No, not Eden. But Sarri was tasked with top four. And he’s done it. With a game to spare. Strap yourselves in, because you’ve got to live with his methods, his substitutions, his love affair with poor, maligned Jorginho AND that hideous new shirt come August.
In the News: Hazard valuation. £30m less than Pogba? F*ck off. Luiz looks more likely than not to stay on next season, Ruben contract likely to be addressed sooner rather than later to avoid another mess like CHO, and Kepa has given a frank interview re the cup final incident that admits that his dad gave him a right whooping afterwards.
Podgettino to be given a WAR CHEST of £100m. That’s not a war chest. That’s barely f*cking pocket money anymore. The equivalent, apparently, of Pogba with one and a half legs. Yeah, that’ll do it. That will solve all of your Sp*rsy problems. Roma, Lyon and Celtic all in for Chequebook Pulis. Give it another ten years and he will just be another Steve Bruce/Neil Warnock bobbing up and down between the Premier League and the Championship. And Farca fans apparently looking to exact revenge this week in the land of Scouse by pushing locals unwillingly into job centres. Badoom-tish.
The Others: It’s like the tenth circle of hell listening to Scouse orientated pundits w*nking themselves silly every time they score a goal during this title run in. God-willing by Monday night City will have gone ahead again. Klippity Klopp said he’d pack up and go and manage in Switzerland if he didn’t win a title in four years up there. Fingers crossed. His middle name is Norbert. I did not know that until I Wikipediaed him to see how much longer we have to watch him jumping up and down like Wurzel Gummidge smacked off his tits on Match of the Day before he f*cks off to the land of watches, hidden bank accounts and awesome chocolate.
Oh Sp*rs. No away points since 20th January. Is that worse than Arsenal’s away run lately? And note that this horrendous and hilarious decline began immediately that they insisted that they were the third horse in the title race. Down to nine men, Son suckered into a red card that is karma when measured against his diving, and it was a day that ends in a y, so “Eric Dire was lucky to be on the pitch.” A tale of two penalties elsewhere in North London. They could only draw with Brighton, thus sending us into the Champions League next season and making it all but impossible for them to join us unless they win the Europa League. This from my one Gooner friend on Emery: “He could or could not be a good manager but when you have defenders like Mustafi, Sokratis & Lichsteiner with Xhaka, Iwobi, El-neny in front of them you’re going to struggle… Still find it ironic that when we have a poor season and Chelsea have a poor season, Sp*rs will finish three or so points ahead of us and 1 behind you yet they are the f*cking future of football and we should all be dipping down to suck their cocks. They’ve lost a third of all of their league games!!” And United have spectacularly bombed out of the hunt for the top four completely with a tragic draw with Huddersfield. All they had to do was beat two already relegated teams to put themselves in with a chance. They need to cull their squad dramatically. Which is ludicrous when you considered what they have spent on wages and fees of late. Apparently willing to SPEND £13m to get rid of the woeful, pathetic spectre of Sanchez. Allegedly their divas lose 25% of their wages for not qualifying and Pogba misses out on £1.8m bonus. However will get by? They don’t deserve the money or the Champions League.
And the relegation scrap is done. Nobody should suffer what Cardiff did with the loss of a player in such awful circumstances, that was terrible, but Warnock has blamed literally everyone but himself for their plight, before snapping that he won’t miss the league that he insists they shouldn’t have been relegated from when they go down. On about not being able to afford to say what he thinks, and conversely speculating about, nay, threatening, to write a book. Whatever. He’s gone. Again. Gringott’s can have him back.
Us: Higuain back in the starting eleven. Sheldon (sitcom alias) refuses to refer to him as anything but Fatty Boom-Boom. And the welcome, for me and many others, the addition of Cahill to the bench to cover the two centre backs. Immediately wanted to see him at least for a token appearance at the end so that we could give him an appropriate send-off.
Them: Urgh. Troy Deeney. I said last week that he had a face like a doner kebab. I want to amend this: to a doner kebab that’s been dropped on the floor outside the shop at 4am and trod on/tripped over by Andy Carroll. Incidentally, when asked if he wanted to defend Deeney on the radio on Friday, a Watford fan said he loved him as a player, but couldn’t defend his face.
Watford clearly turned up, putting the thought of their cup final to one side and stomping all over us in the opening spell. They had a shot well wide on six minutes, that they got a little too excited about, before an excellent save by Kepa kept us in it. I thought he’d jumped too early but somehow he got his hand to it and turned it out. Sadly in the same move Kante was broken. F*ck sake. We’ll only see him again this season now, speculates Sarri, if we make it to Baku. Flat start for us. No shots on or off target, thirty percent possession and Pedro Pony had spent the whole game fiddling with his left boot so far.
