Norwich City 1 Chelsea 1
Chelsea left the hippy bus behind yesterday (as I began typing this)….but if you go looking for it in the parking lot hard by Carrow Road, you will find that it has vanished as surely as Chelsea’s hopes of claiming the Premier League title have vanished. Chelsea had to leave town in a hurry you see, and a hippy bus just would not do. They had things to do and places to go, as the unimaginative ones would say. Urgent business….but not the sort that involves a trip to the loo or the men’s crapper….they took care of THAT business yesterday at Carrow Road. In other words, they weren’t toilet-bound.
As I’ve mentioned, when Chelsea and Norwich play each other this season, I’m rooting for the home team, purists be damned. My Canaries played a great match and they stopped Chelsea dead in the water. Zak Whitbread and Daniel Ayala were lock-down corners in the NFL. They shutdown Chelsea’s attack, and goalie John Ruddy kept a clean sheet….Norwich’s first of the season. Norwich didn’t park the bus like they did the last time they played Chelsea, they did start Pilkington in the mid-field instead of Hoolihan….Pilk gives the Canaries a more defensive presence in the mid-field, but he’s no slouch going forward. They started both Morison and Holt up front…and they had some chances to score…but Cech stepped up and snuffed them out.
But the takeaway from this match are the obvious shortcomings of Chelsea, which were laid bare even more clearly to me since I was watching them as an outsider and an adversary and not a fan. Bosingwa played like a donkey. Meireles is uncreative…and I was wondering why Essien didn’t get the start ((yes, I know he’s coming off injury and wont play a full 90, but he could have sparked Chelsea to an early lead had he been in there….and as a Canaries fan, I’m glad he started on the bench)). Ashley Cole is a shadow of his former self ((ditto the other old men)). Daniel Sturridge was nearly invisible. Ramires has energy but no real sense of direction for it. Luiz would be better playing on the wing instead of at the back. Torres played well enough to get Chelsea the win, but he was all alone out there as was Juan Mata….everything they tried to do was pretty much stuffed by Whitbread, Ayala and Ruddy. They can’t do it alone.
Anyway, it’s back business as usual for me. I can be True Blue again now and hope that both Norwich and Chelsea get all 3 points from here on out. But a cynical side of me might consider that Norwich has a better shot at that then Chelsea based upon the style and spirit of their respective play.Then again, a lot of the true Blue fans on the ChelseDAFT blog feel the same.
As for Chelsea, as we’ve known all along, there is work to be done. We’ll get to that in a moment. It’s time now for NASCAR’s cameo appearance. It’s Silly Season after all….and unlike the days of yore, Silly Season now starts when the checkered flag drops at Homestead and continues well past the start of Speedweeks. Danica Patrick will finally and at last save NASCAR, but rumour has it that….well, okay, I’ll just start a rumour…..AVB in pursuit of a sleeker, faster, rebuild of Chelsea is putting in a £25m offer to JR Motorsports for Danica Patrick .
“Ela é rápida, sim?”
“She’s not for sale, Dude.”
“Ela não é para venda….Dude.”
“Lançarei Bosingwa no acordo….”
And so on. It’s Silly Season. The Premier League transfer window is wide open and the rumours and offers are flying fast and furious. Danny Welbeck to Real Madrid….Gareth Bale to anyone willing to fork over 150 million quid. But enough of this soccer bullshit for awhile. 34 crew chief and personnel changes have been made across NASCAR’s 3 divisions, plus all sorts of driver and team changes, with more to come. Dave Ragan is w/o a ride as I type this. And Matt Kenseth is nowhere near fully sponsored. It 34 days, 22 hours, 11 minutes and 44 seconds to the start of the Daytona 500 as I hammer this out on my trusty Adler J-5 with no end of Silly Season in sight.
Silly Season in NASCAR used to be over with by the end of Homestead. Not anymore. The rumour mill and driver and crew chief carousel is spinning like ride in an evil circus midway. But Speedweeks is soon upon us. So, the testing at Daytona has begun.
One of NASCAR’s big challenges this season is to put an end to the 2 car (butt-buddy) drafting at Daytona ((Gaytona)) and Talladega ((Tallagayguy)). It’s not because Danica Patrick is racing there now. Although I’m sure a whole lot of guys would line up to ride HER ass to victory lane. And I’m sure a brave few would say “Strap it on, Doll Face, and ride MY ass to Victory Lane!” But that’s not why NASCAR is doing something about the 2 car drafting. I’m seems ironic and counter-intuative, but NASCAR are actually listening to what the drivers and fans have to say.
