Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0
Sunday 6th May 2018 16:30
Let’s get the important sh*t out of the way. Somehow I’ve been nominated for an award. Who’d have thunk it? Anyway, any and all votes appreciated at: www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk
My category is best new blog. Let’s try and paint the ceremony blue too. You’ve got the lovely Llion Carbis up in best young blogger and Breathe Chelsea up for content creator. Or alternatively you can tweet the following to cast your vote:
I am voting in @TheFBAs for @CFCgwlb in the #FBANewBlog category #FBAs
If you could then threaten/cajole anyone you have power over, namely employees, offspring and spouses it would also be muchly appreciated. I do not frown upon people voting on behalf of their pets either. Voting ends tomorrow, 7th May, I believe.
Us: Neil Barnett got some of the afternoon off in favour of an American bloke who is supposed to be famous but that I’ve never heard of when the teams were announced. Dear Chelsea. Never, ever do that again. So far as the line up for them game, Conte got it spot on today, though Willian will feel hard done by at not finding a place.
Them: Who is this Egyptian bloke? Never heard of him.
Ed.note: The on-pitch announcer was none other than legendary boxing ring announcer Michael “let’s get ready to rumble” Buffer. He got soaked by the sprinklers for his troubles.
️ Here's Hall of Fame ring announcer Michael Buffer's unfortunate encounter with a sprinkler at Chelsea today. pic.twitter.com/6W8d3LseNe— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) May 6, 2018
There ain’t nothing like a sunny spring day for getting you in the mood to have a go at this lot. Took barely a minute for a loud reminder about Steven Gerrard falling on his a*se. At this point, we hadn’t touched the ball, but we were amused anyway. Thibaut was forced to make a save early on and then finally, three and a half minutes in, we got a thrown in. Huzzah. I can laugh and joke about them having all of the ball, because they were doing their headless chicken thing. For all of the possession the ball was just going from side to side, and they’d only set foot in our box once. In a true statement of the totally obvious - the first goal was going to be massive to the outcome of this game. Whoever goes behind has to open up and leave themselves vulnerable to try and get back in it. When two teams are this good on the counter attack, that vulnerability can be crushing.
Eight minutes we made it most of the way into their half. Things were looking up, before Refwatch kicked in. Anthony Taylor. Joy. Doesn’t even book Milner for attempting to kill Hazard. Here we go. Precisely another 200 seconds of his clueless faffing and he was already getting on my tits. On 13 minutes the best chance of the game so far fell to us, but Bakayoko and The Beard got in each other’s way, no need to tell you who got the blame. However, moments later the younger Frenchman annihilated Clyne and set up Alonso for a shot that unfortunately went straight into Brigitte Nielsen’s arms in the Liverpool goal.
They were away shortly afterwards, Mane surging forward, but Kante got a standing ovation from the crowd for a perfect tackle that stopped him in his tracks. There’s an argument for letting these muppets just run themselves stupid to no avail, and it was borne out by our having the better chances at taking the lead. Anything they were having in the way of attempts, we were forcing them to take from questonable range; and providing Courtois stayed alert, and that we could keep our concentration at the back, they were going to start running out of ideas. Our desire was better than I have seen for much of the season too, with some nice, brutal tackles going in when we lost the ball.
I’m just going to start referring to him as Bakaloco, because he was like a f*cking steam train today. Choo Chooo. A header from the much maligned midfielder came close after half an hour, before he started off the move that sent us into the lead with a brilliant cross out to Moses, who duped the defender by putting the ball into the box with his left foot. The Beard rose like a meticulously groomed, furry salmon to nod it to past Brigitte Nielsen and send the home crowd wild. And then oddly ran all the way into the bench to specifically cuddle David Luiz. I’m sure Antonio loved that.
Just don’t f*ck this up before half time Chelsea. But in fact little chance of that emerged. Klippity Klopp’s Plan A, when they are up against anyone good, is to run at the opposition and try to score loads, and hope that that they are ahead when the final whistle goes.
There appears to be no Plan B.
We were tearing them a new one at this point with some really crisp passing around the edge of the box, they’ve got almost no clue when it comes to taking the ball through the middle, and are always looking for a route out wide. Cesc had a ton of space. It was as if he was invisible to them. Literally no Red Scouse within twenty yards of him, Robertson going up to try and cover, meaning that Moses was then left to roam the right hand side. Like tits in a trance, discipline wise, were they in the run up to half time.
Point proven on 35 minutes when Cesc made not a blistering run, because this is Cesc, but a nicely accelerated jog into the box and almost nailed a second on a narrow angle. He had it past Brigette Nielsen but it was just wide. I was ready to decapitate Taylor when he blew his whistle on 38 minutes on the edge of our box, but then bizarrely he gave a free kick against some little Egyptian bloke and booked him for diving when we were expecting him to shaft us. Not only that, but he then booked Clyne for a foul on Alonso. We’d made it to half time in one piece, and in that far corner of The Shed the smuggery had been somewhat silenced.
