No. I’m not speaking Flemish. In London, “we are Stoke” would constitute three words using actual English. In “Sterk” it’s one. It took nigh on the entire match to translate that.

In the News: Diegogate is finally at an end. I’m glad. I think everyone has got what they wanted, apart from the Red Swarm who are now without dramatic fodder at our expense. Costa has said he’ll always have special affection for us, Conte has said that he won’t forget that they won together(I’ve gone all Queen Victoria and started underlining random sh*t today. Hopefully it’s temporary. Her diaries read like a bizarre opera) Personally I wish him all the best, so long as he is not playing against us in any competition. He was bonkers, angry, mercurial and hilarious all at the same time. At the end of the day the personality clash with Antonio meant that he had to go. One of a kind, as frustrating as he was brilliant, and of course, a champion. We shouldn’t resent him for the way it has ended, even if somewhere in the middle he got fat and then when he got thin again he tried to run away to China. Needless to say there is no chance we will forget the scary-looking lunatic. God speed, you absolute animal.

Ryan Bertrand says he didn’t feel like a footballer at Chelsea. He didn’t like “auditioning” every time he played and it put him on edge. For me, this says a lot about him, as opposed to us. The more I think about it it’s bizarre coming from a professional sportsman. Firstly, I think  the decision to walk away from that pressure would have been easier when he already had a Champions League winners’ medal to mark his Chelsea career. That seems to have put the lid on it from what he was saying. Where was the hunger to build on that? It suggests a lack of ambition, which is disappointing coming from a talented man. No doubt he can earn an amazing living regardless, but no top, top level player ever got where he is by walking away from a challenge. I personally think that Bertrand could have been a better player than he is plodding at a mid-table team and that he would have got his chance at Chelsea, as there was a time when we didn’t have the options we needed on the left. I couldn’t believe when I read he was 28 already. Just seems like he’s squandered some awesome potential to me, but what do I know.

However, he’d have to sink some way further to find himself circling the footballing drain with Mesut Ozil. Who is now featured by the Red Swarm playing FIFA as if this is newsworthy. He plays as himself. Mate. Put down the PS4 controller. Pick up a shovel. Dig yourself a hole. And climb in it. And take Jack Wilshere with you.

You waste a lot of energy, says Pep of the League Cup. He’s always at liberty to p*ss off back to Spain where you only get a rough game once a month and take off weeks at a time at Christmas of course. How very disrespectful. Think of how much that trophy means to the minnows that have won nothing better for at least a decade and hold it as a measure of their standing in the game and cherish the memory of waving the Carling Cup about. Like Liverpool.

Everton are coming back for the next round of the Horse P*ss Cup (don’t try any of the freebies they give out at Stamford Bridge. Carabao stinks worse than Phil Jones’s jock strap) which will be great if they are anywhere near as bad as last time. That said, they will invade the Shed, which means I’ll be a Chelsea gypsy on the move again. Joy. Vertonghen was claiming pre-match that he wasn’t afraid of the challenge of marking Andy Carroll. Not surprising when if he planned to put in his usual shift he’d just be kicking him when the officials weren’t looking or rolling on the floor pretending that West Ham’s adopted pantomime horse had fouled him or poked him in the eye. If Vertonghen was actually going to try and play football, that would be a different story.

The Others: Speaking of the Sp*ds, how hilarious it could have been had West Ham scored another, but considering they are footballing bellends so far this season this was probably always asking too much. Aurier seemed to be running round at random fouling people, with all the spatial awareness of a moron on the Tube in rush hour who doesn’t remove their backpack and put it on the floor. Thus it was no surprise when he got a second yellow for hacking down the panto horse. The vacant expression, tasteless ginger patch on his head that he presumably thinks is cool and a propensity for being a git means that he should nonetheless blend in well with all the other dickheads at his club. Chequebook Pulis managed to get himself sent to the stands with a mere twenty seconds of injury time left when his side were winning 0-1.  If I was a cynic I might suggest that that was a nifty bit of time-wasting. Oh wait. I am a cynic.

