Brought to you from Putney High Street. I think. There was a wedding yesterday and we’ve now had a birthday party involving my extended Chelsea family. So I’m not sure exactly what’s going on. I only know I’ve eaten so many carbs I feel like I’m having a heart attack, and that this is not helped by jogging up and down on the spot trying to get my quote of steps in for my Fitbit before midnight. Do not recommend this after mixing shots, gin, caipirinhas and God knows what else.
In the News: United would have been contenders for the Champions League if they had signed Bale. Says Ryan Giggs. No sh*t. We can all make up nonsense that was never going to happen and apply it in fantasy land. If I was a foot shorter and half the size I could have been an Olympic gymnast. If Robbie Savage was as prolific at football as he is at yapping like a complete knob he could have won the Ballon d’Or. Speaking of Bale, he appears to be not popular in Madrid. Has nothing to do with football. They are just that tired of his awful top knot that they can stand it no more. “Be gone, monkey faced man. And take your greasy ponytail with you.” The Scouse were the only English team not to win their Champions League opener. Happy days. Klopp says his defensive woes can’t be solved in the transfer window. Well, not when you make one single attempt to sign any decent defenders and then give up they can’t. I love Cologne’s reaction to the chaos that ensued last Thursday night at Arsenal. “Unfortunately they were not adequately prepared.” Which, however much you like mocking the Goons, is a bit ludicrous, considering that if you had done anything to stem the tide of your own fans invading across the Channel, or stumped up some cash to help police them might not have been such a disaster in the first place. I still can’t do long Division and yet I know that 17,000 does not fit into 2,600. At best, this FUBAR might mean that the same touts, the same faces we see robbing people and clustered round Fulham Broadway and every other relevant Tube station across London on a match day like cockroaches might finally get collared. If we can all pick them out of a crowd then the police should be able to. But it won’t happen. There were at least two dozen outwardly breaking the law around Stamford Bridge (but off of Chelsea’s property) today and no one gave a sh*t. Putting up signs doesn’t make them go away. I really don’t care what this technicality about whose turf they are standing on means or subsequently whose problem it is. I hate tripping over them, being harassed by them week in, week out, and not only, as we saw at Arsenal on Thursday is it a safety issue, but in the modern world it is a security issue too. Create a last minute ticket drop/exchange and put them out of business.
And it wouldn’t be a day ending with a Y if Chequebook Pulis wasn’t trying to wind someone up. “We got Lukaku because we paid what Everton wanted” he sniped. Firstly, we all know that, and that makes you a mug in most Blue eyes, secondly, it probably had a fair bit to do with his mercenary agent and lastly, I think you’ll find we got the better player, the one YOU wanted, because Morata told you he’d only sign for Chelsea. Get back in your sad little hotel room, you joker. And come back out when you’ve beaten somebody decent.
The Others: ‘Arry hasn’t even made it to October at Birmingham. I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a chuckle about that. But back in the Premier League, here are some stats that prove the Scouse won’t win the league this season unless there is an outbreak of bubonic plague everywhere else that they are immune to because of their own naturally germ-ridden state. 35 shots on Saturday. 71.4% possession. Scored once. Burnley made 37 clearances. Liverpool managed 8. They only made six tackles. Nearly 900 touches and approaching 700 passes and they couldn’t score more than once. Which epitomises every issue they have and basically means they are wasteful as well as sh*t at the back. We love Klippity Klopp. We hope he stays forever.
Sp*rs – the gift that keeps on giving. Bore draw with Swansea at Wembley, who barely had a third of the possession and yet managed to stop Harry F*cking Kane dribbling past them. (In more ways than one)Startlingly disciplined away performance from Paul Clements’s team.
Adam Crafton. (Yes the Costa interview twat again, who didn’t ask basic questions like, what did “the text” say or “what about all that China sh*t you pulled then?”) He says Pep has arrived now that City smacked Watford about. As if this is something to be celebrated. Did he come with Southern Trains? Is that why it’s taken him so long to show up? Prior to yesterday at Watford, City have beaten Brighton and Bournemouth, and humiliated a Liverpool side, who can’t defend in ordinary circumstances, after they were reduced to ten men. They failed to beat Everton who are the worst side I’ve seen turn up at the bridge since us in 2015/16. As with all the people who think United have won the title already, Adam might want to take his hand out of his pants until they’ve actually played a team that can defend. Seeing as Phil “The Milk Cart” Jagielka and Ashley “Panto-Horse” Williams managed to limit them to a point. They are the two strongest teams but lauding them as unbeatable right now is moronic.
