Fulham 1 Chelsea 2
Sunday 3rd March 2019 14:05
This was the 82nd West London derby. Fulham have won precisely nine of them. Hence why this away-day excursion is thoroughly enjoyable, and nobody wants to see them go down, but it doesn’t pack a punch.
In the News: What a difference a couple of results makes. Sarri’s sense of humour has returned. He looks less like he’s about to set fire to his synthetic tracksuit with his lighter on the touchline.
Having compromised with the players about defending a little deeper, and reaping the rewards on the pitch, it’s safe to say he’s not going anywhere for now. And by that, because it’s us, I mean like, a week. Have a guess at which Blue accumulates the most fines in training? St. N’golo of Kante. Always late for training apparently, should probably trade the Mini for something with a more impressive engine to get him there on time. FIFA are doing their best to try and implement this transfer ban whilst the appeal is ongoing, which strikes me as b*stardry, but UEFA have dropped any investigation into the sketchy accusations of racism in Budapest last December. They are, however, looking at banning City from the Champions League after they fiddled Financial Fair Play. Jason Puncheon has been cast out by Huddersfield after a bust up with the manager. For me, he will only every be noteworthy for running off the pitch to take a dump that time. At least he didn’t do it in his pants like Lineker. Chequebook Pulis continues his foray into punditry. Not impressed with Madrid in El Clasico. Apparently the Spanish giants are going to try and give Bale back to Sp*rs to try and leverage getting Eriksen out of them. Celtic unveiled a banner for Rodgers that read: “You traded immortality for mediocrity.” Get over yourselves, much.
The Others: Gloriously, Sp*rs have dropped eight points in a week. Karma. Aaron Ramsey was running about screaming “this is my f*cking pitch” at Wembley. Only he’s Welsh. Whatever, if he caused them pain in the act of doing so, I’m on board. Klippity Klopp is blaming the wind for their inability to beat Everton, which, even more gloriously, means that their “destiny” (God the Press Plebs are tedious) is now out of their hands. The irony that he is a massive windbag is not lost on me. He took it all out on a twelve year old ball boy who took the p*ss out of him. The Scouse have of course notified the police, the FA, UEFA and FIFA of said 12 year-old’s transgressions. And Klippity cuddles stewards so obviously he’s a f*cking saint and nothing will happen to him, because everyone is sprayed with a teflon coating on their way into the Scouse. Just as nothing will happen to Harry F*cking Kane after his lame head butt on Dave. Leicester lost, despite the arrival of Brendan and his giant teeth, Palace heaped more misery on Burnley, with Michy scoring again, City cut it fine against Bournemouth and United made a big deal out of their tie against Southampton.
Them: Denied a reunion with the loveable Ranieri because it’s his fault they bought too many players and then it turned out they cant play together. Babel and his luminous red hair is worthy of a slating. Looks like a f*cking snooker ball sitting on his shoulders.
Us: Sarri has concerns about how tired the players are. Kepa, having taken his medicine, is forgiven. This apparently really is over and done with now. Rotation at the back saw Emerson and Christensen return and Alonso and Luiz sit this one out. In midfield it was Pedro Pony’s turn to take a back seat after his Wednesday heroics and Willian came in. If he doesn’t give Hudson-Odoi the chance he has earned on Thursday I will shake my fist at him.
Blogging this was always going to hurt after nigh on a week spent with the various chapters of Chelsea in America who were over. My liver is actually crying. The rampant narcissist in charge of Chelsea Chicago has demanded the attention he is due in this blog with a mention. So here we go: Brian.
Grown men with clappers is only a step below turning up for the game in a full kit. Apparently it is five years since we were last here. Last time I was stood two seats away from Ray Wilkins. God I feel old. Two gins with a raging head cold meant I was cuddling a lovely chap called Steve that I don’t know before kick off. It was a very positive start. In the away end we amused ourselves by celebrating the annual collapse of Sp*rs title “charge” (which as usual was a tentative, marauding f*cking amble at best) We manufactured some half chances before a stupid error on 5 minutes needed a quick reaction by a furious Dave, but we survived. Higuain could have put us ahead shortly afterwards if he’d just hit the bloody thing. They were finally getting somewhere on 10 before the referee put in an outstanding block. They were doing all right now. On 17 minutes Kepa fumbled the ball and Babel should have been in, but the keeper came flying back and risked a boot to his baby face to get his hands back on the ball. A shot from Barkley curled high and wide, before bang on 20 minutes Higuain flicked it in. 1-0. Cuddle buddy Steve thinks he’s rather like Thibaut. If he has to react to something quickly he’s great, but the second he takes a touch, therefore engaging his brain, it all falls apart.
