Do What You Like Stoke.... I Got This!
Stoke have kind of passed me by this season. This is mainly because I’m always asleep by the time they come on Match of the Day. Entertainment is not their strong point, until a couple of weeks ago of course when Charlie Adam tried a shot from half way down the M3 and scored at Stamford Bridge.
Bizzarely, this week has seen the return of Champions League qualification talk on the basis of us winning last week and Manchester City fading away because their players can’t be arsed. I don’t see it myself for a second. As far as I’m concerned we are in a three team tournament with the ‘fucking’ teams, Fucking Spurs and Fucking Liverpool and we have to finish above one of them to qualify for the Europa League. We have had some news that J-Rod might be back soon but then so might Lord Lucan and the Yeti.
Ronald Koeman had a dilemma in how to replace Big Vic and he did this by moving Toby Alderweireld into midfield and playing a 4-4-2, like we did in the League Cup here. Steve Davis and Dusan Tadic were on the wings with Graziano up front with Sadio Mané. We have our favourite referee today as well in Mark Twattenburg. Yes we acknowledge that he was correct in his assessment on Adam Lallana but we also are correct in our assessment that if there’s any benefit of the doubt to be given in any decision – we won’t be getting it.
A decent start with us popping the ball about and the first real incident is Sadio Mané receiving the ball on the edge of the box and waiting for contact from Ireland who brushes him in the back. Never a penalty in a million years but a billion years with Twattenburg. One of Stoke’s first incursions in our half is of our own doing at Steve Davis gives José a shite pass and he’s forced into binning Diouf and gets a deserved yellow card. I assume Davo will be paying the fine for him.
That aside, we are playing some good stuff and Mané plays a decent ball in to Graziano who hits it first time but hits the side netting in one of those moments where those at the other end of the ground go ‘GOAAAAA’ and then realise it’s missed before receiving a loud ‘AAAAAAAAHHHH’ from the home fans. There’s no let off for Stoke on 24 minutes though as we break and Pellè, Mané and Davis combine to win a corner. Davis sends it over and José gets in front of his marker at the near post and flicks it goalwards. It’s going in but Morgan makes sure on the line and deservedly 1-0 up. Shawcross must have been wrestling with the wrong player.
Having been unable to prevent us going 1-0 up, Twattenburg must now do his best to even things up and from the kick off, Stoke toss the ball forwards and there’s a clash of heads between Fonte and Diouf on the edge of our box. It’s not a foul by anyone but of course, he gives Stoke a free kick. Luckily, Arnautovic hits it into the wall and spinning off for a corner which we survive comfortably enough.
The game settles into a pattern for a bit of Stoke bombing it forward and us heading it away or alternatively, Stoke playing football until Glenn Whelan gets it and then he gives it away and we break. On one such break, Tadic and Mané combine to set up Pellè who drills the shot straight at Begovic.
As we approach half time, Clyne gets booked for clattering Pieters and we have a major scare as a cross into the box looks for all the world like Nzonzi is going to score but he can’t decide which foot to use to knock it into the gaping goal from 3 yards and in the end uses neither and the ball goes harmlessly wide. Superkelv obviously knew he was going to do that as he was nowhere.
Stoke make a substitution at half time with the ineffective Stephen Ireland being replaced with Charlie Adam. Ireland has probably heard that a 4th grandmother has died and I’ve no doubt at all that Charlie Adam with try and cripple someone. Before Adam can pick his victim though, we manage to concede a goal. Nzonzi lopes forward on the right and hits a shite cross into the box as befits a player with so little ability but it loops and Superkelv waves a kind of limp hand at it and it bounces off the angle of post and bar and back out, to where Diouf reacts brilliantly to smash it first time into the net. Fucking hell, what a shit goal. Shit cross, shit goalkeeping. Great finish though.
With great relish, Twattenburg books Toby for slipping and landing on the ball with his arm and then a superb ball from Pellè to Mané comes to nothing as the lino’s flag goes up as he’s obviously on fucking magic mushrooms and can’t see the Stoke player playing him onside. We still look decent going forward but Tadic is having one of those games where whatever he tries ends with the ball being gifted back to Stoke.
Begovic decides that he doesn’t like his six yard box and goes walkabout to the left hand edge of the penalty are to try and get to a ball before Mané. He predictably fails and Mané bets him to it. I was hoping for a curled left footed effort like in the home game against Arsenal but he plays the percentages and plays it to Tadic on the edge of the box who tries to pass it into the net but Whelan has got back and clears it. The rebound is eventually recycled back to Tadic again who tries another placed daisy cutter but the keeper is back in the goal now and saves easily. For Fucks sake – hit it!
Tadic makes one more contribution which is to lose the ball and butcher a decent break before Ronald loses patience and sends on JWP. We are still playing all the football in this match and another break sees a cross come in but unfortunately it goes to Mané in the air which unfortunately doesn’t result in a bullet header into the net.
Charlie Adam hasn’t managed to injure anyone yet but a flailing arm catches Alderweireld in the face and he goes down in rather exaggerated fashion. Stoke did manage to string two passes together at one point so Mark Hughes decides that’s not the way he wants to do things and brings on Peter Crouch and anti-footballer Steve Sidwell. I wonder what we’re going to get now?
We get a predictable result when Charlie Adam predictably fouls Bertrand with no attempt to play the ball and Twattenburg gives us a free kick but predictably doesn’t book him. To complete the predictability of the situation, JWP comes over to the left and predictably swings in a right footed free kick straight to Begovic who predictably catches it.