Elsewhere Huddersfield continued to pick up points, Newcastle have now amassed three wins on the trot, Real Pulis failed to get the better of West Ham, who will probably be ecstatic with their 0-0 and the Palace board basically got what they deserved for taking up their default position of pussying out of having managers with a brain and resorting to dinosaurs with all the creativity of one of Allardyce’s used bits of gum at the first bump in the road.
Them: Wenger used his tried and tested method – that is the one that beat us in the cup final and the dinner plate match in August. Apparently Ozil was injured. Again. There’s only so many dubious and vague absences you can float in front of the world before everyone detects a strong whiff of bullsh*t. They better pay him pro rata for his part time effort.
Us: A tried and tested team from Antonio. Which raised a few eyebrows, because it meant the return of Cahill, the exclusion of Rudiger, Fabregas at the back of midfield and no room for Bakayoko, perhaps because he’s not considered ready to have a go at ninety minutes yet? Well it was going to work, or it wasn’t, but at least the bench was stacked with the likes of those omissions and Hazard.
Our Game: Began with chants of “where were you on Thursday night?” directed at the Goons from all corners of the ground. Somewhat predictable response was “Where were you when you were sh*t?” Unfortunately this just paved the way for a resounding chorus of “We’re the only team in London with the European Cup.” 1-0 Blues.
Moses almost got one on Morata’s head in the first minute, but Cech, always a welcome returnee, was alive to that threat and snatched it from in front of him. Pesto (yawn, autospell) shot from range shortly afterwards, but again it went straight into Petr’s hands. Then it was over to them briefly before we surged forward and won our first corner. Morata went close again after ten minutes, again with his head but the flag was up. We were definitely on top for the first quarter of an hour, but not to the extent that we had any really convincing shots on goal. Thibaut too was forced to make a couple of saves, but my blood pressure was at a reasonable level. There was a lengthy break after Pesto went down with a busted shin. It didn’t look like a foul, he just went in bravely and didn’t come out of it well. We were down to ten while he tried to jog it off on the touchline, but almost instantly on his return he found himself bursting through the Goon defence. A goal looked inevitable for a few manic seconds, but then he took too many touches and the opportunity was gone. Yet another header from Morata failed to find the target moments later when the ball looped high and he just couldn’t aim it with enough force.
Arsenal fans had spotted their want-away Chilean warming up. Their song for him is to the tune of Human League’s Don’t You Want Me? Alexis Sanchez baby, Alexis Sanchez Oooh. What a generic pile of w*nk. Not exciting. Not creative. Can’t understand why it would amuse anybody. It raised the same disdain from me as every time I hear an Ed Sheeran song on the radio. Still I don’t suppose there is any point spending time coming up with a new one when you know he’s going to f*ck off and abandon you at the first opportunity.
After half an hour both teams were about even, but while both sides were good on the ball, we were better off it. Cahill was doing step-overs in the last third, so that gives you an idea of how much pressure we were under. It was not a particularly exciting game, with both teams containing each other. The fans in The Shed made their own amusement. Namely a reworking of a old song to the tune of Come On Feel the Noise:
F*ck of Pochettino
Wenger is a p*d*
We’ve got Antoniooooo
We’ve got Antoniooooo
As the half began to wind down, we basically lost our sh*t. We were making a meal out of everything. Moses was air-kicking on the edge of our own box, then there was some flapping by Cahill. Luckily they best chance they had fell to Ramsey, who couldn’t miss again from that range if you gave him a billion pounds. But we were lucky not concede in the last minutes of the half. Our composure had completely evaporated, apart from Luiz holding it together at the back with Dave. Somehow we had gone from bossing the first half to going AWOL, so a draw at half time was reasonable. Kante had been shackled and Fabregas wasn’t doing it for me. The latter seems to be a theme against his old side of late. My choice would have been to hook him and get Bakayoko on and hope that that pairing would do better in midfield. I’d also have considered Zappacosta, as on his showings he could have caused them infinitely more problems down the right hand side than Victor today, who worked hard but just wasn’t firing on all cylinders. And obviously we’d have Eden to come.
