Thursday, April 01, 2010

Benfica away and Birmingham home

We went to Portugal last week and came back with an away goal but little else. Danny Agger gave us the opener with this lovely flick. Then Luisao went through Torres from behind in a tackle that should have seen him see red. Babel decided to step in and defend El Nino, which is fair enough. But he then stuck his hand in Luisao's face which was thick and the ref sent him off. After that we were up against it. Insua got booked and conceded a peno. Later on, Carra conceded another with a handball inside the area. They took both of their kicks and we left Portugal with a 2-1 deficit. The away goal means it's not insurmountable but we're up against it. We've no left back for the second leg tomorrow as Insua is suspended. It could be three at the back or else Agger at left back? We'll find out soon.

The weekend started well with Spurs losing to Sunderland. I can see them falling away now. Unfortunately we didn't fulfill our side of the bargain and all we could manage at Birmingham was a 1-1 draw. Gerrard hit a great shot from inside the area in the second half but we let them equalise soon after. Rafa took Torres off with around 25 mins to go. I didn't really agree with it but maybe he had a knock. In fairness, Ngog changed things when he came on and we created lots of chances. He wasn't able to convert any and we left with a point. On the face of it, it's not a bad result as they've held everybody decent to a draw at home. But with games running out and City in pole position, it looks like we'll miss out on fourth. It would take a catastrophic dip in form for them to throw it away now. Looks like we're headed for the Europa league again next season.

But first there is the small matter of this years competition. We've got to overturn the 2-1 score at home tomorrow. They showed they're dangerous in the first leg and our defence will be a bit patched up as we've no left back. I think we can do it but we'll need to keep the likes of Di Maria quiet and watch out for them hitting us on the break. The ref in the first leg gave us very little so I'm hoping that evens itself out here.

Milan Jovanovic has confirmed that he'll sign for Liverpool on a free transfer this summer, work permit permitting. Sky Sports say that we're chasing 18 year old Rangers defender Danny Wilson.
It seems like Riera will be staying in L4 for the rest of the season after his move to Russia stalled. It's a pity as I doubt he'll play again and will be collecting his pay packet while sitting on his arse. Sky say we've offered a trial to 15 year old French player Moussa Kouyate who plays for Paris FC.

Here are the highlights of the reserves 2-1 win over Bolton. The goals came from David Ngog and an own goal from a Bruna free kick.

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