I am SORRY for not being about for 2 days, it’s not because I’ve lost interest in talking about the pretty features of Dennis Suarez, NO, it’s because my brother-in-law gave me a HORRENDOUS case of BAD TIMES. I’m sorry to be so vague here… but I picked it up two days ago, but just the fever stage… I managed to fly to Chicago and back, and as I walked in the door it was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Truly tragic… but, but, but… that winter gut has gone… so who is really winning?
I tell you who else won last night… Unai Emery. The Europa League machine from Spain only went and done it again with a pretty damn convincing win over Napoli.
He brought in the big guns, he shipped the not so big guns to the bench, and we witnessed the destruction of a very limp Napoli who just weren’t up for the test. They kind of reminded me of the period when we stocked up on tiny players… everyone was a LOTR extra, which made for pretty moments, but brute force usually wins out unless you’re Barca.
Aaron Ramsey stepped up for the first goal after some great four-way play between AMN, Ozil, and Lacazette. The final part of the move saw Lacazette thread a pass through a set of legs to AMN, he touched the ball, 180’d and swept it to Ramsey who was ready to poke it past Meret at the far post. Props to Ozil in the move, just couldn’t be arsed to write that many words.
The second goal was a little more fortuitous. LT hounded the ball off Napoli in a pressing move when they were fannying around in their own half, he drove at goal, cut the ball back into space with a neat turn, and struck his shot. Koubililaly, who’d initially looked in control in the Napoli defence dropped an unfortunate knee on the strike, the deflection was pretty beastly and beat Meret (who was very good).
The shame of the game was that we didn’t really capitalize on a very weak performance from Carlo. We dominated possession, we had them beaten for most of the game, but we didn’t make our 16 attempts on their goal count. The shooting boots were a bit dusty and the pessimist in most of us is likely concerned whether a two-goal lead will be enough for next week. Ramsey missed a very simpled chance with a lovely Mikhi cut back, and Auba fluffed his lines.
I did worry that Napoli started to find their way into the game late on, they were getting in behind us and using their pace to better effect. If they start like that next week, it’ll be tough to keep a clean sheet.
The only other groan that you could have is that Aaron Ramsey is in the absolute form of his life and making the decision to bomb him off look a poor one. I mean, even worse was keeping him on the bench when he was fit. But there we go, he’ll be a tough one to replace, and I totally get why the club didn’t want to spend that money on him… I just hope the makeshift recruitment team we have at the moment has a plan to replace his talent.
Once again, it’s odd that we can put in such an incredible showing against Napoli, then tank away from home against teams like Rennes and BATE. It does help when you leave players like Mustafi and Elneny out of the starting 11, but those two names don’t really compute why we lose our spirit and motivation.
At least we’re in the mixer. All we need is one goal. Napoli has to come at us and we should have the tools available to bully them and their flimsy brand of EURO MELT football.
I didn’t realise the semi was already drawn… looking like there’s a low chance of reuniting with Santi Cazorla as his Villareal took a 3-1 beating from Valencia… however, Emery has been at Valencia, so that’ll be a big one for him.
A fun game in Portugal, Joao dropping a hattrick for Benfica as they took down Frankfurt. He looks a very special player. Chelsea took a 0-1 win against Slavia Praha, so things looking good for them as well.
Right, good times, let’s be having you in the comments. x