stupid enough to pay me what they do for turning up to work one match in five.” Ferdinand in line for a Sporting Director role at Old Trafford. Whatever gets him off my TV screen. And Casillas has had a heart attack. At 37. Shocking. And yet thankfully looks like he will make a full recovery. Whether he returns to football remains to be seen.
The Others: To Dare is to Do. I suppose its snappier than: To Dare is to Fall Flat on Our Faces to he Amusement of the Rest of the Footballing World. The sound of Jermaine Penis bashing one out at his microphone for ninety minutes made me nauseous. Almost as much as the rampant use of language condemned by the World Jewish Council that nobody, ;east of all Sp*rs themselves will do anything about. Thankfully Ajax’s well deserved goal shut the “Y*d Army” up and we didn’t have to listen to Jermaine spaffing himself silly. I never thought I would be so joyous when plonked in front of yet another Farcelona w*nkfest. But when they destroy the Red Scouse it would just be churlish not to enjoy the ride. Obviously the donkey-faced, racist, cheating little bitey f*cktard celebrated when he scored. Poor them. They defended him when he called Evra a n*****r. They even had t-shirts made. And now he does this and reveals himself to be a c***. Of course, anyone who isn’t one of their special breed of delusional twat realised he was a c*** WHEN HE CALLED EVRA A N*****R IN THE FIRST PLACE. But what can you do? You’ll never change them. And for that reason we will continue to gag on our sick at their nonsense. Here’s a potential song that arrived via Barkles (special alias) Not as good as the Brendan Rodgers one, but that was special. As soon as City have done their job we can start singing it:
He never wins a trophy
He’s never gonna stop
He is a trophy dodger
And his name is Jurgen Klopp.
Them: Da Costa said they aren’t afraid, but that there is respect for a great team. Er, not that great, but thanks.
Us: Hazard only on the bench, which considering they aren’t easy to score against is retarded. Even if they weren’t, its a European semi-final, and he’s our best player. 17 days, 334 minutes of football. Not that much, in the scheme of things. But Sarri says he’s tired. Urgh. Wants him to change the game from the bench apparently. Would we even need to change the game if we started? At least Higuain is next to him though, in favour of The Beard. The first Chelsea player to reach double figures in European competition in a season. Sarri might have been forced to eat a slice of Walder-Frey-style humble pie at the back had Cahill’s achilles not a*sed itself up. Sad times. So a back two pairing of Luiz and Christensen, who are the only two centre backs we have. They needed to do well. Walked out by our “unlikely” leader according to BT Sport. Not as unlikely as Klopp bagging a trophy this season, she dares to suggest. Dickheads. The presenter tonight was so orange that she actually clashed with the set.
4th in the Premier League vs 4th in the Bundesliga. They are having their best season in a quarter of a century. And they break quickly. However, they are a bit like us under Conte in the first season. Doing very well, but with limited personnel. And apparently they are getting tired. Positive start from both sides, with nothing alarming happening at either end in the first ten minutes. Terrible challenge from Christensen for a yellow card, and shortly afterwards their Captain, Abraham was left by Emerson in the box and had all the time in the world to take the ball down and have a shot, but thankfully it was sh*t and went over the bar. I don’t think he could quite believe it had got to him. We weren’t let off the hook for long. Ball given away by the Beard and they were off. Four in the box, none of them expecting Jovic to get on the end of a sh*t cross and somehow head it in.
We didn’t roll over. Chelsea taking sh*t corners. Who’d have thought? At least we were getting up there though, I suppose. The Beard down in the box with ten to go, but he had shoved the defender over first. P*ssed off he’s not getting the ball. Christensen really was skating on thin ice on 40. One more and he’s gone. Loftus-Cheek powered one at the goal at the other end, but it was deflected out for a corner. About as good as its been for us in this half. Yet another failed corner followed, but back came RLC, skipping along the edge of the box like Eden, totally unmolested. His shot was just wide. We were plodding away at it, and then finally, on the stroke of half time, there was Ruben yet again, slicing his way around the box and digging the ball out from another corner, laying it off to Pedro Unicorn who sliced it past the keeper. Thank f*ck for that.
We have an away goal, and a world class player sitting on the bench getting off on looking at burger menus on UberEats when he could be helping us put this to bed. If we don’t fully wrap this up in this leg, without him, to justify this nonsense about not wanting to make him tired, then I will have a smoke detector (like the ones in aeroplane toilets) that also delivers an electric shock, sewn surgically into Sarri’s ball sack so that he can never have a moment of peace. Ever. Again.
Frankfurt looked leggy at the restart. They’ve not actually won that many games of late. Fingers crossed our own unpredictable ineptitude doesn’t f*ck us out of a favourable result. Pause while Jorginho gets a headband. Presumably to protect everyone else from those bloody ears, bless him. 53 minutes and Ruben was off again, broke from midfield and left three for dust, got it back for the shot but it bounced off his shin and went over. Balls. Willian was next with a go, straight at the keeper and not enough power. Frankfurt were looking ropey, and had delivered nothing going forward.
Hazard was stripped. This concept is thrilling on many levels if you are of a sausage persuasion. Meanwhile Luiz had taken his sweeta*se time on a free kick. But it was so, so close to putting us ahead. They were picking up cards now, for trying to kill Ruben, among other things. Eden on for Willian. Our shiniest toy versus very tired looking opposition. Yet another corner thanks to The Beard on 62. He looked chirpier now that Hazard was on. To be honest he had really put a shift in thus far, with not a lot of personal reward to be had for his effort. They were still potentially dangerous if they could break, but passes were wayward and long, thankfully. It was like watching us in the mirror. Slightly flailing, not looking like scoring, giving the ball away and getting rapidly closer to disaster as the game went on. Excellent header by Luiz from an Eden free kick on 76, but dammit it went straight at the keeper. They were screaming for a penalty a minute later, but it appeared to come off The Beard’s chest. I’m just going to pause for a moment to visualise his chest…
The referee had had a reasonably good game. If we didn’t score again it would be a travesty as we had mashed them into a pulp in this half. They were hanging out of their a*ses. They came close on 80 but were wrongly flagged offside. No, Chelsea. No. Then Frankfurt started to stir again, as if they had got through the very worst of it. Once again Abraham’s complete lack of a sense of direction saved us on 84. Then they were coming at us again, however, no matter what their intentions were, they were dead on their feet, dogged by exhaustion and cramp and tortured with an extra five minutes.