Rather than motivate Fulham into action they became more cautious after the goal, but it soon passed. Another great save from Kepa, but absolutely ludicrous defending from the resulting corner destroyed our lead. Absolutely nobody marking Calum Chambers in the box, nobody on the far post and even that great oaf had even enough time for his walnut sized brain to register how to bring it down and fire at the target. 1-1. End to end then, but on 30 we were the ones with the time and space. A perfectly placed shot to make it 1-2. We were there when Jorginho scored. Sarri’s illegitimate kids on top. Just over again from Higuain on 32, before at the other end a volley from Denis Odoi went well wide. Eden was in on 36, but had to settle for a corner. Which was as traditionally sh*t as always. Leading into the break, we scrapped well for the ball on the edge of the box, but Eden’s shot went straight at the keeper and there was nobody there for the follow up. Higuain could have had another in injury time when the ball came along the floor from Dave, but his shot was spectacularly tipped out by the keeper. All in all, we really should have put it to bed by now, and we hadn’t.
Fulham were fully on the defensive at the restart, but we still couldn’t score again. Then our ability to pass the ball to each other went wayward for a bit. Fulham were by no means out of this. If they’d have played like this all season they wouldn’t be in their current predicament. Side netting for Little Willie on 52, before a handball/penalty shout on 53. Refwatch: Graham Scott apparently. Not particularly consistent. Not sure what was going on with the f*cking drinks break before half time either. Doesn’t know what constitutes a corner. He does however get bonus points for mocking Dave’s massive overreaction to the penalty claim.
Handbags in the box on 57 resulted in Eden playing it across the face of goal, but again there was nobody there trying to tap it in. Best chance yet for Fulham on 59, a block from us landed at their feet but the shot was just over the bar. The the managers rolled the dice. A change from them ignited a flurry of recognition re the score line. Time to change this up. Inevitably with Kovacic for Barkley, right? Though a bit of CHO wouldn’t have gone amiss, as it had become all about them looking or an equaliser.
Jorginho off for Kovacic. F*cking hell he’s full of positive changes all of a sudden. Bit of a tasteless cheer from us, but he was at least then sung off the pitch. Think it was more that Sarri was making a different change than an expression of antipathy for one of our goal scorers. Another change from Fulham. The snooker ball limped off for some bloke I’ve never heard of. I would have quite liked another f*cking goal now, because it was still it was all about them. Punched clear by Kepa on 71, before Rudi saved the day again less than a minute later.
Tired Hazard off for Pedro Pony on 73, but they were still fully in pursuit of an equaliser. All we needed was one counter attack though. Barkley off for Ruben on 78, but we were faffing with disaster. There was a chance to put it to bed on 84, but again there was nobody waiting for it in the box. We squandered another as the rain lashed down. We were time wasting against Fulham, who were desperately trying to get something out of the game amidst our mockery. “We forgot that you exist,” and “You’re going down.” Poor Fulham.
So: Poor Fulham my arse, for then they nearly scored but for a diving save from Kepa after Ruben gave the ball away. Five minutes added on, and they thought they’d got a point with seconds to go but it was offside. A stupid error to concede, and all we did was give the ball away for the last twenty minutes. But though we huffed and we puffed, we got a result. Some games are just like that, and this wasn’t a reversion to the awful form of pre-City. They were on a traditional bounce after the dismissal of a manager and it is their cup final, after all. Rudiger was excellent again and although Christensen broke my rules governing centre backs not wearing long sleeves, he slotted in nicely again and with Emerson picking up where he left off against City the defence looked competent. Only three days off before it’s Kiev. God if this schedule is ruining me no wonder Eden looks like he needs a fat quarter pounder to revive his little legs.