Hello lovely people, trust you’re keeping safe and all that.
Gonna kick off today on a serious note.
It’s that same conversation we have periodically about the do’s and don’ts of so called football banter.
Look, I used to go fighting at football games in England, so I’m not beginning to say I’m an angel, I was also a bit of a thug on the field across Royal Rd in Maitland. But we do grow up and certain sh!t in life becomes more important.
Cutting to the chase, I received a mail with the following: “Alisson Becker’s dad has been found dead after going out for a swim. Just another thing Alisson couldn’t save”.
Yeah, I don’t mix it like that… not funny at all, as much as I (still) really dislike certain clubs, I do draw the line, you know. Like celebrating Munich ‘58 or taking the piss out of the 96 who lost their lives at Hillsborough. Never been part of my football banter repertoire.
So do me a favour you ‘fat bastard who ate all the pies’, or whoever you are, don’t send me stuff like that again.
Anyway, onto the football and I guess this weekend was all about the massive one at Stamford Bridge.
My take on the game is very different to everything I’ve heard and read from Sky Sports, to social media to my mates. Apparently it was a snooze fest? Bad quality and a complete let-down?
I saw a very different game… tactically both coaches got it spot on, in the process “cancelling” each other out. And yes, that usually spells a bad game, but there was about 20 chances and, I thought, not many mistakes.
It felt like each team had brief periods of dominance but were just unable to score. Ok, I understand that both United and Chelsea historically “go for it” in this fixture and they didn’t. But with seven teams fighting for second to fourth in the league, I don’t think we should be surprised with how it panned out.
The pressure to hit a Champions League spot is so intense, I’d suggest Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Thomas Tuchel were probably correct in their approach.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, “it’s a disgrace playing an average United side like that at home” (said a mate of mine). But from a Chelsea perspective, we haven’t lost since Tuchel took over and inbetween have notched up some solid victories.
As for United, I hear the disappointment. It’s a different scenario. Solskjaer has had a good period of time to re-shape and improve United and (as I’ve been saying for months despite them driving up the table) they’re a very average-looking side. I’d say both these teams are very similar in that they have great squads, but just ain’t performing at their best.
There were a couple of great and a couple of really poor performances on Sunday… Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood hardly touched the ball, while N’Golo Kante delivered a trademark deep midfield role in front of a brilliant Andreas Christensen.
I think the world was shocked at Ole’s post-match comments, ok, a hand-ball could have been given against Callum Hudson-Odoi in the box, but you can’t base your whole game on one decision. He said “it lost us two points”.
I guess that makes up for the two Chelsea lost at Old Trafford when Harry Maguire rugby tackled Cesar Azpilicueta earlier in the season?
This period is supposed to be Tuchel’s real test. A frightening run of fixtures… that’s two out of the way (Atletico and United) with a win and a draw in the bag and that ain’t bad.
However, this Thursday the Blues face Liverpool, with so much riding on it. I predict goals in this one and a big step for the West Londoner’s into the European elite next season.
None of the chasing pack of Champions League pretenders are putting their foot on it and it’s likely to go right to the wire.
Oh and by the way, talking about Thursdays, don’t come at me with Europa League stuff.
Not interested, don’t watch it. Good people, somehow we skipped a lockdown level (three to one), but of course we’re far from out of the woods…
Stay safe, do the right thing, chat next week.