Sunday 21 December
Tottenham Hotspur 0:2 Chelsea
We have now beaten Spurs on three away grounds in our history and the main advantage of the new Tottendome – or whatever they call it – is the extra 26,063 petulant, frustrated, angry Spurs voices compared with the White Hart Lane capacity.
Chelsea have just ruined Christmas for everyone in N17 and, given their behaviour today, every bitter tear they shed was deserved.
Antonio Rüdiger had monkey chants aimed at him for the crime of being kicked under the ribs by Son Heung-min, who was eventually red-carded for the assault.
The referee, Anthony Taylor, tried his hardest to favour Spurs initially giving a Tottenham free-kick instead of a penalty earlier and wanted to offer a yellow to Son instead of red. Thankfully the VAR seems to have stopped drinking for Christmas and called both correctly.
The ugliness of Spurs reaction, on and off the pitch, didn’t detract from the fact that we were brilliant.
The bumps in the road make afternoons like this all the more special as Frank dipped into the Antonio Conte style-sheet and pulled out the old 3-4-3. Spurs were chasing shadows in the first period as Willian opened the scoring with a belter from a short corner and then tucked away the penalty after he had freed Marco Alonso who was Schumacher-ed by Paulo Gazzaniga in the Spurs goal.
Harald Schumacher, not Michael, nearly decapitated the French defender Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup semi-final. We used to advise that you ask your father but these days you’ll just type it into a handheld device. Honestly, what are old bastards for if not explaining their dimly remembered anecdotes about football? These days, some young whipper snapper just swipes his mobile for a full history and YouTube video… swiping a mobile used to mean nicking off a yuppie… but they are all in the Government now… bastards.
Gazzaniga was a few inches lower than Schumacher but Taylor’s instinct to award the free-kick the other way speaks volumes for the contempt referees still hold for us.
Mason Mount was one of the best players on the pitch. His running and passing driving us toward the bewildered Spurs defence time and again. While N’Golo Kanté covered every blade of grass. This was the right tactics with the right personnel deployed at the right time. Frank Lampard just might know what he is doing.
Spurs and Mourinho couldn’t think of an answer in an hour and fifty minutes and the Tottenham fans muddied their own reputation by indulging in some seasonal monkey chants – very peace and goodwill to all mankind of them. Even when you have been put on your arse, at home, by your worst nightmare of an opponent, monkey chants don’t have a place in the game. The pubic address announcements were shaming.
The trouble is that Brexit-wankers think the election of the first openly racist, liar into Downing Street and the vote to leave the European Union somehow means that their mouth-breathing strain of humanity has reached a racial purity unheard of since Aryanism.
The PFA called for a governmental response to racism in football and society and an all-party group in the Department of Media, Culture and Sport to look at the issue. But, like we say, this government relies for it support on openly racist voters. A PM who describes black people as picaninnies is unlikely to upset his fanbase.
(We are allowed to call Boris Johnson a racist because of his published racist opinions and we are allowed to call our new Prime Minister a liar because he was once sacked form a job for lying. He never challenged the decision to dismiss him for the offence, therefore he is a liar.)
Elsewhere, and the club have announced a 1970 FA Cup replica kit for the FA Cup this season. Nike and the sponsors have allowed their logos to be blued-out so from a distance it looks just like the proper Chelsea shirt of the Old Trafford replay all those years ago.
Nike Yokohama and Hyundai are to be congratulated on allowing their sponsorship to be eclipsed by the club’s history on this occasion.
Tuesday 24 December
Ethan Ampadu has shorn off his locks. His teammates reacted with relief and a bit of teasing but he will be more difficult to spot on the pitch from now on.
Wednesday 25 December
Out from the Shed came a rising young star,
scoring goals past Pat Jennings from near and from far,
and Chelsea won, as we all knew they would
and the star of that great team was Peter Osgood
Osgood, Osgood, Osgood, Osgood
Born is the king of Stamford Bridge
Gloria, hosanna in ex-Chelsea
Thursday 26 December
Chelsea 0:2 Southampton
Bah, humbug… humiliating Spurs blew up in our faces as we fail to score at home for the third game out of four.
Southampton were not good, they didn’t need to be we showed no penetration at all.
This was the Saints’ first clean sheet in 14 matches.
