The Easter Story So Far
The fervent disciples eagerly await the return of their Messiah. There have already been reported sightings and some predict more appearances during the next forty remaining days of the season. Others dispute he is the Messiah and rather the Devil incarnate and the enemy of football.
The season is entering a cataclysmic week with four games in eight days spanning three competitions. Rafa decided to rest a few players today to enable a relatively fresh team to be selected for Manchester United on Monday. I’m happy with this decision. I want the team to be attempting to win trophies, not settling for just a top four finish. Ask an Arsenal fan “What are your best memories of the last eight years?”
Got bored of waiting for the answer?
If we can win the FA Cup or Europa League or even both it’ll be another memorable campaign. Monday against United is make or break. If we lose we’re out of the FA Cup. Today against Southampton wasn’t all or nothing. Losing doesn’t mean we can’t finish third or fourth and the shit from the Lane and the Arse have repeatedly shown fragility which means we’ll still have plenty of opportunities to seal a Champions League place.
So in stepped Marin, Bertrand, Terry (yes, now part of the second string (unbelievable but true!)) and up front a bloke wearing a face mask so difficult to tell who it was. According to his spokesman he’s wearing the mask because he wants to remain anonymous.
My usual pub had a bit of difficulty tuning in to the match so here are the only highlights I can provide.
Repositioning satellite to 19 degrees east.
Repositioning satellite to 13 degrees east.
Repositioning satellite to 5 degrees west.
Having decided to cut my losses I arrived at another pub just before the second half. We were losing 2-1. The message of my unavailability had clearly got through to the team and it was a decent gesture to save themselves for the second 45 minutes.
Overall I thought we played OK, Hazard looked excellent after his late arrival and we had opportunities, particularly Moses who might have scored had he not wanted extra touches.
The arrival of substitute Benayoun was the clearest signal yet that this game wasn’t the priority.
Fresh team against Man Utd, semi fresh for the Russians, two wins and my memory of our visit to Southampton 2013 will be limited to the 1-5 away Cup win.
The Observer, Dominic Fifield: “Chelsea’s campaign is supposed to have entered a defining period, a frantic phase that stretches to less than three weeks but is crammed with fixtures that will determine just what can be salvaged from a confused mess of a season. And yet, Rafael Benítez’s insistence that he is “still confident we can finish in the top four and win one or two trophies”, felt ludicrously optimistic. The sequence has begun with a splutter.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Jeremy Wilson: “Chelsea have always maintained that the managerial situation will be reviewed at the end of the season when Benítez is out of contract but there has also been a very clear sense that change could come sooner if the club’s place in the Champions League comes under threat.”
The Independent on Sunday, Simon Peach: “Rickie Lambert celebrated his new Southampton contract in some style today, smashing home an exquisite free-kick to secure all three points from a hard-fought encounter with Chelsea.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A lacklustre display away from home saw Chelsea deservedly beaten at Southampton on Saturday.”