The halfway point

Travelling to Mostar then having some time off.

And so onto the final group game in the Uefa Conference League. We’re headed to Bosnia, or possibly Herzegovina, to play HŠK Zrinjski Mostar. They come from, unsurprisingly the city of Mostar, which is best known for the fifteenth century Staro Most bridge, a UNESCO heritage site. It’s a bugger to get to so travelling there will involve a tortuous journey involving changing planes and trusting to public transport in an under-developed part of Europe. Much like getting the train home from Villa Park, in fact. Whatever happened to the days of travelling on the team plane and having to wear a tie?

The ground holds around 9,000, there’ll be 450 of us in there along with their ultras, a few normal supporters and a load of fireworks. When we played them at Villa Park we were still a bit unsure of this European malarkey and needed a late goal to get the win. Since then they’ve got rid of their manager and the new bloke is a former player who’s never managed a club or indeed any senior team before. We’ve been unbeatable and we’ve already qualified for the knockouts but we need a point to win the group and avoid the extra game. You knew that already.

What all this means in terms of the sort of team the boss puts out is unknown. Does he make sure that we get the point and plays the strongest side, or can get it regardless and give the rest a run-out? Or does he think the Legia Bottle Throwing Society are bound to play up again so they’ll be thrown out of the competition? Decisions, decisions. The one thing that’s almost certain is that whatever he does will be the right idea, even if we don’t think it is at the time. He’s Unai Emery, we aren’t. Get this one out of the way and we can start to think serious. See you in the next round.