A big night at Bayer - 18/02/2003
It’s a special game tonight, for the club, for the manager, and for the players coming in for Al and Bellamy. For me, Bayer Leverkusen are there for the taking, although the sacking of their manager may have placed a spanner in the works. We’ll have to wait and see what impact this has on the Germans as sometimes there’s a honeymoon period where players can relax or play to make a point. Either way, and for all the talk that they’re only interested in the Bundesliga, I’m sure tonight’s performance will be an improvement on those given recently.
As for us, I also think we’ll play well. If Shola comes in and plays like he did in the Nou Camp, then we’ll be fine. I hear that Lua Lua has also been looking forward to game, and if he can turn it on, then it bodes well. My only fear is that they’ll try too hard. It’s a great opportunity for the pair but they’ll be straining to seize the opportunity. Carl Cort and Michael Chopra may also be on the bench, and the starting two will be aware that may not get 90 minutes. lets just hope they don't place themselves under too much pressure. An early goal would settle any nerves, lets just hope it goes to us!
Tonight's game is a route back into the competition, but only if we win. The fact that Leverkusen also play us next week means that we could pick up 6 points in eight days, and if so, and that’s by no means a guarantee, then we’ll face Barcelona with it all to play for - and that'll be a great, if not belated, birthday present for Bobby.
Is the strain beginning to tell at Man Utd? The king of mind games doesn’t seem to enjoying the fact that Arsenal have taken over from the Manchester club as the top side in England. For me, Man Utd’s internal problems will be music to ears of Arsene Wenger. The way the Arsenal players celebrated at Old Trafford last weekend highlighted what it meant to them – it was also a celebration that would have hurt Ferguson and Man Utd. It’ll be interesting to see how they react to their next few domestic games.
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