So: I need a pair of nail scissors, some crocodile clips (just because I’m a sadist), a needle and thread, a smoke detector and some chloroform. That I’m pretty sure I can just convince him to smoke without any forceful application. Frankfurt will be muchly satisfied that they somehow managed to cling on by their fingernails to this tie. Well done Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who completely rose to the occasion in the biggest game of his career so far. We have broken a record, going 15 games unbeaten in this competition, but it doesn’t feel like much of an achievement given that this tie was there for the taking. Will be a nervy affair next week given that there were seven goals when Prague came to visit. Watford now. Deep joy. Deeney, who has eaten so many kebabs that his face has morphed into one. I’ll be bringing a small person with me who could do with a proper spoiling if you see me.
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 1
Sunday 28th April 2019 16:00
Red Scouse 2 Chelsea 0: Thankfully I was “yomping about the mountains of Peru with my pet idiot” (Mowgli) and missed this limp, pathetic display. Midway through the Inca Trail when we somehow managed to concede a hatful against a team from which I can’t name one player. Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3. Not a convincing procession into the semi-final. Then the internet went into meltdown when we only managed to draw against bleak relegation fodder. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2. 400 metres up a sheer cliff face for that one on the way to sleep in a London Eye type pod hanging off the side of a mountain. Had I been forced to watch it I might have considered unclipping myself and taking a quick way down that didn’t involve the zip lines. But sadly, you can’t even avoid how hapless Chelsea are under Sarri in the Andes. It’s inescapable. Then again you’d have thought that having surprised everyone by booking Heaton for time wasting for half an hour and putting a stop to Burnley’s Championship level w*nkery, that Kevin Not-My Friend might not have still ended up behaving like a total thunderc*nt. Sarri was charged with misconduct. Probably because of his inability to bring on Giroud until the game was basically over and hoping that Higuain would make the difference against a defence of meatheads instead. Duh.
In the News: Hudson-Odoi is broken, does that mean he is unable to run away this summer? I’m coming to terms with the fact that after seven odd years I can now count the number of times left that I will see Eden Hazard in a Chelsea shirt on one hand. Speaking of Chelsea shirts - if he was unsure of whether to go or not, the new kit would have done it. What he actual f*ck is that about? Just when Nike were getting a clue, or at least being bludgeoned into submission in the megastore, along they come with a f*cking hideous tribute to 1991. IS this genuine? Are we to jog out to warm up wearing a matching shell-suit? If we are in the market for a new manager this summer, let is not be Jimmy Floyd, who reportedly claimed that we should flog Eden and bring back Morata. God help Roma, who are apparently either going to get Sarriball or Conte and his alternative personality. Atletico are undecided about whether to keep Diego around after his implosion and his eight match ban. If we buy him back, he may just be surly and fat again, but at least it will shut Mowgli up complaining about how much he misses him.
Eden is being far more classy about potential Real departure than Pogba, who unsurprisingly is taking the spoilt, egotistical brat approach. Statistically did you know he has spent more time this season WALKING about the pitch than any other midfielder in the league. Unsurprisingly, because he is a sh*t of the highest order, Donkeyface says he will have no problems celebrating in front of the Red Scouse fans should he score against them in the Champions League. Given that a large measure of these are the same morons who defended him for biting people, I find it hard to give a sh*t. The level of press spunkery over the Red Scouse it getting unbearable. You can hear them willing City to lose. Dean Saunders can’t understand why neutrals don’t want them to win. It’s because they are smug a*seholes, Dean. Cardiff fans judged mean for chasing a Scouse fan. Out of the home end. When he celebrated them scoring. And Chelsea fans accused of making up an incident where a disabled child had to be treated by paramedics because of a smoke canister and then have to mount a social media campaign to get the Press Plebs to write about it. FIFA levelled an utterly pathetic 20,000 Euro fine at Montenegro for all of the racist abuse flung at England players. Go. F*ck, Yourselves. You crooked b*stards. Sanchez has now earned £30m for just 30 woeful starts in Manchester, and is being touted as the worst value signing, ever. Poor West Ham, who’d have thought that Wilshere and Carroll would prove to be a waste of time and effort? Well, everyone who isn’t West Ham, probably. It looks like Cardiff will now join Huddersfield and Fulham in the Championship next season. Bye bye Warnock, with your weird Gringott’s goblin face and Peggy Mitchell “get out of my pub” sneer. On the down side, Norwich are back, which means another of the most tedious road trips in football. Good to see a Sheffield side coming up too though, for something different.
And just in, there has been a mini-bus crash in Turkey injuring the likes of Stephen Caulker and Papa Cisse and killing Josef Sural, a Czech international. You may not have heard of him, but Petr Cech is amongst those paying heartfelt tributes. He was just on his way home from a game, and he leaves behind a wife and two daughters, one of whom was only born in February, so spare a thought for them.
The Others: Even if our ineptitude and f*ckwittery is inescapable, thankfully, it also seems to be catching. Even if we lost we would stay fourth, though we would have had to win 9-0 to go third. Because suddenly (and luckily for us) nobody in contention for the Champions League games feels like winning. Arsenal suck more than any other club in the country away from home, Sp*rs are too busy prematurely awarding themselves the CL trophy to pay attention to the league and United are just the same as they were under Chequebook Pulis since Ole got the job full time and crashed whatever it was he was “at the wheel” of into a brick wall of sh*t football. Since I’ve been away we’ve been losing half our games as a group. West Ham took a giant dump in the shiny new toilet bowl that is Wait Hart Lane, the Goons have lost to Palace, Wolves and Leicester since I went to South America, and United have had seven defeats in nine. Meanwhile in the race for the title I’ve never been so invested in what another club are doing; shrieking like a banshee the wilds of Peru as City clawed their way over the line in every fixture.
Them: A team with a more miserable run than us at the moment. This is rare. Five of them not got a lot of football in them of late. Half of them used to play for us.
Us: Kovacic and Jorginho together. Which statistically means no goals. Joy. Front three of Willian, Eden and Higuain.
