Monday 18th October 2010
Every season we get games like Saturday and as the dust settles I think we all realise that we came away with the No 1 priority achieved.
Without being disrespectful to our opponents if we are going to challenge for the title, Saturday's was a fixture we simply had to win. Especially of course after what happened in our last home league outing!
Of course, as seems the norm these days, it was another game that included one or two controversial moments but overall the TV replays came out fairly favourably I feel.
Seb was onside (just) when the ball was played in for our disallowed goal so unfortunately that one went against us. Some might say our penalty, on the other hand, was debatable but replays suggested Marouanne was touched in the box. The defender certainly went in for the tackle and was a million miles from the ball!
So, after dominating the first 20 minutes or so without making it tell, we went in at half time level and upbeat instead of totally frustrated and being a goal behind.
The second period could not have started better with our Moroccan striker at the heart of the action once again, this time neatly slotting home to give us what was to be a match-winning second goal.
A huge three points then as this period of the season's almost match-by-match competition change sees us take on the other team in our Champions League group with a 100 per cent record so far - Shakhtar Donetsk.
It is a fixture many of us remember for when we grabbed three points in the dying seconds of a game we were losing as the clock hit 90 minutes. Martin Keown in particular will have fond memories, netting an unlikely double to see us home in 2000.
Teams from that part of the world are always extremely talented technically and never make it an easy fixture. I don't expect tomorrow to be any different.
It also sees a quick return for Eduardo since he moved on to pastures new. Reactions from supporters when an 'old boy' returns very much vary from player to player. I expect nothing more than a fantastic one to welcome him back.
That's where the niceties should end though as three points are to be played for.
Wrap up warm if you are heading to N5 tomorrow night, it's due to be a bit chilly!
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