Chelsea 2 (2) Sp*rs 1 (2) Chelsea win 5-3 on penalties
Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Leg
Thursday 22nd January 19:45
I left you guys for eight days and I come back to a scene from the end of a f*cking Tarantino film.
6,000 rounds of spent ammunition and a bloodbath on the floor of the dressing room.
Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1: So this started (when I was bobbing about on the Indian Ocean) as you’d expect and Pedro Pony put us ahead. Then we went all Chelsea and conceded, before Willian, who had inevitably been slated by everybody all afternoon went and scored a winner near the end. A more predictable day in the life of Chelsea you could not have dreamt up. So I resumed introducing myself to all manner of male giant land tortoises in their 90s that found me utterly irresistible and spent a week chasing me (slowly) about various islands.
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 0: I was all ready to blog from the novelty of 40,000 feet, somewhere over Europe on a 283 degree heading on an Emirates A380-800. For they show live football. Huzzah. The down side? The coverage included Ian Wright. Bearer of the pettiest, loudest and most grammatically incorrectly articulated grudge in football because we sold his stepson. Surely being able to speak in proper English should be a prerequisite for television. The two small people who had been balling every since our second plane departed Dubai five hours before actually displayed more maturity, and made more sense. And I wanted to smother them less.
Ten points from our last four league games. (Though largely while boring the pants off the fans) Win this and we were nine clear of them in the hunt for the coveted Champions League spots. Easy. Right? No. Because it is us. We got beaten up by f*cking Arsenal. Like getting bitch-slapped by your nan.
We nearly f*cked it up less than thirty seconds in, and again before a minute had elapsed. Jorginho and Luiz the culprits. This became a theme. Two minutes of play and we’d only touched the ball to give it away. Then we would absolutely have been behind after three if Aubameyang could kick a football. It barely got better. Off the line from Koscielny after 12 minutes. Epic save from Kepa after Rudi lost his man in the box. I’m slightly concerned I may have been marooned in the Indian Ocean longer than I thought, looking at his mega-beard. Then we almost scored an own goal, meaning it was hardly surprising given what we had witnessed so far when Lacazette put them ahead a few seconds later.
So this was the version of Chelsea that turned up for this one. God help me now I could hear two screaming brats and smug Gooners in stereo. High balls into the box for players almost as short as me, all the impetus of Sam Allardyce on a treadmill and we still looked sadly fragile when they broke. Then it was two. And I decided to invest as much in this game as Chelsea and switched it off to watch the camera taped to the underside of the plane approach the runway at Gatwick. Not a single shot on target did I miss as a result. In the entire game. Then there was the thoroughly Chelsea fallout of a manager complaining about his players to the press. Classy. No, it’s not all your fault, but your high seven figure salary surely puts motivating personnel somewhere in your remit. Much like having a Plan B.
Transfer B*llocks: Incoming is Higuain. Is it the best signing ever? No. Is it a signing that promises much because he already has a bond with the manager and knows exactly what is expected of him? Yes. If he is willing to give it everything and not bitch and whine like certain predecessors. Even if he is but a temporary fix though, fear not, for we are trailing Zeneli - a much vaunted forward who is soon to be out of contract and whom we can pick up for as little as £5m from Heerenveen. I’ll leave you to ponder that one.
On the outgoing side, Cesc made an emotional goodbye speech in the dressing room before bidding England goodbye to go an join Henry at Monaco. Then Henry got fired. Considering his last ditch attempt to save his skin was to try and Fail-lani on loan it is hardly surprising, is it? Bayern still won’t f*ck off re Hudson-Odoi. To the extent that we are considering reporting them for tapping up. They’ve apparently offered him a “staggering 85k a week.” Not staggering by Chelsea standards. If the club wanted to keep him, they would match that without a second thought. Which apparently they have and he has turned it down. Sigh.
