So,you left me and my Olympic Stadium-bound men in 8th position in the league, through to the Capital One Cup Quarter Final and facing a crunch match against Ajax in the Europa League. And it’s in the cup competitions that we started December.
The Canaries came to town for the League Cup, and we continued our happy form and disposition from November into December. 2-0, both goals for Andy Carroll, and we were through to the Semi-finals. To face…
Southampton were dispatched with equal panache before we faced up to Ajax in the Netherlands, and the stakes were extremely high. A win would secure our qualification, no questions asked, a draw would leave things a little more uncertain. And it was a win we secured with our best performance of the season thus far. Hello Knockout Rounds, goodbye decent scheduling.
Chelsea next, for a taste of what we would face in the league cup, and frankly I panicked. I went for it and lost 5-2. Devastated. Another win over Norwich gave me a big boost in confidence before we faced three games against Manchester sides in 8 days. Happy Christmas, everyone.
Busses were parked, and shapes were held, securing two 0-0 home draws before an exhausted West Ham side gave up and were shellacked 3-0 by Man Utd. We made them angry, and felt the force. Never mind.
January was just as action-packed. One win over Everton, a creditable draw at home to Liverpool and a draw with Sunderland were the positive league results, while we also lost to Newcastle. This month is of course essentially the month of cups, so we had a 3rd Round FA Cup draw with Eastleigh, which we won, happy days.
Most important was the Capital One Cup Semi-final double header with Chelsea of course. I aimed for my bus-parking tactics that were so successful in December, and we were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Mourinho’s men in the home tie. Heading to Stamford Bridge a goal down felt like an all or nothing sort of moment, so I just decided to go for a ‘chuck everything at them’ approach. And my word, did it nearly work. Michail Antonio lobbed a ball into the box which John Terry helpfully guided into the top corner to level the aggregate. This took us to extra time, and we went in bouncing, but sadly we just couldn’t keep it up. Oscar scored a screamer, and we had nothing left to chuck. Never mind.
Transfers? None. No-one of note left, so essentially I just didn’t have money to play with. I temporarily flirted with Patrice Evra for £350k, but his £45,000 wages turned me off big time. Never mind. Maybe we’ll get some money in September.