I am most definitely not match fit. My right arse cheek is cramping from standing up for so long.
The Others: Chequebook Pulis and his muppets were fortunate on Friday night, fortunate that Amaty is a bellend and that Andre Marriner is a f*cktard. Fulham got off to a sad start at home to Palace, Bournemouth are only 37 points from safety! Boom! Watford beat Brighton and some a*seholes from a favela in North London beat Newcastle. Most of the juicy stuff happens tomorrow, when I hope West Ham kick the Scouse to pieces. I took the p*ss out if Carroll yesterday and said he is out through injury because he tripped over a kebab. Today I hear a rumour that he actually did. There was a step involved as well. And alcohol apparently. There is a moral to this story. Whenever you think you’ve discovered the full extent of Andy Carroll’s stupidity and mocked it, keep going. Pause. Laugh. And then keep going some more.
Them: Not a clue.
Us: We were eighth at kick off. F*ck this. I blame the board. And Torres. No place for CHO even on the bench – picked up a knock apparently. Kepa started in goal, and they’d just about managed to get his whole surname on the back of his shirt. Kante being Kante went right into the side after fifteen minutes of training.
So, a sunny afternoon in Huddersfield, which was in Yorkshire, so I’m told (Probably still is, unless it’s moved since the game) I overslept for this one last year, remember. So. Reflections on the John Smith’s Stadium:
Naming rights make it sound like an international gravy swimming venue. Shoot person who agreed this at club in foot.
Also shoot person who thought it was a good idea to label a stand “The Fantastic Fantastic Fantastic Stand” in foot.
Shoot the drummer. In both feet.
I’m now about 60% excited about the start of the season. I’m self healing after the club attempted to destroy me this summer. This was mostly fuelled by winning, and by seeing everybody again, even if I did have to leave the radius of the M25 and even if it nearly resulted in me wrestling the man mountain that is TCW (Special alias) to the ground.
Reflections on what has changed since that f*cking catastrophe at Newcastle in May:
Kepa looks little compared to the legend (in his own mind) that was Tibo. I’m taking this as a positive. Maybe it won’t take as long for a message to get from his brain to his legs to tell them to close before a ball goes flying through them. (I’m not ready to stop ripping it out of that clown yet. He ruined my 100% record of liking every Belgian I have ever met.)
Already Kante is playing much, much higher.
Things happen faster.
Kepa, Dave, Luiz and Jorginho are obsessed with pushing our line up.
We broke nicely in the third minute, but were marginally offside. Two minutes further in and the crowd had launched into a tribute to our new keeper:
“Kepa – you knooooooooow, he’s better than F*cking Thibaut” to the tune of Daddy Cool.
After being swamped in the opening minutes the home side settled down a bit. A great bit of play from Willian in the tenth minute played us in, but the cross ultimately drifted into the arms of the keeper. The fast break Sarri was looking for came immediately afterwards, but died at Morata’s feet on the edge of the box. It’s the opening day of the season, so I’ll zip my mouth shut on that one. The likes of Dave, Kante and Pesto (F*ck off autospell) were trying really hard to implement this quick, one/two touch passing and to drive the game forward – I’m not saying the others weren’t, but this trio were noticeably industrious.
In a blissful moment when the drummer’s arms got tired, Kepa had to deal with their first shot on target, but it went straight at him and he caught it with ease. F*ck £72m, Rob Green was free and he would have saved that tame effort. One thing we quickly noticed about our new No.1, his accuracy when kicking the ball out. Courtois was sh*t at this. I love Petr Cech, but he wasn’t great at it either, so this excites me. Barkley was having a great game, and on 24 he surged through at the other end. Remarkably, it took Janice (original muppet alias) and I this long to notice his phenomenal rear end. We are surely losing our touch. It’s like Ivanovic Mk.II. He literally could not have stuffed any more awesomeness into those tiny yellow shorts if he had tried. £15m. That’s £7.5m per cheek. Well worth it.
We looked a bit wayward now, and Janice and I kept repeatedly asking each other “Who the f*ck is number 29?” But Kepa had still not really been tested and we were still managing to break. Another flurry with Willian on the end of it came on the half hour. Then Pesto got tired of faffing and seized the game by the b*llocks, charging through the middle. Played it to Willian who put the cross in. It flew right by Morata and somehow bobbled in off of the Kante twins. We thought it would go over the bar, and so did he apparently because his squidgy, smiley little face was a picture of bafflement. I was going to tweet the deafening rendition of his song that followed, but there was no internet. In fact, technology was so primitive today that I’m pretty sure I saw two hairy Huddersfield fans rubbing two sticks together to try and make fire in the back of a wagon with square wheels in the car park.
