We have had a good 11 days, starting with the trip to Odessa for the Zorya game, not all the hype it was made up to be, some trouble with the small group of united fans escorted by the police to the game, but we made our own way, hotel sorted us out taxi’s to the ground, or at least it dropped us off and we walked across the park, it wasn’t bad at all, no worse than walking across Stanley park 15 years ago, and that is open.
5 of us had category 1 seats and we were sat amongst the Ukrainian fans, not all Zorya fans, but partisan locals, the ones who spoke English were friendly enough and wanted to know what we felt about the premier league this season, any way we ran out deserving 2-0 winners that saw us take the runners up place in the group. The lads had a grueling journey home, initially out flight from Odessa to /kiev was 3 hours late, Lise and I missed our connections and ended up flyingvia Frankfurt to Madrid, so 3 hours late getting into Madrid.
So progressing to the next round, a trip to Saint-Etienne with the 2nd leg being away on Wednesday evening 22nd February.
Following the Zorya game, we played hosts to Spurs and beat them 1-0 and we should have tied it up earlier with the chances we had, heart in mouth job again towards the end, thinking it could be Arsenal over again.
Wednesday night , flight from Madrid at 16-40, booked before we knew about the train strike and all the problems on the roads, we got stuck in traffic and missed about all of the first half, luckily in for Pogba’s goal. ran out 2-1 winners, with that man Zlatan scoring the winner late on. Getting back ot heathrow was a lot easier, less than an hour, hotel for 00-00 and then up again at 03-30 for shower, and to make the 06-20 flight back to Madrid.
Friday soon came round, 13-30 flight back to Manchester via Heathrow, flight late, but only by 15 minutes, so on time for BA on the shuttle lately, bus left 11-45 on Saturday for West Brom, stopped a a great place called Desi Junction, High Street, West Bromwich, reasonable prices and indian food to die for, and very cheap.
taxi shuttle service to the ground, only a pound a head, got to the ground in good time, however still needed to meet one of the lads before kick off, comfortable 2-0 win, controlled the game from start to finish, and at the final whistle we were in a very good mood, 9 points from 3 games, keeps us in touch with the top 5 and now only 3 points behind city although have a game in hand, but playing Arsenal today could see them not get anything and then game on.
2 games over Xmas at home, Sunderland and Boro so lets hope we can keep the ball rolling. A tricky away game at West Ham on 2nd January then 4 home games in premiership, FA Cup and League Cup, just need a couple of the others to slip up and we press on, end of January and the league could look a lot different.
bit of travelling to do before then, Madrid this afternoon, home Friday 23rd subject to what happens with airline strikes and work to rule, then back to Madrid on 27th for the 4 days up to 30th December and the completion if my assignment in Madrid, been the 28 months by then, not bad for a 3 month project. Be good to get to see the house for a while, with a view to having a couple of moths doing as little as possible and re-charging the batteries.
Merry Xmas to all our members and friends, see you all Boxing Day, then again New Years Eve and for those of us lucky enough to have West Ham away tickets, a full day out on the 2nd January in London.
All the Best – Keith