09.23 – Well, the law of averages suggests Boro had to beat us sometime, and last night they did. We gave a run out to kids Clichy, Bentley and Quincy, who partnered Kanu up front. Not much of a game to look at really. Boro had the best chances, it has to be said. Juninho hit the post in the first half, took advantage of some poor positional play from Gael Clichy and some non-existent tracking back from David Bentley to score the only goal of the game, and we can be thankful that Joseph Desire Job is so shit he missed from 6 yards late on.
I thought Clichy played well, a little naïve defensively at times, but he’s got pace to burn to make up for any little mistakes. I know Bentley’s position is not wide left, and he showed some nice touches, but overall didn’t do too much. I’d like to see him play more centrally. Quincy has a lot of step-over thingies, and looks very, very quick. It’d be interesting to see him with better service. I was impressed with keeper Graham Stack though, who made two excellent saves, one from Juninho and one from Pastahead, looked solid throughout and seems to be decent cover for Jens Lehmann. We saw a little bit of Jerome Thomas and Ryan Smith, but although we had lots of possession and put them under a lot of pressure near the end, there was to be no teenage hero. Still, we should be very proud of the kids for getting us this far in the first place, well done to all of them. Oh, and a word about Edu who was outstanding last night (corners apart). I wish he’d get a few more games, but you’ve got to give him credit for being a professional and always being happy to play whenver he does get a chance.
Obviously this result is going to have a bearing on the kind of team the boss puts out at the Riverside for the second leg, although the boss says he’ll stick with the kids, but next up in the Borothon is the FA Cup 4th round on Saturday. No doubt the big guns will return for that.
Arsenal were yesterday linked with a move for Feynoord starlet Robin van Persie. According the Dutch club our first bid was turned down and they’re waiting for Arsenal to come back with an improved offer. Given our reticence to do any kind of transfer dealing in public, you have to wonder whether Feynoord might have just ensured the first bid is also the last. We’ll see. Anyway, it may all be irrelevant as it seems we’ve already signed Patrick Kluivert.