So proper football is back. I haven’t been so relieved since Drobga banged that penalty in in Munich, or since the rumours that we were going to sign Lukaku back for £75m went away.
England - Thank God it was only one match. It was probably as underwhelming and turgid as any sane person anticipated when they saw who got the job. (See previous post for the blow by blow pain of sitting through it, or for what I was reduced to on Netflix to kill this endless break) Perhaps a bit worrying that Sam Allardyce (who at least stopped gnawing on gum long enough for the post match interview) is willing to let Rooney choose where he plays and basically do what he wants. Given that leaving him to his own devices ends in him banging someone’s nan, suggest he revisit this policy.
Transfer Deadline Day (I’m not doing the whole window, because lets face it, we’re all just f**king glad its over till January - although - Wilshere *laughing so much it hurts*) The usual yellow-themed circus of over-the-top and cringeworthy sh*t coverage from Sky. Since they’ve done away with the random sex toys and blow up dolls being thrown into shot it is just no fun anymore. Poor M’Villa - if David Moyes is screening your calls you need to take a step back and reassess your life. Everton got dumped in style by Moussa Sissoko who was screening calls, then tried to act like they were dumping him first by “withdrawing” their offer of employment when he was already on the way to North London. Is their PR person a fifteen year old girl? Then there was a moment where Sp*rs might not have got it through and then he would have had to stay at Newcastle. That would have been entertainment. Then as the clock wound down we had to put up with Merson veering from stating the obvious, to talking gibberish. As I said on Facebook at the time, the 11pm deadline was only introduced to make sure the pubs were closed by the time he got out the studio.
I’m not sure how I feel about us paying £20m plus for someone who used to be in Bolton’s defence, but Alonso will hopefully prove me wrong. As for Sideshow. Let’s take a moment to laugh at Sky for pretending the deal was done with seven minutes to go when he was blatantly already a Chelsea player again by the time Bake-Off started. (Shut up. You all watch it. There’s nothing wrong with cake porn)
There will be some moments of absolute brilliance on a par with any defender we could have signed, there will be some moments of sheer horror, and a fair amount of (literally) hair-raising bonkers-ness. (If that isn’t a word it should be) The man is a loon, but he seems thoroughly determined to be OUR loon and that will go most of the way to helping people forget his running past the shed end celebrating dumping us out of Europe. And everyone seems more excited that he might be a viable alternative to Matic at the back of midfield than the thought of him in defence. For good reason. In short, I have come to terms with this. He’s batshit crazy. But he is family. Like a random and slightly creepy uncle who turns up at family party and spends the whole time on the bouncy castle with the kids.
Which only leaves my Bi-Annual Report on Chelsea's Loanees - which I like to call “Where the f**k have all those players I forgot existed been farmed out to this time?”
Cuadrado appears to be the playing equivalent of a mangy stray dog you adopted, who then destroyed your furniture and your carpets. They probably started by moving his locker outside, then taking away his parking space. Chelsea are now on the bit where you try to not-so-subtly convince the mutt to move on again without resorting to animal cruelty. But here is the list in full:
Nathan Baxter (on loan to Metropolitan Police until 15 January 2017)
Mitchell Beeney (on loan to Crawley Town until 3 January 2017)
Jamal Blackman (on loan to Wycombe Wanderers until 3 January 2017)
Matej Delač (on loan to Mouscron-Péruwelz until 30 June 2017)
Nathan Aké (on loan to Bournemouth until 30 June 2017)
Baba Rahman (on loan to Schalke 04 until 30 June 2017)
Andreas Christensen (on loan to Borussia Mönchengladbach until 30 June 2017)
Jake Clarke-Salter (on loan to Bristol Rovers until 30 June 2017)
Dion Conroy (on loan to Aldershot Town until 15 January 2017)
Alex Davey (on loan to Crawley Town until 3 January 2017)
Michael Hector (on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt until 30 June 2017)
Tomáš Kalas (on loan to Fulham until 30 June 2017)
Matt Miazga (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2017)
Wallace (on loan to Grêmio until 30 June 2017)
Kenneth Omeruo (on loan to Alanyaspor until 30 June 2017)
Victorien Angban (on loan to Granada until 30 June 2017)
Christian Atsu (on loan to Newcastle United until 30 June 2017)
Lewis Baker (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2017)
Jérémie Boga (on loan to Granada until 30 June 2017)
Charlie Colkett (on loan to Bristol Rovers until 30 June 2017)
Juan Cuadrado (on loan to Juventus until 30 June 2019)
Cristián Cuevas (on loan to Sint-Truiden until 30 June 2017)
Jordan Houghton (on loan to Doncaster Rovers until 3 January 2017)
Kenedy (on loan at Watford until 30 June 2017)
Charly Musonda (on loan to Real Betis until 30 June 2017)
Nathan (on loan to Vitesse until 30 June 2017)
Kasey Palmer (on loan to Huddersfield Town until 30 June 2017)
Danilo Pantić (on loan to Excelsior until 30 June 2017)
Mario Pašalić (on loan to Milan until 30 June 2017)
Lucas Piazon (on loan to Fulham until 15 January 2017)
Tammy Abraham (on loan to Bristol City until 30 June 2017)
Patrick Bamford (on loan to Burnley until 30 June 2017)
Isaiah Brown (on loan to Rotherham United until 30 June 2017)
Islam Feruz (on loan to Mouscron-Péruwelz until 30 June 2017)
Alex Kiwomya (on loan to Crewe Alexandra until 9 January 2017)
Loïc Rémy (on loan to Crystal Palace until 30 June 2017)
Joao Rodríguez (on loan to Santa Fe until 30 June 2017)
Bertrand Traoré (on loan to Ajax until 30 June 2017)
BACK TO THE REAL FOOTBALL!
