In the News: Valencia has apparently joined the ever-growing list of players at United who don’t want to talk to Chequebook Pulis. And Pogba has been gagged. Which has done the world a favour. CP’s life is not going to get any easier. He’s now got us, Juve twice and City. Snigger. The club, gloriously, are entwined in far more important matters, namely whether or not they should introduce gender-neutral toilets at Old Trafford. If there are two places I absolutely don’t want to share a cubicle with blokes, it is in a pub or at football. Because you f*ckers lose the ability to aim straight when you’ve had a beer. Speaking of, one of the Hammarby players has celebrated scoring by catching a pint from the crowd then downing it. He was heard to toast Lloris as he did so. Joe Gomez has hailed Sturridge as one of the best in the world. Which serves to illustrate that Hugo isn’t the only premier league footballer hitting the bottle. Hard. Apparently, Cardiff vs Burnley only pulled in 450,000 viewers. I’m surprised it was that many, seeing as the ball was actually only in play for about 42 minutes. Eight minutes were squandered JUST on watching Morrison take throw-ins. And after Villa were so bad that Bruce got pelted with cabbage (might have been a well-wishing fan dropping a hint) JT is now in the frame to become the Villa boss without so much as having got his managerial feet wet before. Unless you count all the times the Press Plebs claimed he was undermining various managers and calling the shots at Chelsea. Idiots.
The Others: All has not been rosy in Europe’s secondary club competition this week. I listened to the commentary team making excuses for Sp*rs being shit and crying about their injuries and over why Harry f*cking Kane couldn’t score and blaming the referee for twenty minutes before I started choking on my own vomit and had to turn it off. But not before Lloris had made a catastrophic error in the opening two minutes that f*cked their night right up. P*sshead. And after listening to how they’d already won everything in August, the Red Scouse now haven’t won in three. Stank royally against Ancelotti’s Napoli. Shame. Carragher says Salah is letting everyone down. I thought he was God? I bet they loved the photographs of him emerging from the Manc team hotel. If the Red Scouse had brain cells they’d be churning. As far as Europe’s top table is concerned, it was not the actual story about Aaron Ramsey not travelling to F.C. Carrier Bag because his wife is heavily pregnant that disturbed me beyond measure, it was the selfie of her that revealed he sleeps in a bedroom that, short of some glitter and a life-size plastic unicorn, is so pink and terrifying it looks like a twelve-year-old girl decorated it.
So back to the Bridge it is, where it is so easy to be a tout than even the ambulance men are at it. I hope they made a massive loss tonight. Buoyant Hungarian support outside the away entrance. I shall marvel at their jubilatory antics from the posh seats with JK. Whilst I feast on the club’s pick ‘n’ mix.
Us: wholesale changes as you’d expect – Loftus-Cheek’s rumoured start came to pass. Pedro Pony returns from that clattering he took. Hurrah. I was going to revert to Pesto, until knobhead in Australia revealed that the new nickname leaves him entranced and not a little bit mortified by the inappropriate sexual imagery of our midfielder pulling a trap. So it can stay longer. Mwhahahaha. Little Willy and Kovacic are basically the only ones apart from Kepa that remain, with Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Fabregas and Morata also coming in to the starting lineup. God help him if he didn’t score tonight against this lot, that would be sad.
Them: They wore white and red. That’s about all I can tell you.
Before kick-off JK had a diva fit. The Pick ‘n’ Mix section of the buffet was dominated by M&Ms, with the result that the staff went scurrying our the back to find him Smarties. And we’ll they should. Before he started throwing the furniture onto the pitch. With him quietly seated and not about to smash any televisions or eat any hamsters, the game began.
Much fuller inside the stadium than last time we embarked on a run in this competition. I think that was when the stadium was half full, of basically the entire London population of Romanians who turned out to see Bucharest. But then I’ve been drinking so I might have just made that up. Disappointed when we weren’t 2-0 ahead after five minutes. Corner for them on six minutes – they were feisty but you could see their problem when straight afterwards Pedro Pony broke and played it in for Little Willy, who fortunately for them kicked it like a bellend. Shortly afterwards Emerson managed to do channel Eden and literally skip his way towards goal before he finished by smashing it over the bar. Can you see a theme emerging? Willian hit it just wide on 11 minutes. I don’t like plain M&Ms. I never buy them, I couldn’t give a crap about them, so why is it when they are in a pick ‘n’ mix cup I am incapable of not stuffing them in my face? Meanwhile, on the pitch landing the ball in row Z was catching. Kovacic shanked it well wide. We should acknowledge though that this is not surprising. For he is the new Mikel, in that he should never, ever shoot. Morata missed a great chance on 16 minutes, and tonight was going to get a lot worse for him before it got better. Emerson’s turn to miss again, then Alvaro proved to be so frustrated already that he started trying to fight a defender. He missed another shortly afterwards. After half an hour, one shot on target in what arguably should have been the easiest game of the season so far, NINE ridiculous misses. And 70% possession counting for nothing.