Pepalicious‘s entitled brats took until nearly half time to put one past Palace. Then promptly destroyed them. They were Godzilla. Roy Hodgson was Japan. How many games has he got left before they go for a manager even more boring? Two? I read a stat that about 50 million people have been born since Palace last scored a league goal. I don’t know about you but I am thrilled about the footballing education Ruben Loftus-Cheek is getting over in Croydon. Even if he did hit the post today, we could have loaned him to SAS boot camp and it would have been less brutally soul destroying. Elsewhere Huddersfield and Burnley will be last up on Match of the Day, Everton came from behind (titter) Swansea lost at home to Watford and Klippity Klopp and his travelling circus played another round of goal roulette and happened to be on top at the final whistle in Leicester. Who didn’t deserve any better when for the last of the Scouse goals they left WES MORGAN as the last man back.

Them: Mark Hughes was vocal in reminding everybody that he didn’t have any defenders today. Cameron out. I don’t know who that is, but I’m going to assume he is a giant meathead. They couldn’t use Zouma because he is our giant meathead. Shawcross was injured – and missed by the away support about as much as a dwindling pandemic of the Black Death. (Seeing as the world has gone mad, I’ll get called a racist for that reference if the Daily Fail see it) 

Us: Christensen took up David Luiz’s spot in the centre of the back three, with Rudiger and Azpilicueta flanking him, meaning that Cahill had to settle for a place on the bench. Likewise Fabregas, as Bakayoko and Kante paired up in midfield. George Michael and Moses took up their wingback roles and our attacking force comprised Willian and Pesto (blah, autospell) behind Morata. Charly Musonda was rewarded for a blinding effort in midweek with a place on the bench.

To plagiarise Stamford Chidge: a*se gravy is usually an accurate description of a day out at the Bet365 Stadium. I do like the away support being in one big section, for the atmosphere, and they’ve closed in one of the corners, which means that it is not quite so f*cking cold, but those are the only two nice things I can think of to say about this trip. Happily we got the perfect start. Alvaro Morata in scores with his foot shocker. A long ball from Dave to play in the striker, who stung the Stoke defence, or lack of it, and put us ahead after a minute. Bakayoko made that goal by tenaciously digging that ball out at the back.

On four minutes they wandered into the box, but it was put emphatically out by Dave. They aren’t bad in midfield you know. After quarter of an hour they had played themselves into it. We actually had less possession and made less attacks than the home side in the first half. Could it be that they are breeding out Pulisitis finally? They were, however, a lot easier to push off the ball than you’d expect ordinarily and for all their effort they hadn’t really looked like scoring. And their fans were singing that Sterk-on-Trent was wonderful. OK, this isn’t quite as dire as days of old but let’s not push it. Just before the half hour mark it was time for Pesto the Poacher to cr*p on their efforts from a great height. He had been largely anonymous till then, but a stupid mistake by Darren Fletcher and it was 0-2. We played within ourselves as the half progressed. After all there is no sense taking any risks away from home when you are two up. Kante almost lobbed the ball to perfection for Pesto after a string of one touch passing, but at the other end, Morata was proving his defensive worth both with his head and his feet to maintain our clear lead. They were more excited at a corner than the Goons. The home side could have gone in only one down, but their best chance was squandered when one of theirs leapt like a directionally challenged salmon and ballsed up an overhead kick. Which apparently is only a horrific offence if you play for Chelsea. I was too busy laughing to see who it was. Not vintage. Two attempts, two goals. We’d basically made the most of a Sterk brain fart and sprung their defence with some quick thinking to put daylight between us at half time.