We enjoyed an upbeat start to the second half. Pesto, who I am not convinced wasn’t broken in that early shin collision, went off and Bakayoko came on, but Antonio spurned by advice, pushing Cesc up the pitch instead of yanking him off. This was vindicated on 52 minutes when the new signing went rampaging up the pitch, cutting through the Arsenal midfield with ease. George Michael’s shot, however, was well blocked, and from then on everyone’s frustration levels mounted. Cahill was looking as rusty as a porthole on the Titanic, I forgot Cesc was even playing, and in the last week Willian has veered from awful in his cameo at Leicester, to great against Carrier Bag and then back to a little bit woeful again today.
Refwatch: Michael Oliver. Don’t ask Morata what he thought of the officials today. A couple of his tumbles weren’t fouls, but he looked ready to rip his head off and sh*t down his neck on the hour mark. Today gave us an absolutely bizarre performance by the referee. He went from admirable in the first half, to dubious after the break, and ended up making Harry F*cking Kane look like a brain surgeon by the final whistle. He ended up booking Morata, ostensibly because the Spaniard is taller, richer and better looking than him. He can consider himself off of the striker’s Christmas card list, unless the card is going to have a turd in it.
We just weren’t committing enough players forward. It was all too cautious, so I was pleased to see Hazard come on for Willy on 68 minutes, with Fabregas dropping back to fill an ever widening gulf further back in midfield. We had an interval whilst Danny Welbeck rolled about on the floor, presumably dying of shame having contributed nothing all day, and Wenger made his own change by switching out him for Giroud and his beard, which should count as two substitutions. Meanwhile Oliver was getting worse and worse, though after giving them a dangerous free kick for falling over on 74 he did manage to notice their whole team with the exception of Cech was offside when they scored from it.
All day long our last ball hadn’t been there and it was becoming clear that this was going to end goalless if nobody could come up with a moment of magic. We almost got it on 78 minutes when Hazard went on a flying run up the pitch and got a shot off that require a decent save from Cech. Suddenly the game was end to end, everyone running about like headless chickens. After we had a pass go right across the face of goal we seemed to realise that we were running out of time and stopped dicking around with passing it round endlessly on the end of the box and short corners.
Having gone slightly bonkers since half time, Luiz suddenly lost his head having started off with an assured showing this afternoon. Nobody really complained, and from the other side of the pitch we could see that he’d gone into that challenge with the serious a*seache with Sanchez and Kolasinac had been kicking and punching people all afternoon. Christensen came straight on, with Morata offered up in sacrifice. It was kitchen sink time for the Goons now they had a man advantage. Referee f*ckwit bingo continued, namely when Oliver ignored all of the fouls committed on Hazard and then penalised him instead. Four minutes of injury time and they couldn’t break us down. We might have nicked it, but it wasn’t to be.
So: This week Wenger was still saying his muppets could win the league. After today’s showing it is my opinion that three, possibly four teams would have to catastrophically roll over and lie there with their legs in the air for this to happen. Because stifling a rival top six team is not the same as beating them. Not if you’re Wenger, anyway. They may well nick some points off their near neighbours, but they will p*ss them away elsewhere and won’t sustain a challenge. From our perspective, not our finest hour, but nothing to trigger a mass epidemic of nappysh*tting. Sticking with the new signings at this early stage, every time I see him I love Bakayoko and his magic inspector gadget legs more. I literally cannot explain how he gets in front to win the ball back from some of his positions, or how when he doesn’t he still manages to fish the ball out. He is going to be an absolute legend when he’d in full stride. Against Sp*rs, Morata won absolutely nothing in the air. That has changed, and I can’t fault the way in which he is trying to embrace the physicality of the Premier League. That said, roughly half of the fouls he wanted given today were not infringements. I get that he is still adjusting to the English game, but if it doesn’t go your way get straight back up and carry on, don’t sit on the floor sulking.
As a team, there was not enough impetus going forward for long stretches today. The short corners p*ss me off, we had wasted free kicks. And yet. Clean sheet. Two “rivals” played, neither of them losses. And that was the first time we have failed to score at home under Conte. We’ll have easier days, and others have yet to have tougher ones. We’re third, three points off the top, which is good enough for me at this early stage. Today might have been an anti-climax, but just put Parklife by Blur on and have a listen. It just came on my Amazon playlist and it makes everything rosy again. And this will cheer you up. Blue Squirrel tells me that the hilarious pitch invader, who got himself nicked over a disallowed goal, had something in his pocket that means the football banning order is the least of his worries. Hilarious.
Please don’t forget to make a donation, however small, to Veterans in Action in aid of our Blue Desert Walk in November. Even if you give me 50p that will be 50p more than Jeremy Clarkson gave me. All I got off him was a filthy look outside the ground yesterday.