Kepa was done once today, at his right hand post in the run up to half time. The ball was headed across the goal and he was stranded, but luck was with us and it struck the post and came back out. No arguments about the penalty surely? A very stupid tackle on Alonso, who has not graced us with a dye-job tribute to Wham this year. Sad times. Despite it being his league debut, Jorginho was massively cocky in slotting it casually along the floor. 0-2 at the break. They probably didn’t deserve this scoreline. F*cking shame.
It was as you were after the break. I don’t think I ever believed they were going to trouble the result once they were two down, but this is us, I suppose. We did aid them by giving the ball away a bit today, but I am OK with this, because it’s coming as a result of trying to learn how to do something new and constructive, it’s not like last season when it was just clueless, depressing ineptitude.
Refwatch: Chris Kavanagh. I had not a bad word to say about him before the game. Because I’d never heard of him. Mostly let the game flow in the first half. Some dubious moments, like letting half the Huddersfield team mount Barkley just before half time. Penalty call was absolutely right. Started losing it a bit around the hour mark and giving them free kicks every time they fell over, but overall he was fine. Better than most of the sh*t we endured last year from those with far more experience.
Huddersfield were trying to get forward but they have a distinct lack of quality in the final third, and they kept accidentally punting the ball out of play, or we’d snatch it and run at them. We very nearly had a third on 56 and again a moment later. They were looking a bit bereft, whilst we had found both a measure of comfort on the pitch and our collective voice in the crowd. Morata won a free kick on the edge of the box just after the hour and I’m sorry to say it was the most impressive thing he’d done so far. Ruben was jumping up and down waiting to come on.
“The arse is going off then,” says Janice.
“To be honest I’m not sure how much more if it my hormones can take,” said I.
Poor Alvaro gave away a silly free kick on 71 which left Kepa trying to tap it over the bar, but thankfully it was already out of play. If the replay says otherwise, I’m right, because I’m a girl, and the camera was probably operated by a man.
There then followed one decision they wanted not going their way, and the whole ground jumped to their feet with “you don’t know what you’re doing.” A tad harsh, but they were fired up now, and take note, they were getting much more of the ball since Barkley and his bum had departed. We kept letting some bald bloke (let’s call him Fat Shelvey) cross the ball, which was frustrating, but their best chance of the second half came on 75 minutes and they smacked it ten feet over the bar. Enter Hazard for Willian, to a huge ovation that rang with undertones of “I never thought I’d sing this song again,” and “Thank you for not leaving us you beautiful little Belgian man.” Finally a break for Morata – but it came to nothing. One player who did absolutely deserve some glory today was Pesto, who was played in by Hazard in the closing minutes to kill the game off once and for all with our third. There followed a slightly odd but sweet little display of man love by way of a celebration. Our work on the pitch done, we turned our attention to mockery of the home support, in particular the drummer. They had one last corner after Alonso’s bouffant hair put the ball out, but it went out for a throw in. Summed up their day.
So: I’ve laughed my head off on the way home. Sex Pest (Special alias) has been telling us why he is scared of Facebook. One day, his fourteen year old granddaughter queried why he was never logged onto it and told him how to add her. Several hours later he’d accidentally added 240 of her friends too, and received half as many emails accusing him of being a pervert.
Huddersfield weren’t actually that terrible, but nothing went for them today. They did their best, they were hanging out of their a*ses at the end, but they didn’t look equipped to make a storming comeback. Don’t be surprised if Sarri makes Jorginho captain. He’s acting like one already, really impressive today. But actually three or four players were taking the initiative and acting like leaders and this was really positive to see after so much rudderless cockmuppetry last season under Antonio. Six take ons from Hazard, six completed. More than anyone else this weekend so far. He was only on the pitch 14 minutes. Very promising all round, with the exception of Morata who will need to do better next week, but still so much work to do. And we won 3-0, so let’s not dig him out just yet. There were patches when if they had been a better attacking force we would probably have conceded in the first half, so nose to the grindstone next week, interesting to see how we match up against the Goons at this early stage.
I’ll be collecting for greatwar100.online in aid of veterans with PTSD outside the Bridge next weekend. Come and give me your money. Speaking of… the book of last season is out, if you want to relive just how bonkers that was: