Yes, nothing says festive cheer on the part of the FA the day before Christmas Eve more than sending people FOR A 12:30 KICK OFF IN THE LAND OF SCOUSE.
In the News: St. Pep is under investigation by the Spanish police. So perhaps he isn’t entirely coated in teflon. Fraud, obviously, considering he buys success wherever he rocks up, but apparently it’s to do with his participation in the movement for Catalan independence. Imagine my surprise though. Nobody in the 30 man brawl between the two Manchester clubs will face any sanctions from the FA. And yet Morata is suspended for having the cheek to celebrate scoring a goal in a manner that players have celebrated scoring goals for decades. Scolari reckons Anelka got him sacked at Chelsea because he wouldn’t play on the wing. I’ve tried to block out most of his tenure, but it occasionally rears its head in the form of ugly flashbacks and I’m pretty sure that Anelka was the least of the many reasons that that bellend got shuffled off in the end. The main one being that he transpired to be sh*t at his job. Our Carabao Cup semi-final is going to feature VAR, which is great, until the FA come up with the wisdom of having Marriner referee the game and a knob like Moss at the screen, which means there will be two wankers in charge instead of one. I can see this being a nightmare.
United; remember that club managed by that bloke who says he doesn’t do drama. They have conducted their own “research” to “prove” that they are more hard done by than everyone else according to the fixture list. Tell that to our fans this morning. Tell that to all the Scousers for whom there were no trains to get them back to the ghetto last night. (Oh how I laughed, till I realised they’d probably stay in London) Also, speaking of a lack of melodrama, staff had to be sent to Pogba’s house to get him out of bed this week, which is in no way circus-like and ridiculous. And after the fog fiasco before their cup defeat, they did their 15 minute, environmental conscientious flight to Leicester with just the 28 hours to spare.
People who have had too much to drink already over Christmas include Rooney, clearly, Crouch, who says that Bristol City are going to win the Carabao Cup. And Ryan Giggs reckons he told United to buy Mbappe AND Jesus for £5m. They didn’t listen. Just ask his brother why nobody trusts his judgement. And transfer b*llocks from the latter part of this week: Allardyce says that in addition to players being expensive to buy there is not enough talent worldwide. Yes, Fat Sam finds a whole new level to which to escalate his self-important, know-all arrogance by making a sweeping declaration about the entire footballing planet. One that is ridiculous and that he didn’t bother to try and clarify in any way at all with, you know, facts and stuff. Sanchez had apparently shaken hands on a new deal at Arsenal, but the 10-2 defeat by Bayern made him change his mind. No sh*t. Courtois is apparently set to become the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, Kenedy is off to Newcastle, Conte continues his pleas for January signings with subtlety and finesse to rival Trump’s twitter account and Manchester City care so little about spending money, that they’ve started signing professional FIFA players. Baby Jesus wept. As did the shepherds, the wise men and four-legged thing in the stable.
The Others: Football almost every day over Christmas begins. F*ck all those countries lauding their winter breaks, they don’t know what they’re missing. Friday night in North London proved satisfying because I predicted a goalfest with my bet, through Ozil skidding about like four minutes of work in two years give him the right to a f*cking knee slide provoke a wry smile. Arsenal and the Scouse, giving you a primetime example of why they aren’t going to win anything of note this season. It wouldn’t be Arsenal without some fan f*ckwittery, either. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the fan eating his way through a bag of carrots live on Sky. My favourite moment of the night? James Milner: “We’ve got to become more boring.” Coming from the most boring man on the planet. Or, of course, you could just sell Mignolet.
Paul Clement has been sacked, as if Swansea are going to be any less woeful with anyone else in charge. They drew with Palace, Southampton drew with Huddersfield and Brighton scored a goal for the first time in three years, or whatever. Newcastle won at West Ham. When we couldn’t. F*ck sake, and City took advantage of playing another team battling relegation to take three points. Why does it feel like these are the only teams they play? Sp*rs won. Rubbish. Jermaine Penis and Slippy G have been putting forth arguments as to why it’s ok for the Diving Little Sh*tbag to dive. The fact that you both did it is not a valid reason. One of you was an awful footballer and the other is a Scouser, so nobody thinks you’ve got any moral integrity anyway.
I’ve had my first Christmas present – Chequebook Pulis looking like his head was going to explode at the King Power Stadium. Sadly they made a comeback. Observations from tonight? Lindelhof is the worst tackler I’ve since seen. He’s like a bull in a china shop, wearing a blindfold, armed with a flamethrower and a sub machine gun. On roller skates. And watching Wes Morgan trying to defend is like watching two halves of a panto horse pulling in different directions.
Them: Allardyce changed his back four which had served him so well, bringing in more experience, but Phil “The Milk Float” Jagielka against our forwards? That made me hopeful. Rooney taken “ill” in the last 24 hours apparently – blatant hangover.
Us: Only three starters from the Bournemouth game survived and we went into this having lost only one of our last ten, although we managed that in spectacularly bad style. Rudiger in for Cahill. Willian, Hazard and Pesto (f*ck off autospell) play up front after Morata’s ridiculous suspension. Conte has has played these jobbers four times so far and is 12-1 up on aggregate. Easy. Right?
I’ve come to associate the sound of the Z Cars theme tune with anticipation of much boredom, refereeing skulduggery, because we always seem to get screwed up there and a huge feeling of under-accomplishment in recent years. And now Fat Sam has arrived with sh*t on a stick football. No wonder the place was swathed in depressing fog. Still, silver lining and all that, 48 hours before the big day, a chance to since Feed the Scousers.