Morata edges closer to the door. Simeone reckons he can toughen him up. Good luck with that. I look at him and think “would he have my back if we got mugged in an alley?” I’m not sure which one of us would be running away screaming the loudest. Call me old fashioned but its not appealing in a bloke. He was basically dead to me after the shot of him drying his wife’s hair. Do we really want a man in the shirt who lacks even the motivation to take his f*cking Christmas tree down? And then jokes about how it can be there till the summer because he won’t be around? Can I say what I really think now or do I have to wait till we actually sell him down the line before I take him to task for being a sulky little bitch-baby? Sod off back to Spain and take your revolting attitude and your massive piles of money with you. Lord knows what he would have been like if he’d been dealt a normal hand at life and actually had to work massive hours to fund a roof over his head and/or feed his kids. You’d have found him lying on the floor of NatWest crying at the mortgage broker, or sitting next to his battered car on the M25 just shrugging his shoulders at passers by in the hope that someone would take pity on him and give him a new one. What a sap. For this bloke to stay and impress me now at Chelsea would take a bigger turn around than Bobby Ewing coming back to life in Dallas. I have little patience in the first place, and it has long been exhausted.
In the News: Awful, terrible events somewhere near the Channel Islands with what is surely now the loss Cardiff’s new signing and the father of four flying the plane. Hope has dwindled into despair by now, but the family very much don’t want people talking as if he is dead until they have something tangible to prove it. Big Pete retires at the end of the season after 15 years in the Premier League. What an absolute treasure he has been, whatever shirt he has been wearing. Consummate professional, ambassador for the game. His presence as a player will be missed by all with a true appreciation of the game and I hope he stays involved.
Solskjaer is set to move out of the Lowry already - at a cost of a mere £18k. Chequebook Pulis’s bill? A snip at £537,000. Even more expensive, Sanchez's goals are clocking in at £6m each at the moment. Bargain. The new in thing for combating muscle cramps appears to be pickle juice. There is footage of it being forced down Torreira’s throat at our game last weekend. Who was drinking pickle juice to figure that out in the first place? Footballers are notoriously stupid - what else can we make them drink by attaching some vague and intangible medical benefit to it? And happily some old faces have returned to the country. Ashley Cole has joined Frank Lampard’s Derby County (TM) and Mikel is now at Boro.
Us: Apparently there was a clear the air summit after the Arse debacle. F*ck off. There is never any clear air around Sarri - just a fug of stale nicotine. But whatever did happen resulted in the players taking to social media to tell us how up for this they were. The big surprise was the omission of Alonso for Emerson, but much welcomed, for you can’t maintain a run of form that bad and remain in the side. Barkley started over Willian, and we had a striker. Which is newsworthy indeed.
Them: They had three injuries. Three. Not the thirty the press would have you believe in making excuses for them. And a slender lead going into the second half of this tie thanks to the fact that VAR is a f*cking catastrophe.
View from the West Stand for me, because those horrible gits were in our seats. The beginning was scrappy but at least we looked like we fancied having a go, which is never a given at the moment. Having been incapable of fashioning attempts on goal against L’Arse, it only took Pedro Pony three minutes to get us stuck in. Only took Lamela three minutes to remind everyone he’s a nasty little sh*t too, with some leftovers on Luiz. Cardworthy, but not if your name is Martin Atkinson, and you are a bellend who is going to spend the whole match choking on his whistle.
Another cynical foul from Eric Dire followed, the first of countless infractions by football’s answer to Frankenstein’s monster. I can actually see Podgettino in the basement at Wembley with an industrial sewing machine and cast off body parts stitching him together. It would explain the expression. Shame the brain he is using once belonged to a squirrel. I don’t mind a referee letting a game flow, but if you’re going to let that sack of sh*t kick us up and down with impunity, then we best be getting away with leaving something on them too. The visitors were barely doing what was necessary to stay one goal clear of us. They had hardly even been in our box, let alone attempted to score, so when Kante triple-nutmegged them and smashed us ahead it was not in the least bit unexpected. Have that, tossers.
