RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, August 15

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: CHELSEA FC

{dumbass cops executing a raid on Chelsea Headhunters back in the '80s}

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football metaphysics methodology utilizing dork methodology of minutes played over the past 100 club competitive club matches to determine which 25 players constitute the strongest psychic force on a club’s current trajectory. Then intuitive analysis is conducted utilizing football metaphysics, performed from an un-American soccer fan’s perspective. We do this every 1st and 15th of the month, cycling through the 20 clubs currently in the English Premier League, because it is the top domestic league based in an English-speaking country, which as un-American miscreants, we were all born to be saddled with this limited, segmented tongue of the global colonizer, oppressor, and capitalizer. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA most prominently, where we live. And yet, it is really important we clarify we hate English, and also America. Maybe we hate ourselves. Our panel consists of chairman Raven Mack, director tecnico Paul Robertson, and director rudo Neil Bulson Our individual contributions to this 5000 words of gibberish will be noted by our name at the end of the blurb. If you enjoy this absolutely free internet content from an un-American soccer perspective, venmo us tips @ravenmack23. You may also enjoy the Sportsball 69 podcast.]

Let us discuss the footballing metaphysics of this Chelsea club, what which is a popular one among not only the actual English humans who claim original ownership of the sport and in fact much of the Earth, but also with the American humans who have proudly and bravely stepped into that role of claiming the Earth, albeit in a more faux-deferential way where the beating we all get from empire is gonna hurt them more than it hurts us, and is for all our own good. It’s been an up and down couple seasons since noted asshole Jose Mourinho guided them to a PL title, where they then crashed to 10th place (which is like getting relegated for a Big Six club), but rebounded under Antonio Conte to win the title again. Conte was replaced by Maurizio Sarri, who left this past summer (American summer) to take over Juventus, considering Chelsea an inferior position. On top of this, Chelsea was given a transfer ban by the footballing administrators, which means instead of loaning out 30 dudes and signing 4, they’ll actually have to pick an XI from their vast stocks of not quite top-shelf top-shelfish talents. (Say hello to Tammy Abraham, y’all!) Frank Lampard, former club golden boy on the pitch, was brought on to manage, after a successful enough first season campaign at Derby County, and it’s the “let’s circle the wagons with our own!” type of performative club action that strengthens support even if the club’s gonna possibly struggle. And sure enough, already they got waxed by Manchester United in the first week of action, then edged in penalties in the UEFA Super Cup match against Liverpool. I fear this is gonna be a rough campaign for the boys in blue. But let us look at the 25 men who hath clocked the most metaphysical minutes in their last 100 matches, and use that as a springboard for deeper analysis of what Chelsea is all about – immediate past, questionable present, and rapidly unfolding future. [RAVEN]

#1: CESAR AZPILICUETA (same as last time Chelsea was metaphysically ranked, on 01-Sep-2018; and his THIRD METAPHYSICAL STAR) – It feels like our dude here has been at Chelsea a million years, a steady if not spectacular defender, just holding things down while the Eden Hazards of the world run wild. But those days are passed, Eden Hazard and the gang have been sold off like sex trafficking victims in the night, and now Cesar Azpilicueta is being asked to hold it all together while Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham grow up, but I’m afraid that is probably too big a burden for him to carry. Chelsea is rebuilding a bit, trying to get their shit together and poor Cesar here is gonna end up being the fall guy for them, and he’ll look around at this dreary England and he’ll wonder when he can just get back to his sun baked Spain and maybe ride out his career with one of his native clubs. But for now, he’s stuck with Chelsea, and what will probably end up happening is he gets sold to some Turks, and he’ll spend his 30’s trying to avoid smoke bombs and riot police and wonder how the fuck it all happened this way. But that’s just the kind of shit that happens, man. One day, you’re young and you’re part of something special, and then all your friends leave and you were never really The Guy and people are just waiting for you to leave now too, and you might as well jump ship now because you’re gonna fucking drown if you try to ride it out with Chelsea, who will abandon you because you are just a dirty Spaniard to them, a hired hand, skin just a touch too olive for them white as white folks and when you go to drink champagne with the bosses on your way out don’t be surprised if it’s just old piss. [NEIL]

