Norwich City 0 Chelsea 0
Saturday 6th January 2018 17:30
Fozzie Bear (muppet alias) has been going to Chelsea for nearly 60 years, so he's suffered everything the Blues can throw at him. And more. Fozzie Bear never gets irate, but he's actually demanding his ticket for the replay free of charge after this sh*tfest.
In the News: Everyone's favourite non-drama queen has kicked on to a whole new level now. This is far more interesting than the game I've just witnessed, so I will lay it out for you: He's two clicks away from smearing himself in his own faeces and emerging from the Old Trafford tunnel clad in a United branded Borat mankini and a Fellaini ginger Afro wig.
He was called out as to his demeanour on the touchline, which is sadder than Eeyore with a hangover. Thus began Clowngate/Dementiagate. I had a clown at my birthday party once. I was five. But I feel great empathy with them and Chequebook Pulis's mockery of the profession has deeply offended me. I think the FA should sentence him to three matches of mandatory wearing of a red squeaky nose on the touchline.
Conte, despite the best attempts of Chelsea's lovely PR man Steve trying to shut him down, came back and said CP was suffering from dementia, as in couldn't remember knee sliding at Old Trafford when he didn't manage them and otherwise bouncing up and down like a lunatic on many, many occasions. The Daily Fail called this an attack on CP. "Attack" implies menace. Conte was semi-reclining in his chair and taking the p*ss out of him, the latter part of which the Red Swarm scamps do themselves on a daily basis. The look would have been completed had he had a cravat, a smoking jacket and a cigarette holder, and a villainous looking cat on his lap. So give over.
Then CP turned spiteful with a reference to an accusation that our boss was exonerated of, and Conte is ready to take it outside. Well that is what he's said in a long-winded, English-isn't-my-first-language-kind of way. I see Russell Crowe pep-talking his Roman legions at the beginning of Gladiator. "I'm ready to fight for me," he says, "for my players, for the club, with everyone. I have no problem." CP is the pissy, moany emperor with the pouty bottom lip who's going to get his arse kicked in the Colosseum at the end. Talks a lot, but he never got his hands (or, feet) dirty on a football pitch, did he? Thumbs down for him. Or up - because nobody actually knows which way around it went. Either way, end him Antonio.
On the subject of a possible diminishment of mental faculties of some description. Wenger just can't shut up. Just stop talking. Has nobody in the land of the Goon got a tranquilliser dart handy? Even though he is already sitting on a three game touchline ban and a £40k fine he just keeps rambling on. He's lost the plot. He thinks he's making a moral stand. I've been watching The Handmaid's Tale and I almost want to go out and buy him a floaty red cape and a little white bonnet so he can start attempting an uprising. But he's Janine, in case you were wondering. The bonkers one. He’s not making it to Canada.
AVB has had a pop about the "lack of support" he received from Chelsea before we fired him. It was all us. Right. Let's not forget where his amazing potential has taken him since. The Chinese league. And worse. Sp*rs. And now he's quit to race cars. Desist, furry little ginger-bearded ferret man. And the Daily Fail's three wise men are at it again. Keown believes that Wilshere is as good as Sanchez. At what? Moaning? Diving? Making friends? This w*nkfest over a player that has been a chronic disappointment and, whose achievement thus far to warrant it is merely going five minutes without injuring himself or getting caught with a bong in his hand, has gone from funny to just ridiculous now. He puts not being broken down to his new gluten free diet. Nothing to do with giving up the booze, fags and weed then?
The Annals of Diego: I couldn't pass this up. One game midweek against a pub side: scores early, injures himself celebrating then gets into a fight. Today? Booked, scored, booked again, off. I almost miss him.
Transfer B*llocks: Ross Barkley is now a Chelsea player. He was cheap. That's good. It's made Scousers angry. That is also good. According to the Chelsea website he can play in numerous positions - out wide, behind the striker, deeper in midfield. They neglected to mention that this is when he is fit. Fingers crossed for him. And obviously he's under a proper medical team now instead of one that presumably stocks itself by robbing the medicine aisle in Lidl, so there's every reason to hope that this turns out to be a bargain and everyone wins. A contingent of Evertonians went into complete meltdown when we completed the signing. They appear to be mystified as to why he's had enough. Perhaps the kid just didn't fancy playing as one of 10 central defenders under Allardyce, for starters. The Mayor of Scouseland got involved. Apparently he's going to write a strongly worded letter to the authorities. Looking at him, any form of literacy would be an achievement and also, if he's worked his way up to Mayor I'm assuming he's seen a wide ranging pile of evidence as to why someone might want to leave the place without skulduggery having to be employed. I'll never forget walking past betting shops before away games up there. Odds on "Barcaloner" were very tempting. As was the advert for a Europa League game against a club beginning with U. Which they couldn't spell. So had just used an old tag that said "Ucrane." Close enough I suppose.
