So, Chelsea are the title winners as expected, and I’m okay with that. It was pretty obvious from early on that it wasn’t going to be us, and out of the rest of the pack Chelsea were... well, why not? They don’t have anyone I actively dislike – John Terry aside with him being sidelined for most of the season - they play a style of football that is very easy on the eye, they can take the physical stuff when it’s dished out (Stoke away), and they have genuine stars in their line up.
Hazard runs around like Sonic the Hedgehog with the ball stuck to his feet, my estimation of Diego Costa went up dramatically when I saw him playing with Bradley at the SoL - a good bloke and a great player, Kante is still doing the work of two, Luiz has morphed from a frizzy-haired accident–waiting-to-happen into a constant man-of-the-match type player, and who would have placed Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as the most effective wing-backs in the country twelve months ago?
Of course, it’s all down to Conte. He’s calmed Costa down, invigorated Hazard, and introduced the famed ‘three at the back’ system that has taken the league by storm. But, it’s his goal celebrations that I love the most. They must have a camera trained on him continually for the duration of the game, for as soon as they score, they replay the goal just focused on Conte.
When Chelsea score he explodes like those old cartoons when Popeye swallows a stick of dynamite. He then goes from 0-60 faster then Lewis Hamilton, looking for someone to hug, and it can be anyone: coaches, players, medics, the crowd - it doesn’t really matter.
I’m surprised they don’t sell tickets allowing fans to stand next to Conte considering teams are installing two-way mirrors in the tunnels. Imagine getting a hug off the bloke for a grand or two?
Furthermore, he hangs off the team shelter, crowd surfs, and sprints up and down the touchline like an over-excited whippet with an adrenaline boost and I love it. To see so much genuine passion in a manager inspires me, no wonder the players love playing for him.
And after the final whistle went against West Brom, Conte gave the season’s greatest hugging display bar none. Eat your heart out Jurgen because if you want to see hugging like that at Anfield, you’ve got to win something bonny lad. But of course, they didn’t receive the trophy at West Brom, oh no, that’s being reserved for their final home game, on the final day of the season, when Stamford Bridge will be awash with colour and celebration and the eyes of the world will be upon them. Tricky gig for their opponents of course.
Who will be their final day opponents again? Oh yes, us of course. The embellished against the embarrassed; the unbeatables against the unmentionables. Talk about irony because it’s the one place where we really don’t want to be right now: in the glare of the spotlight. And yet there we’ll be - centre stage - just in case someone in Outer Mongolia hasn’t quite realised just what a shower we are this season. Perfect.
There was talk that Gary Cahill - on-field captain for the season - may stand aside to let John Terry take the trophy in his final game of his career for the club. A nice touch, but then again it’s not like John Terry to take a trophy when he hasn’t really played, is it?
Of course one of Terry’s career highlights was when he could have won the Champions League for Chelsea in the penalty shoot-out in Moscow, but slipped over at the last minute. Heartbreaking, but at the same time hilarious. Interesting therefore to see Mahrez do the same for Leicester against Manchester City. He did in fact manage to score his slip-kick, yet the goal was disallowed because he’d accidentally touched the ball twice.
The aftermath was interesting for two reasons, one was the reaction of the City players who ran around looking like they were giving cub scout salutes and the second was that it gave the viewers a real close up of Mahrez, and made me realise something that had been bothering me for some time. His hair.
There are only two things a footballer can do to his appearance on the pitch that says to the world, ‘look at how much money I have’. One of course is tattoos, and they have them up both arms, round their necks, on every available piece of flesh, visible and invisible. The second is hair. And there’s some pretty wild hairstyles out there, Chelsea’s goalscorer on Friday, Michy Batshuayi, looks like he has a head full of half-spent sparklers while our own Didier Ndong looks like he has a poodle on his head. But Mahrez, Mahrez is the only one who’s gone out of his way to model his hairstyle on a Lego character. His hair is plastered down with a razor sharp-parting, all angles and control, not a hair out of place. Has he ever headed the ball? If he did would his hair move? I doubt it.
Out of interest, a study has revealed that by 2020, 35% of all Lego characters will be obese. Get the skinny ones now whilst you can.
In other news, Hull are down as well making it a great year for the north-east. Before they were even relegated there were rumours circulating that Marco Silva would be moving to Southampton next season. As the time’s moved on, he’s been further linked to West Ham and other teams on the continent. What do the present managers of those clubs think when they see this stuff? Claude Puel isn’t the most dynamic, and he looks like Spock, but he’s done a damn good job this year with a healthy League position and an EFL Cup Final – doesn’t he deserve to be treated with some respect?
Arsene Wenger has called into question the morality of the Premier League as he faces a situation where even if he wins his last games, he still might not qualify for the Champions League:
Some teams once they are safe just have a breather, which didn’t happen 10 years ago. The league has changed mentally. Morally it has changed a lot.
I don’t think there’s another manager in the league that is so one-dimensional as Wenger. Every opinion expressed is through Arsenal-tinted glasses, he lives his life from inside the club which is why he won’t retire. He really needs to get a life, get out there, try something new that’s totally different from football. Personally, I’d recommend bog-snorkeling for several reasons: it’s a growth sport, the season is just beginning, no big money players - it’s a sport in its truest sense and its infancy. He could really throw himself into it. He’ll need a snorkel of course.
And finally, Argentinian legend Diego Maradona has been appointed technical director of Al-Fujairah, who play in the second tier of the United Arab Emirates league. It seems the locals are less than impressed:
Bit of a strange appointment really, but as long as she doesn’t try to start adopting the local kids we’ll give it a shot.