In the News: Someone called Eddie has apparently announced to the whole world that Pusilic is on his way to us, in the meantime people in Germany are trying to buy Hudson-Odoi. Hummels to us is doing the rounds, as are tales of departures for Cesc and Morata. And Luiz locked himself out of his hotel room. That’s the best I can do given I’ve been in a chocolate/gin coma and we only played five minutes ago.
The Others: Aboubakar Kamara caused a big stink against Ranieri’s wishes to take a penalty himself then missed. If they hadn’t won by other means he’d be getting kicked up and down the training ground tomorrow morning. As per usual the second anyone credits Sp*rs with the possibility of doing anything exciting, they roll over and stick their legs in the air. Except for Alli. He dives, then he rolls over and sticks his legs in the air. And United shamelessly continue to look like actual footballers after having sat around eating kebabs and slagging off their manager for the last year.
Fuck sake Arsenal. Thanks for nothing.
I think I’ve got a way to stop the unthinkable happening at the end of the season – I’ll put it up on Twitter in the week, but in the meantime it’s up to each and every one of us to do whatever is necessary to stop the Red Scouse winning the league. Take Dennis (Sitcom alias) for example. He submitted a request for them to fail to the Wishing Tree at Kew Gardens yesterday. You can let me know how you intend to do your bit on Twitter. For now they are six points clear, and no, even then Klippity Klopp has not taken five minutes to go and have a shower.
Them: Too bleary eyed and half asleep to care at this time of the morning.
Us: No false nine, yay. But the biggest talking point amongst us was that there was someone who looked suspiciously like Victor Moses was warming up. (I just presumed that he and Drinkwater had eloped to Costa Rica and opened a surf shack)Just for fun, at his old stomping ground, it appears, because he wasn’t even on the bench. Loftus-Cheek wasn’t dropped, he wasn’t fit, and neither was CHO after limping off on Boxing Day.
Palace deserve credit for the effort they put in for the away fans. They put on your favourite tunes, the staff all wear your colours and they serve you burgers that are made of real meat, with actual lettuce leaves and tomato in. But still, you can’t forget you are in the grimmest place in the south: Croydon, where floodlights are needed for a lunchtime kick off to penetrate the all pervading gloom that hangs over the entire borough unless there happens to be a riot going on, with fires.
It was a brighter start on the pitch. Its amazing how it looks like there is actual intent when you play with a striker. Palace were time-wasting already; and it took them six minutes to even venture across the halfway line properly. When they did, Zaha began a home trend of making ludicrous penalty claims. For once, I didn’t have a f*cking post in my face in what rivals Goodison Park as the most tragic old dump of a ground in the league. Still though, you cant see a thing that is going on at the other end.
First thing we could make out was a headed flick on by Rudi on 13 minutes as he met a free kick, but there wasn’t enough on it to beat the keeper. Another loud and whiny penalty claim at the other end, but not even Craig Pawson is that thick. Actually, scratch that, because moments later he stood there and did nothing while they kicked lumps out of Eden Hazard.
Jorginho walked a fine line between f*ckmuppetry and finesse at times today. He gave the ball away on 16 and Palace were off, but he made up for it by tearing the other way and winning it back. Moments later Kante hit one across the face of goal, but there had been no meaningful attempts at either end. The sheer amount of passes we were putting together was making my head hurt. 100% accuracy for Jorginho – I’m not effin’ surprised – they are all about two feet away! Sarri has given them a mandate to pass the ball quickly, one touch and then move it on, but a lot of the time if just seems that we are passing for the sake of it, to hit this target, and not because its actually the best way forward. Because there is no shot at the end of it. For the love of God, if I was a bloke I would have got a boner when Willian dribbled the ball five yards across the middle of the park.
Finally we had a shot on target – right into the net, but The Beard was ruled offside. Was he f*ck. Another 6200 passes – and another shot, but Jorginho was way off the mark. A free kick right in front of goal, surely this has got to go in the right direction? Nope. But close from Willian.
He nearly scored a moment later, his long range effort coming off the post, then Barkley hit the upright. Getting closer. Slowly. Then they were moaning for a penalty again. We were so bored we’d all begun discussing Sooty and Sweep at length, and whether either of the names could be construed as racist. This we couldn’t fathom, but we did have a chuckle at the realisation that Sue liked a fist shoved up her at every opportunity. Net result of the first half? A depressing amount of half-a*sed foreplay with only the faintest promise of actual penetration.
With his one penalty, the hugely entertaining, chubby little blue who scored in the kids challenge at half time established as many shots on target as the team. So did his counterparts, leading to the Chelsea fans singing “Are you Thibaut in disguise?” At a man in a stuffed eagle suit after he let in four in less than five minutes.
The second half was threatening to become as torrid as the first, when suddenly Luiz pinged the ball forward with sublime accuracy and of all people, Kante, surging into the box, bringing it down on his chest, thumped the ball into the net. Came out of nowhere. If anyone moans again about where he should be playing, there is your answer. Up front.
By 66 minutes Palace were on their fifth handball penalty shout. Kepa was called into action, and then a half chance from us took a deflection. It could have gone anywhere, but it went just wide. Typical. If that was the Red Scouse they would have been given a penalty. Two penalties.
Another goal from The Beard and another flag. Didn’t look offside to me, and he took a heavy knock to the foot which forced him off. About twenty minutes to go and on comes Morata. Entertaining this was not. “I’ve realised how we win,” said one wit behind us. “We make the opposition want to die.” One betting app claimed that the home side had had 37% possession. B*llocks. The guy monitoring it had blatantly fallen asleep.
Off Willian came for Emerson and Ross off for Kovacic. All shoring us up to withstand the last ten minutes. That’s right, heart-attack territory. Deeper and deeper we got. Handbags on 88 minutes and Wickham put it way over the bar. Let’s not kid on that it was close like Scouse Sports News, it made poor Kovacic look accurate. Kepa was time-wasting now, and they weren’t happy. Oh well, reap what you sow. The last proper attempt they might have have had was squandered by Zaha in injury time when he gave away a cynical free kick. Didn’t get booked though. I’d have given him a yellow just for the stupid ponytail.
Refwatch: Craig Pawson. In fact the only card he showed today was after less than ten minutes and aimed at Alonso. For punching the ball. If he thinks that is the word transgression he saw then he really is a bellend. And why does Alonso look like he’s been sleeping in a box? Two goals chalked off by the officials. Last week I actually thought: “Oh good, Atkinson. One of the better ones.” That is how bad it has got.
So: Four clear of Arsenal now, two off Sp*rs, four off City. Not bad at the turn of the year. What is bad is who is sitting on top. It’s lucky I got a multitude of gin for Xmas, because I’m going to need it to survive their spell at the top and the transfer window, which is bound to be the usual clusterf*ck of made up bullsh*t and unsubstantiated press nonsense. Cheers.
And thank you, to all those who donated to the fund for the domestic violence shelter. Not only did we shower the kids there with presents this year, but we supplied them all with winter coats, gloves, hats and scarves. We also provided a pile of clothes for a baby in particular need, and have donated enough to the shelter to ensure that all residents will be supplied with fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables throughout 2019 to supplement what they receive from the food banks. And Eden Hazard has stepped in with the club to treat one little boy who is a huge fan of him and Chelsea. You’re all stars.