#2: KEPA ARRIZABALAGA – Another Spaniard, this is the keeper Chelsea is counting on to be the man for the next decade or so, which is a lot of pressure for a dude who probably just wants to splash around Ibiza with some human fuck toy. He’s young, and Chelsea is rebuilding a bit, and this could end up with him getting scapegoated when shit doesn’t go so right the first couple of years and you have to feel a little bad for him, but on the other hand he is the keeper for Chelsea so fuck it and fuck him. That is brutal and unfair, but Kepa has to take the ride now that he’s bought the ticket. There is no easy way out of this, and you will crumble under the pressure and your own people will turn on you and spit on you and you’ll fuck off back to Spain, embittered and embarrassed, only to find that the country is blowing up in Civil War over autonomy issues, and this whole thing will have felt like a bad trip when it should have been so promising. It’s not Kepa’s fault that he picked the wrong time and the wrong club to make a move with, or I guess maybe it is, and if he’s dumb enough to think that he’s gonna save Chelsea then he deserves all the shit he gets. Don’t blame me, I don’t make the rules. [NEIL]

#3: N’GOLO KANTE (down from #2 last time) – Kante’s entry into the Premier League was with Leicester City the season they shocked everybody and won the title. Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy got most of the notoriety for that run, but Kante was the fulcrum who initiated much of fluent motion that caused them to be so amazing. A transfer to a bigger club seemed likely for all three men, but Kante’s was the only one that happened right away. He repeated as PL champion that first season with Chelsea, a rare back-to-back winner with different clubs. He was no small part of that. And though nagging injuries are sometimes an issue, when healthy, Kante remains a somewhat quiet force. He doesn’t command the same press as other names, but he’s consistently been considered a top player internationally, even being nominated for the Ballon d’Or award last year (finishing 11th in voting, ahead of such commercial luminaries as Neymar and Paul Pogba). Even with the two window transfer ban and abundance of ifs, Kante could help hold this thing together in decent shape for Lampard if he can remain healthy. [RAVEN]

#4: JORGINHO (up from #25 last time) – Born and raised in Brazil, and with the single name footballing tradition of Brazil, Jorginho is officially, through lawyer ball applications, an Italian, because of 1/16th Italian heritage plus a grandfather in Brazil who had maintained Italian citizenship. Sometimes I think about how bullshit national allegiances in football are, but then other times I wish we could all do that, like everybody on Earth. That would mean, as I sit here a stupid American, I could switch to Norwegian or Polish, maybe Scottish but I’d have to find some paperwork on some fucked up Appalachian paternal folks first. Also, legally, I’d still be married to a Welsh woman. Lolol, nationality is so fucked and arbitrary, it’s hard for me to imagine how fucking stupid you’d have to be to be a hardcore white nationalist. [RAVEN]

#5: EDEN HAZARD (down from #4 last time) – Eden Hazard leaves after a pretty monstrous run with Chelsea, and his psychic energies are gonna linger for a while here. Bolting to Spain was always gonna be the move one day, and now that it’s happened, it’s left Chelsea having to try to build anew even while Hazard’s stank is still permeating the club. He’s a ghost now, a haunting figure, reminding Chelsea supporters of what they used to be and what they aren’t anymore. He’s still a top level dude and Chelsea will be worse without him, and that’s always a biting kind of pain, but then again fuck Chelsea. Hazard is now the new golden boy at Real Madrid, but there’s a bad energy here because it sort of feels like a dude cashing in and buying a condo on the beach, but that is Real Madrid’s problem now, not Chelsea’s. [NEIL]