The perilous early kick off. Again. Please don’t f*ck up the first quarter of an hour. Going behind this grotesque numpty will equal a shocking afternoon. We had a very early half chance with a cross from Moses and a shot into the side netting from Alonso. Good news, we appeared to have turned up on time. This is a measure of satisfaction for me at the moment, not shooting ourselves in the foot like idiots before the game has properly got started. In fact we had 80% possession in the opening fifteen minutes, steadily trying to build a way through while Everton utilised a back six at times. The 20th minute found Alonso and Willy standing over a free kick just outside the box. Oh the anticipation. Willian did the right thing, tried to curl it round the wall, but it was high. Then they started trying to push out a bit more, but they were having to work hard. They’d picked up two bookings just in the early spell too, which left their fans living up to their crown of the moaniest supporters in the league after the latest one, booing and giving out an aggressive rendition of their one song, which is comprised of one word. So far Jagielka, who looked completely shagged out after half an hour has only bested one of our forwards if he has stood still and let them run offside, but although we’d had a few attempts, nothing of particularly exciting note had transpired at either end.
It was 8 degrees in the land of Scouse. This is not gloves weather. In Newcastle that’s time for BBQs and budgie smugglers. No Moses, just, no. In fact. YOU WERE WEARING A T-SHIRT! I like you, but this has got to stop. On 34 minutes, a player with more sartorial self respect (Bakayoko) surged forward, cut it left to Pesto who smashed it goalward, but it was tipped over skilfully by the Everton keeper. Mignolet might want to study that video, as that bloke used one hand and managed it instead of waving two “lettuce hands” (great insult) at it like a fool. Two minutes later the home side managed some sustained and slightly scary buildup but it was broken up by Willian, of all people, so it can’t have been that terrifying. They could have nicked a lead after a rare, rare loss of possession by Christensen right at the end of the half, but Everton couldn’t get their sh*t together in the box. And of all people, who has kept us out at the other end? That’s right, Jagielka getting in the way of Bakayoko who had wound his way into another Lampard-like position, but hit it with little conviction. Typical.
Another defender on for Everton at half time and a striker too. No changes for Chelsea. We know we don’t like draws, and we certainly don’t do 0-0, so brace yourselves. Within in a couple of minutes Pesto and Alonso could have put us ahead. Everton started to look better going forward, but inside four minutes Allardyce was forced into his final change, vastly impairing his time-wasting ability for later on. We were not under threat, really, but the midfield was now cluttered and there was no flow to the football, or any space to let fly with any creativity. Probably exactly what Allardyce, who looked even more embarrassing than usual with a stupid earpiece on, was going for. Just before the hour Hazard was scythed down by Keane and looked to be in some distress. He likes a lie down every now and again, but this looked like it hurt. Thankfully he seemed to run it off. If he was trying to get the next week off he should have gone at it napalm style like Charlie Austin today and attempted to decapitate an opponent and get a straight red before limping off convincingly as Plan B.
Time for changes, as they had wormed their way back at least into possession since the break, even if there was not real threat of an end result. Cesc came on for Pesto on the hour and suddenly we were pressing. Hazard forced a save when he put in a low drive to the right hand corner, but still we were in their box, pouring forward. Six on target from us, none from them. Back and back they went. Carragher wouldn’t have accused them of being so far back they were Stanley Park today, they were halfway down the M6 at this stage.
On 70 minutes Willian made way for Michy, who really could have done with one of his super-sub goals. Five minutes later Moses put in a cross and Ashley Williams deflected it onto his own crossbar and that was the closest we had been to a goal. Rudiger, who had an excellent game today, turned one goalward but it went straight into Pickford’s hands too. The closest they came all afternoon to a shot on target was Calvert-Lewin getting into the box, but he somehow ended up with his back to goal and then he fell flat on his face and tried to make out he had been fouled. Hazard tried smashing it into the six yard box on 81, in the hope that we would get lucky but nope, then Bakayoko tried an overhead kick and well, let’s not talk about that. Fabregas had a shot deflected. Is this sounding familiar? All these chances – 33 in total today, and no end result. It was starting to feel like the jammy gits had at least weathered the storm when on 86 another deflection flew directly into Pickford’s hands. Grr. They had freely given up possession all afternoon, and still not mustered a proper shot, but we’re Chelsea, so I wasn’t ruling them out from haplessly orchestrating a smash and grab either. Four minutes added on. The chance to win it for Everton came to Keane, who put it over the bar. Then they were off again on 91. This Sandro striker of theirs had been dogsh*t. If he could hold the ball up, pass or shoot, they might have beaten us today.
Refwatch: Madley, his Christmas nickname can be Pudding. It might be exhaustion, or it might be a random outpouring of holiday spirit, but he wasn’t that bad today. Maybe he was festively drunk. Needs to pull his shorts up though. In serious danger of an arse crack explosion and I don’t need that sh*t in my life.
So: All the luck was with them today, but had we been sharper I don’t think they would have been able to stop us. We weren’t. I think we deserved more than a point, but it is our own fault we didn’t get it. This match always threatened to be a banana skin, and in truth I’m never that disappointed with us coming away from that dump with a point. Not clinical enough again and it transpired to be nothing more or less than I expected from a visit to them, namely:
12 Squandered Chances
11 Murdered Packs of Chewing Gum
10 Scousers Defending
9 Hours of Travelling
8 Shots on Target
7 Corners Wasted
6 More Hints About Transfers From Conte
5 Chins on Fat Sam
4 Still AWOL Xmas Cards
3 Gin and Tonics
2 More Dropped Points
And an Unnecessary Pair of F*cking Gloves
Merry Christmas one and all, till Boxing Day.