Crystal Palace 2 Chelsea 1
Saturday 14th October 2017 15:00
You've got no credible use for a flux capacitor when you can automatically go back to 1970 with a visit to Selhurst Park. Complete with a post to block half your view of the pitch and third world toilets. I even saw someone with a mullet.
In the News: Mother of God this has been painful the last couple of weeks. The Red Swarm have just excelled themselves with the amount of useless f*ckwittery they have managed to roll out since there was last a meaningful game of football. Fat Sam wants to sue the FA because he says they didn't wait for enough evidence before "forcing" him to resign. There are no words for the front on this man. Oscar says he'd be open to a Premier League return. There's a surprise. Everyone wants to know about me and Terry. Says Anton Ferdinand. Who wants to write a book about his career. Firstly, I'm doubtful he can write his own name, secondly, how tragic that two second exchange is the only thing of note in his career that he can plug his book with. Gareth Bale is apparently so obsessed with golf that he has paid for a replica of the "Iconic 17th at Sawgrass" whatever that means, to be built in his back garden. I would have thought he'd be keener to play football at the moment and channel his energies there. Lest he ends up working in a McDonalds. Latest from the Daily Fail's "Three Wise Men?" Keown stated last week that he believes that Ozil has already mentally checked out of Arsenal. As far as stating the f*cking obvious goes that's a peach. Shame it's taken him two years to come up with that glaringly obvious gem. There was a story about how Ronaldo now owns £6m worth of cars with pictures of them all. He has two Bugattis boasted the headline. I can't tell you how enriched I feel for knowing that. The FIFA 2018 correspondent is still bleeding a living out of the media. This time he dedicated a whole article to who the Diving Little Sh*tbag would pick other than his teammate Harry F*cking Kane. Jesus wept. Klippity Klopp is perfect for the Scouse says one pundit, because he is under no pressure to win trophies. I'll pause here so you can have a good laugh...
England were so boring that fans started throwing paper aeroplanes on the pitch, Wales have missed out on the world cup on account of that little scab McLean, which means we will be spared Joe Ledley’s beard and the hideous man bun. Although his hamstrings appear to be made of strawberry laces/Twizzlers so he likely wouldn’t have been there anyway. A former Middlesbrough player has been embroiled in a cock scandal, (fighting) Evra was pictured feeding his pet lion cub. I want to see the pictures after it gets bigger than him and isn't satisfied with milk anymore. Kaka tells the world that he doesn't feel any joy in playing football anymore. A world that has long forgotten that Kaka plays football. Speaking of people who you would think would be drawing a pension by now - Tim Cahill has ensured that Australia will be at the World Cup. At the ripe old age of 84. Naturally the Red Swarm have spent the last two weeks as they spend all breaks in play, trying to convince the world that Antonio Conte doesn't want to be at Chelsea. And we've had Musondagate. He was talking about Belgium, not Chelsea, but the club have done right to sit him down and explain why emotional incontinence on social media platforms makes you look silly. Probably using Piers Morgan and Donald Trump as case studies.
The Others: You'd have been forgiven for assuming that there was only one game on this weekend. And hilariously it turned out to be as dull as Michael Owen delivering a lecture on cheese labels. Chequebook Pulis lived up to his name by boring everybody to death and then complained he didn't have a bench, thus not so skilfully evading the fact that he had no intention of trying to win that match by you know, playing football, and trying to retain a level of dignity that in reality deserted him years ago. I'm that drunk now I don't really give a rats a*se about the rest. But as with every other weekend - we can go to bed safe in the knowledge that at least we are not Arsenal.
Them: No striker, Ruben couldn't play, blah, blah. Set to be the first team ever to go nine losses without a goal. Or something. What could possibly go wrong, right? Wrong.
