If I start by saying that the Bhangra dancing to Chas and Dave and MacNamara’s Band at half time was a highlight then you’ll get the drift.
A slow & sluggish first half performance was improved on in the second half, Eriksen’s goal was the only profit despite the many attempts to make the scoreline more comfortable. We held on a tad nervily but Bournemouth got what they deserved; they played little football of note and rarely supported the lonely King with numbers.
For us, Poch went for four at the back given the absence of Davies; we had three right backs in the squad in total and no left backs. You’ve got to hope Gentle Ben is back for Tuesday. At the start of the second half we seemed to flirt with three at the back but that was abandoned quickly, either because we took the lead or because no-one on the field seemed to understand what they were doing, there were a couple of long conversations between Trippier and Poch that seemed to lead to more rather than less confusion.
Eriksen took his goal beautifully, the ball fell to him kindly after he was challenged just inside the box and he tucked in a low left footer, which is surprising only in that he looked very out of sorts in the first 45 minutes, mind you, he wasn’t the only one. Son too (Woo hoo!) had a smelly one, something he was well aware of given his reaction to being substituted for Sissoko in the second half.
The positives are mostly circumstantial – a home win at last, a clean sheet, third place still and a bit of a gap below us – but the negatives were more visible – the lack of speed on the flanks and the general plodding in the centre, the biggest shadow was cast by Sanchez though whose defending was naive on occasions and who was lucky that King didn’t make more of his opportunities when he either beat our man to the ball or wrestled it from him.
Winks played as well as could be asked of a boy making his fifth (?) start, Alli was our main source of creativity and will be missed in the Bernabeu.
My ambition at the start of this home season was not to take games at this monument to emotionless Brutalism too seriously, thirty eight away games and all that, it’s tricky though when you’re spending hours in the equivalent of a departure lounge feeling like it’s rude to reach for a crossword.
Some big ones coming up, Real and then a potential full house against Liverpool next Sunday. An atmosphere maybe?
I’ve just reread the above, it’s probably a notch too downbeat, we played well and deserved to win.
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