The media are doing their best to make a pantomime out of a one-horse race at the moment. A thigh-slapping display from Kante and the front three. Bilic can be Widow Twanky (OK, he looks more like Widow Twanky with a meth habit) taking the laughs, Pep and HWWNBN can be the cross-dressing villains that in reality don’t scare anyone. Sp*rs are the ugly step-sisters that nobody is rooting for, and Dobbin the panto horse? Why, Andy Carroll of course.
In the News: A good week all round for the club. The Mayor of London has approved the plans for the new stadium, Fabregas came up with the perfect response for Chinese speculation when he said: “Leave for China? I’m 29!” And Moses has two more years on the end of his contract. Since the beginning of the season we have won 85% of the games he has started, compared to just 50% without. Good work Chelsea.
The Others: This week’s reason to laugh at Arsenal? Where to start. I have a nine week old kitten now (Bertie) who could have made a better fist of that game at Anfield than the limp, mopey Gooners. He’s got more fight in him when he’s trying to gnaw my thumb off with teeth that couldn’t go through a soggy biscuit. “Why doesn’t Whinger change the game-plan?!” We all asked. Then he did. And it was hilarious. A tired old man all out of ideas. Long may it continue. And it ended up in a massive b*tch baby fit from Sanchez (A bit like the one at the Nou Camp where he rolled around on the floor like JT had shot him in the face) and a frosty handshake in training. Speaking of crappy handshakes. What the f*ck was all that about at Sp*rs? Less time fannying about with that idiocy and more time concentrating on how not to capitulate every time things get remotely testing, perhaps? I can’t put it any better than the words of a ginger bloke we all know well on Facebook: “A special handshake… pair of pr*cks.” Probably picked it up at a dogging hotspot somewhere in Hertfordshire.
The standard of the officials this weekend in the Premier League was atrocious, unless you happened to be Bobby Madley. The f*ckwittery was led by Kevin Friend, who probably has no friends left after everyone disowned him following his performance at Old Trafford. It was the refereeing equivalent of a warhead filled with dogsh*t detonating over Manchester. (I know, how would you tell?) In the course of ninety minutes Kev managed to miss elbows, stamps and yellow cards he had dished out already himself as he flailed around with all the visual accomplishment of a geriatric mole with cataracts. But the upshot is that Ibrahimovic has been charged and might miss the cup game next Monday. He deserves to, just because if that was Costa they would be burning effigies live on Sky Sports by now and because his defence was “he ran into my arm.” Even if English is your fifth language, that’s wank.
Our Game: So, painfully we had to wait until tonight to reply to the fact that the gap at the top had been “slashed” (slight overreaction) to seven points. By a team who have played a game more than us. But hanging around with Granville (sitcom alias) has made me ultra cautious/pessimistic (although I have thus far refrained from taking up drinking pints of gravy) so it was reassuring to see Cesc starting once again. To me it shows intent, and I’d rather we went ahead and then brought Matic on than do it the other way around by faffing around for an hour and bringing on Fabregas to try and help us rescue points. Meanwhile, somewhere in southwest London, Granville had missed all of this and was busy rocking backwards and forwards because we were tempting fate by wearing our unlucky colours.
This is the plan for the rest of the season: (In my head at least) Do not, repeat do not do anything stupid. Don’t worry about trying to smash anyone, just make sure of the points. At this point my nerves are so shot that I will settle in away games for just hitting teams on the counter and not f*cking it up at the other end. If given the chance of meeting Bilic in an alleyway or a madman wielding a straight razor, I’d have to think hard about which one scares me more, but I give him credit tonight for his honesty. Are you going for a back three? He was asked tonight before kick off. “No, we’ll play with our back four,” he replied. “Then if we need to later we can got to a back five. Or six.”