It was a fiery start - in which we actually attacked. Hooray. Kante with the first bursting run into the United box at the Theatre of Plastic Dreams. Seconds later Rudi was caught right out by the lolloping, unfit mess that is Lukaku, who thankfully has all the grace of a drunken water buffalo and f*cked it up. He makes one run and looks like he’s just reached the sun gate at Machu Picchu after a four day ordeal. Another run from them was ultimately hacked apart by Alonso before we were off again. Sadly Dave’s cross on the counter attack was pathetic. Hazard quick to point out that it’s no good if he doesn’t have a hope in hell of getting the ball. It was just end to end, but without any real attempts on goal by either side. The desperation on display by both sides was palpable. Nobody wants a Thursday-Sunday schedule next season. Least of all the fans, whose drinking schedules and social lives are buggered by such a travesty of fixtures. F*cking ludicrous defending put us behind. Mata went to celebrate then his class took over. Not so Lukaku. Kepa clutched his side as it went in - clattered by Shaw but it mattered little. F*ck sake. Marginally appeased by Young getting booted in the head right after the goal, but now they looked settled ad competent. We hadn’t stopped giving it a go. I’ve seen us far more pathetic this season. However every time we played it into the box their entire team was there. De Gea hadn’t even made a save. This state of affairs suited them fine because they were just sitting there waiting for the chance to counter attack whilst we ran around like a*seholes.
Eric Bailly squandered another chance on 29 thanks to our woeful zonal marking setup, but we escaped. We sprung into a counter attack straight after, but Higuain was offside. He spent most of the game offside. Lukaku throwing his considerable weight straight at Dave almost cost us in the box on 33, and we didn’t look very competent in the final third at all. And yet more competent than the officials. Matic thumps Dave in the face. Atkinson ignores a head injury. Play only stops when Rashford goes down and United put the ball out. We’d lost seven of our last twelve games away from home and you could see why. After trying to kill us, Herrera picks up the first card, deservedly so, and they start singing: “Fergie’s right, the refs are shite.” Oh please. Then AHAHAHAAHAHA Another f*ck up by the “world’s best goalkeeper” just before half time to get us an equaliser out of nothing. After the choker he had against Farcelona, he spilt the ball woefully from Rudi’s long range shot and Alonso was there to pounce and make him look like a c*nt. Again.
Flat beginning to the second half. United lacked the drive they had before the break and we looked more settled and pretty grateful to have lucked our way back into it. On the hour we lost Rudi - same knee he injured at Anfield. Christensen up and warming up. Which meant Loftus Cheek had to sit back down. Because god forbid you couldn’t just make two substitutions at once. Then Luiz was broken. He got up then Kovacic was clattered. Not as badly as Bailly, who he landed on and who limped off in tears. Finally Ruben got on and we looked better after the changes. We are second only to the Red Scouse in goals in the last fifteen mins so fingers were crossed.
Rojo should have been off on 79. Shockingly only a yellow for almost killing Willian. Refwatch: Atkinson. The most lenient referee in the league, which is all well and good providing you aren’t blatantly overlooking infringements that injure players. Was not helped at all by dumba*se assistants who couldn’t see what was happening right in front of them. The match was cagey by now. Nobody wanted to lose. Unsurprisingly, Willian didn’t survive that f*cking challenge. Pedro Pony was going to have to get involved. Look Willy gave Rojo said it all. Rojo’s response was to laugh. Dirty, horrible little prick. Not sure why Higuain was laughing with him either. The match ended a scrappy pile of sh*t. Gone was the memory of an entertaining and positive first half from both sides. Seven minutes added on, but in truth I never believed anyone was going to score in the second half. Pedro Unicorn did have to clear it off the line after Rojo, who shouldn’t have even been on the pitch headed one on target, but a draw it was.
So: A better result for us. What we absolutely didn’t want was to give United three points and a way back into the fight for a Champions League place. We remain in fourth, and if you ask me it’s more likely to be us and Sp*rs than the Goons, who still have to play away or Solskjaer the fraud. But then we have set new, record levels of f*ckwittery this season and neither Watford nor Leicester are easy. Hold on tight, because the next two weeks are going to be bloodier than scrapping over Winterfell with the Night King.
Chelsea 2 West Ham 0
Monday 8th April 2019 20:00
As if readjusting to the temperature at home wasn’t terrifying enough. Chelsea created a neanderthal photo mash in tonight’s programme of Ampadu, Cahill and The Beard. Still looked more intelligent as a life form than anything playing for West Ham tonight.
Everton 2 Chelsea 0: The less said about this pile of sh*t the better.
Cardiff City 1 Chelsea 2: Herewith my live tweeting from a beach bar in southern Thailand:
It’s Sunday night here in Thailand. I’m going to attempt to blog live from @TJsKrabi Until my battery dies anyway. My reaction to the team news has been to order another drink.
These socks are a travesty and deserve to be punished. This is not a good start.
Dwight the travelling bear has collapsed after two minutes. This does not bode well if he’s bored already.
Who is number 17 for Cardiff? When you look like a wildling extra from #GoT you shouldn’t go down like a fanny.
11 mins. Leave it to Pedro Unicorn to give me hope.
Rudi. I love you. But please don’t ever shoot again. The ball just rolled into Krabi and past the bar.
There was less advantage to be had there than if Harry F*cking Kane took on @carolvorders in a math-off. This referee is a moron.
There are octogenarians around the corner in the red light district with a more dynamic finish than we’ve had in the opening half an hour.
We’re making Cardiff look good. Not only are Cardiff terrible, but they are managed by a someone who predates dinosaurs. And they’re Welsh. This is skinny kids who couldn’t make with the egg chasing and were cast out by their leek-munching brethren.
I experienced less pain than this this afternoon when I was stung by a bit of rogue jellyfish.
Willian going down easier than a PatPong superstar. Difference is the girls will deserve their money at the end of tonight. Must do better.
Hazard’s face says: I’m going to need at least a fucking half pounder after sitting through this shit. With extra cheese.
Not beating the Welsh at football would be like me climbing up on a table in Bangkok and firing a ping pong ball out of my moo-moo in front of 11 stalwart veterans with enough velocity to take someone’s eye out. Just rude.
Cardiff 1. Chelsea 0.
I’m going to go to the toilets and cry.
