Saturday 25th February 2017 15:00 (Yes I sh*t you not, a three o’clock on a Saturday)
Alex 1, Cocktail Menu 0. This might be quite sweary. Especially when it comes to Claudio.
In the News: On Thursday my friend’s lovely dad admonished me when I spent the whole of night utilising Facebook to mock Sp*rs. (That’s right. I just used the word admonished after half a bottle of gin. It can only go downhill from here) He said I was belittling another team’s misfortune and it was not a reflection of the decent person I am. Firstly, bless him for having a better opinion of me than most people and secondly, it caused me to spend a long time (about five minutes) contemplating his remark and evaluating myself as a human being. Then I decided to spend the opening part of my blog belittling another team’s misfortune.
It’s Oscar weekend in Tinseltown, and the award for Most Convincing Death Scene goes to… R*ttenham Hotspur. Not since Leonardo Di Caprio wafted beneath the waves in Titanic (Best Picture, 1997) has anyone sunk with quite so much conviction as they did at Wembley on Thursday night. That game was the best European event since Munich. Harry F*cking Kane (try saying it without swearing) scoring at the wrong end, the petulant, cheating little f*ckmuppet sent off, out of Europe on their ar*e after another humiliation at Wembley. All it would have taken to make it perfect would have been Danny Rose falling down some stairs in the corporate area and a sandwich trolley running over his leg and severing it at the knee. The crowning glory for me? The completely gormless manner in which a broken Eric Dier watched their European hopes and dreams go bobbling into the back of their own net with the last Gent goal. Blinding.
But sod the Oscars for a moment, the Golden Raspberry for Worst Villain this year goes to the wieners(auto spell altered this from owners, I thought it was bang on) of Leicester City. Urgh where to start. If Chelseafans are criticising your managerial employment policy you know you have plummeted to shocking depths. Not since Ancelotti was sacked after winning the double has the Premier League witnessed anything quite heartless as the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri at East Midlands airport this week. I say none of this lightly after we, as Chelsea fans, paid to watch a similar nine month capitulation last season. I think ours was more complex than what is happening at Leicester. I will buy that it would hurt to lose someone of the calibre of Kante to a certain extent, but not one that would cause this. Losing Kante does not dunk you from top of the league to the relegation zone come March. Neither does a manager the calibre of Claudio suddenly become incapable of doing his job. The fact is that nobody is to blame for their plight, (and let’s be clear, this is not the fact that they are now numerically incapable of retaining the title, but the embarrassing notion that they don’t appear to give a sh*t that they are in a relegation fight) more than their sulky, underperforming and lacklustre players, slothing round like the world owes them a living. Alan Shearersummed it up on MOTD when he said that Leicester players need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask: Have I given this manager absolutely everything? Have I done all that I can? (I’m paraphrasing because I’m slightly drunk) The answer is a categorical no for almost all of them. For some of them, that they would even contemplate answering in the affirmative is downright insulting. Mahrez and Vardy, despite the latter’s suspiciously literate bleating on social media, can both put themselves in that category. But for me, this shamefulness is epitomised by the total reversal from hero to flat out zero that is Wes Morgan. He would struggle to get into a Championship side at present. I’ve not seen anyone look so completely underserving of his place on a football pitch since… since… well since the last time that fat sh*t Charlie Adam came to Stamford Bridge. As a group they should be utterly, utterly ashamed.
Ranieri said that tenth this year would be an amazing result for Leicester. In all of this, he appears to have been the only person in the vicinity of the King Plonker Stadium with a realistic grasp on what his club should be aiming for this season. Everyone else seems as clueless as the twats who nominated 127 Hours for a Best Picture Oscar in 2010. Because watching James Franco drink his own piss felt like 127 hours of pain and made me want to saw MY arm off. The timing is a total slap in the face too, apparently letting him put them within spitting distance of the Champions League Quarter Finals and knowing you were going to f*ck him off. In response Ranieri said: “yesterday my dream died.” Walk away with your head held high Claudio. Perhaps you should have walked at Christmas and left the ungrateful f*ckers to it. You gave them the impossible and they crapped on you. You deserve better. Leicester’s players completely deserve to be exactly where they are, as did most of ours when we when we were in a similar position last season. The difference is, they had a level headed human being in charge and not a borderline sociopath making reckless and stupid decisions at the helm. More fool them for casting him out. After a conversation with Chidge, of Fancast fame, it has been ordained that any Leicester players who it transpires may have got on the phone to their owners and bleated about the manager are henceforth to be referred to as “spunktrumpets.” And in the words of Mowgli (special alias) “F*ck ‘em. We cheered them on at Stamford Bridge when they won the Premiership. They returned the love by bricking your coaches.”
There will follow a short interlude because I can’t stop laughing at the sight of Mowgli and Beaker (muppet alias) on the dance floor reenacting the finale of Dirty Dancing. (Oscar for Best Original Song, 1988) After being forced to by self and Spaguin (another special alias) please talk amongst yourselves…
Ahhh. HWWNBN. Doing a better impression of someone with a limited grip on reality than Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind (Best Picture, 2001) I think you could hear the high pitched shriek of anguish from a ridiculously overpriced hotel in Manchester that has been trying to get rid of him since August when that Europa League draw was made. United have to make a long arse trip to Sodoffsville four days before our cup game. To a place that is literally struggling to even BE in Europe. (Insert canned laughter here) Of course when asked for a comment about Ranieri he tried to make it all about him, proving that mentally he will always reside in La La Land, much to the amusement of everyone else.
