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Oi Pellegrino, Your Hazard Plan Ain't Working!

Southampton had a plan to deal with Hazard, but not the rest of Chelsea

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League

Chelsea 1 Southampton 0

Saturday 16th December 2017 15:00

In the News: Apparently we are looking at a mass exodus at Arsenal. Well at least Jack Wilshere will be happy, because if his weetabix legs happen to be working for once at the time he might get some proper football. This is what happens when you should have moved your manager on five years ago. Sunderland have won a game at home for the first time in almost a year. "The Wisdom of Slippy." A new and occasional tribute I'm going to do to the utter b*llocks that comes out of the mouth of the worst pundit in the world. Since the emergence of all the other pundits. Gerrard says Hazard is almost as good as Mbappe. Almost! How many tens of thousands of pounds did you get paid for that gem of ignorantness?

The Others: After Michael Owen stated that the Scouse could score any amount of goals against anyone in the world in their awesomeness, they failed to score any against West Brom midweek. Huzzah. Palace got their first away win of the season at Leicester, who like us seem to have mastered the art of going from sublime to sh*t in a matter of hours. Sp*rs lost. Woohoo. And currently Burnley are a bigger threat to the Champions League places. And Arsenal are closer to relegation than they are to the top. City won again, proving that if you spend a billion pounds a year on everything in the shop you too can make your manager look invincible.

Southampton v Arsenal - Premier League

Us: I wonder what version of Chelsea we will get today... Were we going to get Chuck Norris Chelsea, who are on you and have disposed of you before you've even seen it coming, or were we going to get the hungover pub team version who look like they don't know how to put one foot in front of the other without falling arse over tit? No Morata, not healthy enough to start, but that meant that we got Hazard, Willian and Pesto (cock off autospell) starting together, which not a few of us have been whining for of late.

Them: Happy Charlie Austin Day, everybody! Perv and be merry. Southampton are about as bonkers as us it would seem. Drew with Arsenal, then tanked by Leicester in the last week. Apparently they had a plan to deal with Hazard. If this master plan turns out to be taking it in turns to kick him, then I think we've seen it before. Every week.

The weather was almost as changeable as the two sides have been with bright sunshine, rain and freezing cold wind all at the same time. It was that bizarre atmosphere you get just before Christmas when everyone has got other things they need, want, or are being ordered to do by their non football other halves instead of being at the match. Luckily I have Boycie (Sitcom alias) as my human hot water bottle in the cold winter months. There was a flurry of Southampton possession before we got hold of the ball, but we were lucky not to go behind on eight minutes when there was no Southampton player there to tap it in, with what was the best chance of the game so far. It was by no means an explosive start by either side but we had, for the second game in a row, managed to not be collectively f*cking woeful in the opening ten minutes. After a quarter of an hour Willian wound his way into the box for what turned out be a pretty naff final effort that went wide. But it was a good start. Mario Lemina had only been on the pitch a minute when he was deprived of any baby-making ability by a brutal shot after some exciting one touch build up play from our forwards. Straight afterwards Forster had to palm away a volley back into the box from Alonso and then Cahill struck again from outside the box. We had had the better of it thus far, but we weren't exactly smacking them about. The three musketeers combined brilliantly to arrive in the six yard box on the half hour but somehow the ball ended up wobbling into Fraser Forster's hands. Out of seemingly nowhere two minutes later, Alonso found himself with a stunning opportunity but once again Forster was in the way. Grr. Then a crucial deflection denied a Bakayoko shot: not the first time he had been poised on the outside of the box today to have the ball laid back to him. Two minutes later Pesto hit the post. Jesus wept won't somebody just score? Time added on? Should be 15 says Alf Garnett (Sitcom alias). Bet we only get a minute, replies Boycie. Two. What a joke. Never mind, because along comes the hairstyle formerly known as George Michael to leather in a free kick into the bottom left hand corner with the last kick of the half. The ball was a bit loose at times and possession squandered, but we deserved a lead at the break. Oi Pellegrino. Your plan to neuter Hazard isn't working.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League

There was a little more urgency about both sides after the break. Time and time again Bakayoko was putting himself forward - he's done this the last two games now that I've noticed and I've liked it. Dave hit another shot on 52 minutes but it took flight at a steeper trajectory than Apollo 11 and ended up in the Putney. For all our chances, Southampton were definitely not out of this.

Alf: Romeu with a step over!
Me: He tried that once for us and did his cruciate.

Please God Chelsea score another goal and put me out of my misery. But wait. Stop the clock. On 60 minutes on came Charlie Austin. Merry Christmas to me. He had an immediate impact for them, but I did have to laugh at the irony of the Saints fans complaining about us moving too slowly. We are the victims of time wasting so often that I literally could not give a rat's a*se when it's the other way around. Especially when they had been at it to embarrassingly levels only half an hour before. Suck it up b*tches.