Cardiff 1 United 5
Cardiff 0 Sp*rs 3
Cardiff 0 City 5
And then there’s us.
Right now I wish that Jellyfish at Poda Island had finished me off.
That free kick sums up the utter arse I’ve seen so far.
Ruben’s incoming message: “I don’t know what the fuck he’s going on about with the notepad and the clipboard. Let’s just pretend he’s not there and try and score a goal.”
Seven defenders versus three in the box. When we’re losing. So what’s the plan? Hope we change the habit of a lifetime and take a decent corner?
Every #CFC performance I watch at the moment where we fail by doing exactly the same thing is like I’m Charlton Heston reliving the end of Planet of the Apes where he finds the Statue of Liberty on repeat
I am officially conceding my crown for the least subtle resting bitch face to Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Cardiff 1 Chelsea 1
We are less offside than @CesarAzpi and we’re in the Far East. Oh well.
Watching Neil Warnock combust might be more worth it than the point at this stage.
Cardiff 1 Chelsea 2
I’m just going to roll over and die laughing at Warnock’s expense. After the rest of injury time because we can’t be trusted.
Ross is off to dig a hole with his bare hands and climb in it after that miss.
Babies make me cringe. But if Craig Pawson rocks up in Krabi tomorrow and demands to impregnate me. I will let him.
Could only have been sweeter if in the act of having a giant bitch baby fit the winning goal had gone in off of Warnock’s massive beak.
This is no way makes up for 85 minutes of the most turgid shit football I have seen since... well, the last time Chelsea played. Let off the hook there Sarri.
Please note that Rubens’s plan worked.
Only side ever to have scored an offside goal in the league, judging by planet football's reaction.
Chelsea 3 Brighton & Hove Albion 0: Hurrah. A drama free waltz to victory, finally starts in the league for Ruben and CHO.
In the News: Hazard is practically off already. Devastating. That said, anyone calling him a traitor or slagging him off needs to give their f*cking head a wobble. People want Sarri to be off. Jesus. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but if you can’t actually defend it then you might want to turn the volume down. Elements of CFC Fan TV are doing the equivalent of a Mel Gibson in South Park when he goes batsh*t crazy and runs round dressed up as Braveheart, shitting on people’s car bonnets and shouting KABLAM! That said, the revelation that the manager couldn’t be bothered to watch a player’s England debut, a full debut, happening at 18, is piss poor. Do I love this manager? Not right now. Have I wanted to club him like an errant baby seal (disclaimer: I love baby seals) throughout this season? Yes. But I sat on the Fancast and advocated the idea of bringing in less of a drama queen, high flying manager who behaved like a brat and taking a punt on someone else lower down the pecking order. The club did this. Would he have been my choice? Nope, (Eddie Howe!) but I kind of think in this scenario I have to accept that it might take longer to get this bloke going than some of the previous, short-lived incumbents. For that reason, though I have no problem being pissed off with him when he shows all the movability of Sam Allardyce at a buffet table, I’m not going to sit here and demand he gets the sack. If he gets us into the Champions League I will write this season off and accept that it sure weren’t pretty, but he got us over the line. But I will expect much better next time out. Right now I don’t know how I’ll feel if we don’t make it. In the meantime I don’t see the point in screaming hysterically about how much I hate him and making a tit of myself.
Let’s have my favourite Press Pleb nonsense in a nutshell from while I’ve been away. Paul Scholes was never going to last at Oldham. They had no coffee machine. Well OK then. Kepa to Real: Apparently they’ve given up on De Gea and want to give us £50m for a player we paid £70m for less than a year ago. Good luck with that. United want CHO. Good luck with that, too. Even funnier, they are considering a bid for Zaha. And Pogba apparently thinks he is worth £500k a week. Which is what, nearly Hazard and Kante put together? Dickhead. And Courtois set to be axed by Zidane. Ahahahahahahaha. As long as we aren’t stupid enough to buy him back. That would be a f*cking disaster. We wont need him anyway, we’ve got Rob Green.
The press appear to have noticed that all racism in football does not emanate from Stamford Bridge. Shocker. So far as the England game is concerned, I’m with the “should have walked off the pitch” camp. If the governing body of whoever I was employed by refused to take proper action and it was me being racially abused, I would refuse to work until they did, and I would expect everyone to back me. We’ve had more of it since on the domestic front. Chelsea have offered CHO counselling after this deplorable chain of events in the Balkans. While this is laudable, I think the perpetrators are more in need of having a professional dig around inside their head. Apparently, no English footballing body keeps an official record of racism issues as and when they arise. What the f*ck? Danny Rose says he has five or six years left in the world of football and he can’t wait to see the back of it. That’s sad. But I think weak. I’ve been racially abused aplenty, and it only makes me more determined to rub their faces in what I can do. And as it’s him, I feel that although this is a very serious subject, and nobody should be subjected to this abuse, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I can’t wait to see he back of he diving little f*cker either. Also in the world of arseholes thinking that its ok to say and do whatever they want to someone they have seen on television, there are whispers that this new influx of pitch invaders trying to get at players could be dealt with by specialist taser stewards, who would get to zap the b*stards as soon as they set foot out of the stands in that direction. Perfect.
The Others: City are still just about on course to save humanity from a Scouse title win. Ole says United will be back winning the league. As they drop to sixth. It would be amusing if he started to believe his own press. The Goons have slipped up. Brilliantly, they have the second worst away form IN THE COUNTRY. We’re probably first. Urgh and I’m glad that I was on the other side of the planet when Sp*rs finally moved into Wait Hart Lane. Resplendent with West Ham and Chelsea memorabilia under the floors and in the walls. They have an on site sommelier but no cheese room. Cutbacks. Peasants. Bet they don’t have f*cking pic ’n’ mix on tap either. Huddersfield are down, equalling Derby’s lamentable record for the worst ever season. And they aren’t even lumbered with Robbie Savage. Sadly, Fulham have gone too, despite spending a fortune last summer.
Us: CHO gets a second start, Loftus-Cheek too. Pedro Pony, Willian presumably being saved for Thursday. Either that or Sarri has had a sudden epiphany about pissing off our youth products and how not to do it.
Them: Meh. Usual combination of thugs at the back and has beens/never weres elsewhere. And of course Donkey Carroll in injured.
