Best laugh you had all season?
The various Guardian football journalists constantly tearing into Chelsea players whenever they can. I get that John Terry and Ashley Cole aren’t exactly the nicest people around (although I do still maintain they taught me everything I needed to know about treating my various ex-boys like shit, there’s your role models), but the holier-than-thou attitude from Guardian writers, who we sure-as-hell know are no damn angels, is, frankly, sickening. Second place would have to be Liverpool fan’s furious reaction to Suarez getting a ten match ban for biting Ivanovic. Whilst 10 matches did seem somewhat draconian, Suarez could have easily avoided such a ban – by not biting Ivanovic in the first place. Just suggestin’.
“We know what we are, we know what we are, Champions of Europe, we know what we are.” Firstly because it pissed all opposition fans off something awful this season, and secondly, thanks to Wednesday’s victory in Amsterdam, we can be assailing opponents’ ears with it for another whole season. I recommend we sing it at a particularly high level if Bayern win the Champions League this year and we face them in the SuperCup. You know, for 19th May 2012.
Sacking Di Matteo and hiring Benitez, who, despite commandeering us to a Europa League victory, just wasn’t a good manager. The questionable substitutions, the over-reliance on Benayoun and the various times he gambled with our Top Four finish in order to pursue the FA Cup – which he didn’t even win. Chelsea fans might have made things worse rather than better in deflating morale by consistently booing him, but trust me, we won the Europa League and got Top Four in spite of Benitez, not because of him.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?
I’d get rid of JT – past it, and more trouble than he’s worth, and make Lampard captain for his final season (Frank deserves to lift a trophy on his own without Terry hanging out of the back of it). A general tightening up at the back is needed – we concede far too many needless penalties, epitomised in Azpilicueta’s handball in the Europa League final. And I’d pick one player out of Mata, Hazard or Oscar to play behind the striker, and keep them there.
Moment that just about summed it all up?
Lampsy riding on Cech’s shoulders at Villa Park after he’d scored goal 203 and Mata and Ivanovic embracing euphorically as the full-time whistle blew after Ivanovic’s extra-time Drogba-style header are two enduring images of the sweeter moments of being a football fan.
Player’s tweet of the season?
The Chelsea player with the most entertaining tweets is without a doubt Ashley Cole, who doesn’t take shit from anyone. He can often be found hitting back at his haterz on Twitter in the form of not-so-cryptic and goading tweets. My favourite is probably his recent: “Listen u can say want u want about me #imbov I have best life every, say crazy shit like that about his mum, dnt talk come training, imthere”. The grammar and spelling may be lacking, the sentiment is not.
Rio “50 shades of hypocrite” Ferdinand for making a big deal out of not being chosen for Euro 2012, casually throwing shade on Cole on Twitter because of it, and then turning down the opportunity to pundit in Qatar when he was offered the chance to illustrated what an attention-seeking buffoon he was. And, a controversial choice, but John Terry, for the way he tried to hog European glory a second year in a row and refuse to let Lampard have his moment as the victorious captain. Terry had the excuse last year that Ivanovic, Ramires and Meireles all changed into their kits for the team photos, but yesterday, Hazard and Ba remained in their suits, which highlighted that Terry’s keenness to get into his kit was nothing but an exercise in vanity.
Which player would you like to sign?
Frank’s one-year-extension feels like a new signing of its own, such was the extensive will he/won’t he buzz surrounding it. That aside, I’ve always admired Luka Modric and the fact that he hasn’t been making the impact he’d hoped at Real Madrid makes me hold out hope that perhaps he’d fancy a London homecoming – maybe at a cheeky cut-price.
Player of the season?
Mata, easily. By far Chelsea’s most consistent performer, the little Spaniard has shined on countless occasions, even when the rest of the team wasn’t up to the same standard. That he played in the Euros and Olympics, and thus played a ridiculous amount of games this season, means that he should have been the one lifting the Player of the Year award ahead of Gareth Bale, in my opinion. Honourable mentions go to this season’s leading scorer Frank Lampard, who, despite contract speculation surrounding him all season in the league, has managed to keep his head down and played, scoring vital goals and quietly, earnt himself into that contract that he so craves. And finally David Luiz, who’s transformation into a solid defensive midfielder has been quite something, and scored two sumptuous goals against Fulham and Basel, goals which defy logic and physics.
The season ticket shredding moment?
Too many to count, but off the top of my head, Clattenburg’s refereeing horror show against United when he sent off Torres and Ivanovic and allowed Hernandez’s offside winner. Losing at home to freakin’ QPR. Dropping points from winning positions against West Ham, Reading, Newcastle, Southampton, and the like. The way we surrendered in the Carling Cup and FA Cup semi-finals, and the Club World Cup final. I could go on. In the end it was just as well that we won the Europa League to be honest, because goddamn, it would have made for one disgraceful list of things we’d relinquished had we not.