We handled our business a week ago at home taking control of the tie with a 4-1 victory. We should be feeling comfortable. But not complacent. We saw a considerable dip in form for our team with one of the more unsatisfying 0-0 ties I’ve seen in a while. As Jeremy eloquently discussed, Europa is where some of our beloved team’s proudest moments and achievements have taken place. Even if the tie seems like it is probably in hand, we cannot afford to falter on the doorstep of the Europa group stages.
I know I’m still a bit rattled about the Kondogbia saga. But whether or not you like the outcome, I think we can be thankful that that the uncertainty, rumors, and distractions are over with. We can now move on and focus on the men in the locker room who are here and want to be here.
Of course, his departure leaves our depleted center of the pitch that much more depleted. Del Nido has said that, given our injuries, we might be getting in up two more players. With Kondogbia’s buyout clause triggered we are actually allowed an additional 30 days (extending beyond the close of the transfer window) to conduct a signing as his replacement.
In the short run, we’ll have to find cover looking pretty far down the depth chart. M’Bia should be available, and early reports suggest he might start in the back line. He could be paired either with Navarro, filling in in the center, or with Cala. On the left, I’m hoping Moreno will be reinserted in the starting lineup with Coke on the right. None of that really inspires much confidence for me, but hopefully it will be sufficient to make it through to the next round.
For some reason that I don’t fully understand, Cristoforo won’t be playing. This seems to bad and like it would’ve been an ideal situation for him to get some time. Rabello had better start, and wouldn’t it be great to see a little more of Bacca?
Who am I kidding? I have no clue who the hell is going to start. Let’s just hope that whoever plays, plays well, and that we make it through this match and onto the next round without any more damn injuries.