Fancy a Six Pack?
Thursday 20th October 2016
Yesterday was always going to be enjoyable off the pitch. A friend and fellow season ticket holder reached a half century in years so a lunchtime meet was arranged in central London. To remember reaching that milestone with a nice 6 nil Champions League thumping was the icing on his birthday cake. And for those not celebrating it was pretty fine too!
Looking back at a fixture from the past has proved impossible on this occasion of course. Not only have we never played Ludogorets Razgrad but from what I understand we have never taken on any team from the country of Bulgaria. I’ve never even been there on holiday so a tale of experience will not be coming from that avenue. Not that anyone would be interested in that anyway!
Covent Garden played host to yesterday’s build up, a fine hostelry looking after us on the food and liquid front accompanied by all the usual banter. Trying desperately to not sound totally condescending however, it lacked the PMT, anticipation and general excitement of a Champions League night when the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich come to town.
Our friends from Razgrad are the outsiders in our Champions League group and they came to North London to take on our team who are very much in form right now. So, on paper, it looked like there could be only one outcome. If we as fans go into a game thinking like that it doesn’t matter too much. The danger was if our players did the same. Complacency could lead to us coming unstuck as perhaps, we have in the past.
Alexis’ sublime chip gave us the start we needed but our visitors showed plenty of reasons to know we were in a game over the next 30 minutes or so. But without conceding, one more goal would pretty much see us home and dry. And Theo’s stunning strike from distance gave us just that.
So half time and it was all smiles, comfort and confidence that we could go on and reach 7 points from our first three games in the group. As always at 2 nil, the next goal is hugely important and once the Ox slotted home to make sure it was us, the whole affair felt like a case of ‘how many’ rather than ‘win or lose’.
In the latter stages Mesut helped himself to a quick fire hat-trick, finishing some thoroughly decent passes with aplomb and turning a comfortable victory into a bit of a rout..
So, another thoroughly entertaining and successful Champions League night puts us in a strong position. We are only half way through however, so we still have plenty of work to do to reach the knockout stages.
Thoughts now return to the Premier League and another home game, this time as we welcome Middlesbrough to North London. Another one that looks good on paper…..but so did Swansea at home last weekend and that proved to be a tough old afternoon.
There are hundreds of football clichés out there and ‘there are no easy games’ is just one of them. If we show that the respect it deserves, we will be switched on and ready for this latest hurdle.
Come on you mighty reds!