#6: DAVID LUIZ (up from #15 last time) – Luiz was a presence at Stamford Bridge for 6 of the past 8 seasons, but made the move north in London, from the Blues to Arsenal, where he is expected to give them false hope of being an actual contender. For me personally, I have always thought how David Luiz looks like Night Ranger, so I just think, “Oh, there’s the Night Ranger” when I see him during a game. This fit Chelsea’s kits better than Arsenal’s, so I may have to switch this to calling him the Queensryche now that he’s wearing red. [RAVEN]

#7: ANTONIO RUDIGER (down from #6 last time) – As Raven mentioned in our last 25-Man Metaphysical roster, certain media-types were lauding the French win at the 2018 World Cup as the “first African title” owing to the massive presence of players with family backgrounds in the French colonialist project. I am sensitive to this viewpoint, while admittedly I did pull hard for France to win based on the preponderance of lanky Black dudes in their starting line-up. But arguably, Germany did this non-white-ass-European-but-still-European sympathy push when they took the 2014 World Cup. It was wack to watch, and back, GERMANY, with their continued earned reputation as practitioners of the racialized ethno-state 20th Century Champions (the United Kingdom won the 19th Century Cup, the French the 18th Century Cup, and the Spanish the 17th Century one, if you want to keep track). Maybe I am “too” sensitive, what with the media-studies representational sign-symbol academic thing I got going on in my real-not-so-real everyday life, but Germany still wears that stark white-and-black home strip (and for a time were even working a full SS black change kit) with that straight-up fascist Prussian eagle in the badge. I mean, minus the swastika, they pretty much turn out like the German team in Escape to Victory [if you haven’t already noticed, that film is pretty much the foundation, for good or ill, of this here hillbilly perspective on the world’s football—no matter how sophisticated, complex, and experienced our knowledge of soccer gets, it still goes back to Michael Caine, Pele, and Sylvester Stallone’s non-effete-European, all-American hands freedom-dicking Hitler’s boys]. And yet, the German squad was stocked with dudes from a commendably diverse array of ethno-national backgrounds: Turks, Ghanians, Tunisians, and even POLES for fuck sake. All put together by this sleazy looking dude that could’ve been Kyle McLachlan’s body double in Showgirls. It was hard, even impossible, not to root for them out of the European colonial powers that make the later stages of the competition. Rudiger is one of these dudes, with a Sierra Leone mother. He plays naturally as a center back, which to be honest he looks a bit slight for. But he seems to make up for it with a respectable collection of yellow and red cards indicative of defensive footballing passion. Looks a solid player, ability-wise, but if I was scouting him it’d be hard to overlook his propensity for injury—which is where he’s at right now, with Chelsea supposedly desperate to rush him back into action in the hopes to staving off an early season free-fall after that ass-beating by Manchester United. I’m writing this before the match, but it seems likely the physical demands of marking Salah and company in the Super Cup will probably see him re-injured and back in the stands because of course an EPL club like Chelsea is going to chew up and spit out disposable human capital. [PAUL]

#8: WILLIAN (up from #10 last time) – I will be honest and say I love Willian. When feeling good, he always has such a positive spark to the team, and that smile is infectious. End of last season, talk was strong he’d be moving to Spain, which I was hopeful for, because he always felt under-utilized at Chelsea, even though he is advancing in age. The transfer move did not come, so he’s still in place, and Lampard gave Willian the #10 jersey this season, which has pissed off Chelsea supporters who feel it’s a dishonor to Eden Hazard. This makes me sad for Willian, because in a sport that has become one of rapid movement and constant shuttling of players, with little loyalty from players or management, Willian seems like one of those simple assed dudes who just wants to enjoy his life. He’s not bounced between clubs maniacally, having made his move to Europe from his native Brazil’s Corinthians over a decade ago, but he spent half a decade in the Ukraine, then the briefest of stints in Russia (well, for Anzhi Makhachkala, which is contested Dagestan, not Russia proper, during their brief flurry of financial waste), before joining Chelsea (primarily owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich) back in 2013. Sadly, if Chelsea struggles this season, that #10 on his top is gonna make Willian a target of ire, and I can see him getting thrown under the bus by blood-thirsty supporters and football media. BUT HE’S SO DAMN CUTE! I hope he has a final run back with Corinthians through Copa Libertadores before he’s done. [RAVEN]