Naturally the game began with a huge rendition of Franky Lampard scoring 200 against the pikeys. In the meantime they were singing about us having no history. Right. Great play between Higuain and Hazard after ten minutes set the Belgian off and running. Noble was forced to take a card rather than be left for dust as Eden walked it into the net. You’d think that that might have humbled him, and shut him up, for once; but he continued to bitch and whine his way through the game like a twelve year old denied WiFi. The ensuing free kick was claimed by Emerson, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t quite on target either. Just over by Kante after he carved a path through their defence on 16. Watching Ogbonna in their defence is like watching a walkman run out of battery. He’s so f*cking big that by the time his brain sends a message to his legs to move, the game has moved on fifteen yards. It wasn’t just him. Every time we picked up the pace and started flicking the ball about, they were completely dumbfounded. Last night was marked by controversy. See I’ve been told that this Hudson-Odoi song is to Buffalo Soldier. Which seems perfectly plausible. Some wrong’uns from the Matthew Harding end are banging on about Banana Splits. On the basis that bananas are sick and wrong I’m sticking with the Shed on this one. In the opening spell West Ham had contributed nothing but a general smell of body odour in the away end to events at Stamford Bridge. A great forward run by Dave on 21, slicing through them like Sam Allardyce pawing at a Meat Feast pizza. Their confusion was telling, even more so a couple of minutes later when Hazard took out six of them AND their keeper on his way to a sublime goal. I’m going to miss him so much. 1-0. If they were baffled before, they were brain dead now.
So this is us. Get the goal. Then utterly fail to progress on and leave ourselves scrabbling around desperately trying to make sure of the points. 25 Higuain almost squeezed one in, 28 CHO was away but he couldn’t quite find Higuain in the box. Penalty shout straight after. Stone. Wall. But after Cardiff we are never, ever going to get the benefit of the doubt again. Ever. Plus the referee was a knob. 32 CHO was trying to chip the keeper from an impossible angle, Eden was still buzzing round like a wasp at a picnic. They’d barely been out of their own half and yet we only had one goal to show for ripping them a new arsehole for more than half an hour.
Is this the library - they sang. Ironically considering we hadn’t heard a peep out of them for nearly 20 minutes. How the f*ck would you know? Have any of them ever used a book for anything but a doorstop? 40 and Hudson-Odoi was off again, up against two defenders alone and forcing a fingertip save. How the ball stayed out of net on the corner that followed not even Hawking could have explained. 42 it had to be two, but for some reason instead of just heading the ball, Higuain tried to bring it down first. Explanation from a wit behind me? He didn’t want to lose any more hair. So 1-0 it was at the break. If I took Eden Hazard to my mum’s Slimming World meeting and let him run at them, he would have faced more opposition than he did from West Ham tonight. They could. Not. Touch him.
West Ham late out after the break. Presumably still punch drunk after the first half. Little Pea(nis) had gone off, having not touched the ball. Replaced by Snodgrass. Verily did we tremble. We picked up where we left off. Squandering chances. On 47 minutes the ball flew across the face of goal. We were nearly outdone by our own stupidity early on. Thank the lord for Kepa and Toni Rudiger. And for the fact that Arnautovic hasn’t got two half dead brain cells to rub together. Thankfully this was a very rare occurrence. Moments later, Ruben almost went it in to double the lead after Dave thieved the ball off them like he was one of their own. Another shot from Loftus-Cheek bent wide on 56, before he wrestled forward to oversee another effort that flew at the keepers hands. But sadly they had got the whiff of an equaliser now. Ever did West Ham like the idea of getting something for nothing. Like their stadium. We were just asking for trouble by not getting a second and for doing silly things like ignoring Arnautovic and his multi-coloured meathead in the box on set plays. If it wasn’t for Rudi, we would not have still been winning this game.
They tried to shake it up. Noble finally f*cked off and spared us any more of his moaning. Replaced by some other bloke. Ruben off at the same time for Barkley. On 73 Hazard drew a foul on the edge of the area. Please god let this be it. Barkley wanted it, so did Luiz, Emerson hovered about a bit for effect too. Sideshow clumped it. Straight at the wall. Not his finest hour tonight. Actually, in Churchill terms (the fat bloke with the cigar, not me) not only was it not his Battle of Britain moment, consider him a lonely, soggy little ammunition pouch left on the beach at Dunkirk.
Higuain off for The Beard with fifteen to go. In the meantime Hazard had taken one to the nuts so painful that his eyes were visibly watering on Sky apparently. Good job he’s already got half a dozen kids. Barkley nearly went the same way trying to slide in in the box, but saw the goalpost coming at the last. Refwatch: Chris Kavanaugh. F*ck knows where they have dredged him up from. My guess is somewhere where a thumping attendance just about reaches double figures and his mum hands out chunks of orange at half time. Hasn’t mastered what a penalty is, or the offside rule. So I suppose if you were looking for a silver lining, he’s on a level with half the other dickheads overseeing the Premier League already.
There was a baffling moment on 82 minutes when it looked like they had scored, but they hadn’t, but we all thought they had, and they thought they had. For what seemed like an eternity, you could have heard a pin drop, until we all started laughing hysterically at them. F*ck sake Chelsea. Kepa got booked for time wasting, and our response was to waste even more time by changing CHO for Pedro Pony. The ball was on the roof of the net on 85. We were making so much of a meal out of this that Henry VIII couldn’t have f*cking swallowed it. The frustration was palpable. Luiz’s expression every time Kepa did the wavy hand action to send him and Rudi up the pitch on a goal kick was priceless. (12 year old, WiFi) Across the face of goal on 88. Mother of god can we just finish this? Gloriously, a minute later Barkley ignored every fan in the ground screaming at him to shoot. Instead he played it in to Eden who, despite having been effectively castrated, made it two and secured the points. Thank you baby Jesus.
So: You’re not West Ham anymore, we sang. But I beg to differ. Toothless, ‘orrible, and sh*t. Looked like West Ham to me. I’d argue that Rudiger was as crucial as Eden Hazard tonight. He was intrepid at the back throughout. Up to third we go, with some proper daylight between us and United now; though we’ve had an extra game played over the rivals for the CL spots. Attentions turn to Europe, and a much coveted trip to Azerbaijan. (I’m not joking - Baku was WW1 memorials) With luck the club have worked out exactly who we are actually playing in Prague by now.
