Okay. My bag is already packed for Barcelona, that’s how geeked I am about this trip. I have two matches, the Inter Champions League and El Clasico.
Now who the hell am I going to be seeing for these matches?**
First off, let’s discuss the import:
If we lose against Inter and Rubin Kazan beat Dynamo Kyiv, we are out of the Champions League. Huge.
If we lost against the EE at home, we go down to them in the standings (presuming that we both win this weekend), and lose significant space in the psychological war that is a Liga season between the two giants.
Who will we be able to call upon?
Well, I’m pretty much ruling out Henry for the Bilbao match, our next, because he basically played the better part of an adult lifetime against Ireland in France’s tempestuous World Cup qualifier. Full match, all of extra time, on Wednesday, with a Saturday match. Lordy.
And Zlatan Ibrahimovic is out with an aggravation of the hamstring injury that he was already nursing as a result of tweaking it against Mallorca.
Eric Abidal is laid up with a thigh injury, though our physios are working like dogs to get him ready for the EE match. Inter is out of the question.
So what we know right now is that we don’t know. Anything. Sport and EMD are saying that Ibra is out for Bilbao, which will be a tough one for us in their lion’s den. But if all is right, we shouldn’t need him to beat Bilbao. Problem is that we won’t have a fit, fresh Henry either, which means who at the 9? Our cuddly toy? Doubtful. That front line remains to be seen.
I would say not to get worked up about any potental injuries against the EE until we definitely know. Hamstrings are scary things, because they have the potential to ruin a player’s season if the injury isn’t diagnosed and treated properly. So the question becomes do we face two immense matches without our BANGS? We’ll just have to see, right?
Here’s some other stuff that’s going on
Abidal has a contract deal on the table, that he is expected to sign. This is good news, as he is a vital cog in our defensive, possession-hungry machine. Just don’t play him at center back. Ever. Please. Thank you.
Gai Assulin is rumored to be resisting talks about a new deal. His current one expires in June, and is his head being turned by Premiership fame? Arsenal and Chelsea are two of the names rumored to be nosing around him.
Thiago and Dos Santos are on the contract fast-track machine, which is very good news. I know that this is not the most popular decision, but I think that those two, in a few years, are going to be on our lips more than Assulin. Particularly Johnny Two-Time.
Milito played an exhibition match earlier this week, and is fine. Goblins didn’t carry him away, his knee didn’t blow up and most importantly, he feels good. No residual pain, no nothing. Could he be one of our January signings, so to speak? For those who don’t already know, I love what Milito brings to the side. He isn’t a Marquez or Pique, with the long, attack-starting passes. He isn’t a Puyol, the beating heart of our side who goes flying about. What he is, however, is a man. Who makes opposing teams think before venturing into the box, because he doesn’t screw around in the box. Lock and load, baby. I like the fact that we will soon be able to call upon him.
**As planned/promised, I will be live Tweeting from both the Champions League and Inter matches. I expect that everyone here will be LiveBlogging away for both those matches, but fyi. I am kevvwill on Twitter.