#9: MARCOS ALONSO (down from #3 last time) – Spaniard defender expected to hold down the back line in front of Kepa. More importantly, I’d like to mention he once killed a woman who was riding with him as he drunk drove and wrecked into a wall in Madrid. His BAC was 0.93, but that’s Spanish BAC, which equals 0.093 in America. At first when I read it I was like HOW IS HE NOT DEAD but that BAC wouldn’t have even been drunk in my teen days of American blood alcohol content laws. And yet he still wrecked into a wall hard enough to kill a woman, driving 70 mph in a 30 mph zone while it was raining. He was sentenced to 21 months in jail, but being a footballer has its perks, so instead it was tied up in appeal and changed to a monetary fine with a driving ban of 40 months, which had already passed while he was waiting to be sentenced. I guess ultimately he paid the victim’s family, said sorry, and that was enough. Money buys freedom, that translates across borders. [RAVEN]

#10: PEDRO (up from #11 last time) – Pedro made the switch from Barcelona to Chelsea, and to be frank, that’s not going to endear him to me (even more than the baseline fact of playing for Chelsea). I’ve not watched him much personally, but this is going to make me think of Deco, another Barcelona fucker who made that same club switch. And man, do I fucking hate Deco—one of the nastiest bitch-ass midfielder shitheads I ever had the displeasure of watching play. A convention I hear about in the world’s football is players finding their “spiritual home”, with variants like “born to play for -----“; the implication being that a given player’s abilities, disposition, ethno/national/ideological background are such that he melds seamlessly with the mytho-ethos of a given football club. I’m not sure if I heard it used specifically in Deco’s situation, or if it was the first time I applied it of my own volition in regards to him, but that little turd going to racist-ass, blue-assed, pro-English-ass Chelsea made all the sense in the world. It’s particularly hard to take considering that Barcelona, in more hype-than-reality no doubt, bills itself as a Lefty, de-colonial, outsider club [lolol, me even typing that shit] and Chelsea is a hardcore Euro-Whitey Establishment club, and that switch is jarring. I’m sure Raven is discussing Didier Drogba at length in his portion, and how you square-up essentially a beloved prince of sub-Saharan African football so intimately connected with such a club, to the extent of there being way more everyday African dudes running around in Chelsea tops than is metaphysically comfortable. Anyway, Pedro: over 30 attacking winger who still seems at the top of his game despite crossing that 30 year-old barrier, makes a shit-ton of money playing for evil-ass Chelsea; regular for the Spanish National Team without ever being one of their star players. Probably finish his contract at Chelsea this season and fuck around in midtable La Liga, or maybe a MLS run if he’s feeling impoverished and lackluster. Boring as fuck, to be honest. [PAUL]

#11: MATEO KOVACIC – CONTINUING ANALYSIS OF THE YUGOSLAVIAN DIASPORA as it applies to every dude at this age of footballing who is Croat, Serb, Bosnian, Albanian, Kosovan, Montenegrin, and others. Kovacic’s parents were Bosnian Croats, so had moved to Austria in the ‘90s, where Kovacic was born. He became a youth sensation in Linz, Austria, where his family lived, and at the age of 13, had attracted attention from youth scouts for major European clubs like Juventus, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, and Ajax. His family – devout Croats – chose instead to move to Zagreb for the young Kovacic to enter the Dinamo Zagreb youth academy. After three professional seasons with Dinamo Zagreb, he transferred to Inter Milan, who had kept him on their radar, and eventually moved to international powerhouse Real Madrid. A monstrous club entity like that is hard to maintain a spot, so he was loaned last season to Chelsea, where he dominated minutes but not play as was expected. The pending two-window transfer ban, and the fact they could squeeze his signing in a couple days before that went into effect, plus the potential of a 25-year-old MF with such high pedigree of promise, meant Chelsea sealed the deal. Last season, Kovacic made 51 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea, yet didn’t score a single goal. Thus, he is another contender to receive a public media lashing should Chelsea struggle. In fact, the more I think about this, the worst look this is for Lampard. He’s fucking doomed. [RAVEN]

