Well. What to make of this recent run. Bedlam in Madrid. Mediocrity against Vigo. And then a nicely played game (in my opinion) but a crap result against Liberec midweek in Europa. I don’t know what to make of much of any of it.
What I do know, is that, regardless of my strong preference (which I believe is in line with most other visitors to this site) that Emery be given considerably more time to right the ship. Storm clouds are slowly starting to accumulate. As we entrench ourselves in mid-low table mediocrity, at some point we have to start being concerned about our European prospects for future seasons. And of course, there’s this little “difficulty” our team has winning matches away from Seville. There’s no other way to put it: it’s embarrassing. A total embarrassment. If we are going to turn this season around, it HAS to start and end with our away results. We’ve dug too big a hole now to find our way into Europe without getting more than 1 point maximum from every away match.
What I also know is that ANOTHER damn international break is going to come and disrupt my enjoyment of football for two weeks, obliterating any semblance of continuity in this herky-jerky season of inconsistent performances. And if we could SOMEHOW, miraculously find a way to win away at Espanyol, it would be momentous for the team, for its morale, for its confidence, and for its trainer.
Of course, that is easier said than done. First and foremost because, as I stated already, this is an away game. So we have 14 months of evidence that those wins don’t exactly come easy to us. And though Espanyol haven’t been in great form recently, there last two results at home were a tie against Malaga (0-0) and a win against Atletico (1-0), need I point out, Atleti’s only loss of the season. I think this match will be a war. To make matters worse, we will be without Gameiro (injury) and Mbia (red card), among the list of usual suspects. And Rakitic picked up a knock late against Liberec and, if he plays, might not be 100%.
I will refrain from calling this game a must-win. It’s three points, like any other. But in terms of exorcising demons and tamping down the early rumblings of crisis of confidence in the team’s leadership, it could be much much more.
Here’s the team: Beto y Javi Varas; Coke, Diogo, Navarro, Alberto Moreno, Cala, Fazio, Pareja y Carriço; Iborra, Rakitic, Cristóforo, Vitolo, Reyes, Jairo y Perotti; Bacca y Rusescu.