Chelsea v. Valencia Minute by Minute

Ed’s note: I missed the first half because the library didn’t open today till 1pm. When checking the timeline on Google I was a bit disappointed in myself when I saw that Mason Mount had already been subbed off, presumably because of injury, and found myself getting happy about this. Why would I be happy about Mason Mount getting injured? Well, I don’t want him to get injured of course. I don’t want him to feel pain. But I want Christian Pulisic to play. So I immediately checked who’d been subbed and saw….Pedro. 

46′ – Tammy Abraham somehow hurts wrist going for ball keeper gets to just before him. What are those little wrist band things on Tammy’s forearms, anyway?

51′ First half has pretty boring start. Side note: the guy to my right is typing like he’s trying plunge his fingers all the way through the keyboard and into the desk below it. He’s also wearing a hospital mask.

53′ PUT PULISIC IN.

53′ Pedro’s every second touch is a back heel.

55′ Pedro hacks some blond kid down. Does that thing where they laugh at the absurdity of it all.

58′ Cannot believe Marco Reus missed that penalty kick. But Marco Reus doesn’t play for Chelsea, you say. Yes, that’s because I’m now watching Dortmund vs. Barelona and will continue to do so until the Chelsea game gets more exciting.

59′ GOAT. GOAT. GOAT. GOAT. GOAT. GOAT.

— Goat alert center, what seems to be the problem?

— Excuse me, there’s a goat in our backyard eating all our garbage and scoring disgusting goals.

–Is it wearing a Messi jersey?

–How did you know?

GOAT. GOAT. GOAT. GOAT.

(Messi subbed in for Ansu Fati. Rakitic also comes in.)

63′ Sancho driving run. Marco Reus gets off lackluster shot.

67′ Meanwhile, in Chelsea v. Valencia, Lampard has yet to make any more subs.

68′ There’s a very low likelihood Pulisic will play against Valencia. If he was gonna get subbed in it would’ve been instead of Pedro.

66′ Is Pique still married to Shakira?

66′ Have you ever had a dream about Achraf Hakimi?

70′ And we’re back to Chelsea, where things are still scoreless and boring. Chelsea have no leader. Chelsea have no leader. Q: Chelsea have no? A: Leader.

72′ Awful shot from Rodrigo M. Olivier Giroud about to come in. Kurt Zouma goes out. Lampard wants to win!

73′ Chances of Pulisic playing plummet even further. Next sub will undoubtedly be defender.

74′ Amazing goal from some dude on Valencia. Kepa pissed and rightly so. Horrible defending.

75′ Go Valencia?

75′ By going down 0-1 Pulisic actually has a chance of getting subbed on. Lampard will be looking for a wildcard.

75′ Valencia scoring is actually the best thing that could’ve possibly happened for Pulisic.

77′ Valencia players start rolling on ground. This is what’s so wrong with the sport of soccer. It disgusts me and could so easily be solved. It’s called…Stopping. The. Clock.

78′ Olivier Giroud gets shot on goal and looks approximately 89 years old while doing so.

78′ Looks Like Ross Barkley is coming on. He’s putting his shirt on. If there was one other player I’d want coming on instead of Pulisic, it’d be ross. Semi-stoked.

79′ Mateo Kovacic comes off for Ross Barkley. Pulisic will not play in this game.

Frowny fucking face.

Meanwhile, Dortmund v. Barca still scoreless.

82′ Barkley shows QUALITY. Corner kick coming.

Will Mount be healthy for Liverpool????

83′ Chelsea players want handball. Ref says, “Gracias, muy amable.”

Then checks VAR.

Oooooh, slow mo is show, and looks like bro had his arm away from his body. Could be a penalty.

85′ Ref goes over to look at replay himself. This is getting spicier than Tom Kha Ga I had last week.

PENALTY AWARDED.

(But who will take it?)

86′ Ross Barkley will take it! This is huge for Chelsea and also for the rest of Ross’s season.

He…looks…nervous.

87′ Barkley misses penalty. I’m going home.

Wow.

 

Blunt the Blades: Chelsea Look to Take Down Sheffield United

Chelsea head back to Stamford Bridge this Saturday for their home fixture against Sheffield United, a newly-promoted side whose nickname “The Blades” points to Sheffield’s glorious tradition of cutlery production. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea winger and ‘Merican extraordinaire, knows something about cutlery, or at least slicing and dicing defenders and eating them for breakfeast (see: brunch [see: afternoon tea]). Interesting fact about this game: In the last game, current manager Frank Lampard was actually on the field as Chelsea curtsied past Sheffield United 3-0. However, Frankie might not have played that well, as he he was subbed off for Michael Ballack, the Kaiser from Chemnitz, in minute 46. Chelsea look to continue their season-high win-streak of one, while The Blades look to rebound from a devastating loss against Leicester City that sees them already thinking about avoiding relegation to England’s U-14 sixth league.