#12: ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN (same as last time) – Andy here looks like a typical stockpile type EPL player—bought at a young age by the English overlords and farmed out to a top European League mid-upper table club (or clubs) for two to four seasons and then either introduced to the parent club first team, or sold for an exorbitant fee down the EPL table. Again, nothing new here, just standard scumfuck EPL operating procedures. Christensen seems to be making the grade at Chelsea—though hopefully that won’t mean much if/when they get consistently wrecked in the league this season, which I am obviously hoping for. In our national-positioning stereotypes, I contend that Scandinavians excel as center backs. Some fuckstick on a white-nationalist messageboard is probably arguing something similar on the grounds of “Viking shield wall” or “check out my ‘Lothbrok 5’ Denmark top!!!” But no. I think it’s because Scandinavian dudes perfectly blend hard-assedness with goofy-assedness—that “eccentricity” so prized in a goalkeeper needs to extend to the central defense in front of him. Look at Dolph Lundgren—big chiseled alabaster stoned-eyes sexy goofy motherfucker [goddamn I bet him and Grace Jones had some hot sex]. Even that Alexander Skarsgard dude that my wife is all Southern-white lady vapors over: hot, solid actor….but goofy as fuck. So Christensen seems to meet the requirements—looks all big-toothed and curled-lipped eager in his pics. If Saleh doesn’t break his spirit/ankles (which of course I’m fine with, because if you play for Chelsea, you get what’s coming to you), I’d probably like him if he moves to another club. [PAUL]

#13: EMERSON PALMIERI (up from #23 last time) – Emerson Palmieri is a great young progressive defender, but I kinda would prefer Anderson-Bruford Wakeman-Howe myself. [RAVEN]

#14: ROSS BARKLEY (up from #24 last time) – Man, you could not test-tube grow, bioengineer, lock in a bunker and subliminally program a football player that I would so….thoroughly….hate as Ross Barkley. I don’t care if he has a Nigerian grandfather to otherwise compromise his deep, abiding English white-assedery. Fuck it, that even makes it worse as I rep Biafra strong to the point of rooting against Nigeria in international competitions and refuse to sign Nigerian players when I’m on a Football Manager binge. This cannot be overcome even with sikk green-and-white-based kits. But the dude is named “Ross Barkley”, which sounds like it could be some English variant of McGruff the Crime Dog, but wearing that stupid-ass British Bobby checkered cop outfit instead of the sex predator trench coat. Now I’m thinking about how Raven and I had a brief twitter exchange about fucked up middle-class Americans (and almost certainly fucked up middle class Englanders) have wack ways of anthropomorphizing their pet dogs and I think “Barkley” anything triggers this in my head as a cutesy naming convention for dogs. But Ross here heaps it on further—born in Liverpool, but turns out multiple seasons deep for Everton (our boy must really like that queen-analingus blue color). I suspect also that Barkley here is yet another English/EPL/top six hype player—one season of consistent appearances for Chelsea and one several years back solid season for Everton, plus a regular England bench player—but not much else. I’m going to want a supposed powerhouse attacking midfielder at the peak of his career to weigh in with substantially more goals. And finally, even Wikipedia gets in on the act of forever damning Ross in my eyes, comparing him to flute-playing Hun-souled Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney. Man, I fucking despise this dude. [PAUL]