Ruben came on after just 9 minutes to replace the stricken N’golo and promptly picked up impressively where he left off on Thursday night. We started to slowly improve. A deft effort from Jorginho after a cut back from Eden on 13, but it looped high and into the keepers hands. It has not gone untouched that getting smacked over the head the other day has meant he suddenly speaks English football. Sadly there was never enough on that one. A Fatty Boom-Boom effort (I know, it’s mean, I’ll stop) was blocked on 15 and inexplicably resulted in a goal kick. Oh joy. Ben Foster. The worst time waster in the league. Kebab face was making a nuisance of himself at the other end, and they had a shot over the bar on 19 minutes. Only one team in it at the moment. The chap behind me was only willing to pass them the slimmest of compliments: “They’re like a good Burnley.”
A sublime ball from Jorginho was about an inch too long for Hazard, who went straight back in but then had a shot at the corner flag. My pre-match prediction was 2-1 after they scored the first and we went through the wringer, but this had looked a tad optimistic up till now. They almost scored again, before Mowgli pipes up with: “How long have we had a red stripe on our backs?” Naturally, we looked at him like he was a madman. Since kick off. Dickhead. “They don’t usually wear the new kit the season before do they?” Sigh. We’d got slightly better, but were still frustrating. Typical cynical foul on Eden on 28. The free kick went across the face of the goal, but when it came back, Luiz was sat on. This game was exactly what you would have predicted beforehand. Turgid.
Brilliant work from Eden on 35 in the box, he finally got his pass out to Pedro Pony but the latter didn’t have the right angle for the shot. This was a classic example of our ineptitude: Ball dug out by Jorginho. Ruben turns, very skilfully. Faffed on edge of box before Eden crossed it right in front of the box. Higuain just watched it go past, no effort to find it at all. He gets that that is his job, right? Another fine effort at getting forward on 39, another corner not given despite the fact that Watford put it out. Great interplay between Higuain and Pedro Pony from a Ruben flick, but the shot was wide. A minute later Foster put the ball back into play. Git. Typically we were starting to look good, just as we ran out of time before the break. Possibly sulked a bit too much at half time because we had improved and played our way into it. And because we scored straight away.
Hazard shot goes out for a corner. He takes it short to Pedro Pony, who gives it back and a flick up from Eden finds Ruben muscling Chalobah off the ball on the edge the six-yard box. Banging header. We were nearly in again straight away and were smashing them at this point. Either Sarri had said something sensible or they’d all chuffed down their Weetabix at half time. Unlike Mowgli, who inexplicably had drunk A GLASS OF WINE.
Awful, awful, AWFUL defending by Watford about a minute after the goal and Luiz rises to head in another and double the lead. As his hair has started to recede, every time the wind lifts it up he looks more and more like Doc Brown. Legend. Take that Foster, you muppet. All that work for nothing on the part of the visitors. T*ttenham Hotsp*r it’s Happening Again was the refrain all around the Bridge. Delofeu came close for them on 55. How has he ended up playing for them? How we didn’t make it three shortly afterwards I can’t tell you. Hazard stays on his feet in the box, plays it to Pedro Pony whose shot is palmed away and Ruben can’t quite get a proper attempt off with a defender sliding in. Just wide.
Cahill warming up. Good. 39 games in a row, apparently, since we’ve seen him. Typical flying save against Chelsea from Foster from another Higuain shot. Refwatch: Paul Tierney: Learn what a corner is you bellend. Other than that some good use of advantage and did not fall for any shenanigans. Other than Ben Foster, who seems to have some f*cking Jedi power when it comes to wasting time that ensures that no official can see it. Or maybe it’s as simple as him hiding behind that tramp beard.
73 minutes gone and they were calling for a penalty. I couldn’t figure out why, and I didn’t really care. Four minutes later the whole thing was over when Higuain dinked it over Foster. They couldn’t muster anything more but smacking the crossbar and scoring an offside goal. We got our Cahill love-in. Deeney fell over on the edge of the box. The fact that he tried to roll inside and claim a penalty was funny because a) he left a dent where he originally went down and b) he found out he was too cumbersome to turn himself over. That was it, save for The Beard coming close on 88 and a last, daft effort in injury time.
So: 3-0 probably harsh on them, but who really cares? Sheldon still isn’t having Higuain. Says scoring against Watford, Burnley, Fulham and Huddersfield ain’t all that. Bizarrely, considering a rollercoaster of f*ckwittery and some of the worst football I can remember us playing, coupled with some of the worst decisions by a manager since Fabregas kept getting played in his utter w*nk, purple and non-magic-hat phase, we have cemented a place in the top four. And come Thursday we might be in a European Final. Go figure.