Chelsea 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Boxing Day, 2017 15:00
In the News: Nothing really since Saturday, aside from the output of some sad f*cker at the Daily Fail who had to spend Christmas Day trawling social media accounts of semi-illiterate footballers with more money than sense (or seemingly taste in decor) and talking about it. Oh but the Valencia manager had to visit hospital after "his car collided with a wild boar." This was interesting wording, because it implies some sort of face off situation between pig and machine in which the car made a conscious decision to take it out and the driver took no active part. At least dinner yesterday was taken care of. My Christmas news: my crapped out laptop failed to add half my shopping to the Waitrose order, which left Mowgli (special alias) in a monster truck trawling Surrey in search of roast potatoes on Christmas morning. And Bertie the kitten approves of turkey and gravy. I don't approve so much of the kitty wind that followed all night long as a result.
The Others: Southampton were evidently still p*ssed from yesterday. Harry F*cking Kane has broken some record. Yawn. Does it come with a trophy? No, didn't think so. Watford came from behind to beat Leicester, the spirit of Real Pulis lives on at West Brom, with Fat Sam's input where the scoreline was 0-0. There were score draws for Huddersfield and Stoke, Bournemouth and West Ham. United had to rely on Lingard (desperate times) to dig them out of the sh*t against Burnley, and they managed it with seconds to spare.
Us: No Christensen. Sick apparently. Yes, sick and tired of watching us miss all of our attempts on goal.
Them: I recognised Tim Krul and Boycie, (sitcom alias) says the only thing he knows about them is that he and Marlene saw Rod Stewart at their Stadium.
Prepare yourself for a hungover stream of consciousness. The drinking started at 11 yesterday morning with Tanquaray Rangpur and elderflower tonic after I realised that I had offered to cook the dinner, and ended about fourteen hours later with Unicorn Tears. My first note reads: "Pregnant Morata had a good chance on 4 minutes from a narrow angle, straight after a wide shit from Hazard." That's how difficult this was to write today.
After five minutes I was hoping we'd be beginning to build a bit of momentum. Nope. It was a pretty even contest. It took us 15 minutes to win a corner, which tells you how dynamic our play was. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about.
Rudi headed it on to Bakayoko who poked it wide on 18 minutes and things looked like they might be looking up, but the time wasting had already begun with their goalkeeper. I've seen coastlines erode faster than Mat Ryan moves. He makes Phil Jagielka look like a whippet. They were good in the air at the back and disciplined in the box but I think if we'd actually been applying any decent pressure we could have cracked them. Their fans were buoyant, hysterical even; their answer for everything was to call everyone a w*nker — like five year olds that have just discovered a naughty word and want to use it for everything. One point of hilarity was the singing of "you're not fit to referee" because they'd had one (correct) decision against them that they didn't like. After twenty minutes.
On the pitch we just hadn't been good enough, with another chance squandered by Bakayoko. He's getting into the right positions, but his finishing needs work. We really needed to take this by the scruff of the neck. Moses could have had the opening goal when he rose to hit it home, but it was an instinctive block from Ryan. You can see why they hardly score, as they'd had but one lonely shot off target in the opening half an hour. Eden went down — because he's a wanker, apparently — winning us a free kick in prime territory, but Cesc's set piece was a tame, floaty effort somewhere in between a shot and a cross. Moments later he had another opportunity when he tried to get on the end of a fine chip, but it was too high for the Spaniard.
The fans were pleading: "Come on Chelsea." The away support were shouting ole every time they passed the ball to each other in their own half. I'd resorted to stuffing Malteser reindeer heads in my mouth to stay awake. I'd rather have been watching Chequebook Pulis suffer at that precise moment, as word was spreading through the Shed that United were two behind at home. As half time approached, Cesc sent a stinging shot into the hands of Mat Ryan, Rudiger put an effort just wide shortly afterwards. I was getting frustrated and so typed this: I'm going to put this out there. I wish Morata was as committed during football matches as he is to producing content on social media. I don't give a f*ck about seeing a picture of what you and your wife had for breakfast, As a paying fan I just want to see you score some goals. And not fall over.
At half time self, Boycie and Marlene indulged like Gooners on Champagne truffles and prayed that things would get better after the break. Pretend Klopp (special alias) sent me a text saying "order the bloody Uber now and end my pain" Hopefully they'd had an angry Italian boot up the arse in the dressing room.
It appeared so. Joy of joys, along came Morata as soon as the game resumed. Well more accurately along came his saviour. Dave crossed his usual perfect ball onto his mate's head. Don't celebrate. For f*ck sake, don't celebrate. We've only got one song, apparently. Er, right. Hazard punted one wide just two minutes later. Praise baby Jesus we will see some pace about this game from them now they are behind. Indeed they had their one and only shot on target on 53 minutes, though it rolled harmlessly into Thibaut's arms. At the other end George Michael (He gets to be George again today if he sings Last Christmas) struck one of his spectacular free kicks, but it was palmed away by Ryan from the top corner. Brighton were taking a pasting now — because we'd finally begun to turn the screw. A blinding cross by Hazard didn't quite find Morata's head, before Fabregas turned a cross into the box where it found George Michael's instead. In it went to double the lead. Thank God for that. This was more like it. Someone fondled my bobble for luck at half time and it worked. I want the assist. Smoke was coming off the back of Hazard's heels now, we were toying with them like Bertie toyed with cast off wrapping paper and decorative bells on Christmas morning, chances were flying in, but normal service had resumed and we began squandering all our attempts on goal. I had 3.5 goals in our game as the last thing to come in on my accumulator, so spent much of the remainder of the game shouting things like: "You're all rich enough already you gits, put it in the bloody net."