#15: OLIVIER GIROUD (up from #18 last time; also previously ranked #22 for Arsenal on 15-Sep-2018) – I have an internal rule I guess called the Maroon 5 Rule, where if a dude looks too much Maroon 5, then I hate them. I know that Maroon 5 is a group, but that one dude who is their singer and famous and on TV all the time, he is essentially just Maroon 5 to me. He has that super-trimmed beard, styled hair, stereotypically good-looking white man look which is not really all that handsome necessarily but checks off the boxes for what mainstream normalcy says is handsome. And generally speaking, dudes who look like that also drive corny ass sports cars, and are huge flaming assholes in all aspects of interacting with other human beings. Olivier Giroud fits the Maroon 5 Rule, to a tee, thus I can only assume he is a horrible human being with little redeeming value. He cannot fail enough to satisfy my hatred. [RAVEN]

#16: RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK (previously ranked #17 for Crystal Palace on 01-Jan-2019; also last ranked for Chelsea at #22 on 15-Sep-2017) – Yung Loftus-Cheek is only 23, but unlike many of their young talents, has only spent a single season loaned out (two seasons back with Crystal Palace), and last year appeared about half the time for the club. Look for the young midfielder to start gaining more prominence this season, as somebody has to become the new Chelsea goal-masher. And without being able to hire an outside assassin to come in and take over those duties right now, somebody from within is going to have to try and fill that role. Loftus-Cheek has been bandied about as perhaps the one to breakout into that role, and it would make supporters happy, him being a Blue since the age of 8, as a young fucker from London. He did get 6 goals in PL action last season, and added 4 in Europa League play, so maybe he is that guy. But I don’t know, it feels like he might not quite fit those cleats at the level expected from a Chelsea environment over-inflated with Earthly worth. [RAVEN]

#17: GONZALO HIGUAIN – I kinda love Higuain, because he’s a rare example of a dude who could’ve had European team paperwork (he was born in France) but chose his global southern roots instead (Argentina), which normally is only done because you wouldn’t be good enough for the European national team. Not the case with Higuain. Also he looks like Rafi from Club de Cuervos TV show, so that makes me like him as well. He’s a little too old to keep that striker spot at his parent club Juventus though, so just like he took a 6-month loan to Chelsea last season, Higuain’s likely to be loaned elsewhere again, until he finally retires. Rumors of Roma have been high for this season, but Higuain’s passion seems to have waned, so who knows? Who the fuck ever knows? [RAVEN]

#18: ALVARO MORATA (down from #13 last time) – We compose these blurbs out of love, but also for the sad dopamine spike of internet attention and likes and shares and the weak adulation of other dumbass dorks. Sadly the pyramid scam of modern existence makes us all then want to be paid, even token pittances, for doing well on this dopamine chasing bullshit spectacle of digital existence. And nobody’s ever once venmo’d us money for these blurbs yet. It’s just more triflingly long free content for dumbass dorks like ourselves to consume and further clutter our brains with useless language acting as inane analysis through some sort of convoluted filter applied to popular culture. So fuck you, I’m not writing an Alvaro Morata blurb. Venmo me bitch. [RAVEN]

#19: CESC FABREGAS (down from #7 last time) – Another one of these players whose name floats around as one of the modern greats of world football, but who ultimately means nothing to me. I’ve watched him in both Arsenal and Barcelona matches, and of course as a mainstay of the Spanish National Team, but nothing has really made an impression on me about either his abilities or his metaphysical weight. Cesc is not a spirit warrior, not in the least. But then that inspires an intriguing question: can any of the big National teams ever really have a spirit warrior, in the truest sense? To be even more specific, can England or Spain ever produce metaphysical presences like, for example, the Touré brothers for Ivory Coast or little tow-headed scamp Modrić for Croatia, or EuroHyksos-decimating Salah? I would argue “no”—if anything, they thrive and succeed around anti-spirit warriors—craven idols, too awash in lucre and hype-beyond-product, with no time-served among the fellaheen of world football, to learn their trade with modesty, compassion, and willpower. Your Rooneys, your Ronaldos, and yes, as a Spain icon, your Fabergas fall into this category. [PAUL]