Carroll got a taste of his own medicine in the opening five, when he got smacked in the head and cried like a little girl because he’d been beaten up by Victor Moses, who barely comes up to his armpit. A quarter of an hour in and his side had actually had more of the ball, but I didn’t care, because none of it looked potent enough to break the deadlock. Ten minutes later Hazard, Pesto (yawn, auto spell) and Kante showed them how it was done with just six touches and three passes as they flew down the pitch, Hazard rounding the keeper and slotting it into the back of the net. There was some ping-pong in the opposite box shortly before the break, but any final attempt by the home side to finish it off was lacking. West Ham had tried, but the quality just wasn’t there. We had Kante playing twenty yard passes to himself, they have Andy Carroll lolloping about with all the grace of a pantomime horse with two back ends. He got nothing all night, because every time the great lump went up for a header, which is all he can do, Alonso and Cahill formed the bready bits of a top-knot-gyppo sandwich and let him get nowhere near it. 1-0 at half time. And this wasn’t the kind of 1-0 when you are raging that you aren’t three or four clear and done with them, it was a solid, drama free lead. It felt like all we had to do was carry on doing what we are doing it could be two or three by the end with some more refined final balls and no mistakes at the other end.
West Ham just looked a bit overwhelmed at times tonight. The passages of play that undone the home side looked too quick for them and by the time they had fathomed out what was going on, we’d landed another blow. This was summed up by the second goal. Four defenders went with Cahill and everyone forgot to mark Diego. On the replay you could see Ferghouli’s brain cells working overtime when he spotted him about to get his knee on the end of the ball, by which time he was rooted to the floor waving a leg about to no avail while the ball was already in the net. Alonso could have made it three on 52 minutes. Replays show that he could have had a penalty too. He should moan more. Maybe he can take some lessons from Carroll, who complains to the referee when defenders, well, defend in front of him. I find his tramp beard far more offensive. A great turn from Costa two thirds of the way through the game was well saved too, by Randolph, whoever he is. West Ham came back into it a bit on the middle of the park, but they were just toothless and slow up front. It wasn’t exactly a bus that Antonio then parked, more like a stylish little scooter, the type that tries to kill you everywhere you go to Rome. Matic, Zouma and Williancame on, Pesto, Hazard and Moses went off. Perhaps too much shuffling at the back, that and a lapse in concentration as we were caught out with a minute of injury time to go. We’d pressed a high line all game because they were so sloth-like at coming forward and we paid for it. It was too little too late and we bought the three points home out of the ghetto.
Refwatch: To be honest ours would had to strip off and smear himself in his own faeces to make a negative impact after the rest this weekend. But we did have Marriner, so I didn’t rule anything out. Presumably the FA thought they would mix up the title race by putting someone in charge who only vaguely knows the rules of football. I predicted he’d let everything go and then randomly book one of ours after West Ham had spent most of the play kicking us. Ta-da. Yellow for Cesc. In the meantime, Kouyate kicked everything that moved and nothing was done, whilst every time Costa was hacked to the floor Marriner assumed his oft-used stoned goldfish expression and waved play on. If he had smeared himself in his own feces and run a lap of the Olympic track with his todger flapping about he would have looked more competent than most weekends.
So: Costa, Pesto and Hazard now have 35 goals this season (maybe give or take one on account of the gin) Kante is no longer the new Makelele, Makelele is a bloke that sits at home wishing he could have been as good as Kante. Who really needs a song. Moses was phenomenal at the back tonight more than anything, including clearing it off the line on the hour. Here’s a stat for you. Forget winning figures. With him in the starting XI this season, we have LOST 5% of our games. When he hasn’t started, its been 33%. They’re behind you! Scream Sky. Oh no they aren’t. Not at the moment, anyway. Who are we scared of? City have not beaten a team in the top ten in a league game since mid-December. The only other three ALL SEASON were West Brom in October, United in September and Stoke. In AUGUST! You can’t win a league on that form. Neither can you when your first choice keeper has let in the first shot on target in more than HALF of his games for you. As for Sp*rs. God help us. There’s enough famine and war and nasty sh*t going around already without lumping that travesty on humanity. Same goes for the Scouse, but I’m anticipating that both will shoot themselves in the foot because one team are hilarious from one week to the next and the other tries to fight everyone when things don’t go their way. We are getting into the realms of us needing to completely collapse now to let the others in. Unless we get Kevin Friend or Andre Marriner every week we can only f*ck this up for ourselves now.
Up the Chels.
And here are two more reasons to love Antonio.
1. He makes a cardigan look sexual.
2. He got so into the game that he had to shower and change before his post match interview.
Contribution from Alexander Churchill. Follow Alex on Twitter.