In Spanish-language countries, two-legged ties are dubbed “la ida” and “la vuelta”, so this game today is the vuelta, or return. But it’s also a “return” of sorts for Enzo Maresca, former Sevilla player and newly minted Malagueño, making his first appearance in the powder blue that is apparently so fascinating to Arab oil barons. Enzo was with us during our best years, 05-09, and left last year for Olympiacos, where he played 24 times before joining our hated Andalucían neighbors in the January transfer window. I currently live the territory of the NFC North, land of Brett Favre (and his dong), and as a consequence have had plenty of exposure to former greats plying their trade for their once-sworn enemies. So the idea of “betrayal” doesn’t really enter into my feelings about Enzo, and as far as I’m concerned I thank Enzo for his service with us, and wish him the best on every day but days like today.
Of course, of far greater importance to me is the actual game that’s going to be played today. We conceded three away goals at home in the ida, which would normally be a disaster, but of course we scored five, and as such enter La Rosaleda with a fair amount of confidence, a two-goal advantage, a Navas, a Perotti, all three forwards, and….well, let me cut this short and say that we have the strongest lineup we’ve seen in months available, and the list of injured players is as short as it’s been all year, with three more players expected to rejoin the team this month.
On the other hand, there’s Malaga. If you haven’t read the article SRH linked in the previous post, you should check it out to learn all about the new players they’ve recently added to their roster, and their apparent pretense to make Malaga known for something other than the cement-walled, American-shopping-mall-of-Spain city they have down there. (Sorry, that was mean, but not only do I hate this team in sporting ways, their city really is kind of gross).
SPECIAL NOTE: We have the early game today, 12ET/11CT. So swing by this morning/afternoon (depending on which side of the Atlantic you call home), and we’ll have you well on your way in time to enjoy the Arsenal/City game later this afternoon. (Ugh, maybe I should have put that in quotes. To “enjoy” the Arsenal/City game.)