On a mission!
Fifteen years is a long time to wait for a victory, our bogey team or not. The biggest club in the land shouldn’t be allowed to just rock up and take the points, yes, but even still that’s quite a long stretch to not emerge victorious.
Was quite a stretch, it’s history now.
It was a huge game, a very important fixture given our slipping form the last few weeks. Another failure to collect maximum points would have seen big questions regarding the manager and this group of players.
We as a club were in danger of transforming from something special FC into something’s wrong FC. It’s been the latter recently and it really was time for the former to emerge.
They did, thank the good Lord.
And how timely too! Just when a statement is needed, just when some ‘stars’ are failing to shine, just when big questions are emerging surrounding this group they go and find the type of performance needed to inspire confidence, or strike fear depending upon your viewpoint.
The lineup told us our Greek Australian was reading from the same page as the support. A defensive midfielder was drafted in, a most welcome fact. A ‘take no shit’ local was selected at right back when the easier choice would have been the usual selectee. Our solo striker was played through the middle, not pushed wide.
Our manager got his big calls correct, alongside having his charges fired up and ready for the occasion.
Big pass marks all around, very reassuring at this stage of the season.
Bragging rights were up for grabs around the Forrest households dinner table. James wasn’t prepared to see his younger brother outshine him, and dug out a MOTM performance to hog the limelight, and give Ange selection headaches.
Liel Abada has been an asset on the right wing, but has competition for the berth from a ‘man’ ten years his senior.
Watching those two spur each other on sounds like great fun for us, a nightmare for the league’s left backs.
One game a week really suits James, this is his big chance to shine and cement his spot for the remaining fixtures especially the upcoming derby games.
The middle of the park saw the jaded Hatate finally get some rest, which paid dividends. I feared Ange was attempting to play his previously preferred trio into form, he had no such silly ideas. Tinker until it works I requested last weekend, wish granted. I expect one of our defensive mids to be selected from now on, we surely won’t simply return to Calmac, Hatate, O’Reilly now.
We shouldn’t return to Maeda shunted out to the wing either, through the middle or not at all please.
Himself, G-Mak, and Kyogo can rotate that one position, but only that one position.
That leaves us pretty strong up top just in time for the run in, happy days indeed.
If there’s to be any tinkering, it should take place with clean sheets in mind. The central defense pairing is well established by now, but just cant put together a run of clean sheets. Would big Jules improve that? Maybe. Would introducing him now be a risk? Definitely.
With the finish line in sight, I wouldn’t be chopping and changing to be honest, better the devil you know and all that.
They’ve only just got a true defensive midfielder in front of them, which could be the missing ingredient and the making of our rearguard pairing. Unlike the middle of the park, I vote to stick with them until the end for better or worse.
Speaking of better, when the gaffer has a full week free of distractions a more focused and better prepared unit should emerge. Eight weekend games remain, eight cup finals. With free weeks comes the opportunity to rest, to give days off, to get to know each other more.
To build more morale and team spirit, which might just be the most important quality needed to lift this title.
I recently wondered had something happened behind the scenes to cause our dip in form, but have no such questions this morning.
We were a team on a mission, the entire collective had one major goal and accomplish it they did.
I must credit the manager for that focus, just as I questioned him for allowing it to seemingly slip away recently.
Your bogey team presents an opportunity, to break your hoodoo, or more frustration.
When opportunity knocks, Ange answers, so breaking that hoodoo and building morale it is then.
The weekends results can be viewed as very satisfactory if you are so inclined. We put on the better performance of the two teams in the hunt, while adding to the goals difference tally. Three goals is much better than a single game winning strike, which doesn’t inspire much confidence.
Both sides had a bit of a party, one a pregame birthday bash that only served to increase the pressure on the team, the other a release of pressure while slaying a troublesome beast.
That only one team enjoyed the party and took advantage of the atmosphere speaks volumes.
One side likes their position and where they currently find themselves. We just can’t say that about the other side in this race.
It took time and hard work to reach that position, we won’t be giving it up without a real fight.
This team and manager are officially on a mission.
Champions, nothing less shall do.