Apologies for the lack of a Boro match report, being away on business for a few days is making updating somewhat difficult. But in truth, there wasn’t a lot to say – the 2-0 win was about as routine as a Premiership victory can ever be, such was the lack of fight from our relegation-bound opponents.
It is incredible to see a side in the drop zone play without any spirit, and a shame – there are clubs I would much rather see relegated than Boro (Hull, just above them, and Newcastle being two), but with a tough run in it is hard to see how they can survive.
For us, however, it was perfect preparation – Cesc got both goals, the first a stunning move with Bendtner and Arshavin, the second a calmly taken goal from Eboue’s excellent pass. Aliadiere missed a good chance, but then we are talking about Aliadiere – three goals in three games against us is surely beyond him after all we saw when he was with us. We were able to give a half to Djourou after Silvestre was taken off with back spasms, Adebayor had a run out (walk might be a more appropriate term given the lack of pace in the game by that point), and we rested Cesc and Walcott towards the end. Lovely.
Tomorrow night, clearly, is going to be a whole lot harder. We’ve never faced United in European competition – over two legs it is difficult to see how it will play out. Will United try to bury us in the first leg, and run the risk of conceding counter attacking goals as Liverpool did last week? Or will the match be a cagey affair?
To be honest, I’m hoping for an open game, because I think we can really hurt them if it is, and I’m not sure our defence can keep them out in any case. In other words, we need an away goal – losing 1-0 would not be a good result.
It’s exciting though. Last time (the only time) we were in this position, we were exceptionally nervy against Villareal. But United are a different animal, we have to rise to the occasion as they surely will.
It promises to be a thriller. Hold on to your hats.