Basque Boys – Part 25: Draws and broken jaws | @NTR9798

Happy Friday! Before I hand over to Nick I’d just to extend my congratulations to Nick and his family for welcoming his little regen Noah this week. A future manager in the making no doubt. Let’s see what Daddy Nick is up to in Bilbao…

Hola! Cruise liner CM9798 has docked in Bilbao again for another Friday with the Basque Boys. We made a promising start to the season last week, but with a tough run of games including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Betis, and Man Utd coming up, is it all about to go pear-shaped?…

This isn’t an ideal way to start the week, I do have a few players listed, but with the Spanish transfer window closed until January, this might not be the last I hear from the board.

Anyway, we begin with Copa Del Rey action, and a 1-1 draw with Compostela isn’t the worst result in the world after Ezquerro’s red card, but the away goal could be a problem. Barca losing to Sevilla makes me feel slightly better.

After the hammering at Deportivo last week, we’re back to winning ways in the league against Cordoba. There’s always value in giving your players until the hour to get their sh*t together…

I’ve one eye on Barcelona at the weekend, so make eleven changes to finish off MTK. Santi Ezquerro atones for his red card against Compostela, and the £250k will help pay the wages for another week.

There’s only so far teams packed with grey players can go, so it’s no surprise to draw a good team in the quarter-finals. Betis still have Jarni and Finidi, but lost Alfonso, Fernando, and Oli long ago.

It doesn’t get any easier in the Copa Del Rey either, with Atletico waiting in the quarters if we get past Compostela.

Our first trip to the Nou Camp ends all-square. We matched Barca all the way, but I always sensed an equaliser coming, there was just something in the air that night…

To the second leg with Compostela. Sadly Penev’s early strike isn’t their Ohen-ly goal, but Guerrero strikes late to send us through on away goals and leave our opponents rotting in their little green bin.

Time for a Basque derby, and time for revenge for all those times Sociedad wouldn’t sell to us. We trail against the run of play, but cometh the hour, cometh the man, or in this case, men, as Guerrero and Arenaza save the day.

We’re missing Laslandes against Atletico, and I’ve been concerned about Etxebe’s form, but what do I know? Even Juninho popping up like an annoying little mole as always doesn’t upset me as we dish out a walloping…

Fair play, I’ll admit it was a shock to me too…

We pepper the Betis goal in a dress rehearsal for our Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final, and after fifteen shots, we finally score. We feel the wrath of Ramis’ revenge, but a Van der Sar mix-up gifts Laslandes a tap-in for the win.

I’m getting sick of Compostela, and the smell of their stadium, but Perez and Guerrero enjoy themselves, and we keep a first clean sheet in six games. Manuel said that he “knew nothing” about a foul, but the ref was having none of it.

Oviedo have always been our bogey team up until now, but not even big Vik Onopko can stop us today, Arenaza grabs his first Basque Boys hat trick as we hand out some long-overdue payback – we’re flying!

Or at least we were. In true champ style, you can always rely on a crap team to piss on your fireworks. You can Shivute up your arse!

What’s worse than losing to Valladolid? This…

Ezquerro tries his best to fill Guerrero’s boots against Atletico in the cup, but we’re just not the same team without our talisman. Loinaz’s late away goal could prove vital though.

I don’t have much to say about this dismal draw with Antandec, they’re probably up the Grove laughing at us now. The draws are killing us, but thankfully Real Madrid drew as well, but of course Barcelona won.

Now for our first final of the season, and it’s off to Old Trafford for the first leg of the European Super Cup final, where we’re without Karanka, De Pedro, Idiakez, Arenaza, and Guerrero – just perfect.

We hit United’s ice-Berg, but stay afloat, and lead after half an hour. Shearer naturally scores with his only shot at goal, but we take advantage of a 37 year-old Peter Schmeichel with declining stats and ratings, to take home a 2-1 advantage.

I was only thinking that things had been a bit quiet compared to normal on the injury front, that’s probably why we’ve been doing so well.

We end the week at rock-bottom Mallorca. We’re all over them, and just as I think we’ve finally scored, it’s disallowed. But Arenaza comes on to get the winner, and we’re boosted by the news that Real Madrid lost to Antandec.

This is just taking the piss now…

So at the halfway point, we sit third with a nice seven-point cushion over Sevilla. We’re just a point behind Real Madrid, but twelve behind Barcelona, it really is annoying how good they are on this game!

I’m not too annoyed with our two losses, but some of the draws should definitely have been wins. We’re doing ok though, goals clearly aren’t a problem, Karanka has made a big difference to our defence, and the new formation keeps delivering results.

So that’s this week’s excursion done, and it’s time to get yourselves back on the boat and into your glad rags, ready to go and see Jane McDonald…

Join us next week for second legs with Atletico and Man Utd, our Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final with Betis, and league games with Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Deportivo, and Barca among others. Adios!

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