We started this season with a devastated back line losing Rami, Pareja, Carrico, and Andreolli for different stretches of time. But in the new year, the back line has been among the most steady parts of our team thanks to Rami, Kolo, and Carrico’s efforts.
Also, somehow the team has only minimally missed Krychowiak’s absence over the last few weeks. This has been primarily because in that same period of time N’zonzi’s performance has been excellent (despite a propensity to be targeted by referees for BS yellow and red cards). Cristoforo’s performances have come back down to earth, but he has been solid as well. Regardless, we should be very pleased that Krycho is now on the brink of returning. He’s a beast and I can’t wait to see him out there busting heads and not even bothering to take names again for us.
But our stretch of relatively good injury luck came crashing down in the last week. In the last few days we lost Vitolo, Konoplyanka, and the above mentioned, in great form N’zonzi for 2-3 weeks each.
With the international break coming up, maybe this actually wasn’t the worst time for some guys to sit out and get healthy. But the two games these guys will almost all certainly miss are 1) Home v. Basel and 2) Away v. Real Madrid.
It seems like whatever limited likelihood we could’ve had for getting points away at Real Madrid became even limited-er (especially with Banega having seen red). But probably not season altering. I’m considerably more worried about beating Basel. We need to score some goals. Having failed to score away, any scoring tie sees us knocked out. So I guess we need air tight defense more than we need lots of goals. But we could really use a bit of both. Having neither Kono nor Vitolo to help on the wings is a real concern if we want to go through to the next round. Sounds like Iborra did well contributing to the attack but he’s undoubtedly not a winger. Maybe Diogo is given another chance having not done particularly well in his first effort? Maybe Munoz can play on a wing? More Escudero on the left? I have no idea.
Anyway, this post isn’t very interesting and I definitely have things in my life I should stop avoiding.
Cheers gents. See you Thursday.
PS. Banega was extended after playing his qualifying number of matches against Villareal. I don’t know the terms of this extension and what his release clause is, but I assume it helps us at least a little with negotiating for what looks increasingly like his inevitable transfer.
OK seriously. I’m done.
PPS. This picture is one of the most awkward (and awesome?) I’ve seen in a long time. Savor it.