Chelsea 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
Sunday 11th December 2016 12:00
Well our Game isn't going to take up much space is it? Breakneck breakfast fare it certainly wasn’t, thanks to the most boring man in football. But we'll get to that. In the meantime, what to fill the space with, if not descriptions of throw-ins that took thirty seconds or of Ben Foster readjusting his nuts copiously every five minutes when he was supposed to be putting the ball back in play?
’Tis the season to be jolly. So let's laugh at other peoples' misfortune.
Sp*rs lost. We’re now 10 points clear of them. HWWNBN is 13 points adrift, despite his hilarious claims that United deserve to be in the top three. The Scouse were ahead, again, and f*cked up, again. Two more points dropped. And ding ding, round two of Pundits vs. whoever that Brigitte Nielsen lookalike is in goal for Klopp’s sh*t-haired mob. I thought they couldn’t do any worse than Mignolet. Thank you Santa. But most importantly. I’ve been dog sick all week and I gave myself such a massive coughing fit last night laughing at City that I nearly passed out. It was worth it. "If this wasn't Pep, he'd be getting hammered," said all the pundits. So hammer him I shall. Like Thor losing his rag stuck on a self checkout in Morrison's.
10th December 2016. The day that Icarus Guardiola fell to earth, followed by the wax spattered remains of his prized angel wings. Brace yourself for some radical opinion. Pep is just another manager. He's not the Jesus of the football world. He certainly isn't one of the wise men either. Right now he is not even a donkey in the stable. Unless it's a donkey that has been kicked out and chained up in the rain for dropping a dirty fart and p*ssing everyone else off inside.
Let's run through my favourite three explanations for City’s predicament:
"He needs time."
Right. Ranieri with supposed relegation fodder LEICESTER last season? Conte? It seems that some managers are more adaptable than others. I can accept this whinge to a certain extent, but, there’s needing time, and then there is being a moron. His team can't defend. Now I know you come from Spain, Pep, where this isn't entirely necessary for all but about six games of the season, but it's a basic principle of football that one would have thought you might have grasped in a lengthy career in the game. You’ve been in the land of Manc for nearly six months and rather than gaining anything, City have become incapable of stopping the opposition from putting the ball in their net. A half-arsed count on my part seems to reveal that they have only kept two clean sheets in the league. They aren’t even getting the basics right, never mind trying to build any lofty, smug philosophy that would turn them into world beaters.
"He doesn't know his best team"
Which is, I suppose, why he has made an astonishing 50 changes so far this season. Somewhere, last night, Joe Hart sat down to watch Match of the Day with a massive box of tissues wearing his best Head and Shoulders cheesy grin. He got exiled for Bravo because he didn’t play the ball out with his feet. He did, however, do a fair bit of m-a-k-i-n-g s-a-v-e-s, which I would have expected someone as special as Pep to have sussed out as the priority for a goalkeeper. Kolarov at the back is like Luiz on his worst, harebrained day, if as well as being harebrained he was also concussed, high on smarties and five pounds overweight. As someone who earns £0 a year out of the football industry, as opposed to Pep’s £15m, I would be confident that I would have by now realised that Kolarov would not be in my best team. After the game yesterday, Pep claimed that he doesn’t need any new defenders. Nothing wrong with the ones he has got apparently. If he genuinely looked at his back three of Two-Pies Kolarov, Sagna and Stones, then looked at Mahrez and Vardy and thought, “Yup, looking good,” then he is not only less clever than he has been given credit for, but he is in fact, a bell-end of epic proportions.
Which leads me to another great one. "He doesn't have the right players."
Piss poor. And not only because they have spent an astronomical amount on players. I’d argue that Pep just doesn’t know what to do with them. Because not even a complete f*ckmuppet, not even ALLARDYCE would have decided that the way back yesterday was to lump on Yaya Toure as f*cking centre forward. I mean, I've been led to believe this man is a footballing genius. If he was that bright, would he have not noticed that his players don't have a clue what they are supposed to be doing? That they are running about like a drunken Andy Carroll unsupervised in a kebab shop? I have not an ounce of sympathy. For the fees that they (stupidly) shelled out on De Bruyne, Stones (what a dodged bullet that was) and Sterling alone, Manchester City could have bought approximately four Eden Hazards, about six and a half Pestos, (autospell clearly knows best) or in excess of twenty Victor Moseses(eses - f*ck knows - what is the plural of a Victor Moses? Answers on a postcard) My point is that ignorance in the transfer market is not an excuse for wank results.