Refwatch: Mike Dean. Was in petty mode today. Every time a Stoke player fell over his own feet he got a free kick. His finest (sarcasm) effort was when he ignored George Michael lying on the floor holding his head. You see him say to Dean as he sits up, that’s twice. Then when he took matters into his own hands and lashed out back, Dean booked him. Two minutes later he looked ready to send him off, but sense prevailed. Literally created a clusterf*ck out of nothing at all. You know the officials have been on the funny fags in their dressing room when you concede twice as many fouls as Sterk City. That’s about as comprehensible as the OJ Simpson verdict. But at the end of the day, he is less of a f*ckwit than most of his colleagues so I won’t get too worked up. More ludicrous was the home support singing: “If he played for Sterk you’d send him off.” Yes because if he played for Sterk the chances are the tackle would have been studs up, nowhere near the ball and would have  come close to severing a limb. Then they moved on to: “Same old Chelsea always cheating.” Just as they are booing Willian for falling down having been dragged over by the throat. A timely reminder that even if they do play slightly more attractive football since Real Pulis left, they are still a sour bunch of moaning twats.

Anyway. Gary Cahill had sprung up as soon as the yellow came out for George Michael, because the last thing we need is another defender sent off and serving a suspension with City next week. Cahill went into the back three and the ever reliable Dave handed over the armband and went out to replace his compatriot. Hughes shuffled his pack. Every Chelsea fan’s favourite moment when they bring Crouch on, because it means you can start singing “Does the Circus Know You’re Here?” The home side were pressing, but the majority of their attempts were being shanked well over the bar. The natives were getting feisty with chants of “Wearesterk.” There was a shout for a penalty just after the hour mark. From the complete opposite end of the stadium I held my breath, as I’m pretty sure Cahill did too, but thankfully Dean’s blindness was getting less selective. If they had scored the third goal, I would have been convinced that we’d drop points with twenty minutes to go.

Lots of boos for Thibaut for almost losing consciousness, which tells you all you need to know about them. They had done all they could, but Conte brought on Cesc and Hazard and from then on we just had too much for them. The first thing that the latter did was set off a forward run that only fell at the last when Dave’s cross went slightly high and long. Fabregas contributed half a dozen of his stunning balls forward. The tide began to turn and when Sterk lost the ball by the halfway line Morata was off. It was three on one when they gave it away, but none of them got near him. Past the lot he went before shooting from a tight angle and making Butland look like a total pratt. Hazard could have one, then Morata was back. Dave found the ball played to him in the box. He didn’t even consider having a shot, instead chesting it across to his mate to set him up for yet another goal. Hatrick. One more of them than a certain Mr. Costa ever scored for us. And actually Alvaro could have scored two of them today. Match of the Day conveniently excluded the Crouch tackle that should have been a red as the game wound down, but f*ck it. Job done.

So: This fixture was a pain in the a*se in the middle of a busy run. We were businesslike, clinical when the occasion arose and not a bit entertaining until they gave up after the third goal, not that you’d expect to be entertained in Sterk. Rudi is a beast, but I love Dave. It gives me actual warm and fuzzy feelings to see the acknowledgement of what he is to our club when he wears the armband. If you want someone to embody the work ethic and the attitude required, you couldn’t choose better. Not to mention the fact that Choupo-Moting scored twice against United but could get literally nowhere against Dave. Christensen commanded the centre of defence, bossing everyone around. I wondered how he’d stand up against a tougher team and yet again, not a foot wrong and completely assured. We couldn’t have done better than bringing him back from loan if we’d spent stupid money on a centre back. If you gave me the choice of him and Stones, I know which one I would want. As for Bakayoko, Conte is dead on when he says he has to improve when he has the ball. When he is going after it though, he is a monster.

“What a tackle Bakayoko!” Said one of our number. 
His dad: “Do you think that is classed as racist now?”


The last two goals embellished the score, says Hughes. In case you missed it, he followed this up with: “the sky is blue” and “Gary Lineker’s ears are slightly large” as he voiced the obvious in typically bitter fashion. My day was crowned by watching a very good friend of mine chasing Carlo Cudicini’s car out of Stamford Bridge screaming his name. In front of her husband. It’s OK. Carlo knows her well, and is aware she is a lunatic. He loves her anyway. Just watched City on Match of the Day. Absolutely, must, not, concede, the, first, goal, next, week. But before that it’s a trip to Spain. I’m not at all jealous that I will be freezing my a*se off in a medieval siege tower when all of my friends are in Madrid. Enjoy. Gits.