The restrictor have been increased in size to 29/32 of an inch. Not a big increase, but ther 20-25 HP it adds should make a significant different. Testing already shows. Anything to break up the tandem drafting. The radiator and the overflow tanks have been reduced in size along with the grill. Also, the pressure relief valve has been lowered to 25 PSI. This will cause the engines to heat up and overheat a lot quicker. They wont be able to run as long in a tandem draft. Finally, NASCAR is restricting radio accesby driovers and spotter between teams. No longer will they spotter or driver form one team be able to talk to the other team to arrange tandem drafting, or let the other driver ((butt-buddy)) know when they need to switch position.
Hopefully we can put an end to the tandem drafting once and for all.
NASCAR’s bad boy Kyle Busch has drafted his older brother to his Nationwide win the Owners Championship. I almost said Constructor’s Championship, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m not doing an F1 post for a few descending series of moments yet. In fact, I haven’t even thought about F1 until just about right now. So my guess is that it will be business as usual over there with a minimum of Silly Season nonsense. We’ll get to that some day…but for now, Kurt Busch has been sent to the purgatory of the #51 Chevrolet sponsored by We’re Not Sure Yet and owned by Jim Finch and Phoenix Racing. Kurt, as y’all might recall, was bounced from his #22 Shell/Pennzoil ride with Penske for being an insufferable fucktard with anger problems. He pushed beyond the limit, and the Captain had enough and sent him packing. Unlike his brother who can be charming while being an asshat, Kurt can not is not charming. It’s sad in a way. Here’s a former Sprint Cup Champion and a hell of good driver whose behavior has made him a pariah to all but the most minor of teams. He brought this on himself, of course, and to his credit he’s owned it and hopefully can make amends. If he fucks this one up, Jim Finch will drop him and his Sprint Cup career will essentially be through unless his fund the ride himself.
Brother Kyle, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports has won the Owner Championship in the Camping World Truck series, will attempt to duplicate that feat in Nationwide Series. He will split the driving duties with brother Kurt, and how apropos is this….the sponsor is Monster Energy Drinks. They’ll drive the#54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry. Monster doesn’t have a problem with these bad boys, since their advertising in non-traditional and edgy. So these irreverent smartasses fit the mold. But I’m still not sure if this will play with the Energy-Drink types who are also NASCAR fans….a lot of the young guys I know who take at least a passing interest or more in NASCAR can’t stand either one of the Busch boys. But….maybe it will work.
At one time, the Busch Boys had the world on a string. But lately, they’ve woven that string into a rope to hang themselves with. And I know that some of you would say to that, “Well…then let them dangle….”
But they have too much talent and ability to be left swinging in the wind. Hopefully this Silly Season will have taught them a few things. I don;t want anything but good things about them from now on. But I swear to god if at any time this season, one of them tries to break into a women’s prison, or throws darts at David Gillillillilland (even though he might deserve it), or nearly burns the other brother’s house down by setting of fireworks in the bathroom, I will the first one to haul their ass to the doorstep of Ron Hornaday Jr. for the beating they will so richly deserve.
A lot of the Silly Season transfer rumours revolve around various players heading to China to continue the tail end of their careers. Nicolas Anelka has left Chelsea for China and a huge payday that no one in their right mind but the Chinese would give him ((with perhaps the only other team in world that’s fixin’ splash some cash being Anzhi Makhachkala in the Russian Premier League)). It’s almost Playstation money that some of these geezers are rumoured to being offered. Anelka’s deal is £200,000/wk, far more than what Chelsea would be willing to offer him this stage of his career.
Another Chelsea stalwart in the Chinese rumour mill is none other than Didier Drogba. Chelsea is only willing to offer him a year extension on his deal, but that his stalled. Drogba is off in Africa at the moment, leading the Ivory Coast team in Africa Cup of Nations. He did well today (as this is typed), scoring the only goal in Côte D’Ivoire’s 1-0 defeat of the Sudan. Shanghai is rumoured to be offering him a £267,000/wk three year deal. It’s very likely he will go. He says that he won’t leave Chelsea ’til the summer. But as much as he’s one of Chelsea’s greats, one of the best of all time…it’s sort of like the dilemma that the Indianapolis Colts face with Payton Manning. A rebuilding team in the twilight of his career is no place for either Manning or Drogba. I hate to say it, but Drogba should pack up his kit when comes back from Africa, and follow Anelka to China. That would be the most heroic thing he could do this season for Chelsea.
Tuesday the 31st, the transfer window closes. But until then, it’s all hands on deck. It’s pirate vs pirate vs Ninja vs Pirate in a mad dash for the secret buried traesure. Chelsea is after Willian from Shaktar Donetsk who claim he’s not for sale. But Shaktar is not Tottenham, and Willian is not Luka Modric. So book it. Kevin DeBryne will also be pirated from Genk, yes THAT Genk...Koninklijke Racing Club Genk as they say in Belgium. But AVB will hand the loot back to Genk ’til the good ol’ summertime.
