Chelsea 1 UEFAlona 1
Last 16 UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 20th February 2018 19:45
Chelsea 3 West Brom 0: I've relied on the sage wisdom of Uncle Albert to update me on the two fixtures while I was away. For this one I was sitting in the lounge bar listening to a playlist of 90s Egyptian epicness, gleaning match facts from the club's official Twatter. I hate nappy sh*tting, but this was just as bad. State sponsored propaganda in which nobody in blue put a foot wrong. Suspect their coverage of the fall of Constantinople in 1453 would have read: "Thou has witnessed a few Ottomans outside the window. But we looked like holding them off for five minutes around lunchtime." Anyway, a nervous start and we finally put the previous week or so behind us. Albert put it down to the might of Eden Hazard and was pleasantly surprised by Zappacosta's input. He was also glad that Giroud's performance might put the wind up Morata and give us a bit of competition in the squad.
Chelsea 4 Hull City 0: We were up at 2:30 GMT to make the drive to Abu Simbel on this day from Aswan, so by ten o'clock odd at night when this kicked off I was basically a gibbering, Egyptian gin-soaked wreck. Thankfully, Willian set us off on right path after less than two minutes which meant my powers of concentration weren't taxed too much. Easy opposition, says Albert. Then he adds the old platitude about how you can only play what's put in front of you. He was massively impressed with Emerson and says he didn't play a bad ball all night. This, tho, he says was “The Willy Show” and that came through even through Chelsea Stasi channels on Twatter in Aswan. Giroud and Drinkwater also apparently impressive.
In the News: I got through ten days in Egypt, surprisingly, with only one row about Mohammed Salah. A guy in a fake Roma shirt started off trying to sell me ten book marks for 100 quid (Egyptian), followed on by telling us he had been a die hard Red Scouse fan for about six months and ended by chasing us round the stepped pyramid at Saqqara hollering at us in clipped English that Chelsea were Muslim hating racists. I said it had more to do with the fact that when he played for us he was young and sh*t but at that point we got bored and departed in the direction of gin. I also met a kid called Yussef on Kitchener Island in Aswan wearing a Farca shirt and insisting Chelsea were not going to get beaten tonight. I’m going back there to get lottery numbers off of him. Aside from that there are a lot of baffled Egyptians being bludgeoned with Jordan Henderson advertising for a bank on the motorways wondering what is wrong with his face.
Lots of stating the obvious by the Red Swarm so far this week. We'd have to be near our best, they take nothing for granted when it's us. I did an online poll that revealed opinion about the result to be thus before kick off:
Turn the f*ckers over: 55%
We're f*cked: 25%
Overbo says we shouldn't remember him for that one night in 2009. Well, when the next biggest day of your career was a Norwegian league game with 11,000 fans and you quit the day after that car crash in 2009 you've not got a lot else to scream about.
The Others: "FA won't take cup semi final away from Wembley if R***enham make last four despite concern from other clubs over home advantage." They'll have to beat Rochdale first.
I do love it when Pip Squeakiola comes crashing back down to earth and lands on his shiny bald head. I like Wigan. When you go to visit they are very friendly place, kind of old fashioned (I went in 2010ish with an iPhone and the Steward thought I was a witch) They even give you your own bar to drink in under the stand and coverage of whatever is on before kick off. It has a real social club feel. They have to fight for attention against all the egg chasing nonsense yet there are a good few thousand of them there every week no matter how bad it gets. That and they have got this awesome Amazonian woman fan with a mad birds nest of ginger hair that looks like a tall version of Gwildor from Masters of the Universe who is always up for some banter. Delph's tackle was moronic. As for pulling out a yellow and then changing it for a red. He hadn't shown the yellow and it's his prerogative. Perhaps the Lino added his two pence worth in his ear, or perhaps Delph said something that required further punishment. I guess because like all other referees, Anthony Taylor is a mute we'll just have to guess.
You get a real sense of what a f*cking "gentleman" Guardiola is when he gets turned over. Tunnel scrapping, launching himself like a maddened Dervish screaming abuse at the referee in the tunnel (Even I've managed to refrain from doing that to Anthony Taylor) and comments like "Congratulations to Wigan, they had one shot on target." Bellend. Let me explain it for you: First of all they had two shots on target. One of them went in the back of the net. Your spoiled brats had five and missed them all. So you lost. Howard (sitcom alias) summed it up: "Petulant little c*nt who cant win anything without a pre-assembled world class squad or half a billion quid."
I said I'd be happy if we got to twenty minutes without conceding. Howard's final thought re the game: "If its 0-7 but Messi doesn't score I'm taking it as a win"
Us: Cahill left out of the back three, much to the joy of the extreme fecal faction. Though Blue Hulk almost turned a table for eight that weighs half a ton over in The Elk when he saw that we were playing a false nine. Lots of moaning, with shoulder shrugs in the pub. Looked like he wanted to catch them on the break to me, not sure it was going to work.
Them: It was mostly them in the opening seconds, which you'd expect; until Dave knocked it out from under the tax-dodging little ferret (Messi) and Willian was away. The first shot fell to Hazard who hit it high from range. Dare I say they'd given it away scrappily a few times already. 7 minutes gone and we'd slightly edged it. Moses had even won a header. The first corner went our way too. Rudi got on the end of it but he couldn't line it up properly. Great run by Hazard on 12 minutes but his cross couldn't find a blue in the crowded six yard box.
