Can I just say, before I write anything else, when have you EVER picked up the Daily Fail, or switched on Sky Sports and taken what they say as gospel and not a ton of attention seeking sh*t written by press plebs with the integrity of our coach window right now? (Thanks for that Leicester.) So why this should have changed last night to the extent that the football world is whipped up into frenzied hysteria on a par with the Salem witch trials, or a group of teenagers being denied wifi access, is just baffling to me.
In the News: All I have to say on this pile of needy press wank are these random, general observations:
Most of what they write is bullsh*t aimed at keeping a 24 hour news cycle going. This doesn’t just apply to football, it’s the sad world we live in. They don’t care if it is right. It’s not about being right, it’s about being first. And always having something to say. It’s about being noticed. A mumbled apology can come at a later date when everyone has moved on to the next scandal, because honestly, who’s going to retweet that? They also don’t care who they destroy in the process as long as people keep clicking on the website. Do you want to trust the word of these people?
So there were some raised voices at Cobham this week. I imagine this is not an infrequent occurrence in a world of many men with big egos. Given that Diego was involved it might have got a little bit shouty. In Portuguese. Or Spanish. I don’t think Conte speaks either of these languages? So it must have been a short row. Anyway. It doesn’t have to end with someone leaving the country just because some moron decided to leak it to a newspaper.
The more money that comes into the game, the more detached the players get from the fans. It is beyond comprehension to one of us how £200,000 a week might not be enough to satisfy someone being paid to do something that they love. Mercenaries will multiply. I will have no respect for them, but they are not going anywhere and they don’t care what we think because they are too busy counting their money.
More than often these halfwit mercenaries are being manipulated by conniving sh*tbag agents, the worst of whom are the scourge of modern football and only interested in lining their pockets with obscene amounts of money.
This Chinese league are tossers. What is the Chinese for “tapping up” or failing that just give me a translation of “f*ck” and “off” and I’ll be set.
That is it. That’s all I know, which is nothing. Apart from the fact that Costa at some point this week might have said that his back hurt. So I’m now boycotting anything said or written about all this nonsense until something actually happens. And until that time I’m just going to concentrate on the actual playing of football…
Which was actually pretty impressive on the part of fourteen players and a manager who did go to work today.
Our Game: Changes were rung again after the cup last week and it was the team I think we all expected in the absence of Diego. I know people will say it doesn’t look good for Batshuayi that he got overlooked, but on any given day I think it’s pretty difficult for the manager to decide who gets left out out of Willian, Hazard, Fabregas and Pesto (autospell – grrr) and I also think that given that combinations of those four have proved able to keep us afloat up front without Costa, that Michy couldn’t really argue that he’s earned a start above any of them as yet. I just think it shows that he’s got some work to do as a young player trying to step up to the next level, not that he’s a failure. Loftus-Cheek got a place on the bench which was deserved after his showing last weekend.
We started with a skip in our step, and so naturally almost came to grief in the first couple of minutes with a scramble in our own box.
“Early goal please” I wrote.
And along came Alonso. He called for it, but Dave played it in to Pesto instead. When he fluffed it Hazard smartly decided to play it to Alonso instead of shooting and he curled it past the keeper and three blue shirts into the bottom corner.
“Million pounds please”
Nothing so far.
Leicester are a puzzle. They have not suddenly become awful, at no point did they look remotely incompetent and it certainly isn’t that they’re lazy. And yet over the first quarter of an hour it quickly became clear that they don’t have the same zip, sparkle, fairy dust, spirit fingers, whatever, as last season.
Twenty minutes gone and they had begun coming into it more. We hadn’t actually fashioned a plethora (try saying that after gin) of chances by any means either, though Moses was brought down during one great run and the foul was not given. This was a recurring theme. Refwatch: Andre Marriner is my least favourite referee (I know, it’s like trying to pick your ‘favourite’ off the FBI’s most wanted list) He always seems to favour one team over the other and I think I can remember one single occasion when it was us. Is it vindictive or is he just sh*t? I’d be interested to know if this is other clubs’ perception of him… actually, we won despite another official’s inability to be consistent across two halves of football, so I couldn’t give a sh*t.
Much of the first half was nothing to write home about after the goal. We spent much of it watching a large drunk man trying to do the wanker sign at the Leicester fans, but actually doing it at the players. And it wasn’t really the wanker sign. Trigger (sitcom aliases) and I eventually realised it was more like the Brownie Guide salute. As he shouted random words like “drum” and “flag.” God knows what that looked like on the receiving end. An industriously won corner on 38 minutes led to another promising one. One thing of note today, our corners were good. I’ll say it again. Our corners weren’t ‘alf bad! But aside from Pesto blazing it over the bar in the 42nd minute we hadn’t really come close to another goal at either end when the break came.