All kinds of mad shit is happening everywhere. And I feel like I’m supposed to have poetic notions to wrap around all these rumours like some all encompassing comforting arms. I mean, what can I say when read that Liverpool is trying to out-pirate West Ham for the Rangers ((that’s the Rangers from Glasgow in the Scottish Premier League for those of you keeping score in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin where the water is always fresh and pure LOL, not the Texas Rangers or the New York Rangers)) striker Nikica Jelavic, while Matt Kenseth’s car that owned by the same guy that owns Liverpool goes mostly unsponsered, I’m afraid I can’t say much poetic about that except, perhaps, to quote the late great American poet Charles Bukowski: “Beer is a continuous blood.”
There might also be profound notional evidence out there that the never-ending Carlos Tevez saga was predicted by Nostradamus. In fact, all those asshats who are squawking about the end of the world Nostradamus predicted and that the Mayan calender reset portends (alledgedly) don’t realize is that Nostradamus had a really prescient vision of the horrifying demise of Carlos Tevez’s football career—the fall from grace of the last great Oasis fan. So much ado about about nothing I suppose, but like most ado, vastly and tediously entertaining.
As for Lampard, well, like Drogba and Anelka, and possibly Ashley Cole and John Terry, it will be time for the old men to withdraw and move on. Sad to see it happen, but it will and naught can stop it. Peyton Manning will not be be the starting QB of the Indianapolis Colts next season…like Anelka, he will be somewhere else, but not in China. Lampard already is no longer a go to starter, and with his calf injury, it’s sadly time to move on. If France or the MLS come calling, AVB should take the cash and wish Frank the best if wishes to continue playing. The great ones wont be around forever, and silly season bring that into sharp perspective. Ideally, it gives teams like Chelsea a chance at bringing in the new. Cahill has already signed, Willian and DeBryne are sure to follow, and I know there are other pieces of the puzzle out there…Eden Harzard from Lille would be a great addition.
And my Canaries sailed their pirate ship up to Leeds for another plunder ((no mean feat, that, yes?)) and pilfered their team captain Jonny Howson, who joins former United midfielder Bradley Johnson at Carrow Road…and yes, the same Bradley Johnson who told Joey Barton on Twitter that his breath stinks. Joey Barton has become the modern day new Henry James or Thomas Hardy of the Twitterverse. And I bring that up not because he’s actually going nowhere during the Silly Season, not even to the Boston Red Sox…but because the FA is after his ass again this week because like pretty much most every other football fan or pundit out there, he likes to tout his smartass predictions for the games. The FA wants him to stop doing that because they fear his predictions imply insider knowledge. Now I must say if a punter places his bets on the basis of anything Joey Barton has to say about a match, well, then he deserves whatever fate befalls him. Personally, I hope Barton keeps tweeting away. In fact I would like to know what he thinks about that potential Keisuke Honda move from CSKA Moscow to Lazio. I want a witty remark from him on Mark Martin’s move to a part-time ride at Michael Waltrip Racing, or snide comment on Kevin Harvick closing down his racing team because his wife who wear’s the firesuit is pregant. I need his take on when or if Cologne right winger Slawomir Peszko moves to Locomotiv Moscow. And I’m anxious to get his insight into the recent transfer of Ilsinho from Internationale de Porto Alegre to Shaktar Donetsk…and wonder if he feels that the move will free up fellow Brazilian Willian for a move to Chelsea. My thinking is that it might be a moot point, but…what does Joey Barton think??
The reason Gary Cahill wasn’t on the bench for last Saturday’s tilt with Norwich was that he wasn’t integrated into the team yet. That’s what AVB said, so as odd or incongruous as that may seem, we’ll have to accept it as true. So the team went off to Mallorca for a bit of male bonding. Somehow, I can help but picture the swimsuit/beach episode of just about every anime show inexistence. Sure, as in K’on for example, they go Mugi’s family’s beach-house to practice, but they end up most cavorting about on the beach. They’ll eat watermelon and fix each other’s hair…..Wait, what??
I guess I don’t want to know as long they come back from Mallorca and win out.
So it’s Silly Season, and though the finish line for England is Tuesday, for NASCAR, there seems to be no end in sight. It’s too bad Liverpool can’t fork over a half or even a third of the money they pissed away on Andy Carroll ((who should have stayed at Newcastle as should have Joey Barton)) and handed it over to fellow owner Jack Roush to sponsor Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion. With the new shirt deal Liverpool has, they could easily have sold a LOT more gear here in the States with a NASCAR tie-in. Even a true blue CHelsea fan such as myself would gladly wear a Liverpool shirt IF it had a Matt Kenseth/NASCAR tie-in. Liverpool doesn’t have a #17 on their squad. A Kenseth #17 kit would be the cat’s ass.
And with that. I’m done for now. All done in. I’ll sit back wait for the results. I’m not sure of much, but of this I can be sure: Someone will cross the finish line first.
There. NOW I’m done. Time for some HOFBRAU.