They came out running in the second half but we were not about to be caught short. For what seemed like 5 hilarious minutes at the time, we enjoyed Hazard mocking them by refusing to give up the ball, resulting in a near attempt for us. They’d actually half ripped his shirt off. Some more exquisite passing led to another effort, but Kante’s shot is still sitting on the roof of the shopping centre. Taylor made a pigs ear out of his job again. And Conte got told off for pointing this out after a shoddy foul went unpunished.
We almost doubled our lead on 55 minutes after a narrow cross, before a Rudiger goal was chalked off moments later as offside. Clyne went off before he got sent off, and on came Henderson with his creepy face that looks like it’s been moulded out of play-doh. A tame shot on the hour was spilled by Brigitte Nielsen, but there was nobody on hand to pounce on it, before Moses ran almost the entire length of the pitch (whilst being fouled) and got nothing from Taylor.
That Egyptian bloke went down easy in the box on 65. They were crying for a penalty, except him, because he was already on a yellow and he knew better. Rudiger sent an attempt over the bar, whilst we all amused ourselves with singing Your Support is F*cking Sh*t and another round of Slippy G bashing just for giggles.
On 71 Bakaloco dug the ball out from a dicey situation and set Hazard away, but the final cross that came back into him from The Beard was off in height. Look who it is with fifteen minutes to go. Solanke, who went to Liverpool for more money in wages than he had ever earned and because he thought everyone would see how awesome he was. Klippity Klopp now had four up front and the game had started opening up. We were so deep at this point that it was actually terrifying. Chelsea players booked for time-wasting. Oh the comic irony. All at the behest of “Hendo” wailing like a spoiled brat at the referee. Alonso responded to his yellow with what was almost goal of the season, a stunning volley from a narrow angle that flew just wide across the face of goal. Does anyone in the league volley better than George Michael?
They came close to an equaliser on 83 when everyone bricked it for fifteen of the longest seconds of our lives until Courtois had got both hands firmly around the ball. Willian was ready to come on, if the ball ever went out of play. I barely noticed, because I was ranting too hard about how Milner had managed to evade a card for the entire duration of this game. Their best chance to score probably came from Solanke, who rewarded the trust put in him with a sh*t header. He did not get a good reception today. We got Zappacosta tfor Victor, who had run his legs off and made the most hilariously slow exit I think I’ve seen since the days of Bosingwa and his monobrow. Cesc too was wasted after a massive effort and was replaced by Pesto for the final few minutes. By the time we reached four minutes of injury time Van Dijk had gone up too, so that the Scouse were playing with five up top. Ah, so that’s Plan B. It was not going to be their day. Beating them is fun.
So: We have provided you with a blueprint for how to beat them, Real. Use it wisely. And spare us all.
Not one of our players had a bad game today. Every one of them showed up. Kante was exemplary. (Not when he was shooting.) When you’re my height and you win everything in the air, you deserve praise. Bakaloco was a monster today, and had what might just have been his best game so far in a Chelsea shirt. All three at the back were disciplined and bailed us out on separate occasions. Rudiger was the best of them. He absolutely destroyed that Egyptian bloke, so much so that he went and told Rudi so as soon as the final whistle went. Our centre back mowed down everyone this afternoon like a rhino who’s spent a night doing bucket sized jagerbombs laced with ketamine. Firminho was basically invisible with Mane the only one that really saw any of the ball in terms of going forward convincingly. Hazard got the standing ovation he deserved when he was subbed, because he was unplayable for much of today. Alexander-Arnold got completely schooled by him. Courtois was nigh on faultless at the back, Clyne could not get near Alonso all afternoon and Cesc used every inch of space they stupidly gave him to put in a great performance. And Conte deserves much credit too. This was much more like the bloke we fell in love with last season. I just wish he’d been around more this season.
It’s easier to be running down a team ahead with two games to go than it is to hold your nerve. Especially when that team trying to do that is Sp*rs, who excel at collapsing like a child’s step ladder under the weight of Sam Allardyce at any given opportunity. Dare to dream, yes, that we may sucker punch them down into the Europa League and make them cry, rendering that smug once in a generation win at the Bridge totally useless. But don’t lose track of the two victories we need to be in with a chance of doing it. We are not in the top four with two games to go because we p*ssed it up the wall in games we should have won. That we get to cause them some angst and possibly turf them or even the Scouse out of the Champions League spots is a massive bonus with which to entertain ourselves on the run in. But we have no chance if we don’t win, and though I like to think we are in a much better place lately, based on our showings this season we could quite easily roll over for Huddersfield midweek if we don’t stay focused.