In other snippets – Being a Palace fan must be as depressing as The Revenant (nominated, Best Picture, 2015) Either that or we are back to James Franco sawing off his own arm again. They can at least chuckle at this: Fat Sam (nominated, Golden Raspberry for Stealing a Living 2017) laments their position and says the players don’t listen to him. Presumably if you took the gum out of your mouth they might have a better chance of understand what the f*ck you are going on about.
The Others: None of the nearest rivals played. And really, until they get any closer to us, who gives a crap?
Our Game: Standard lineup for us – with the exception of Fabregas coming into the starting eleven for Matic. Appears to be no fall out morale wise after Costa spent most of Thursday at Cobham recruiting teammates to help him try and wedge Eden Hazard into a cardboard box. Surprised Daily Fail and red tops have not manufactured squad crisis more over the top than mansion shootout in Django Unchained (nominated, Best Picture, 2012) and speculated imminent Chinese departures in wake of box-gate. Anticipate these are being held back for a very slow news day.
Within four minutes we’d already carved Swansea open several times, and every time we broke they looked like they might fold. After 19 minutes Fabregas won the ball in midfield and carried on his run. A Pesto (f*ck off auto spell) pass bobbled in front of him and he jumped on the opportunity to put us ahead. By the half hour mark it almost had a training game feel about it. Swansea didn’t exactly seem enthused about trying to get back into it and we appeared content to operate at about 80% knowing that any break and we’d have a go at another goal. We had a couple more half chances. On 43 minutes Pesto tried to take on Hazard for goal of the season by taking on half the Swansea side and it almost paid off. Apparently the away side mustered one shot off target, but if you have me a grand I couldn’t tell you when that was. So you know what is coming, right? There had only been one team in it, so of course we conceded right on the stroke of half time. It was a stunning ball in from Sigurdsson, but we had declined to mark a monstrous forward, the only forward they had, and Llorente coasted onto the end of the free kick to head it in.
At half time we finally got to bid a proper farewell to Frank Lampard at the Bridge, and the stands were rightly packed. Mowgli reckons he was in and out of the bog in thirty seconds. My guess is he didn’t wash his hands. Verbatim, Frank said:
“All I want to say is, that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye properly, for whatever reason, and I always regretted that, and I want to thank the club for giving me the chance to do that. Most importantly I want to thank all of you, everybody. Thank you, thank you. All my special memories of this place, and I feel them all right now, are our memories together and I couldn’t have done it without you, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you very much, thank you.”
The second half was initially frustrating. Just after the break Hazard muscled his way into the box and we rattled the crossbar a few minutes later, but these were isolated flashes. It was so complacent that we were almost Arsenal-like at times; all that naff flicking it about on the premise that without actually fighting we would prevail. Happily it didn’t last. Another great ball forward from Cesc, Pesto turns and hits it perfectly but shocking goalkeeping as Flappihandski fully justifies his nickname with a brainfart as inexplicable as three consecutive Kevin Costner films being nominated for Best Picture. (Name them without using the internet and might give you a Cadbury’s cream egg).
Swansea fans will swear that they should have had a penalty at 1-1 for a ball that struck Dave’s hand. I couldn’t see past the bloke standing up in front of me but they are blatantly wrong. Which brings me to Refwatch: We had Neil Swarbrick today and I had nothing bad to say about him in the first half. He just seemed to be in the way a lot. But by the 75th minute, in the words of Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, (nominated, Best Supporting Actor, 2009) he’d gone full retard. He spent twenty minutes randomly blowing his whistle and awarding free kicks in favour of whoever happened to be lying on the floor. The female lino was the only one who knew what was going on by that point, which shouldn’t surprise anyone as we are always right. Oh, and apparently her opposite number was from Swansea. I’d mock PGMOL for this decision, but I heard that after Twattenburg said he was leaving because he doesn’t get enough high profile games they sent him to Pulis at West Brom this weekend. Well played sirs, well played.
Having taken the lead, bringing on Matic was a complete no brainer. My only criticism of Pesto all afternoon is that he could have walked off a lot slower. Swansea made some substitutions but I was too busy monitoring a cash out on Bet365 to notice who went off or came on. It did not turn the tide. Five minutes from time Hazard made the run on the left and crossed it into Diego, thus completely scuppering the feud-on-account-of-box-gate headlines planned for next week. Five Swansea defenders decided they had better things to do than mark Costa and he struck a difficult ball with style to send us eleven points clear at the top of the league and end his miniature drought. Much to the dismay of Scouse Sports News who have been counting the minutes since his last goal as gleefully as Francis Ford Coppola when The Godfather Part III somehow got nominated for an Oscar.
So: I feel like had we kept at them like we started the game, we could have smashed them in the first half. But we didn’t, and we could have ended up paying for it. Swansea were by no means awful. I actually have respect for them coming down and not doing a Pulis, I haven’t seen their fixture list but they should be OK I think. It’s another game down and another three points. Over to everyone else now, but things are looking good for us to pick up a much shinier trophy than a naked little gold man.
Speaking of full retard, we might have to redesignate Marlene as Trigger II. This was a conversation outside Metrobank:
“That’s Alec Stewart”
“I don’t know who that is. I’m going to google him to see what he looks like.”
“Or you could just look at him. He’s standing over there.”
Contribution from Alex Churchill Follow Alex on Twitter.