Conte is as baffled as the rest is of the planet by the tragic suggestion that we might have made an enquiry about Andy Carroll. He also apparently says that he doesn't get the players he asks for. While I am amused by the idea of a duel with Chequebook Pulis, this public moaning at the board has him beginning to resemble one of those people who post angst-ridden cryptic Facebook statuses in order to try and attract the attention of someone specific who has pissed them off. Nobody likes that sh*t. Just knock on the door or pick up the phone and have a conversation with them, we don't want to be involved. And Watford are ready to sell their £20,000,000 rated captain... Yes. That's right. They mean Troy Deeney. They're either talking about old style lira or someone has fallen asleep on the "0" whilst writing that up.
The Others: It all started with a Scouse Derby last night. Fat Sam was promising that his team were going to have a go. He must have called in a consultant coach who specialises in venturing out of your own half to get them ready then. Watching Mason Holgate and Firminho hissing at each other was brilliant. I'll remind you that both these sets of fans call us rent boys. And yet that was the silliest, campest little b*tch fight I've ever seen. Still, hypocrisy was ever a virtue up there. And Keown's obsession with Van Dijk as a specimen of manhood went from acceptable, to cringeworthy, to flat out disturbing by the end of the game. My highlight? I love it when depressed Ringo Starr has to announce an away goal over the tannoy there. He sounds like he's dying inside.
Elsewhere Leicester need a replay against Fleetwood, so Vardy gets a second chance to be fit enough to dive against his old team. City came from behind to put out Burnley, and Hughes finally got sacked after Coventry beat Stoke. The Stoke board decided that whilst another person might not want the job, as per his claim, they can probably find a trained chimp who will do better.
Our Game: From my longest match reviews to my shortest:
That. Was. Sh*t.
Ok, ok. I'll try harder.
I travelled up to a place where no motorway goes and where no coherent mobile phone signal exists. As for 4G. You'd have a better chance on Mars. To be honest, the game had a lot to live up to from the outset, given the excitement on the way up when one of the fan coaches decided to headbutt a pheasant and trash its own windscreen.
Them: If you offered me five minutes in a dark cupboard with Tenacious Double D, I still couldn't pick any of their players out of a lineup of random blokes all similarly dressed up as bananas.
Us: Nine changes in all including the emergence of the Lesser-Spotted-Kenedy, and the Even-Lesser-Spotted-Luiz, but don't get your hopes up about that last one. From what I hear the club isn't big enough for both he and Conte.
Bright start home team. Nothing of note really happened in the opening ten minutes, save for a quite sad cross-cum-shot from Kenedy. (If your mind goes there, I am not responsible) I should say now, until it gets to the final ten minutes, when I say "shot," don't be getting any shiny ideas, "half-a*sed kick vaguely in the direction of the goal" would generally be more accurate.
The play took ages to get going, thanks to a lengthy injury break for one of the bananas. For the duration of the first half, there did not appear to be a coherent plan. To be expected, I suppose, that fluency would be lacking with so many changes, but no dynamism or real prolonged intent either. On 24 minutes Willian, who looked to be the only forward really threatening to set this game off, diddled them completely and played in Pesto (yawn, autospell) but he was (legally) dumped on his a*se and the opportunity vanished.
New song. Terrible song. Still more entertaining than the game:
We've got Ross Barkley
We've got Ross Barkley
He left the f*cking Scouse
Because they robbed his house
We look like the Championship side. We had ranged from distinctly average, to messy, to woefully incapable of passing to each other. Despite this I thought the "oles" every time Bakayoko passed to another Chelsea player were a f*cking disgrace. Luckily Norwich were dogsh*t in the box. On 34 they could have been ahead but the shot went out for a throw in, which says it all. Luiz had got himself booked, and his body language was frustrated and sulky. Kenedy was particularly sloppy, Michy was isolated, and needs to be told that generally your feet need to leave the ground if you want to win the ball in the air. No shots on target at either end, colder than a witches tit and what do we get at half time? Ed f*cking Sheeran. This can't get any worse.