*Scary picture comes from the Chelsea programme last night
Dynamo Kiev 0 (0) Chelsea 5 (8)
Europa League Last 16
Thursday 14th March 2019 17:55
Chelsea 1 Wolves 1: I was there, but thankfully, given that it was dross, I was paying little attention to the game. For those that know how much maternal instinct I have, it will amuse you to know that I was entertaining a trio of boys: 10, 4 and 3. Our little chum from the domestic violence shelter had his day out. You may remember the eldest received a Xmas present and an invitation to come find him when he was at the bridge from Eden Hazard. Well, he got treated like a little VIP on Sunday. He got a tour behind the scenes, watched the team arrive from the tunnel, and he met Eden too, which sent him into absolute stunned silence. We had to do a second take at their photo together because he was so overcome that in the first one it looked like Eden was trying to abduct him. A trip to the megastore, which thankfully now stocks something other that Nike sh*t, then excellent seats for the whole family courtesy of one of our CFC family, a terrifying amount of sweets from another. Our little chap is astute. He turned to me part way through the game and said: “Is it me, or can Chelsea never take a corner?” And later on “I wish we’d just stop passing it about and worry about scoring a goal instead.” Out of the mouths of babes. I felt what might have been a swell of pseudo-parental pride. That said, this game was always going to be a sh*t slugfest. It was Rocky I. They were Stallone and we were Apollo Creed. Much better, but unable to stamp any class on proceedings, because the other side jus won’t f*ck off, resulting a turgid dead heat. Anyone who is running round screaming about sacking Sarri again is a knob. No, his team choice wasnt inspiring, especially the combination of Kovacic and Jorginho, but his substitutions weren’t the turgid f*ckwittery of old. This was a tough day out, and it led to a sh*t result. Sarri reverted to form a bit, but it was not a repeat of the Bournemouth game. Our little chap’s day was rounded off by tea afterwards. He chose Pizza Express, which I think I might be banned from now after one of the smaller ones punted a soft football into someones dinner plate (see sweety reference above. Mix in a gallon of coke and vegan cupcakes, which they inflicted on themselves voluntarily and they were slightly hyper by this stage) To cap it all, Mowgli (special alias), playing the part of the pied piper, got told off by security for leading them all off starting a mini riot in the shopping centre with a football match. This is what happens when you let someone with a mental age of twelve do the adulting. Three exhausted but very happy kids, one of whom snored and dribbled on me all the way home. Our little friend hasn’t played football in a year, but now can’t stop talking about finding a club and wanting to play for Chelsea. Or about when he can come again. Thank you to Chelsea, Eden and to everyone who contributed on the day to spoil them rotten.
In the News: Callum Hudson-Odoi has got the England U21 call-up he richly deserves. Asked about transfer ban, Willian says he is happy in every way with life at Chelsea and doesn’t want to go anywhere. I’d have loved to have seen the meltdown in some quarters on Twitter. Zidane has returned to Real apparently ready to shell £300m for Neymar to secure his escape from the Parc des Princes, which the ungrateful, spoilt little f*cker acts is akin to the Bastille. They’ve already shelled out £42m on a centre back since his return. He wants Eriksen too apparently, however, Eden is their number one target, and surely now he will go to join his hero. Hold tight though, the messiah may not be around for long in Madrid. Rumours that Zidane is to be sacked again after he wore f*cking cropped pedal pusher jeans to his unveiling.
Rio Ferdinand says Sterling wont win the Ballon d’Or because he is black. No, Rio, he wont win the Ballon d’Or because there are several dozen players who are better than him. You moron. People keep running on the pitch and attacking players. What the f*ck? In my mind its the rampant spilling over of everyone’s appalling online behaviour into the real world. You insult who you want, you say what you want with little or no consequences and generally get to be abhorrent on a daily basis. Rio’s case is indicative. You spaff (new favourite word) nonsense all over the internet and inexplicably end up doing it on TV. The Birmingham dick has been jailed for 14 weeks, which sends a decent message, but this new source of neanderthal entertainment is pathetic and we’re just lucky as a sport that none of them have reached the lower level of stupidity where they take an offensive weapon with them.
FFP investigation for City. One of the cases under investigation is the signing of then-14-year-old Sancho. A number of other clubs intend to write to the Premier League wanting to know what they are going to do about it. Led by the sanctimony of the Red Scouse. In that respect (whining, hypocritical b*stards) they will always be truly unbeatable. It might be the death of St Pep’s love in with the club. Rumours that he has verbally agreed to join Juventus on a four year deal. Likes a challenge, doesn’t he? Klippity Klopp is moaning about not getting special consideration in the scheduling. Everyone else is too busy being indignant that they got the f*cking Porto tie in the quarter finals. Lukaku reading mean tweets. With a face like thunder. I’m still laughing at the “Lukaku runs like he’s got a Deliveroo bag on his back.” Ranieri was only out of a job for eight days after Fulham. He’s taken charge a Roma. There are some desperate divas on the continent at the moment. “Ill tell you the I feel ready to play,” Icardi says to the Inter Milan boss. Coutinho is being booed off the bitch at Farca and has issued a “come-and-get-me” plea to United. Presumably because they’d be the only club stupid enough to stump up over a hundred million for the idiot.
The Others: City are just about clinging on to top spot with a couple of unconvincing wins, Sp*rs keep losing, United got done by Arsenal, so you’d hope that the spaff-fest over Ole might die down. Still, if I hear the words “Spirit of ‘99” again I might choke on my own vomit. Morata is out of the Champions League. Shame. And Ramos
called all the Real players together for an inquest after Ajax spanked them out of Europe. If Ramos is the voice of reason, then they really are f*cked.
Them: Critical absentees thanks to a vague, Ozil sounding sore throat and suspension and a massive, uphill climb in prospect to try and surmount a three goal deficit created in West London last week. They didn’t even have a shot on target and it was hard to see where they were going to come from.
Us: Loftus-Cheek with his first start since the third round of the FA Cup and CHO, fresh from his call up to the England U21 side finally gets a shot in the starting line up. No room for Barkley, The Beard up front in his favourite competition. Nights off for Emerson and Higuain and the bench for Dave, Luiz, Jorginho, Hazard and Pedro Pony, so a strong side and ammunition on the bench should the unthinkable happen.
