Halfway round Europe

It’s the third game in the Conference League and we’re off to Alkmaar.

If it’s Thursday it must be Europe. We were waiting long enough so there’s no point in complaining about too many matches; just get out there and get on with it.

Next up on our Continental tour is Alkmaar, which is a town in the Netherlands not far from the North Sea. Then again neither is anywhere in the Netherlands. It’s also not far from Amsterdam, which is where I daresay most of our supporters will be heading. Some of them might have tickets and a few of them might even get to the match.

And in the midst of all this frivolity Villa will be playing in the Uefa Conference League. The first two matches were a bit of a rehearsal but with everyone in the group level on points and goal difference this is where the fun starts. It’s odd to think that our manager is a cup specialist yet that’s where our worst performances in the past twelve months have come and if we’re going to get much further in this one we’ve got to start performing.

We’ll probably see a few changes from the all-conquering league team and whether that includes Jhon Duran or not is open to question. The fact that a player’s future can suddenly be in doubt because of what he puts on Instagram is yet further indication that the game’s gone, but luckily we don’t get the accompanying ‘earts breaking very often and this won’t be one of them.

The ground’s bound to be miles out of town and there won’t be enough buses after the match. I don’t doubt that their ultras or whatever they call themselves will be up for it, and that if anything happens it’ll be our fault. It always is. I also know that whatever team Unai puts out should be enough to win this one. After all, we’ve got a good record when it comes to playing European games in the Netherlands.