Us: A game too soon for Morata, Kante yet to be fully assessed but don't expect to see him in the next few weeks. Batshuayi up front with Willian and Hazard behind. Fabregas takes Kante's place alongside Bakayoko. Luiz was back and he lined up with Cahill and Azpilicueta on with side of him. Not our first choice line up, but should have been enough to take care of a team rock bottom of the league and literally pointless.
Glad all over. They sang. Probably a bit of a stretch but they had mustered a lot of enthusiasm after an appalling start to the season, so more power to them. They could have had an early goal but Zaha made a hash of getting a shot off. The crowd were so excited at even getting in the box that you almost wanted them to score.
They never looked like a team on its a*se today. We came into it a bit, but we never really got a hold of the ball in the opening spell. In fact most of the first ten minutes we looked to be doing our best to help them score that elusive goal. Never let it be said that Chelsea are not benevolent. I did an interview with Talksport this morning, in which I reassured the Palace fan on air with me that they would score today, whether it be a goal that bounced in off someone's a*se cheek or an own goal we scored for them. Just as predicted and joked about by myself and everyone with any lengthy experience of supporting Chelsea, along came Palace's first goal of the season, courtesy of us. Specifically Dave, who you just can't be angry at, even if he was pretty terrible, because he's Duracell Dave and when does he usually let us down?
If anything that seemed to spark life into us, but for the cohesion on display it looked like some of our lot had never met until five minutes before kick off. When I was five a coach taught me to point my standing foot towards the player I wanted to pass the ball to when I kicked it. At many times today it seemed that this basic principle was something that most of our team had been cruelly deprived of.
If you're Palace though, you wanted to score that in the 80th minute. Not the 11th. And happily we were only behind for a few minutes. WE SCORED FROM A CORNER. A FABREGAS CORNER. A F*CKING LONG FABREGAS CORNER! All I saw was a peroxide blob soar into to air and make contact with the ball. Bakayoko, I forgive you for thus far giving the ball away every time you've had it. Suddenly, with Croydon being it's usual bleak self, the flood lights burst into life and nearly blinded us. Presumably Croydon Council managed to reroute the juice back from whichever illegal caravan site was stealing it. "Oh yay" said Father Ted (sitcom alias) "Now I can really see how sh*t this ground is." We were so missing Kante. I'd already lost count of how many times we had squandered possession in front of the defence but at this point I wasn’t that worried. It was pretty back and forth for a while, both teams coming close. Michy kept getting caught offside. He's not quite reached Loic Remy's appalling standard yet, but it's beginning to get on my nerves. He did, however, atone for these transgressions with a blinding headed clearance from a Palace corner.
Alonso could have put us ahead with a goal in the bottom corner on 33 minutes but his shot was deflected. Again, we got a free header from a corner but Michy was being pushed in the back (this was a theme) and it went over. Local boy Moses limped off shortly afterwards to be replaced by Zappacosta. We could have been ahead again shortly afterwards thanks to a stunning free kick from Fabregas. The keeper was beaten but it just rose too high. Palace bundled the ball off the line on 41, and you really felt like we had been on top. So what happens? We concede again. Sigh.
Refwatch: Marriner was one of my worst refs last season. Though he ignored a fair bit of meathead pushing and shoving in the first half, waited till the third consecutive foul to blow the whistle whenever it was Hazard, ignored Michy being kicked in the face right at his feet or George Michael being dragged to the floor in a head lock, at the end of the first half I did not want to let Bertie the kitten p*ss on him before I set him on fire. Which on my Andre Marriner scale is actually a reasonable achievement on his part. But we'll come back to him.
That Palace goal changed the whole match, but not in any way that was remotely entertaining or good for my blood pressure. Decent watch for the first half. So what of the second?