Brighton showing little motivation to get back in it, aside from the occasional foray over the halfway line. I don't think that there was any belief they would get back on terms. Their fans had fun telling Courtois he was sh*t the whole half. There's comedy in that.
Mat Ryan didn't get the memo. He was still time-wasting. He's got a more laborious turning circle than the Queen Mary 2.
Willian replaced Eden, Morata went off for Michy having had a much better half, which made me feel guilty for stropping at him before the break. Only ten odd minutes for Batman to do something, but come on mate. You'll rarely be up against a team so bereft of interest as Brighton were by this point. With his first touch he held the ball up and won a corner. This was a good start. A brutal shot by Kante on 84 flew just wide, before he went off for Tenacious Double D after another exemplary game. With the game won, everyone wanted to resume their festive celebrations. With two minutes to go people were doing impressions of the final whistle. The stadium was emptying out as people prepared for a miserable journey home in pouring rain, as nobody bothered to marry the fixture list with Christmas transport closures. Again. Merry Christmas TfL, you twats. No tube, no trains, Uber didn't know what hit them come the final whistle. But three points safe, hurrah.
Refwatch: Mike Dean — a w*nker too apparently — a very solid performance, really liked the way he didn't interfere with the crunching 50-50s. I can think of nothing negative to say about him, which is probably the first and last time this will ever happen on this blog.
So: We did enough, but not a lot more. Nine shots on target two goals — these conversion stats have got to come up in the new year when we get into the business end of the season. Otherwise we will achieve precisely nothing. We appear to have fixed our atrocious starts to matches, but this needs addressing urgently for games when our chances will be limited much more by better teams. Am I the only one that feels like we are in limbo? With a mercurial manager that probably has one eye on the exit door, so that whatever we do achieve is a temporary effort before we go back to the drawing board again in the summer? Then he does charming things like get the champagne out at the press conference. Still, it could be worse, we could be lumbered with Chequebook Pulis, a managerial has-been who is as mad as a box of frogs. "When you speak about responsibilities to win the Premier League, T*ttenham don't have that responsibility because they do not have the same history as us. Arsenal and Chelsea don't have the responsibility to win it." Oh do f*ck off. Along with the sh*tc**t on Twitter who referred to Willian as a "cancer" in our club. Stoke on Saturday, then I think the District Line still isn't running. Hurrah.
For those who took part in my collection for children living in a safe house who have been victims of domestic violence; here is an update:
Thanks to 80 odd donors from all over the world, we raised £3.5k for women and children at a safe house in a CFC appropriate area who have been victims of domestic violence. Most were part of the Chelsea family but the contributors included generous souls who support Arsenal, Newcastle and others, not to mention those who aren't even interested in football. I have been astounded by the response to a cause for which necessarily, you don't get to see what happens to your money. In particular the chaps at Manor Lodge #8296 through the lovely Steve Gurr and Ryan Smith made a large donation at their Christmas party and under the organisation of determined Blue Mandy Franks the 8th Holborn Beavers made decorations for the home, collected clothes and toys (as did Emma Freeman) and donated a 32" TV, Nintendo Wii and games for the communal room. This was particularly timely as both of their TVs had died of old age. As you are aware none of the childrens' requests were demanding. They asked for dressing up clothes, science toys, dolls, art supplies, cars, Lego and most heartbreakingly for me as a writer, they wanted books to fuel their passion for reading. We managed to take care of every request we received, including for a last minute arrival, a beautiful little boy I met when we visited who will be two in January. He almost (almost, not quite) made me broody. In the end we provided five packages for each child, though many contained multiple components. Importantly, we provided educational/engagement toys for toddlers at a crucial stage of their development. We also received donations from Body Shop, Debenhams, The Perfume Shop, the Fragrance Shop and Molton Brown for the mum's which we put into gift packs. We were able to make another gift for each lady in the home through generous donations from Jan Gurr and my trek mummy, the beautiful Mary Ross went out to Lush and bought a gift box for each woman.
When the money we raised took on a level I never expected we asked the home if we could render any practical assistance beyond Christmas. We were told about a woman who has lived there for an astonishing three years with her three children while the Home Office make an absolute meal of her case. I was fortunate enough to meet her on Thursday, she is an absolutely lovely young woman, and the children are beautiful, impeccably behaved and a credit to her. They were lacking in winter clothes and other important items so we have given her a substantial sum in M&S and Next vouchers to take them shopping and make sure they have clothes. Her eldest, I'm told, will love this outing with his mum, as he is quite fashion conscious! Given the length of time they have been accommodated in extremely cramped, difficult circumstances, we will also, on the recommendation of the childrens' development officer, be sending them on a short family holiday here in the U.K. to spend some time away from the home.
You are all absolutely amazing, and together we've done something really special for children who have had the cards stacked against them through no fault of their own. Special thanks are also due to Chelsea Cherokeez, Bertie the kitten for hours spend inspecting the wrapping quality of Louise Churchill, who wrapped all 80 odd gifts in her own time, Michelle Brand, who took on the Build a Bear workshop and saved me from a fate worse than being a Sp*rs fan. My brother put in a hard shift on delivery morning and our Uber driver remained on his own time to help load everything into a side office without the kids seeing. We will receive a letter about today from the home in the new year, but for obvious reasons we won't be able to see them enjoying their presents. Here's hoping that our efforts help them believe in Santa for another year, and I'm so proud that we've managed to make a lasting impact on a young family desperately in need of a little kindness. Thank you all. Merry Christmas, you make me proud to be Chelsea. KTBFFH.