After six games, we are leading the La Liga table, having got the jump on Barca with an already impressive 12 goal goal difference.
In the same breath, we still need to keep the intensity up, putting performances together on the park and treat our next opponent Mallorca with respect, being a broadcasted away game. We still have injuries problems, with the most serious Wisker and Farver, who I would both class as key.
2 Oct 2021
Interesting stats, Barca are paying an obscene GBP120M in salaries annually, and in second place, Real Madrid with 85M.
Barca have - hopefully temporarily - risen to first place with a 6-1 spanking of Real Madrid.
We play our game tomorrow.
3 Oct 21
Beck has been benched after asking for a lighter training schedule, replaced by Vadja. Hagberg is dropped to the reserves to allow Ledesma to debut. Bayer comes into the midfield to replace the injured Wisker, and Griffin makes an appearance at striker, after the coaches said lack of first team action was hurting his development.
I’m rotating many of the players, as I look to check performance in the run down to the Jan window; where I will be hoping to obtain loan deals for some of the players whom are unlikely to feature in my first squad this season.
All I can say is I miss my midfielders, and Hagberg and Beck presented strong cases to be my starting fullbacks for the foreseeable future.
The starch that Farver bought to the centre of the park, and was continued by Wisker was lacking. This lack of early possession lead us to commit fouls in our own penalty box, penalty awarded and whilst Gorman saved our bacon, it set the standard for the early exchanges.
We weren’t able to keep possession in the midfield, nor could we make use of it on the scare occasions that Nicholson had the ball. Vadja picked up a card at the thirty minute mark, which would have serious ramifications for us late in the second spell.
Despite being on the receiving end of a high foul count, and not being able to get or use the ball, and we were lucky to go to the sheds with it even, nil all and I’d struggle to say we had any descent chances.
My mood didn’t improve after the break – and having encouraged the team, when centre back Tilido again scored from a set piece, or so we thought until the ref called offside. Replays from every conceivable angle may tell a difference story, but at the end of the day, the ref chalked it off.
My relief was obvious to all when an Ouattara cross sat nicely for Nicholson to tuck away to record 0-1. I was nervous as the game was finely balanced and while the score showed we were ahead, I had doubts for the first time that we would hold on. Mallorca was dominating every aspect of play.
To further add to my angst, we again thought that lady luck smiled when Esnal broke through and send Ouattara away to score, for the ref to once again call offside.
Esnal and Faulds also picked up cards for tackles, but when Vajda picked up his second for persistent fouls I saw red. Looking to substitute, I made the difficult decision to pull Tilido off, replaced by Beck to cover the right defender, and pull Esnal back in position to operate as a defensive midfielder. I also noticed that Griffins was absolutely spent, to be replaced by Nilsson, and Hagberg on for Ledesema.
I was hoping that the injection of fresh legs at the 80 min mark would help counter the one man overlap I had given to the opposition, but it wasn’t to be. The gaping hole at the back was exposed as Brazilian striker Rondinelli made up for missing the penalty earlier to take the scores back to one all with five mins on the clock.
From a corner taken by Ouattara in minute eighty nine, blushes were saved as Hagberg took the shot and it deflected through Mallorca defender Capuano to record an own goal and an extremely fortuitous 2-1 victory.
It has given me plenty to think about as we prepare for Real Sociedad in nearly two weeks. Vadja will cope a fine and definitely be watching from the sidelines for a while.
Four of the players at the club have been selected for international fixtures:
Demark: Farver (ironic he'll be fit to play, fingers crossed he doesn't get another injury!)
Slovakia: Vadja (damn hothead!)
Paraquay: Ledesma (he didn't have a fantastic debut, but it was a tough game)
Apparently the training regime is going extremely well for the one keeper in my squad that I haven't registered!! Young German Johannes Stephan will touted far and wide during the next window in an attempt to find a loan contract for him.
I doubt I'll make a profit this month, Nicholson is one goal away from his seasonal landmark of 15 goals - in seven matches it's not a bad strike rate, and long term, it will be 50K well spent.
Slap, tickle, pop.
Humble pie at the press conference....then one question about what an "inspired" signing Vadja was, leading up to the dreaded question about will he feature in your plans again soon.
After that, instant fine for Vadja of two weeks wages, and then the stern carpeting after he complained about being fined.