They had had most of the ball, but much of the play they'd had had been dicking around in the middle looking for a decent ball forward, until they headed it wide of the goal somewhat weakly on 15 minutes. Possession was continually edging up on their side but that is exactly what we expected and barely any of it was threatening. Surprisingly lacklustre Uefalona contingent in the shed too. Far less of their smug yapping than usual.
We had survived twenty minutes. Which for me is a completely unsubstantiated but oddly reassuring measure of not getting tanked. My one grumble so far was that with most of the team at my height, as soon as anyone launched the ball upwards we lost it, which was predictable. The odd ball was floating in to nobody in lieu of a striker too, which was annoying. But we weren't losing so I could live with it. It might just be because I hate their f*cking guts, but I don't remember them having come close at that point. 27 minutes and the diving began from the visitors. Umtiti lying on the floor holding his f*cking face. Still, we expected that as well. Willian survived one foul from Iniesta that wasn't given only to be brought down by Rakitic and his atrocious hair in a prime spot for an Alonso special. It was on target - I think the first of the game - but the keeper went the right way and it floated into his hands. But we carried on trying to get forward whenever we could nick possession. On 32 Hazard was away - the final effort fell to Willian after he found himself four on one and passed it and Little Willy cracked the post. Best effort yet at either end. A few minutes later we saw a near perfect ball from Cesc just miss the end of Eden's toe in the box too. Given the right pass, Eeyore Pique was there for the taking. Willian hit the post again before the ball came into Hazard on the volley, but his shot was over. That's it Chels. Grind these f*ckers down. We ended the half the better side. As per usual they don't like it up 'em, but we needed to remain disciplined at the back.
Talking points at half time.
1 We are more than in this.
2 Suarez has managed to go 45 minutes without trying to eat anyone.
They'd had 70% odd possession in the first half and that didn't look like changing after the break. The tax dodging ferret tried to run into the box straight away, but was mown down by Christensen. Then Iniesta got a lucky bounce twenty yards out, but he hit it like a dickhead and it went soaring over the bar. Our first break showed that they were still putting that much into attacking that if we could get away fast enough their half was wide open. On 49 we were pulled down in the box but the referee wasn't having it. He waited five seconds then gave them a free kick instead. And so beginneth sh*thousery from the officials. Refwatch: Apparently the same bloke that sent JT off at the Nou Camp in 2012. Typical fussy European ref, blows for everything, but not excessively in either direction in the first half. He began the second by giving fouls against us for nothing so he must have had a coded whatsapp message from UEFA at half time. That and a dick pic from Rakitic in order to give him license to carry on fouling us at will and getting away with it when he was already on a yellow. I'd say he got one from Biscuits too to atone for all the moaning he does without sanction but nobody is going to get off on a jpeg of a stump. It seemed to us that there was a whole lot of one sided bastardry emerging from the tit in the middle, but we are understandably paranoid about such sh*t when playing this lot. Thankfully no major decisions succumbed to his f*ckwittery.
Thibaut had had to palm one sideways on 53 but it was always a narrow effort and that had been as scary as it got. But we just couldn't quite get it right on the break. All we'd had had to show for the second half was a tame effort by Cesc. However, when that went out for a corner, step up Willy, who deserved to score more than anyone on the pitch, to leather it in. Mayhem. Take that you smug w*nkers. Take that UEFA. Take that ref. Now carry on doing exactly what you've been doing for the last hour boys. They were really coming at us now. Iniesta diving like a c*nt, Suarez getting mouthy (insert joke here), tax dodging ferret sulking. Typical Uefalona ploy. If you can't beat them, cheat.
Willian was at it again on 68. There was a fantastic moment when Kante went steaming past the ferret and he started jogging after him with a baffled expression on his face at the concept of having to do some defensive work. On 72 minutes Fabregas went down like he still played for them and still couldn't get anything out of the ref, who was flapping about like a blind, demented canary. All went to sh*t when Suarez dived for a penalty. I don't think there is a viler c*nt in world football. He ran his oversized mouth enough to get booked four times for dissent never mind the simulation he got away with. Just because you can't make out what he's saying through those teeth doesn't mean it isn't a yellow card. The goal was so avoidable. So frustrating that we'd stayed so disciplined and done so well at the back and we paid for our one lapse by conceding an away goal. It only took him nine years. Git.
That took the wind out of our sails.
Morata on for Pesto, who ran his legs off tonight, with about ten minutes to go. Then Fabregas for Danny Drinkwater. Yellow C*nt then books Morata for dissent. I have no words, either for how Alvaro’s managed to do it again or for how his was bookworthy when others yapped and squawked in his face all night long. 88 minutes and Alba and Suarez were rolling about like they'd been shot. I couldn't have picked two more likely candidates for that. Yes, truly this bunch of whiny, cheating little skulduggerous cretins are the paragons of the football world. A mere three minutes added on. Insert your own explanation here.
So: We're still in the tie, which is more than most people, including possibly me, thought possible before kick off. The frustrating is, though, that when you’ve cracked the woodwork twice it feels like you’ve missed a trick when you don’t win. Worries about the formation and the team selection proved to be unfounded. In fact, but for one silly lapse the plan worked. We got given next to nothing tonight, and it will only be worse at theirs. I fancy us to score, but I don’t know if I fancy us not to concede. Still, it’s not like we can dwell on it with back to back fixtures in Manchester now in front of us.
*Picture of Willian scoring whilst the tax-dodging little ferret watches on gormlessly from afar comes from the official Chelsea website.