All jokes aside, this is a wonderful opportunity for Chelsea to continue to gain confidence after their spirit-lifting performance last weekend against Norwich City. Chelsea have looked sharp at times this season, but have failed to look sharp for even a majority of a match.

This is also another opportunity for Frank Lampard to demonstrate how much (or how little) faith he has in Christian Pulisic, aka Cha Boi, aka the Pillager from PA. Pulisic played — no slicing or dicing around this fact — bad against Leicester City. He had many, many giveaways. Against Norwich he was much better. And with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian returning to fitness, it’s sort of now or never for Chour Boi. He needs to play well. He needs to impress.

Dare I say it, he kind of needs to score.

That is, of course, if he even starts.

He most likely will though, as Pedro is set to miss the Sheffield United match due to the same hamstring injury that caused him to miss out against Norwich.

 

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Huge 3 points🙌🏽 we keep going💙

A post shared by Christian (@cmpulisic) on

Pedro’s absence also might mean we see Ross Barkley again, which would be another fantastic opportunity for him to silence his league of doubters.

As far as strikers go, Tammy Abraham will undoubtedly start again.

As far as I go, I will probably not start. I’ve been playing well lately, but still haven’t recovered the speed and fitness I had when I was 13 and my club team won state in Washington State after I broke my leg. I haven’t talked to Frank yet (or ever), but I’m pretty sure he knows that were he to give me the nod I’d give it everything my 36-year-old heart has to offer. After all, one time when I was in line at Chipotle someone told me I looked like Xavi Alonso.

Luckily, Chelsea’s Saturday match is a little later in the day, which means I can actually watch it live provided I can figure out how to watch it on my phone. Which means at around 7:00am PDT I’ll be stirring on my boat, ready to test lung capacity as The Blues trot onto the field.

Can’t hardly wait.

 

Are Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount Best Buds?

Exhibit Ä:


I often wonder, as I’m sitting at home at night, the rain pattering softly on the window sill, me muttering to myself in intermediate German, who Christian Pulisic’s friends are on Chelsea. Granted, he hasn’t been there a long time. But if there’s one thing Christian seems good at, it’s ingratiating himself with his teammates. He doesn’t have a big ego. He works hard. He seems like the kind of guy who gets along with most people.

For some reason I didn’t think CP and Mason Mount were the best of friends. This was based on the supposition that they’re “competing” for the title of “Chelsea’s Youngest Hot Shot and Possible Heir to the Premier League and Maybe Even The Principality of Some Kind of Fiefdom.” I also thought Mason Mount was a bit of a hothead, that he had a bit of an ego. I still think this. I also think this is why Mason Mount, at just 20 years of age, has about as much fear as a tiger shark getting attacked by a manatee. I’ve seen fewer people more explosive on and off the ball. And for some reason, I don’t know why I thought this, I thought he might resent Pulisic’s presence on the field.

But I think I’m probably wrong about that.

As evidenced by the two kindred spirits strolling the yard in the GIF above.

On a different note, how about Tammy Abraham’s celebration of his first goal where he ran over and bear-hugged Frank Lampard? Touching. It’s nice to see the spirit is there. As I’ve said several times in the past, Chelsea are still lacking a leader. I know no one agrees with me on this, but I think Ross Barkley could be that leader. And I think that avenue should at least be explored. Even if it’s not an avenue but more of an alleyway, or a walkway, or a non-existent path through the woods only transited by wild boar.

Long live the Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic friendship.

Chelsea Extinguish Norwich City, David Luiz Punished for his Sins

Today’s match was emotional. All of the matches today were emotional. I just watched the highlights from the Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace game and watching Marcus Rashford miss that penalty made me want to curl into a ball and, rather than go sit in the corner, roll myself down a flight of stairs. The kid doesn’t miss penalties. If anyone else on Man U ever takes penalties instead of him, it will be a grave error.

But let’s talk about Chelsea! Let’s talk about Cha Boi: Christian Pulisic.

But first let’s talk about the match as a whole.

And then we’ll get to David Luiz, who famously abandoned his “beloved” Chelsea at the beginning of the season to join arch rivals Arsenal. I think there’s some sort of word that describes what happened to David Luiz in the match versus Liverpool today. I can’t quite remember what it is, but I feel like it rhymes with “kajarmah.”

Tammy Abraham looked like a roman candle that’s been dropped on the ground and is causing everyone to run for cover.