So far we’d had them by the balls. Ben Davies limped off after half an hour to be replaced by Rose, which prompted a massed cry of: “He cried when we drew, Danny Rose, he cried when we drew.” Then we really socked it to them thanks to a bit of magic from Eden. I was beginning to feel reasonably good about this, which of course is the kiss of death for Chelsea. We should even have made it three before the break. The keeper was nowhere against Hazard on 38, and then a couple of minutes later Pedro Pony was in, but he just overplayed it. The only thing Sp*rs had been effective at in the first 45 minutes was fouling us. And not getting punished for it. If Atkinson was keeping tabs, then it would have taken nothing short of Hazard driving a Ben-Hur style chariot onto the field complete with spinning blades and severing Dire’s legs at the knees before he’d have been able to justify showing us a yellow card. Penalty shout before the whistle went. Just outside the box, and Atkinson didn’t give it anyway. Then a further golden opportunity to finish them off came when Pedro Pony was away, but he ended up channeling Solomon Kalou and running round in circles until he confused himself and nearly fell over. 2-0 it was at halftime.
It looked promising for the opening seconds after the break, with a shot propelled into the arms of their keeper. Straight up the other end though and a rare Sp*d attempt was shanked well over the bar. Then, being Chelsea, we went and conceded a stupid goal. F*cking Llorente. Who hasn’t played a game of football since Alan Shearer had hair. The Beard was in on 51 to set us clear again, but nothing doing. They were time wasting already, and Atkinson suddenly started brandishing yellow cards about as if his life depended on it. But only if you were wearing blue. If you make the likes of Kante angry you need to take yourself off and do some serious f*cking self examination. Thanks to the f*ckwittery of the officials and our infinite capacity to make our lives difficult, the game descended towards end to end carnage for a while. “It’s so quiet at the Bridge,” they sang. Not as f*cking quiet as it is at Wait Hart Lane. Do any of you even remember how to get there? I set myself on a mission to try and get everyone around me to sing: “There’s no lights on, at the Lane,” but they were all too busy swearing at the referee. It took him until the 73rd minute to finally produce a card against a Sp*rs player. Which got just about the biggest, most ironic cheer of the night so far. Hazard came close to putting the tie to bed on 73, before Willian came on for Pedro Pony. Highlight of my night? As if Aurier wasn’t void of decency enough given that the police have had words with him about assaulting his girlfriend, he tried to kill his own teammate. Shame. Watching them clatter in to each other, then us ignoring it because it wasn’t a head injury was amusing. Not so much watching Sissoko depart the pitch slower than Bosingwa with a bullet in each knee cap.
A nervy final few minutes, unless you were Emerson, for he was full of bombing forward and crossing the ball into the box. One of his efforts was so nearly met by The Beard that it hurt. Jorginho gave the ball away in a frankly terrifying position, which is all he’ll be remembered for in that game, but we survived. And he was good. The less said about Willian’s effort in injury time the better. And so we went straight to penalties.
Eriksen - little rat-faced turd.
Willian - First up, after that last attempt? Ok. I forgive him
Lamela - cheating b*stard
Dave - This made me nervous, but he was emphatic.
Then up strolled Dire, with his ambling gait and the physique of a darts player. Both eyes facing in different directions and neither really focused on anything in particular as he concentrated deathly hard on remembering to breathe in and out. Miss. That, you scumbag, was for every last foul you got away with. Or in the words of my one Gooner friend texting me like his fingers were on fire, “HAVE THAT YOU LEGO-HEADED C*NT!”
Jorginho risked being ripped apart for costing us anything by stepping up for the third, but his penalty was a complete, nonchalant p*ss take and never in doubt.
Moura - seems to have aged 30 years since going to North London. Save from Kepa. Get in.
Luiz hits the winner. Of course he does. Anyone who watched him smash one on on leg in Munich wouldn’t have doubted him for a second.
So: Emerson deserves to keep his spot. Well done Barkley. What a shame RLC has been injured for this run of fixtures. Sp*rs have now failed to progress in five of their last six semi finals. Three of them against us. Happy days. Higuain has made more finals in six hours of being in England than any of them in the last decade. “Injury hit” they’ve called them in every match report. You haven’t got your main striker? Ours has been AWOL for about a year. We named Lucas Piazon on the bench. I’d forgotten he even existed. Get out of it you Sp*rsy, lightweight chumps. Let’s hope that none of the delay on the new stadium has been because they’ve been installing a trophy cabinet.