Fun In The Sun
Sunday 12th May 2019
Considering there was every chance this afternoon could have been extreme ‘end of season’ fare, it was a pretty entertaining 100 odd minutes in the sunshine. And importance wise it means we have secured 5th spot and at the very least automatic qualification for the Europa League group stages next season. Of course we are one win from securing more but if it all goes wrong out in Baku, the guarantee of another European adventure is a small consolation.
Getting home from Valencia on Friday night and having to leave early on Saturday morning to catch my flight up to Manchester for a fixture that had far less relevance that it looked like in might have a couple of weeks ago was tough if I’m honest.
But after an entertaining night out, simple train travel up to Burnley and a good win on a quite beautiful early Summer’s afternoon I am very glad I made the effort.
Burnley Cricket Club is immediately behind the away end at Turf Moor and on match days it doubles up as a decent enough place to enjoy pre-match refreshment. I’ve done that a few times now down the years but today was the first time there has actually been a match taking place. Our hosts were taking on Clitheroe in a cup game and the batting side probably could have chosen a better day to slump to 28 for 5! The stick the outgoing batsmen got was amusing to say the least!
As for The Clarets, they are quite a noisy lot and just like the team they support they do everything they possibly can to make it an uncomfortable afternoon for any visiting team.
Having made 9 changes to the team that played out in Spain we knew we could be in for a difficult afternoon, particularly when trying to defend against the expected aerial bombardment. And we rode our luck at times in the first half. But whilst recognising that I also felt we offered an attacking threat that could have just as easily seen us take the lead.
Going forward in the second period we looked very dangerous I felt, Auba and Alex Iwobi in particular for me. And if our opener was down to a defensive error, our 2nd was an absolute cracker. How our in form striker didn’t come away with the match ball for the 2nd time in a week is a miracle. And not winning the Golden Boot outright was the result.
A decent game, performance and victory then to complete our league season and our thoughts turn to the long long trip back to Azerbaijan at the end of the month.
That includes all the difficulties of travel arrangements, Visas, match ticket applications and outrageous costs of course.
Good luck with all that people, I hope to see many of you out in Baku.
Up the Gunners!