Sarri was raging about the “potentially dangerous” state of the pitch with a day to go, which was watered heavily the night before and then left to freeze before kick off. It seemed have improved significantly in the meantime, but being a man he still wasnt having it. Neat move making Little Willy captain, for he is always ready to rain more misery on the city of Kiev and throughout the night he was really going to rub salt into their wounds. All whilst patronising commentators made cheeky f*cking comments about his English coming along. Better than yours, douchebags.
Wait for it. We scored from a f*cking corner. Surely this deserves a medal of some sort struck and a round of free Singha at the next home game. Awful zoning defending, if that’s what even was. It could have just as easily been complete incompetence. Nobody doing an effective job in the box and they were all behind The Bears as he darted forward to stab it in. His seventh goal in the Europa League this season. 4-0 up on aggregate. Job done after four minutes. Ruben could have made it two on 10 mins but the keeper managed to get some part of his body on it. Another corner from the fuzzy-headed, most unpopular man in the Ukraine, but the resulting effort went straight into the keepers hands.
All Chelsea. Any rare foray from them broke down and within three passes they were defending deep again. They had it in the back of the net after twenty minutes, but the flag was up because they were the length of an aircraft carrier offside. Foot off the gas somewhat. Shortly afterwards CHO conceded a free kick that gave their fans much hope, but then life got even more miserable for them just after the half hour. Excellent cross from Alonso. Loftus Cheek muscled them off the ball, Marcos rules out three defenders with the cross and thanks to a run from The Beard it was 2-0. Two one-touch finishes from him, which if you’ve witnessed Operation Stack lately in Kent is a commendable French efficiency and proof he should be Minister of Customs when he retires. A whole miserable hour left to go for a side who looked utterly deflated already. By half time it was three thanks to Alonso. To get anywhere they needed seven, with no goal scorers on the pitch, and we had only conceded four in this whole competition so far.
As you were at the beginning of second, with utter dominance, but then they loosened up a bit and mustered a first shot on target in more than two hours of football. Shortly afterwards the goal was wide open for them, but they hit the post, before scoring again from an offside position. That pretty much sucked the life of them quicker than Sam Allardyce eating a creme egg.
On 58 The Beard stormed to the top of the goalscorer table outright by securing his hatrick. Free kick won by Zappa, excellent swinging free kick from Willian, but it was the fact that no defender was anywhere near The Beard as he rose to nut it in that did for them. 0-4 Seconds later they gave away another free kick on the edge of the box by scything down CHO. Losing their sh*t now. Alonso took it and it was one of his stunners, sailing right towards the top corner, but it was. just about saved by a flying dive from the keeper too push it onto the post. For once the defence was awake and the ball was smothered away. But soon we were running at them again. Yet another free kick, yet another stunner from Willian but the keeper reacted well to Rudi’s effort. Kante off for Jorginho on 64. Very much liking his attitude in the press lately. In short: “Fans have a right to opinion, I have a right to disagree, but I will prove the critics wrong and they will learn to appreciate the way I play.” Dave came on for a limping Zappacosta, then Willian went off to an ovation from Blue fans to be replaced by Pedro Pony. On 77 minutes it It was CHO’s turn to get on the scoresheet.
So: We did to them what City did to us. Early goal to obliterate their game plan and then just capitalised on their every weakness to destroy them. Three Chelsea youth products on the pitch. Hurrah. The Hyphenators did well. Loftus-Cheek was the better in this game, really stamped his authority. Hudson-Odoi not so much, but when you win 5-0 and he gets a goal you can’t be criticising. Yes, the opposition resembled crispy Darth Vader clawing his way out of a lava pool missing two legs and an arm, but you couldn’t have asked for more out of any of them tonight. We were still running at them in injury time, despite an eight goal lead. On to Prague. God help Prague on that away day. Thousands of p*ssed up Chelsea in a stag do destination. What can possibly go wrong? In the immediate future some rested legs now in preparation for Everton, which I wont be at because I’ll be doing bath time with elephants in Thailand.
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Chelsea 3 Dynamo Kiev 0
Europa League Last 16
Thursday 7th March 2019 20:00
In the News: The appeal is in against the transfer ban. Don’t know whether yet whether that will enable us to sign people this summer. Sarri’s been having talks about pre-season. Probably along the lines of “why the f*ck are we going to Boston three days after the Leicester game?" Never one to sugarcoat it, Rudi says perhaps some time in the gym will benefit Jorginho as he carries on acclimatising to English football. If the PR team at the club aren’t regularly doing shots before they send the German out to talk to the press I’ll be amazed. Oh and not wanting to rush things, Chelsea are apparently finally looking to replace Emanalo (who has been gone since 2016) with a football brain in the shape of Lille’s Sporting Director, Luis Campos. I googled his name and got a drummer in a Mexican rock band on Wikipedia. But apparently he’s Portuguese, and happily he was not only a major scout for Real, but he was the one masterminding Monaco’s shock Ligue 1 win in 2017 and their run to the Champions League semi-finals. Whilst he was there they acquired James Rodriguez and Bernardo Silva, brought through Mbappe, but bought Bakayoko from Rennes, so pick the bones out of that. Unfortunately, the rumour came out of France, where the Press Putains like making nonsense sh*t up more than our lot do, which is saying something.
Podgettino is “stunned” by his two match ban for confronting Mike Dean. Us too, but not for the same reasons. Sp*ds have an ultimatum from the league - play your next game at Wait Hart Lane or you have to stay at Wembley for the rest of the season. United are introducing an atmosphere section in the Stratford End. Ole has been to the dry cleaners. Apparently this is news. As is the fact that Harry Kane spent a day visiting relatives at London Zoo. And if you think Fernandinho is a nasty little c**t, (he is) a player in the Turkish third tier turned up for work toting a shank which he used on the guy he was marking. Evidently didn’t think his teeth were up to Suarez’s standard.