It’s all getting fractious out there with Morgan clashing with Arnautovic and Pellè and Nzonzi doing the same. Both 50-50 incidents result in Stoke free kicks and then we let in another fucking goal. A cross into the box is not dealt with well by Fonte and when it gets lobbed back in, it eventually via a couple of deflections falls to Adam who smashes it into the ground and past Superkelv to make it 2-1. Unbelievable.
There are 7 minutes to go and Ronald sends on Elia and Long for Davis and Bertrand and Elia immediately manages to get himself booked. We play the last knockings with Long at left back and create nothing. In fact we almost let in a 3rd as Yoshida royally fucks up and Walters gets to the line and pulls it back but it’s along the floor and Crouch can’t head it there so he manages to get his giraffe legs all mixed up and it goes wide.
The final action in a game that really sucked ass is Pieters shoving Alderweireld over and he jammed his elbow into the ground which (as it turned out later) dislocated his shoulder and he’s off on a stretcher with oxygen. Fucking brilliant. Twattenburg blows the whistle and we’ve somehow lost.
Well just fuck off! Like at Everton a couple of weeks ago, we’ve lost to a team who are fucking garbage. So much for Mark Hughes changing their style to a style where the ball is actually on the floor. Fuck me! Every time they tried to pass it on the floor they just gave it away or it went out of play. They were absolute shite and we still managed to lose. So, how the fuck did we lose?
1) Our inability to create clear chances. Yet again we were really good up until the final third and then it all went to shit, usually when someone attempted a final ball. Some of the attempted passes were ridiculous but the movement of the forwards in particular was not good enough.
2) Our inability to finish. I’m thinking here of that clearance off the line in the second half. Tadic should have absolutely laced it and then Whelan would have had no chance. His powder puff effort at the rebound summed it up as well.
3) Twattenburg. Well he gave us fuck all apart from bookings. In a game where Stoke kicked us off the park from minute 1, we had 4 bookings to their 0. I’m not saying ours weren’t deserved because they pretty much all were but when Charlie Adam can rake someone’s achilles about 10 yards from the ball, right in front of the referee and get nothing, you’ve got no fucking chance. Twattenburg is an arsehole and it happens every time we get him.
4) Poor goalkeeping. We all love Superkelv but that was atrocious. Straight after half time and 1-0 up and that cross is obviously going pretty close to the goal so make sure and push it for a corner. It’s a massive fuck up to let it bounce back into play off the bar. If we’d got to 60 minutes at 1-0 then we’d have won 1-0.
5) Bad luck. The first goal was ridiculous. Nzonzi’s cross was shite and overhit and it bounces off the bar straight to Diouf. Great finish though. The winning goal could have bounced anywhere but it went to Adam who shinned it into the ground and bounced it in. Again though, fair play to him for getting in the box.
We’d had some ridiculous goals go in against us at Stoke in the last few years. We had Cameron Jerome and that howitzer into the top corner, we had the fucking goalkeeper score against us and today we had the first goal. Ronald got out the post match speech that he’s used on numerous occasions in the past about us being the better side and all that but he must know that we have a problem in the final third. I remember writing after the first pre-season friendly that we were going to struggle to score too many. We didn’t for a while because the midfielders were all chipping in but it’s coming home to roost now. With Morgan scoring today though, maybe a few more can chip in. Mark Hughes thought Stoke deserved to win. Yes Mark – you can argue that you took your chances but as far as playing any football is concerned – forget it.
On Sunday, the two ‘Fucking’ teams were in action. Predictably, Fucking Spurs won at Newcastle who rolled over 3-1. Fucking Liverpool were in action in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Captain Bellend’s Aston Villa. This is relevant because with Arsenal getting through to the final yesterday, a Liverpool win today would guarantee European football for whoever finishes 7th. Despite this, I found myself unable to want Fucking Liverpool to win and they duly slumped to a Villa side who totally deserved it. It’s now simple – if Arsenal win the final then 7th in the league qualifies for Europe. If Villa win it then they’ll take the 3rd Europa League spot and to be honest, if they win the FA Cup and we come 7th, they will totally deserve the spot.
As this semi-final was a case of Underdogs versus Media Darlings, the morning of the game brought media transfer rumours with Villa’s best player Christian Benteke being linked to the big clubs. Isn’t it dull and predictable? Also predictable was that when Liverpool scored, Brendon Rodgers would do his trademark ‘cunt’ celebration John Travolta Saturday Night Fever pose and having already brought on Balotelli and him doing absolutely nothing, he sent on Sir Rickie in the 90th minute when they were 2-1 down. An insult to the man who must be getting very used to being insulted.
Anyway, enough on Fucking Liverpool, we’ve got Fucking Spurs next at home in a game which will go a long way to telling us whether we’re hoping for an Arsenal win on FA Cup Final day. Every time we play Fucking Spurs we seem to have half a team missing and this game is shaping up similarly with Fraser, Big Vic and in all likelihood, Toby Alderweireld missing. We have what we have though and hopefully we can send the delusional ones back to North London with sod all. Of course they have a manager who used to be manager here and he proved that he didn’t give a fuck about us. I can’t be arsed with booing him as I’m too old for that shit but I’m gonna lose my voice shouting for the boys in red and white, whoever is out there. Pochettino is a fucking wanker though.