There was no second half. Thanks to:
As far as “A” is concerned, we did have chances, but life would have been infinitely easier for us had we managed to at least string two passes together, which for some reason today for certain players was just a level of mind blowing intricacy that could not be approached. I can’t put my finger on one of them that looked on point today apart from the two latter substitutes because they at least gave it some welly. In particular, nobody seemed to want to give Michy the ball in the box, with good reason I'm afraid, which doesn’t help when he’s supposed to be the one scoring the goals. At the risk of triggering a bout of nappy sh*tting, it didn't look like he shook Conte's hand coming off when he was replaced by Pesto either (fecking auto spell). As for Willian, he just needs a time out. Badly. I've never seen him play with less conviction off the ball or less of a clue on it.
As for B, I don't blame Palace. They would, sitting there on 0 points, have resorted to absolutely anything to claw their way out the other side of this game with something to show for it. The time wasting and nonsense reached such epic levels that the game just descended into farce. Speroni was determined to spend nigh on a minute on every goal kick, tying his laces and picking his arse in the process, stopping to check his phone and even brewing a cup of tea at one point. Basically he did his usual trick of making Ben Foster, the arch timewaster, look like a f*cking whippet on speed. He was far from the only one. I could have literally left my seat and run a lap of the pitch in my high heeled boots in the time it took Crystal Palace to take each and every throw in.
But then a team doesn’t get away with this if there is a decent referee, do they? Which brings me to C. If Marriner had a backbone it wouldn't be an issue. You warn the player. Maybe twice. Then you book him. Marriner first pulled Speroni up on 60 minutes. And he was still at it on the final whistle with no sanction. We also had the most shockingly obvious interference in the game by a set of ballboys since Hazard decked the middle aged one that was bigger than he was at Swansea. Any referee with a brain would just tell them to get on with it.
I was begging for Musonda to come on. You could do far worse than bringing on a kid in form who's just desperate to shine in this instance. We got him on 64 minutes for Willian, and we actually looked like we had something about us at this point, after the changes, which is a credit to Pesto and Charly.
But A + (B x C) = a fundamental need to nail every slim, remote opportunity that you can muster. And we mostly ballsed them up or they skimmed agonisingly high or wide. It all got too much for me when the ball boys got so obvious that instead of throwing the ball to George Michael one of them ran to the Palace bench with it to ask them what they wanted him to do with it. And nobody said anything. Just the six warnings Speroni got for wasting about 20 mins of the second half, without sight of a yellow card. I lost the will to live and went in search of gin.
So: They were overdue, lets be honest. They were not as bad as their run of results implied. Yes, Marriner just destroys a game of football because he's limp, wet, flaccid and basically sh*t. Usually we manage to surpass his incompetence, but that requires playing decent football, which completely eluded us completely today. Ultimately if you blow them off the park then it wouldn’t matter and we came nowhere near doing that. Even if the game had been allowed by our opposition to marginally flow after half time, without a moron in charge of it, we were terrible.
I was so angry about the overall sh*tness of today that I went the wrong way out of the ground. I've put about two miles on my Fitbit stomping back on the right track to Selhurst station. The only good thing about this is that I've walked far enough to mount enough calories to be able to drown my sorrows in half a bottle of gin guilt free. Even funnier, not at the time, when I got to Selhurst I had fifteen minutes to wait so I went up the far end of the platform to walk up and down and bump my Fitbit stats up further until the train came. The platform dude (Arsenal fan, also hates Marriner, says he’s another strutting idiot like Clattenburg) came up to make sure I wasn't a lunatic. The result wasn't quite that bad. But I was still fuming enough to get on the wrong train, which meant that I had to get on the tram, yes the Croydon f*cking tramlink, which as always smelt like someone had pissed on the seats, to get over the right side of the ghetto. Then my actual train was cancelled. And I've left my charity pot on the original train, which is now going to Milton Keynes. The blame for all of which, in addition to today’s result, will inevitably be blamed by a fair few people on Cahill.
Sod it, it’s done. I’m going to laugh at Arsenal, finish my gin, pretend Match of the Day doesn’t exist and then move on.
*Photo of frustrated Conte is from Chelsea's official website.
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