We made our usual bright start to the second half and you might have thought that we had scored early on when a massive cheer went up in the away end, but no, that was irony. Chelsea fans cheering with the same level of enthusiasm as the Gooners when they finish fourth every year because Marriner had finally awarded us a free kick. Despite the pink f*ckmuppet with the whistle, we didn’t have long to wait for our second goal though. The ball bobbled out to Alonso on the edge of the 18 yard box; a great first touch and his shot deflected off Wes Morgan to go in for his second of the game. Leicester will be really disappointed with that. Oh well.
They threw caution to the wind to try and get back into the game, but though they did attack I can’t remember any heart in mouth moments. It could have been three on 57 minutes, but after a typically slippery, winding run, Eden just seemed to cut the wrong way in the box and left himself without a shot on. Shortly afterwards Ranieri went all out and replaced Huth with Okazaki. Cahill almost pulled off what looked (probably on account of his lankiness) like an ultra slow-motion overhead kick. Instead of thumping the back of the net it thumped Morgan in the face in front of the goal. I’ve seen non-centre backs look a lot more daft trying them though. In the 64th minute, Alonso almost had a third. We could see he was the one open, we could see it was going to him and we could see he was going to volley it. Right in front of the away end, if that had gone in instead of fizzing just wide I think the roof would have come off.
Ranieri‘s gamble on his formation wasn’t working, in fact it had made us more dominant, but the third was just hapless on the part of the home side. Schmeichel made a mess out of getting the ball ahead of Willian in the box who played it in to Pesto’s head. Defenders were nowhere, third goes in. The closing minutes did not get any easier, for they saw willing but tired Leicester legs being given the run around by a fresh-faced Fabregas when he came in for a slightly ailing Hazard on 78 minutes. Any chances they had were half-decent at best. Final score, 0-3.
So: The Blues go marching on. The gutter press’s attempts to derail our title bid whilst simultaneously giving themselves something to write about in a dull 24 hours have backfired. It appears that with Conte in charge, we are a lot less easy to wind up than certain of his predecessors, who may or may not be living with a haunted, scowly look on their face in a Manchester hotel suite. Not that I’m being specific.
It gave me great joy to see Alonso have such a good game today. It was even greater to see him look a journalist in the eye re Costa and say “You guys made that up,” even if it was a bit of a lie. Kante was instrumental on his return to Leicester, and probably feels a tiny (very tiny, because he conducted himself like a gentleman) bit guilty about how bereft they are without him. In the absence of Diego (who we are led to believe was trying to stuff his Labrador in a designer suitcase along with a pair of pants, several million in cash and a complimentary can of Carabao and make for the airport) Willian, Pesto and Hazard were immense. I’ve been pondering Cahill‘s extended run as captain. I know there are a lot of people who think that he isn’t loud enough. This is possibly true, but I wonder if that’s exactly what we need? We can’t have another JT, another talisman, because we’ve still got the old one. Understated seems to be working out OK for now and more importantly, there is no power clash. Conte is unequivocally in charge. Just a thought. Discuss. If you can be arsed.
There was real intent from Ruben and Michy when they came on today, especially the former, which hasn’t always been the case, but is all they can do – take every minute they are given, run their arse off and try and show Conte they deserve a shot. Speaking of Conte. I love him. I’d have his babies (and I hate babies)but he needs a seminar on how to tell fibs to the press.
The Goons and the Spuds have won, which leaves us seven points clear. Here’s hoping HWWNBN parks his bus in front of the Scouse tomorrow and they slog out a 0-0 bore draw. I want to see all those bearing the sh*t girly man buns look Ibrahimovic in the face when he’s owned long hair whilst looking like a hard b*stard for, well forever.
In the words of the song: F*ck ’em all. Slap Diego on the wrists, hide his passport, tell him they will eat his beloved dog, whatever, but let’s get back to the happy-clappy, group hugging business of trying to make sure we win this title that we had going a couple of weeks ago. And anyone who doesn’t want to play for Chelsea, (and I mean anyone) tell them to sling their ‘ook. Get as much as you can for them and show them the door.
Immense day out for the away lot today. Special shout out to Victor Meldrew, who literally makes my away days. I’ve lost my voice. Bring on Hull next week.
Contribution from Alexander Churchill. Follow Alex on Twitter.