We emerged from the dressing room in slightly better shape and a header back across the goal from Zappacosta looked promising. Michy was a man in a mission. On 49 he had our first shot on target. By that I mean that as it rolled slowly into the six yard box the goalkeeper was required to bend down and pick it up. His spell of joy didn't last more than five minutes. Sarcastic Granville text: "Magic of the cup etc!!” There were slightly threatening attempts from Bakayoko, who no doubt will take the brunt of the flak following this performance. Another came from Tenacious Double D. Then one went a little closer from Willian. Could it be we're making inroads here? Nope. He slipped past them again on 57, but his shot went into the arms of the keeper.
Refwatch: Stuart Attwell. I know, who? He wasn't bad, but he had a jaunty way of running that annoyed me. He looked far too pleased with life for a football referee. Started to lose the plot a bit at the hour mark but mostly gave me hope that there may be someone, somewhere who can be trained up to oust some of the fools we have to put up with at the moment. Musonda and Morata were having a good runabout. Sooner rather than later please. Not enough spark on the pitch. Pesto, not his best game and Willian can't do it all in his own. We needed two of him to make a dent in this crapfest.
Narrow escape on 68. Goal was wide open for them but they almost hit the corner flag. We were ten minutes past the point where we should have made changes if we were serious about the result of this game, and I'm not sure we were. I think Antonio has laid out who is playing against Arsenal. Then he's rested as many of them as he could and put out what is left. If it wins, great, if not, I won't say he didn't care if we lost but it didn't look like he was desperate to win either. On 70 minutes Michy lost the ball embarrassingly and Conte's reaction was to summon Morata back to the bench. Game over Batman.
With the possibility of money from a replay and presumably a temporary escape from Norfolk, Norwich were slow-walking, if not time-wasting outrageously. It took forever to get the ball back out of the crowd too, although this might have been the fact that all the locals have webbed hands and couldn't retrieve it. Morata and Musonda came on for Michy and Pesto with little time to make a difference. Let that not dissuade a fervent nappy sh*tter - and they were everywhere today - because they just went straight for the jugular with our striker. Tedious f*ckers. Cahill got vile abuse too, largely from a large gobsh*te near us. Rage.
The game was rounded off with some slightly more convincing, though not heart-stopping attempts on goal. Another long range one from TDD was claimed by the keeper on 81 and in the dying seconds Zappacosta thumped one slightly wide. One glimmer of joy? An appearance for Dujon Sterling. A whole four minutes. But in that time though he maintained possession, won a corner and robbed them of the ball, which is the same, if not more than some did in over an hour.
So: I bet they're glad the televised that. Dud performance from the team and from some of the fans. What is the point in going to a sh*thole like Norwich to sling constant, heavy duty abuse at our own players? Do the rest of us a favour and stay at home. Some observations:
Luiz - Admittedly rusty, but ignoring the underlying drama that is keeping him out of the side, did nothing at all to convince Conte that he is a better option than any other centre back today.
Cahill - Nowhere near bad enough to warrant repeatedly being called a c*nt by our own fans.
TDD - Another blameless one. He must be irritating as hell to play against because he's always niggling the opposition, hence the nickname. I made a comment to Janice (muppet alias) about him getting in between people's legs and we giggled like schoolgirls for at least a minute.
Little Willie - not one of his vintage performances but shrugged them off all afternoon. If anything was going to happen it was going to come from him.
Big Willy - I think we’ve hit gold there in terms of a backup goalkeeper.
Batshuayi - Michy does not work a lone man up front. Kind of like when we put Torres up there and pretended he was St. Didier of Munich. The only times Michy won the ball in the air were in our own box. He is not Morata. Yes, he’s failing to perform, but I don't think he's necessarily being put in a position that would get anything like the best out of him either.
Another week, another face-off with L'Arse. Minus Whinger who will be in a padded cell somewhere. Yes, it is the lowest of our priorities on paper, but when we're two games from Wembley we'd be morons not to take is seriously. Hands up who remembers Swansea!
*Picture of Antonio going looking for CP comes from Chelsea's official website