Monday 18 May
West Bromwich Albion 3:0 Chelsea
Referees can screw anything up: an end of season game that was supposed to be a celebration was dragged into absurdity within half an hour by one of the most breathtakingly incompetent bits of refereeing since myopic, onanists first picked up a whistle.
Mike Jones stopped play as we were attacking down the right: Gareth McAuley had wrestled Costa, Costa wriggled free to be confronted by two more defenders. The original contact was six of one and half a dozen; the aggressive action came form the three Albion players confronting Costa. The referee booked the Brazilian striker for being assaulted. While he was trying to sort out the mess he’d created, Cesc Fábregas kicked the ball back to the West Brom players he hit Christ Brunt on the head. Witless, cowardly Jones sent off Fábregas and only booked Darren Fletcher who had reacted by charging over and raising his hands to an opponent violently.
Fábregas was stupid to clip the ball back in like that but the contact was accidental and the card should have been yellow.
Jonas Olsson, who started the confrontation, wasn’t booked so when he dug a knee into Costa moments later he got his first, rather than his second yellow card.
Berahino had earlier buried a snap chance with both Terry and Cahill too slow to react for the opener. 1-0.
Jones got the chance to prove he is a second rate martinet by bottling the decision to send off John Terry when he gave away a penalty seconds into the second period. Berahino converted as Courtois got a hand to the ball. 2-0.
Brunt lashed in from an implausible angle after we switched off at a corner. 3:0
West Brom didn’t let up on fouling Costa; going through the back of him with studs up finally drew a card just before he was substituted. Referees have treated him appallingly since he arrived from Atlético in the summer. He was booked for being upended in the box in first game, he has been physically assaulted in most of the games since and yet he is the one booked. The Premiership often bemoan the fact that the biggest stars in the world game want to play in Spain instead of enhancing their product. You can only point to the lack of protection, and outright victimisation, players get here for the answer.
Eden Hazard would be wise to go to Italy or Spain because the level of abuse he suffers means that sooner or later his career will be ended on a night like his against mid-table nothings trying to kick him out a game.
To cap things off West Brom’s more moronic supporters booed Izzy Brown’s every touch. Charmless twa… to greet one of your own who is just making his mark is pretty low.
This was supposed to be a celebration of our new boys in a game to showcase the new talent and to celebrate West Brom’s comfortable survival in the league. A combination of defenders, referee and crowd insured we just had a bleak picture of more of the same.
Wednesday 20 May
Sunderland saved themselves with a point at the Emirates meaning the last day drama will be a direct Hull/Newcastle affair. It also means that our visitors at the coronation ceremony will not have anything to fight for.
Cesc Fábregas though he’d earned himself an extended summer holiday from the three-match ban for his head shot sending off but he will have to return to pre-season along with everyone else as the FA’s independent muddling and confusing committee decided three games would be harsh and cut his ban to one.
Friday 22 May
There are rumours that Eden Hazard will miss Sunday after emergency dental work. Cue barbs about losing his cutting edge but wisdom teeth can take a few days to get over.
Saturday 23 May
Jose Mourinho has been named Barclays manager of the season after he failed to win a single one of the monthly awards. Keeping your side ahead from gun to tape is finally recognised as something.
Congratulations to Southend United as they eventually slew Wycombe Wanderers after the usual equaliser in the depths of injury time and a penalty competition. The prize is a place in League One.
Sunday 24 May
Chelsea 3:1 Sunderland
Sunderland kept us honest and played their part in getting the party started by scoring from a corner. Jose looked thunder at his defence but it is hard to concentrate when people are throwing paper aeroplanes at you. 0-1.
That lapse couldn’t spoil the show. It did lead to Didier Drogba’s early departure from the field and from the club as he officially and finally leaves after an astronomical career. The team carried him off the field amid more thunder, this time applause from all sides even the away section.
Diego Costa came on in his stead and stepped up to take the penalty when the fitful Juan Cuadrado was upended and no referee on the planet could deny the foul. 1-1. The goal takes Diego to 20 goals in an injury and suspension hot season. How many more he could get next term lights the fire for a summer of speculations and dreams.
Loic Remy has probably been feeling a little unloved as his first season has been mostly on the bench. He reminded everyone that he is around he scored his sixth and seventh goals of a season similarly effected by injury and Costa’s form.
His first was a long shot that wrong-footed the ’keeper but his second was a near post finish after an incisive move. Both finishes capped the season and mean we finish eight points ahead of Manchester City.
The trophy was presented the champagne sprayed, beer was consumed. Jose didn’t waste any time, the trophy is ours again and he said his challenge is to keep it and to win in Europe. Does that man ever rest?
There was a nice touch before the match as the players who won the league back in ’05 where invited back to take a bow. Some times Chelsea really do make you proud.
After the party Jermaine Beckford reminded everyone that he has talent by thrashing Swindon almost single-handed at Wembley to secure Preston North End in the Championship next season. On loan John Swift missed the match for Swindon through injury.
Elsewhere, Shalke sacked Roberto Di Matteo after he only got them a Europa league place. Hull City joined the drop as Newcastle defied the odds, played like a team and beat West Ham.
Frank Lampard bowed out of English football with a touch of his usual class – the boy captained and scored the opener as Manchester City beat Southampton.
Steven Gerrard also scored but the sound of balloons deflating could not be disguised as his beloved Liverpool flopped 6-1 away at Stoke. Just to make the big club feel special one Peter Crouch scored the final goal.