MATCH THREE: Chelsea 3 Burnley 0
27th August 2016 15:00
Customer Comment of the Day: ‘You’ve got sunglasses on.’ Thanks for that. Now give me your money and back away. Slowly.
Away fan insult of the day: This was very poor. Most Burnley fans just wanted directions. (Knowing I was staying put by the Stoll housing and was therefore findable I gave them the right ones) One guy did shout “POUND!” in my face. I give that a 1/10 in the insult stakes, amidst surprise he found his way to London successfully.
The Others: Just when Arsenal had stopped being amusing, along comes Piers Morgan joking-not-really-jokingly trying to tap up unrealistic transfer targets on their behalf via Twitter. Just one more reason why there should be some kind of bellend detection test before people are given smartphones or internet access.
Amrabat gets a penalty given against him today, but got away with a dozen of those challenges last week without so much as a yellow. Huth holding in the box like a twelve year old whose made a leap at Justin Bieber, nothing. No penalty for Watford on a handball but Mike Dean is giving them out for farting in the direction of an opponent in the box. WHERE IS THE CONSISTENCY IN OFFICIALLING! (A rant for another day, maybe, when I’ve had some gin.)
In Pogbawatch (me totting up his worth as we go to prove he is worth nothing like £100m) I saw two truly awful shots, a wide miss and him giving away a free kick in the box before his team could fashion a shot with a high foot. And not a lot else. I will raise him by £1m for today purely because it looked cold and rainy and he stayed on till the end. (Who knows, maybe his stupid hair repels water, as well as people with taste?) Add that to the last two games and he has worked his value up to £6m. 94 more to go. Heartbreaking for Hull, I suppose those of us bearing grudges (because I certainly am) can take some solace from the fact that HWSNBN was shown up to be silly when Rashford was the one that came on and won it.
Our Game: Willian was fit to start, and I was out on one other player in my team predictions, namely Matic over Fabregas. I will let Antonio off this time as he proved he was right. (and probably highlighted just one of many, many reasons he has a seven figure salary and I flog fanzines)
Hazard was taking the piss for the first goal, as he did for much of the afternoon. (I could have licked him when he did that little back heel into the box.) Burnley were not terrible by any means, but as predicted we dominated posession for much of the first half and could have scored several more times, notably when Kante put a brilliant high lob into the box that eventually fell for Cahill to volley. It was largely our own fault that none of them went in, rather than Heaton having to work hard to keep us out. Matic’s shit early passing started off strains of Fabregas and his magic hat in the stands, but he actually got better as the game went on. Burnley worked their way into the half as the game went on to no avail. Fozzy Bear in the West Lower (I’m giving my friends Muppet code names to preserve their anonymity) thought that Willian’s goal was a pass - have to say the rest of us are categorically going with shot on that one. But as you supply us with chocolate fingers at away games I’ll keep the mockery to a minimum!
The second half began much the same as the first. Diego was fiesty, and not in a way that suggested he was going to chew off someone’s leg and spit it out. (Although there is always the hope he might have run into a journalist somewhere before going home.) His best work was for the benefit of others today. The play was entertaining, but the third goal wasn’t quite there, thanks to some sharp goalkeeping, determined defending and JT missing a sitter a foot off the goal line. (Love you John, lots, but next couple of weeks maybe more shooting practice and less time instagramming videos of the little rat-dog?) I don’t recall Burnley having more than one shot until the 72nd minute, and indeed they didn’t have any on target, but after that they really threw in their lot and attempted to get something out of the game. This last quarter was largely what dragged their posession up past 30% and they could have scored before we made three subsitutions and Moses, who had already done more than enough to deserve a goal since coming on, hit one on the break to put the game out of reach on 89 minutes. There was very nearly a fourth too. This could have been an ideal refereeing performance, as my opinion is that you shouldn’t even notice that they are there. Obviously this low profile doesn’t happen with Clattenburg and he had to show at least one silly token yellow to ensure his Match of the Day close up, but it was the best officialling we have had yet this season.
So: We are top of the league. We really are. When I heard that song start going round the Bridge I was so disorientated that I actually thought it was the Burnley fans for a moment. And first clean sheet at home in the league since last November. We never would have made three attacking substitutions last season, or under HWWNBN. We would have brought on Mikel, parked the famous bus and held the 2-0. Probably in that instant, Burnley would have scored, and knowing our luck there would have been an equalising goal off someone’s butt-cheek in the dying moments. It seems those days are gone. As it was, Burnley opened up and we, having reinvigorated an attack that had run out of steam with three nippy players, managed to pick them off on the break and make sure of the three points. Don’t get too excited, but it looks like we might have a manager/head coach/whatever with some balls and a bit of common sense. He's not HWWNBN going on the defensive, (thank God) and he may not be Ancelotti letting us run on all guns blazing and smash teams by seven or eight, but I will gladly settle for something in the middle.
Things are looking rosy so far, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ve not played anyone yet that has their sights realistically set on the top four. But just when we are hitting our stride, along comes that plague which resigns us to clearing out garages and tramping round IKEA and other miserable examples of domestic monotony on a weekend. An international break. Time then to ponder some of life’s questions. How does Conte not sweat when he is going batshit on the touchline? What was James Milner’s creepy goal celebration about? Can anybody get near Ranieri as the nicest man in football? Why does Koscielny like a human cross-bred with a velociraptor? And just why does Gary Lineker insist on pronouncing Conte’s name in a terrible Godfather accent?
We’re not back at the Bridge until we sample another travesty of modern football in mid-September: a Friday night fixture. Let’s all doff our caps to Gonzo in the Shed Upper who is seizing the positive and attempting to break his record for the most shitfaced he’s ever been at a game. He’s going to finish work early to get going. On the Wednesday. I’ll probably post an expletive ridden diatribe about how shit international football is at some point in the next couple of weeks, and some mockery of transfer deadline day. (Will Harry Redknapp be randomly driving round in his land rover looking for attention, and can anyone top the big purple dildo of last year?) If not, back with a preview for Swansea soon.
HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY RYAN!
P.S. I give you this little ditty from the Wimbledon bound tube:
N'golo Kante you are the love of my life
N'golo Kante I'd let you shag my wife
N'golo Kante, I want to tackle like you