Loftus-Cheek had powered his way in towards goal already, and on 38 minutes he made the kind of run we dream about, Hungarians bouncing off him like skittles. He was robbed of his glory tonight because then he was shamelessly brought down in the box and the referee did nothing. Neither did the moron with the stick standing three feet away who gets paid to do literally nothing. We could have been four up at halftime, such was the gap between the two sides. We weren’t because we couldn’t have hit a barn door if the continuing existence of humanity had depended on it.
Morata’s desperation to score was growing, and was painfully apparent. Shortly after the restart he threw his entire body at a loose ball and couldn’t get it over the line. But if the game wasn’t entertaining (it really wasn’t) at least Eden had emerged to warm up about fifteen feet away. Hurrah. Make way bitches. Daddy’s home. On he came to a rapturous reception on 53. Within four minutes he had smashed it across the face of goal. Where it just kept on going because nobody was in the six-yard box. Annoying.
More importantly, so far as our little section was concerned, Barkley had emerged now in a pair of skintight leggings. The next six minutes is a blur. One of our number was singing “Get your buttocks off the pitch” for she could not focus on anything else. Don’t tell me he didn’t know exactly what he was doing. It was as titivating as that Call On Me video with the girls doing the aerobics. At one point I looked across and JK was just mesmerised by it. Lucky that like all celebrities he had his sunglasses on. At night. So nobody else noticed.
RLC perhaps came closest of all just after the hour mark. Sarri was having a nicotine deprived meltdown on the sideline. I love that after a season of fussing over whether or not Antonio was wearing a suit or a tracksuit, he basically just turns up in his pyjamas and still gets the job done.
On came Barkley (Buttocks Barkley, as he has been christened in the East Middle) for Loftus-Cheek on 65. One minute and he’d had a shot on target, which was really saying something in this game. Morata was moaning at everybody now. Players, officials, Stamford the Lion, ballboys. Even when he was winning corners. If they gave out a Golden Gob for whinging he’d be uncatchable. And then suddenly everything was rosy in his world. Cesc ball, brilliant flick on from the head of Little Willy and a great goal from the Spaniard. Not faffing, moaning or stropping, just instinct, sublime touch and in the back of the net. Thank f*ck for that. I would have worried for his mental health had he got to the end of this game without scoring. Willian appears to whisper something in his ear while they are celebrating. Answers on a postcard.
Vidi slumped, but we were far to excruciating to then go on and taken them apart tonight. On 71 Hazard danced into the box – but Barkley wasn’t expecting it to fall to him and it wasn’t to be when his shot hit one of them and went out for a corner. The Matthew Harding Lower has started singing “Maurizio” to the tune of “Antonio.” JK does not approve of the lack of creativity. “That is shit.” He says. “That is really shit.” On 75 Barkley had the ball rebounding off the bar. Comedy moment then when the Vidi bench appeared to fiercely instruct their keeper to kick the ball out of play, then when he did they gesticulated that he was a moron while the whole MH sang “you’re f*cking sh*t.” Baffling. Speaking of goalkeepers, Kepa, who apart from being stamped on had been a spectator, pulled off a handy save on 83.
By this point, we had noticed that Zappacosta was wearing salmon coloured boots. Last player, to do that? Lord Bendtner. The number of times anyone took him seriously after that? 0. A’s the clock ticked over the 90-minute mark and we still hadn’t made the result a certainty, the Italian started fannying about with the ball down at the corner and gave it away before trying to win it back and conceding a free kick. Sarri, apoplectic with rage went straight for the notebook and started frantically scribbling. JK’s money was on “DON’T EVER PICK THIS IDIOT AGAIN!!” Mine is on a to-do list. “Rip of Davide’s head and sh*t down his neck.” That’s #2, right after #1 “Have a fag.”
What a difference an hour makes. For it was Morata that rose to head the ball clear when the free kick was taken. Zappacosta had meanwhile popped up on our side of the pitch. “What is he doing here?” Said JK “Running away from his own shame “said I. Afterwards we adjourned to Ossie’s Bar where BT Sport was on. And Michael Owen was wearing a plum coloured jacket. Didn’t make him remotely more interesting. In fact, he clashed with his own denim shirt, Glen Hoddle’s blue jacket and the bright orange set. Which makes me think BT punked him and dressed him in it because they dislike him as much as we do.
So: I can’t be a*sed to check, but apparently, we remain the only one of 92 clubs in the country unbeaten in all competitions. We did the absolute minimum tonight, and not an iota more. 23 shots OFF target and 4 on. I forgive the club because they gave me gin. Let us never speak of this again.