I’m writing this in the countdown to our crunch match at Stamford Bridge. I would like to say it’s making me nervous, but any campaign that lives or dies based on getting a result against Chelsea (and then only a temporary reprieve) collapsed long ago. I am not expecting much. The media are focusing on our illustrious opposition, as well it might. We already feel like a footnote to the season, a cautionary tale for pub quizzes focusing questions on terrible promoted sides that try and prevail through defending alone.
In the meantime, I have my last article of the season for Fly me to the Moon – no, not the column by the squaddie, yes I know you like him; sorry, not the bloke who talks about the past, though he’s good too – to consider. Hardly any point in starting it now – do I go for the faux optimism that might come with a positive result or a tone of furious wrath resulting from anything else? So that’s a job for either later or more likely tomorrow. It’s nice to see Traore making the starting eleven at the expense of Stuani, who isn’t even in the squad – another dummy thrown from the pram or has Agnew responded to not knowing how to use him by, er, not using him? Did Stu stand in solidarity with his countryman, Ramirez, as part of a united Uruguayan front? Bamford’s on the bench as Gestede and Negredo both start, which at least suggests a side designed to go for it, though what ‘it’ is remains unclear, a perfect summation of Steve A’s overall approach if you ask me. No Kante for Chelsea. The Player of the Season has a thigh injury, one from which he’ll presumably recover when he comes across classier opposition.
So I’ll see you on the other side. My prediction? Pain.