Palace, who are away to Boro, could probably have done with Remy this weekend. But he’s been ruled out injured for two months. Already. That’d be walking from the car to the training pitch then. At least that is long enough for him to suss the offside rule. Impressively, Boro are 6th at the moment. TV have learnt their lesson about showing West Ham swiftly, and they are at home (well, continue to squat at the Olympic stadium) to Watford at 3pm. Elsewhere, bottom placed Stoke take on Sp*rs, Hull try to keep their run going away at Burnley, Wenger will get another warm welcome at home to Southampton and Tony Pulis will attempt to bore everyone to death at Bournemouth. On Sunday we’re the only game but on Monday night David Moyes entertains (now there is an oxymoron if ever I heard one) Everton at 8pm.
Which leaves the early kick off tomorrow. Pep vs. HWWNBN. Will it be tiki taka or park the bus, how will City fare without Aguero? Will Rashford get off the bench? How does Ibrahimovic manage to keep his nose onside? Will Pep every learn to dip his head in some foundation to stop the glare from distracting us all? Who cares. As long as it’s a draw and some hamstrings pop to give us an easier ride in the coming weeks. (don’t judge me, they still get paid). I’ve got Chelsea questions to answer first. Like how many more ways can Eden find to tell us all that he didn’t respect HWWNBN because he was never a top class player? And what the f**k has happened to Van Ginkel?
Antonio Conte Assessment: (Given our history with managers I intend to keep a close eye on this one. Each week, using all of my FBI profiling skills, meticulously absorbed watching 12 seasons of Criminal Minds, I will rate him on the Mourinho Scale, a careful and scientific calculation based on the premise that the more dishevelled and tramp-like a manager gets, the more he is about to strike the male menopause and have a total meltdown) Antonio was a bit croaky and not really in the mood today (not helped by bellend questions from the media that had little to do with Chelsea). Press conference this morning started - for the benefit of the blokes - a bit like trying to to have a conversation with your missus when she says everything is fine, but you have obviously done something stupid. And it isn’t. However, still groomed to a proper level of personal hygiene and smiling away by the end, so I’m going to keep it at Defcon 1. No sign of a meltdown anytime soon. (Those not familiar with such speak, that is normal and it goes up to 5 when the Russians are coming).
They’ve only had their first training session with everybody back this morning. Boss wouldn’t answer whether or not the new boys play tomorrow, because he is not an idiot… Again they press plebs were trying to press him on whether or not Luiz was bought to be a midfielder, and again, he gave the sensible answer, which is that we bought a centre back but it is good that he is adaptable. Then we wasted ten minutes of our lives while some idiot asked him a load of pointless questions about the Manchester Derby, including did he intend to watch it on tv. No mention of any injuries, but presumably Zouma still isn’t ready.
Fun facts about Swansea: What is it with these feisty bloody mascots? Cyril the Swan was banned for two games in 1999 because he got into a ruck with Norwich City’s Director of Football during a tie. This is hilarious on many levels, but none so much as the idea of someone at director level deciding that it was acceptable from a PR standpoint to argue with someone in a six foot bird suit. Cyril the Swan, who is white, obviously, was almost replaced by Sid the Cygnet, who was black (hurrah for diversity). But then he wasn’t. And they insist that we are all racist. Why get his hopes up? Where are those black lives matter people from Westminster when you need them? (Of course they do, before anyone starts. If you are going to troll someone, troll Brian Hamilton, who picked a fight with a giant fake bird).
A clean sheet would be nice, as we haven’t kept one in the last five away games. Having said that, Diego Costa has scored more goals against Swansea than any other Premier League team. I am feeling quite positive about this, as our opponents are trying to avoid a third defeat in a row, but Swansea seem to be very up and down. Fingers crossed whoever the boss goes for, they put in a good effort and we keep our uneaten run going any which way we can. As someone up in the grey wastelands of the north has to drop points this weekend, that will do me fine. I’m going to go… 2-1 Chelsea because I’m trying to be an optimist.