Pep Guardiola is every bit as delusional as HWWNBN, coming out yesterday having conceded twice in the first four minutes of the game and claiming that his side defended well. His post-defeat interviews sound as nonsensical as listening to a diatribe by Ozzy Osbourne. For Christ sake, the man got owned by Robbie Savage during the post match yammering. If it was me, I would just dig myself a hole and climb in. Or pull all my hair out... Oh... wait... But seriously, A pub team manager could not have failed to win everything going at Barcelona with Xavi, Iniesta and Messi at the height of their powers in a league where the bottom half is muchly comprised of players that wouldn’t get into a League Two side here. He turns up at Bayern the year they won the treble. To do what, exactly? What was any better than the poor guy that got swept out to make way for him? They didn’t win the Champions League, and he is not the Messiah that much of the footballing world professes him to be. He might be a good manager, he might well build something in the future at Manchester City to be immensely proud of. But his first half a season in English football has fulfilled all of my predictions of doom (which have been rammed down the throat of anyone who will listen for the last three years) He isn’t any shinier than anyone else, and if he isn’t handed a team that already wins everything in sight he is a mere mortal, just like the rest of them.
Our Game: I look forward to the two occasions a season when I occupy the same breathing space as Tony “Grinchman” Pulis as much as I anticipate root canal. Or watching anything with Danny Dyer in it.
What do you do when you know he has turned up to literally do nothing in the way of playing actual football? You come out swinging, which to our credit we did, with our favoured line up. This was marginally appreciated by a crowd not long out of bed. The time wasting began in the 8th minute. It was about as subtle and as poorly acted as a fight scene in the Queen Vic. I arrived at the Bridge today thinking: “Maybe Pulis has turned over a new leaf. Maybe they actually play football, they were in the top half, after all.” Nope. Pulis’s team are not there because they play stunning football. They are there because suffocating the life out of a football match has become an art form for the tramp in the tracksuit. Which is a shame, because they probably now have a better collection of players than warrants that, as shown in some of their results, and it demeans them. Nobody had any particularly inspiring chances, and the closest we came was when everyone in the ground could see the pass Victor Moses should have played through to Hazard except poor Victor himself. We were not playing terribly, but at half time we had not looked like breaking through.
Fuelled by chocolate for the second half, I felt like we needed Fabregas if we were to cut open Pulis’s well drilled 9-0-1 setup. We weren’t faring much better in the second half, despite giving it a go. At the other end, Rondon might have robbed Luiz, who didn’t have his best day, a couple times, but having won it they were so defensive that he never had anybody to pass it to. BBC gave Jonny Evans MOTM, presumably for his oscar winning portrayal of cramp ten minutes after half time, as the time-wasting increased and the time spent actually playing football ebbed accordingly. I had another coughing laughing fit when Diego, who was as annoyed as the crowd were by the slow-walking, was fouled and the away support started singing: “Same old Chelsea, always cheating.”
As we reached the last 20 West Brom decided they might actually fancy having a go, which opened the game out a little. Willian shot wide shortly after his arrival, but just after that Diego did it all on his own. No right to get on that ball, destroyed McAuley and then slid it past Foster from a difficult angle. On came Branna. And I don’t blame Conte for that. They'd offered little going forward, but it had taken more than hour to nudge ahead. It was a gamble, but one that would hopefully make sure we didn’t foul things up at the back. Mysteriously, it now only took West Brom four seconds to orchestrate a throw in. My candidate for MOTM? Thibaut, for the whole, hilarious, ironic minute that he got out of a goal kick whilst the away contingent screamed at him to get on with it.
We were waiting for the board to go up with a minimum of 25 added minutes now that the football boot was on the other foot. Which brings me to this weeks’ “Refwatch.” How Mike Dean, the biggest busybody in officialdom, didn't say a single word to Foster about his 45 second dropkicks, or shrugged off the fact that he couldn’t tell the difference between a corner and a goal kick on multiple occasions, astounded me, but at least he wasn’t blowing his whistle every five seconds like Taylor last week.
TAKE IT TO THE CORNER! Everyone screamed at Costa as the seconds ticked down. Giving him a football and telling him not to attempt to destroy the opposition in front of him with it right now is like waving a sausage at a jack russell and ordering it to sit. But in truth our hearts were never in our mouths. Pulis reckons his team had a right go today. I reckon he shouldn’t be putting himself anywhere near a scenario where he might be breathalysed any time soon. Nine wins in a row. Ugly, boring game, but we’re half done with him for the season and its the kind of dross that has to be endured and surmounted if we want to stay at the top of the league.