I am going to mention the score last Sunday at every given opportunity. Brace yourself, it is going to be like Michael Owen commentating and giving us a constant stream of consciousness about his “glory days” that nobody asked for.
I couldn’t be bothered to blog on Wednesday night. In terms of the football, too many changes made to expect a smooth performance along the lines of what destroyed the Mancs last week. With regard to the rest, that stadium is in no way suited for football in terms of layout, location, segregation, atmosphere, basically anything. If you could get their fans to stop throwing the contents of their pockets at you long enough, they would agree with you. To cap it off, its operation is quite clearly in the hands of fools with no comprehension of public safety. Karen Brady’s comments on the whole sorry affair sum up the delusional approach of West Ham, which is right up there with HWWNBN last week when he said that his team were the better side. (Yes, last week. When we beat him. 4-0) Let’s give the Hammers the credit they duly deserve though, eh? Despite not having the facility to ensure adequate policing, or to guarantee that six year olds don’t get a lighter to the face, they’ve made sure that there are a sufficient number of BUBBLE MACHINES to go round. F*ckwits.
The Others: Sticking with them, if Lukaku’s self-inflated opinion of his own ability is enough to ordinarily make you want to slap him round the face with a kipper, I think we can all appreciate at least, that every time he plays against West Ham he puts one past the gits. Sp*rs’ inability to get three points, again, means we’ve pulled clear of them. Gus Poyet’s comments about Sunderland’s woes approached Cantona-esque levels in terms of meaningless waffle, and don’t change the fact that they got bitch-slapped again. Arsenalput four past them. The same number that we inflicted on HWWNBN last week, incidentally. When we beat his team 4-0. Moyes & Co. could be six points adrift already if Swansea beat Stoke tomorrow night in a match that will probably draw similar viewing figures as that that the BBC could expect if they resurrected Eldorado. Speaking of HWWNBN. He saw red, Herrera saw red, those that remained couldn’t have hit a barn door if you’d given them your favourite cow, a f*ck off huge laser and a massive catapult, so HWWNBN blamed everyone but himself (probably) and they sit 8th. Shame.
Our Game: Normal service was resumed after the EFL Cup travesty with us fielding the exact team that reduced HWWNBN to a shivering wreck, dribbling nonsense to the press last week and quite rightly pissing his pants every time someone shows him a picture of Antonio Conte. As far as the Saints were concerned, our Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand returned after an injury layoff, Romeu started for them, but more importantly than both, Charlie Austin was present up front, which ensured that myself and Tracey (muppet alias) would be screaming NOT THE FACE everytime someone’s foot/arm went anywhere near him and became the usual drooling, sex pest messes that we always end up in his presence.
We had all expected this to be a challenging match, and Southampton had more possession in the first half and some good attempts. Austin headed it wide, Tadic’s free kick was palmed easily away, though none of their attempts caused my blood pressure to reach Emirates levels. But it only took us six minutes and half a dozen passes strung together at once to get from our goal to theirs and for Hazard to put us ahead. He made it look easy, putting the ball through Forster’s legs after nobody bothered to challenge him. The home team went down the “bleating for a foul every time we get touched” approach, which they largely did to great effect in the first half. (Helped along by Mike Jones, because every time he takes charge of a game it is like Russian roulette with a whistle for ninety minutes as you run the gauntlet of what you will and will not get given owing to randomness such as what side of bed he got out of, or whether Mars is in alignment with Jupiter, or whatever. Today the bloody hippy decided to make love not war and leave all of his cards at home, which is great if you were not Hazard getting repeatedly kicked to the floor) Nora, as in Batty (we’re branching out into sitcom names too now for lack of muppets) was muchly disgruntled by the break, and if he’d had a broom he might have started violating Tadic with it on account of him spending more time on his back than a dead woodlouse, and because their song for him is almost as God awful as this “We’ve won it all” monstrosity that has sprung up.
After a short interlude during which we were subjected to what looked like wank contemporary dance by some people dressed up as sperm, we went close just after the break thanks to some great work from Kante. Alonso headed over the bar too, before Diego, who had touched the ball about a dozen times all afternoon and twice in their box if he was lucky, got one half chance and put it in the top corner. Sadly for Southampton, this is the kind of form he is in. He only needs one half chance at the moment to put you on your arse. The home side got off lightly on the hour too, when neither Diego nor Pesto (still not fighting the autocorrect) could quite get a shot off after Moses’s initial effort had come back out. The Saints were not a pushover by any means. Austin put one over the bar, Davis had one bounce on the top of it, the lovely Charlie even put it in the back of the net, but he’d made his run past Luiz just a touch early and ended up offside. (Even if he had scored against us I’d still lick him any day of the week) But then they seemed to run out of steam. Their subs didn’t turn the game in their favour, ours ensured we freshened things up and shored up at the back and at the end of the match, it looked once again as if we would be the side to score if another goal came. Hazard, who was nigh on unplayable today, had his shot parried and couldn’t get to the ball again before Fonte for the follow up. Moses had another strike as the game wound down before Willian put one wide just before full time.
So: Southampton were not bad today, maybe not at their best, but they were not certainly not dominated. And yet somehow they didn’t really threaten to get a result. Composure was the watchword today for us. The fact that it was back with JT out of the side again probably has long term connotations for him that we’ll all have to acknowledge sooner rather than later. I have to give Matic some credit, as I’ve slated him so much, because he is looking more like his old self and not a three legged, lanky Bambi wearing a blindfold and running in treacle. Moses’s work rate was as phenomenal as it was when we beat United last week (4-0) and not just going forward. Like Kante, he never stops and once again the latter’s concentration, his placement, his tackling were all first rate. Costa, too, put in a mostly selfless afternoon’s work. He ran their defence ragged largely for the benefit of others and his goal was a just reward for this effort. A fourth straight win, also our fourth straight clean sheet in the league, fourth straight game where Diego hasnt tried to eat anyone and a fourth straight outing where Conte hasn’t had a voice left to do his post match interview. No point looking at the table yet, but, we have double the amount of points we were looking at this time last season and are a single point off the top. More importantly, we are still ahead of Sp*rs.
On a punditry note, Kevin Kilbane looked like a really poor Liam Gallagher impersonator on MOTD2 and Ruud is dead to me after he picked the Scouse to win the league and gave the worst rendition of the Thriller bass line I’ve ever heard. As for halloween costumes, I do not approve of them at football matches, but if I had to pick a winner, I’d give the title of best effort to Steptoe, for his awesome impression of a cantankerous, grouchy git all afternoon. Love you, you wanker.
Contribution form TV Historian & Author, Alex Churchill