добро утро (dobro utro) Positive friends and fans of The Arsenal,
Yet another pleasant Autumn morning here in Norfolk as I scribble the further instalment in what is turning into a very pleasant season indeed, on all fronts. Oh yes the pen is flowing across the page like warm creamy custard over a fresh peeled banana.
Of last night’s game Ludogorets came and, for the opening 30 minutes, gave a good account of themselves. They had done their homework and understood that to get something from the evening required a swift smash and grab of a goal, or better still two, then a retreat behind the barricades and let us do out worst. Those opening few minutes I would have to say their tactics nearly came off, with Wanderson, Cafu, Misidjan and Marcelinho ( I wrote the names down so as not to forget) buzzing around our half of the pitch and our defenders, and even Le Coq, hard pressed to keep a grip on them.
On two occasions in the opening 20 minutes Ospina pulled off saves that kept Johnny Bulgar at bay. Yet again the patient Colombian was called into immediate action after games on the bench and responded impeccably. Let in an unexpected goal at home early on CL night and it can be a long, long evening. Looking at the final score line one might forget our keeper’s key saves at a time when the game was very much in the balance. It would be wrong to do so.
Our first goal, delightful as it was, only temporarily halted them back and even then they pushed forward. Up the 41st minute this game was still a real contest, though one we were gaining a stranglehold of.
Our second goal however, young Theo’s unexpected but deadly strike from 25 yards to the top right hand corner, rocked the visitors. The flicker of hope which had sustained their energy through a bright first half was extinguished. They knew at 2-0 down that there was no realistic chance of restoring parity. Probably the timing of Theo’s goal meant that what would have been an upbeat orange sucking half time in the Ludogorets dressing room at just 0-1, was a much more sombre, “backs-to-the-wall-lads”, conversation.
Goals 3,4,5 and 6. The second half we dominated without, oddly enough, really hitting our best game I thought. As the visitors tired larger and larger spaces appeared and we have players who just love space and know what to do with it. In other games and so comfortably ahead we have sat back more but not last might, and the Ox and then Mesut helped themselves to the next four as we all saw. To a degree part of the shellacking the Bulgarians eventually suffered was down to a couple of questionable saves from the unfortunate Stoyanov but even we occasionally run into a keeper not at his best. An 11 minute hat-trick ? Ridiculous, but enjoy it when it comes to you son.
Match ball for Mesut. Relaxed end to the evening, everyone went home happy, probably even those 000’s who left at 4-0.
The game played in the right spirit. No cards, no diving, no obvious rough stuff. Hard but fair from both sides. Referee Dias a good effort. Who knew that Ludogorets have a London fan club !?! I see them as well able to steal third place from Basel. The only jarring note last night was some bizarre punditry on BT. I will not bother to name names or repeat the absurdities. You know who they are.
Two days break before Boro, a team whose confidence has sunk like a stone since a couple of decent opening results in August. A fragile opponent. I fancy our momentum will continue onward and upward. Whose to say when our scoring spree may end.
Enjoy your Thursday