Note: Our match against Willem II was pulled ahead for TV coverage.
We played like a different team in the CL Group Stage this month, with draws against AS Monaco and Chelsea - both away! For long stretches against AS Monaco we looked like the better team, finally getting a goal in the 59 minute from Guerra (assisted by Danchenko). However, they got an equalizer 10 minutes later from Brahim Benali (the kid from Ajax). For sure Pellegri leaving the match in the first half with a groin injury helped. Chelsea started the match sluggish and we went into the break even before they turned it on in the 2nd half behind a brace from Moussa Dembele (Martial assisted on both). The boys kept fighting and Arena scored in the 79th minute, assisted by Leao. Then in the 88th minute we got an equalizer from Guerra. It feels good to secure a draw so late, after allowing so many over the years.
In the league we started with a tricky match against Sparta and frankly we were lucky to come home with a point. Guerra converted a penalty in the 90th minute. We crushed Feyenoord and should have done more but a lone goal from Koopmeiners in the 40th minute is enough to secure the 3 points. The top two defenses square off when Vitesse comes to town and we ended up with quite a few goals, they got the equalizer in the 81st minute from Viktor Gyokeres - whom played for Elsner at Union SG. We were down to 10 men for nearly 60 minutes after a straight red from Bloem. Finally, we routed Willem II behind a brace from Til and Guerra added another goal late after a horrific mistake by their keeper.
An interesting month, we needed to get more points in the league than we did but we easily could have lost a couple there too.
Kenzo has been thriving under Elsner's regime and this was by far his best month after filling in magnificently for the injured Midtsjo. He appeared in all 6 matches, assisting on 3 goals and completing nearly 95% of his passes. Recently he has started to get a lot of attention from teams in England and Germany, hopefully we can keep him here.
Jordan picked up a bruised thigh in training on November 29th, we are managing the injury with injections but he is not expected to return to full strength until late December.
Boldt suffered a torn groin muscle in training on November 25th. He is expected to return to action in January.
Ajax finally lost, losing 1-0 at home to N.E.C. Only N.EC.'s 2nd win of the season, stunning! The top 9 or 10 teams are very close - quite a difference from last season at this point.
The draw against AS Monaco eliminated us from the Top 2, then the draw against Chelsea eliminated us from the Top 3. Both goods results in my opinion, but for sure we will looking to disrupt Hertha BSC's aspirations of reaching the Top 2.
A rather busy month but we should expect to gain some traction and with some wins this month.
ScottT - A definite roller coaster, hopefully we can continue the progress we made in November though!