#20: CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI – The metaphysical resonance of smashing a Gaelic-ass Christian name with an Anglo-fied hyphenated Ghanian surname will make me mark for a dude. Yung Callum had a breakthrough with Chelsea last season, particularly in their Europa League run. This is….surprising, counter to standard channels of “development” in an EPL club for an 18 year-old to force his way in like that. But I’m worried for our man, because he just signed a five-year contract with Chelsea and I don’t know if they’ll be willing to nurture and development a talent over the coming seasons, what with all that television money to burn on BIG ESTABLISHED EXPENSIVE TALENT NOW. So, unless he really grabs his opportunities hard this season, Hudson-Odoi will probably get shuffled back into the normal EPL flow—at 18-19 I suspect he’ll be loaned out to either a Continental top-tier mid-table club (or even a top four one, given his hype-talent) or a top club in an unsexy league. In fact, I have a baseless premonition this dude will pull a season in Scotland when/if it don’t happen immediately at Chelsea. I don’t know, looking at all the media articles and database information on Callum, reading between the lines it’s anxiety-provoking (insomuch as an American hillbilly goofball academic middle-age football nerd can have anxiety for an 18 year-old already obscenely wealthy kid in England)—he’s either going to succeed as a top-tier English player, or slowly fade into middling (rich as fuck) obscurity over the course of that five year contract. [PAUL]

#21: DAVIDE ZAPPACOSTA (down from #16 last time) – This dude has never really quite found a spot for himself at Chelsea after coming over from his native Italy, and to be honest I don’t really give a fuck one way or the other about this dude, but he has a hell of a name, and I imagine that Frank Zappa would have better things to do than to have his name vaguely conjured up by some Italian wastrel but that is just the way of things, I guess. One day you’re a musical genius, making wild ass records that no one else can figure out to read let alone play, and you’ve fucked a lot and you’ve told Congress to go fuck themselves over censorship issues, and the next, you’re dead and now all that’s left is this Italian hanging around the fringes of Chelsea, fucking with your energy, and what can you do but haunt him? And this is what Davidde Zapacosta brings to Chelsea, haunted by Frank Zappa, and he doesn’t have time for fucking Chelsea and so Frank will poltergeist the shit out of these Chelsea fucks, Christian Pulisic will be found naked, screaming, all of his hair shaved off, while the Central Scrutinizer looks into his soul and finds it empty and it’s all Davidde Zapacosta’s fault. [NEIL]

#22: WILLY CALLABERO (down from #17 last time) – The life of a backup keeper must be a lonely one. You’re a member of the squad, but not really because you’re just the dude who’s there to stand in front of the net when the real keeper goes down injured or needs a break to get treated for some weird sex disease. It wasn’t always this way for Willy Caballero, who did good work with Malaga back in the day, but that was when he was young and he was playing in his native land. Now he is old, the backup keeper, and none of the good rats want to fuck him whenever the team rolls into a new town. He might as well just carry their luggage. It has to sting a bit that Chelsea is rebuilding and instead of turning to you, they go out and by a younger Spaniard who will fuck all the best girls and you have to just sit there and watch because they aren’t gonna just let you walk away, you might have to make an emergency appearance in between shining them shoes for all the bosses. It’s a tough spot to be in, but fuck it, Willy Caballero chose this life, and even though he is in a foreign land where people just see him as some dirty Spanish dude, he can still always find his way back home, where they will love him and honor and cherish him. Fuck Chelsea, Willy, go home and fuck Spanish damas, maybe get a dog, forget that these awful fucking Anglo people even exist. [NEIL]