Which brings me to Refwatch: Roger East did penalise them for fouling Hazard which is more than most of his brethren ever do. However, time wasting was already approaching stupid levels after just half an hour. Wagged his finger, no more, ended up booking one of ours for it much later. Typical. Usual brain farts too. Just before half time Gabbiadini came storming in, missed the ball and fell over and he penalised Bakayoko, who it looked like had no more input than standing still as a brainless red and white blur came flying past him on a collision course with the floor. Sigh. Also when he paces ten yards out, his steps get smaller and smaller until they're like non existent sad little hamster steps and it annoys me. But he really wasn't that bad today, no more than niggly complaints to be made against him. Must have been merry from the PGMOL Christmas party last night.

Forster kept them in it as the half progressed, with a number of flying and often overly-spectacular saves. Southampton called for a penalty on 72 minutes, but the ball looked like it hit Cesc in the nuts. They had only mustered two shots on goal by this point, but by no means were we counting our chickens. We’ve been here clinging onto a one goal lead too many times. Once again we had not been clinical enough in front of goal. Morata came on for Hazard and his first contribution was to force another save from Forster, but seconds later Thibaut was blocking a Charlie Austin effort with his legs. Then Morata was storming up the other end. My blood pressure can’t handle this. Fabregas pulled a shot wide, then a right-footed attempt was blocked from our number 9. On 81 minutes we made our final change, bring Zappacosta on for Moses. That's all the time we were going to be able to eek out of substitutions. Willian wasted some more pretending to be injured, but to be fair to him if I'd been out there in that miserable rain I'd have been rolling in the floor feeling sorry for myself too. Charlie Austin came closest of all to getting an equaliser for the away side five minutes from the end but it skimmed just past the post. I love you Charlie, but please don’t nick these points off us.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League

They could have scored again soon afterwards thanks to the worst use of advantage I have ever seen given. Here's a hint Roger, if the other team almost scored, it was not an advantage for Chelsea. Four minutes of injury time? What? Of course. That would be all the time that wasn’t added on in the first half when we wanted it. By this point I’d ratcheted up to about 35% nappysh*tter. As the seconds edged agonisingly by, both Duracell Dave and Willian made surging runs forward in search of a second goal. Then Roger East booked a Chelsea player for time wasting. F*cking hell. I take back everything positive I’ve said about him. It’s on occasions like this when I miss Drogba. He’d run down to the corner with fifteen minutes to go and stay there with the ball till the whistle, in the face of attackers, defenders, not even the SAS could have got it off of him. But happily, Southampton were out of time and out of ideas.

So: The Hazard plan worked slightly better in the second half. We weren’t awful today by any stretch of the imagination, we played a good side; but once again our goal return for chances manufactured is not good enough and is going to cost us in other games if it does not improve. But then no team does well across a season without accumulating some functional 1-0 wins. Some really pacy, creative stuff strung together by the three forwards in the first hour. Poor Michy tho, eh? If he doesn’t get a start against Bournemouth he might as well dig a hole and climb in it. Expect to see many changes midweek. Until then I’m off to sort out more Christmas presents for the shelter kids. It’s no wonder Santa needs to be left booze to remain permanently sh*tfaced while he’s out on his sleigh. I’ve only got to handle 14 kids and my brain is mush.

Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League

Here's a Christmas game for you to play with Alexa and a group of friends. Your group goes round in a circle and does their lives in music; chooses songs from different categories to form the most f*cked up communal playlist in the world. Can’t recommend this highly enough for the holiday season - it provokes conversation and memories and awesomeness as well as drunken singsongs and mockery until you end at “best song of all time.” We started off on Fleetwood Mac and our credibility evaporated into a Take That karaoke session. 4am we finished. Here’s some of the tracks that got an airing:

First Single You Ever Bought
Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police
Kings of the Wild Frontier - Adam and the Ants
Iko Iko - Natasha
Could It Be Magic - Take That

Best Song Off the First Album You Ever Bought
Grease - Frankie Valli
Love Plus One - Haircut 100
Stand and Deliver - Adam and the Ants
Wonderful World - Worlds Apart

Songs You Were Obsessed With Before the Age of 18
Heart of Glass - Blondie
Rebel Without A Pause - Public Enemy
It's a Sin - Petshop Boys
Waiting for a Star to Fall - Boy Meets Girl
Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond
Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode
U Sure Do - Strike
Sometimes - James
Animal Nitrate - Suede
I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys

Songs That Made You Feel Immensely Cool Listening To Them
Common People - Pulp
Sharp Dressed Man - ZZ Top
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana

Songs that give you nightmares
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Plaistow Patricia - The Blockheads
Voyage Voyage - Desireless
Free - Ultra Nate

Guilty Pleasures
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Super Trouper - ABBA
Thunderstruck AC/DC
Bye Bye Bye - NSync
Love Is All Around - Wet Wet Wet

Song That Reminds You of a Night Out on the Town
Rozalla - Everybody’s Free
Watchin - Freemasons
Heartbreak Make Me a Dancer - Sophie Ellis Bextor

Best Live Song You've Ever Heard
586 - New Order
Going Backwards - Depeche Mode
Dancing On The Ceiling - Lionel Richie
This Must Be The Place - Talking Heads

Best Song Of All Time
Ramble on - Led Zeppelin
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Life On Mars - David Bowie
Back for Good - Take That
Never Forget - Take That
Patience - Take That



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