It’s a bit of a weird time right now. I’m fighting hard to resist the urge to start having a bit of a deconstruction of this season because it all feels like it’s swinging on the pendulum of the Europa League cup final.
Win it and we have ourselves a trophy, a spot in the Champions League, as well as a gloss on a season which has felt two steps forward, one step back. Lose it and we’ve had an end to the season which was a total collapse bottle-job, followed by a painful defeat against a Chelski team who are supposedly in turmoil.
It’s one heck of a way to end the season.
It’s also annoying that it’s two weeks away. We have quite a wait until we find out our fate and in that time teams will be scouring the globe for new players and the process has already started.
For us we won’t know what we can do until we have the Europa League question answered. We won’t know how much money we have to spend and we also don’t know how much the club are going to eek out cash from us based on whether we’re in the Champions League next season. We’re in the proverbial ‘no mans land’ and that is a rather strange place to be.
Can we afford, given the problems in our squad with the lack of quality, to be sitting on our hands?
Obviously not and I can only hope that Sanllehi and probably Edu unless he knocks us back, have some targets identified that they’re ready to green light on.
I suspect if we’ve got some talented young players – like Guendouzi when he signed – that we could bring in the club will already be identifying them, but with no Sven Mislintat to run the process, who is engaging with these players? Our existing scouting network? You mean the ones who failed so miserably at times with Wenger?
Hardly makes for too much excitement, does it? But then again we are still in the early reign of Raul and so perhaps I should just chill my beans a bit. We have a distraction in Chelski on the horizon and so perhaps we can just focus on that for a while.
There will be plenty of time for Unai to suss our the opponents. He’s got two weeks to prepare for one game and my hope is that he’s basically watching every single Chelski match this season three times over. How will they play? Where is the weak link? What will Sarri do? Who will he play? How do we stop Eden Hazard?
There are so many questions that he has to think of but one thing we can say is that in the main he’s got the bigger games right. Away to Chelski was a bizarre game in which Auba could have got a hat trick and we won it. At home to Chelski we played them off the park. Away to United we were the better team and should have got more than a draw. At home we managed the game well. Away to the Totts we should have won it and the team performed well. At home we played well and got a deserved victory.
The Liverpool and City home and away games weren’t as great but those two are light years ahead of us right now. In the games against rivals it has felt like he’s known how to set up. So today he should be in his video room prepping for that match by a million re-runs of the Chelski end of season DVD.
Perhaps it’s because it’s a few weeks away but I don’t feel as nervous as normal. I do feel nervous, just not as much as normal, so I hope that’s a good omen rather than a bad one.
It feels like we need this more than Chelski. They have had more European and domestic success than us in the last ten years and we have a poor European trophy haul for a club our size. I know the trophy isn’t won on who ‘needs’ or ‘deserves’ it most, but my hope is that the desire the team has is a little bit greater than Chelski’s.
The irrational thoughts of a football fan right there I’m afraid.
Anyway, I’m off to work. I’ll catch you all tomorrow.