The Others: Podge has banned his dickheads from dressing room gloating until they win a trophy, (so permanently then) but they don’t learn. Celebrating getting out of the last 16 in the Champions League like they’ve won the bloody thing. Something about football fundamentally changed last night at the Parc de Prince, and I don’t like it. We went from VAR assisting the referees in coming to the correct decision, to using the technology to fundamentally change the way in which a potential handball is viewed. Apparently now that they have it, the referees have received a directive that says “any move to make themselves bigger” in the box that results in a glance off the arm is an infringement. Where do you draw the line between not being able to jump to defend the goal without driving yourself upwards with your arms, to being guilty of a deliberate attempt to use them to impede the ball? Because PSG absolutely did not cross that line last night. United deserved a beating in the first leg, and PSG were in the act of bottling the second, but what transpired was that a critically important game of football that had thus come to be balanced on a knife edge was decided on the flimsiest pretext I have seen since UEFA sent Overbo to West London.
Anyway, give Solskjaer the job full time. Because if the fact that Ferguson, who let us be reminded was critically ill last year, was ON THE PLANE WITH THEM does not tell you who is pulling the strings at Old Trafford in terms of managing the side, then you need to purchase yourself some Stevie Wonder glasses and start busking with a mini-keyboard at Fulham Broadway. A very risky plan for a massive football club, and not at all long term. You’re essentially just hoping that Ferguson can impart everything he ever did on an ex-player who everyone likes and has never done anything more in management than boss a Norwegian side named after fungus. Good luck with that. Hilariously, he wont be able to move back into his house up north, because he’s renting it. He’s Virgil Van Dijk’s landlord.
What a bad tempered week it is turning out to be in Europe though. Neymar apparently tried to break into the officials’ room after PSG crashed out. What a knob. Perez threatened to kick Ramos out of Real. I’m not equipped to lyrically surmise how delicious it was watching Sergio suffer on the sidelines after getting himself suspended on purpose. It needs some perverted voiceover from Nigella Lawson complete with her licking a spoon covered in melted chocolate. In just her bra. Solari is a dead man walking, with Chequebook Pulis or Podgettino touted to replace him. Hopefully neither of which will inspire Eden to go there. (You’d have to say that the former would have him running screaming in the other direction after last time.) Courtois has been chucking missiles at photographers’ cars in the aftermath of his latest humiliation, (whahahahha) the Roma sporting director had a punch up with their fans at the airport, and they sacked their manager after going out to Porto.
In the Europa League. Arsenal kicked off early in their tie against Rennes. It was all going so well, until it wasn't. Sokratis doesn’t look like a brainiac, but you’ve got to be a special level of moron to commit three yellow card offences in one half of football in Europe, where the referees are doubly touchy. They were lucky Granit Xhaka didn’t go too, but I’ve said it aplenty before, what more do you expect from a guy who is named after a rock? Lovely gesture by the Rennes fans with their welcome home banner for Petr Cech. I laughed so hard watching the Rennes goals that I scared Bertie.
Before anything else, Glenn Hoddle made his return to punditry tonight at the Bridge. Huzzah. We went into this one of only three teams in the competition unbeaten so far. On we go trying to maintain our record of winning the damn trophy every time we’ve been it. I just want to laugh at them trying to lift it after the final. Bloody thing weighs a ton.
Us: Most importantly, Ruben and CHO didn’t start, which was w*nk. Zappacosta, Alonso and The Beard, who was the joint second highest scorer in the competition before kick off, came into the starting lineup. Rudgier took to the bench for a well earned rest, as did N’golo and Eden. Emerson and Dave got the night off.
Them: If I told you I cared, you’d see right through it. They were short on strikers, and five were under 21, but half of them are in the Ukraine squad. They had scored in every single one of their away games going into this. Whatever any of that means.
Very positive start, lots of movement down the right and pinned them right back for the opening five minutes. Pedro Pony might have taken better advantage of a silly error by them at the back after 7. They were all over the place, picking up an early booking and generally clinging on. They’d only made one convincing foray into our half in the opening fifteen minutes, and shortly afterwards we made out dominance pay. Put through by The Beard with an awesome flick, Pedro Unicorn (He’s been promoted again already) runs on and slots it between the goalkeeper’s legs. Should have had a brace moments later, three yards out, but somehow it didn’t go in. From then on Kiev started to get a toehold in the match. That said, Barkley could have made it two, had the keeper not learned his lesson the last time and kept his knees together. Just. That’s a faster learning curve than some of the girls I want to school with. Badoom-tish. Pedro Unicorn went down a bit easy just before the half hour mark, no VAR in this competition to give us free penalties. The little scamp could have been on a hatrick. On 33 he was in again but this time it was a great save by the Kiev man, who must have hated the f*cking sight of him already. Alonso tested him almost immediately afterwards. Chances pouring in, and already we could have sent this tie well to bed and saved many, many heavy legs a trip to the other side of the continent. Another squandered chance from Pedro Unicorn and we went into the break just one ahead. Not lost on me that we’d scored just about the most complicated of them either. The Ukrainians would have been pinching themselves after naively playing out from the back against a better side. Wonder where I’ve seen that lately.
Typically, given our complete domination, we came pondering out of the blocks after half time with about as much impetus as Sam Allardyce looking for his local gym. We finally had lift off after 53 with yet another chance for Pedro Unicorn. By this time Ruben and Kante were out warming up, it was as well, as Kiev began pressing for an away goal. Barkley and Jorginho made way for them on 61. Free kick on 63 - could Willian stick the knife in? Yes. With a spectacular effort into the top left corner on his 100th European appearance. Goalkeeper had done well tonight but barely moved. Thank f*ck for that. Now bring on CHO. Whole stadium agreed. Made us wait ten minutes tho. Another move on 82, great run by Ruben but the full back put him under enough pressure that he sent it over the bar. Of course it was us, so we were not above f*cking around at the back and inviting disaster as the clock ticked down. Showed all the concentrative power of Andy Carroll watching University Challenge in the last five minutes of normal time. And yet. Some lucky chaps will not have to board a plane to the Ukraine thanks to Ruben and CHO linking up after Pedro Unicorn’s pinpoint accurate pass to make it 3-0.
So: Hurrah. Could have been more, equally we could have f*cked it up at the end. Are we on a collision course to meet Napoli in the final? Pedro Unicorn sublime again, but the two young subs couldn’t have done much more to stake a claim. Three wins on the trot, knackered players got a night off, and the lack of drama is unnerving me. I’ve already decided that I’m calling this season’s blog book Sarri Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.