A few things I really liked about Chelsea’s starting lineup against Norwich City today. 1) Ross Barkley started. Has anyone noticed how Ross Barkley on the ball is something akin to rubbing your cheek against a 6,000 thread count Egyptian hand towel? I’ve seen few other people with such control. Such cheekiness. Such calmness. Granted, he did make a few bad decisions. He did have a few giveaways. But he also made a few decisions that were incredibly on point and will never be praised. Decisions like stopping his run and letting a defender fly by. And what about that run on the ball from the corner of the 18? The announcer compared him to Maradona. I just hope Barkley doesn’t have a drug problem.

And then there’s Mateo Kovacic, one of (at least) two wizards on the team with a Croatian passport. The guy is feral. He eats defenders for brunch. He spits them out. He picks his teeth with their tibias. I’ve seen few other players display such grit and grace.

The point I’m trying to make is this: Either Ross Barkley or Mateo Kovacic NEED TO START. FRANK, YOU HAVE GREATNESS AT YOUR DISPOSAL. DISPOSE OF IT. STOP PLAYING PEDRO FOREVER. Imagine N’golo Kante at midfield with Ross Barkley. Imagine Kovacic and Barkley and Kante all on the field at, dare I say it…. (actually I think I won’t, because Frank will never do it.)

(Side note: Kovacic actually grew up in Austria until he was 13. He was born in Linz Bosnian Croatian parents.)

Christian Pulisic, in his second straight Premier League start, played much better than he did last week against Leicester City. He had few giveaways, looked more comfortable on the ball, fought harder, and even had an assist.

He also had several goal scoring opportunities, including one where he freaked and deeked and made me feel like I was wearing diapers — but wasn’t able to finish. One question continues to loom: Can Christian Pulisic become comfortable with the physicality of the Premier League. Answer: (Spoken by several barristers in unison) Yay.

But it will take time. The Bundesliga is not the Premier League. Pulisic is not the biggest player in the world. When you get hit in the Premier League a lot of times a funny thing happens: The ref does nothing.

But he will adjust.

To barely pull of a win against a team that’s just been promoted doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but it also completely inspires confidence. Tammy Abraham looked like a roman candle that’s been dropped on the ground and is causing everyone to run for cover. Mason Mount was up to his usual tricks, i.e. scoring a goal that looked like it might occasion a hole in the back of the net, and the aforementioned Ross Barkley was a welcome addition to the lineup even though everyone seems to hate him for some reason. I don’t hate him. I might even love him.

As for David Luiz, I will leave you with this (for best viewing experience, make full screen, take a sniff of some smelling salts, and replay the first few seconds of the clip over and over):


*

 

Chelsea vs. Man United Preview and The Importance of Ross Barkley

Remember that scene in Game of Thrones where Jon Snow is facing down all of Ramsey Bolton’s army, standing there with his sword, facing certain annihilation? I feel like that’s a bit like what Chelsea is facing against Manchester United in their first game of the Premiership this season, this Sunday at 8:30am United States west coast time. Why would I give you west coast time? Well, first of all because I love the west coast. Second of all because I live on the west coast. And third of all because I’m a mariner. Friends, I live on a sailboat. The sea is my companion. When I wake up I don’t think about Greenwich mean time. I think about the west coast. I think about bull kelp. And I also think about Cha Boi.

Speaking of Cha Boi, most media outlets seem to think that he will start on Sunday. Christian Pulisic, who just last year was struggling for minutes in the Bundesliga, will probably start on Sunday against, what, the biggest football team in existence? Is that hyperbole? Did the latte I just drink plummet through me like a javelin? Is border traffic going to be bad today? Am I going to have a nervous breakdown? What is so strange about most of these outlets putting CP in the starting lineup is a lot of them don’t put Ross Barkley in it. To which I say: Are you out of your mind? If I’m Frank Lampard I’m building my team around Ross Barkley. And Ngolo Kante. But Chelsea needs to find a leader, and Ross Barkley seems like he could be that guy. He needs to play. More than anything, he needs to feel appreciated. Let me tell you something: Cha Boi, as much as I love him, is not going to be that leader. Olivier Giroud is not going to be that leader. Neither is Willian or Ngolo Kante. Call me crazy, but it has to be Ross Barkley.

On a mildly related note, tickets to London are not that expensive. How much would it cost me to see Chelsea against a shitty team at Stamford Bridge? Fifty pounds? A hundred?

Also on a mildly related note: Romelu Lukaku apparently plays for Inter now.

And on a completely unrelated note: I saw a black bear yesterday.

What will be the key against Man U on Sunday? The defense, of course. David Luiz, in a bizarre move to Arsenal, is gone. Which means, going back to the comparison to Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards, there’s no more giant rushing in behind him ready to battle. Is it generous to call David Luiz a giant? I mean, he does sort of look like a goon. What’s with his hair? He looks like a poodle.

And Cha Boi got them boots of valerian steel…