#23: GARY CAHILL (down from #8 last time) – The old defender had clocked almost 300 caps for the Blues before getting released at the end of last season, after eight at Stamford Bridge. Add in another eight previous PL seasons with Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa, and my man was sitting at 349 PL appearances. Crystal Palace signed him a few weeks back, beating out other lower-level PL clubs like West Ham, Aston Villa, and Burnley, to keep the English fucker in the Premier League. It’s also funny because some culture’s just don’t have the capacity to trigger the Maroon 5 Rule. Like Cahill can trim up his beard and style his hair, but he still has the inherent ugliness of an Englishman oozing through his narrow eyeballs. It is interesting how racists use evolution and the comparison of primates to non-light-skinned people as a sign of superior evolutionary intelligence. But I don’t know man, you look at a narrow-eyed Englishman like Cahill, and it’s easy to theorize some folks evolved beyond progress. [RAVEN]

#24: VIKTOR MOSES (down from #9 last time) – In my footballing metaphysics preferences, there’s a small arsenal of phrases that automatically bring me great joy. One such phrase is “Nigerian winger” which is what Viktor Moses is. The problem with football metaphysics and the English Premier League is that English morality was built upon conquest, and the Premier League itself is an attempt at corporate conquest of the footballing landscape. Metaphysics is often overlooked by the philosophy of conquest, because conquest is a brutalist science, based on simple maps with defined borders. Metaphysics is too complex for simplicity, and the borders are forever fluctuating. So of course Viktor Moses fell out of favor at Chelsea, because the only reason he was in favor was because of the potential human resource he was, not the actual human spirit he already is. Nobody gave a fuck about Viktor Moses the spirit warrior; they just wanted a goal machine who would stuff his personality into a Chelsea blue box. After Antonio Conte left, Moses was deep in disfavor, which led to an 18-month loan to Fenerbahce, which added a second of my arsenal of phrases I enjoy, “currently playing in Istanbul.” So now we have a “Nigerian winger currently playing in Istanbul” combo piece of footballing metaphysics greatness. My Swansea City man Andre Ayew was also on loan to Fenerbahce last season, which gave me a few months of the double of joy of watching tiny streamed matches of both Moses and Ayew hustling like raindrops together in the blue and yellow stripes so beloved by Rambo. (Please google “Rambo Fenerbahce” if you don’t know what that means. I’m not going to put a link; you have to work for metaphysics.) But as is the case with most domestic league giants like Fenerbahce, they just signed a younger Turk from a lesser Turkish club who now apparently will threaten Moses’ spot. But also there’s talk of him transferring to Inter Milan and being reunited with Conte. But regardless of what happens, he is only 28, and he is a Nigerian winger, which means there has to be a place on this Earth where this man can thrive still. His life story is pretty nutty (parents were Christians killed in religious riots in Nigeria when he was 11), and despite this making no sense at all, I’d like to see him go to Celtic and score a thousand goals. [RAVEN]

#25: THIBAUT COURTOIS (down from #5 last time) – Why did I choose to write about all the fucking keepers? I don’t know. Maybe I was just in a mood, remembering a girl I used to know who was a keeper for her club. But that is all ancient history, like 20 years ancient, and she is married and happy and we can all move on. Which is exactly what Thibaut Courtois is doing, joining his pal and countryman Eden Hazard in bolting to Real Madrid while Chelsea rebuilds. He was an important piece for Chelsea when they were kings, and like Hazard, his psychic energies will linger, reminding all of Chelsea’s supporters of what they used to have. That is unfair for the new dudes who try to get after it in his shadow, but fuck it, that’s just the way life goes, man. Thibaut Courtois is many things, a hell of a keeper, but also a spectacular asshole who once dogged poor Simon Mignolet for not being as good as him when they were on the same national team. He and Hazard are living fat at Real Madrid now, and while they definitely worked out for Chelsea, their absences will be felt for a while, a reminder that Everybody Dies and that glory is fleeting. That is the psychic energy Thibaut Courtois brings now to Chelsea. [NEIL]

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