We started with the same 3-4-3 that worked away at Spurs but Southampton simply mirrored the formation to nullify its threats. After that they took their chances while we scuffed ours.
This is a team in development and we do keep talking about the bumps in the road but we haven’t had a convincing home performance in the league all season and we are starting to look forward to the away games.
Away at Arsenal on Sunday, thankfully.
Saturday 28 December
Spurs were lucky to draw with Norwich, which shows which way their season is going. Manchester United closed up with a win at Burnley and Carlo Ancelotti’s start at Everton got better as they beat Newcastle 1-2. And Leicester picked up the easy points at West Ham… who sacked Manuel Pellegrini for only beating one team all year… yes, us…
Sunday 29 December
Arsenal 1:2 Chelsea
This was a very long and frustrating afternoon as Arsenal put in their first coherent performance of the season. They defended well, attacked with menace but after the first 35-minutes they barely put a boot on the ball as our control grew.
Frank went with three at the back again but switched things around before half-time. We started to control the game but Fikayo Tomori was struggling at right-back and it was only with the introduction of Tariq Lamptey in the second period that our game flowered.
The youngster, making his debut at this level, looked the part and balanced the defence. A young man of whom great things are expected. We should say another young man of whom as the squad is full of them. But Tariq had one lovely little acceleration into midfield, slipped the ball through for Abraham but the block came in and stifled the chance. We have been a big fan Tariq Lamptey for a few years and we are delighted to see him getting his shot. He might need a season on loan somewhere like the Bundesliga but he is another real gem.
The equaliser was a stroke of good fortune, as the ball found Jorginho unmarked after Leno came but missed from a deep free-kick, but the winner was a delight. The ball broke to Abraham but Willian looked to have taken the ball too wide but Tammy just stepped back inside and stroked the ball home. Some pundits have mentioned that he hasn’t scored many against the top clubs and he still hasn’t as Arsenal languish in 12th place on 24 points.
The referee, Craig Pawson, was a joke throughout: he looked squarely at Tammy Abraham being hauled round by the shirt and tripped at the same time and didn’t give a penalty; at one stage he indicated that Tammy was being held and gave a free-kick to Arsenal… another when Jorginho’s arm swung round above an Arsenal head the player went down clutching his face Pawson gleefully gave free-kick.
It was almost as satisfying to see Arsenal fall on their collective faces as the way we controlled the second-half and played out the injury time without giving them a sniff.
If only we could sort out the home form.
You know something is going right at your football club when Ian Wright on Match of the Day cannot stop praising the team that beat Arsenal and refers to your young players by their first name: “its Tammy this, an’ Tammy that an’ Tammy wait your turn… but its thankyou Mr Abraham when England begins to play …” as Kipling would have put it.
Brighton away on New Year’s Day.
VAR has had so much Christmas eggnog they allowed Liverpool to win 1-0 at home to Wolves despite the ref blowing up for handball before the shot was made. The ball looked to have hit the arm/shoulder VAR should only correct obvious mistakes and it wasn’t obvious and the whistle went before the goal was scored.
VAR then tucked into the Baileys for good measure and ruled out a Wolves equaliser for an imagined offside. They are drawing their lines without a real measure of when the ball is kicked. They can roll the picture back and forward and the feeling is that if they want the decision one way they’ll freeze the picture that give the decision they want. Our equaliser against them at the Bridge was the same. If you stopped the ball on the player’s foot one frame earlier Mason was onside if you scroll forward you get the pro-Liverpool offside decision. Referees and the VAR technicians pretending this is rocket science are living in a dreamworld.
Liverpool are a very dedicated and well coached side but the referees should stop helping them every step of the way.
VAR then helped Manchester City by ruling out Sheffield United’s opening goal, again an imaginary offside, and then allowed City to score despite the referee intercepting a pass to enable the build-up. An automatic drop ball we are led to believe, until it gets in the way of the team you favouring… the moron in black on this occasion will say that he didn’t touch the ball but he blocked Blade who had to try to control the ball through the referee’s legs. The spirit of the law is as important as the letter and VAR appears to be favouring some clubs and mostly the richest..
West Ham have just rescued themselves from Manuel Pellegrini’s drift towards relegation and replaced him with David Moyes… who led them in a drift towards relegation two years ago. ‘Ammers must be pinching themselves with excitement.