It’s the penultimate episode of Matt’s Forest of the future save! He’s tantalisingly close to restoring Forest to their best years but can he keep competing on all fronts? Catch up with part 10 here.
Hello and welcome back to my Forest blog and for the penultimate part. We head into 2008 as defending domestic treble champions and have set our sights on European glory. We’re top of the league, into the quarter finals of the Champions League and League Cup and about embark on our quest t retain the FA Cup.
We’re doing well, but we’re functional and hardly ripping up any trees, which might be best for a team called Forest.
2007 has been a great year for us, and we see it out with a league match against Watford. They have a strikeforce of Giggs, Heskey, Fowler and Owen, but the latter two are injured, which might explain why they are hovering around the relegation places.
Missing penalties won’t help their cause, nor will Shay Given conceding 4 goals. I’m pleased with that result, we played liquid football.
It’s a complete change of lineup when 3rd Division Bournemouth come to town in the FA Cup 3rd round and Alfonso does what he was bought to do, come up with valuable goals.
It’ll be Premiership Leeds in the next round at the end of January, but for now, it’s the quarter finals against Man City in the League Cup.
City are down to 10 men early doors, but it isn’t until they score a ridiculous own goal that we take control and book a semi-final spot.
We’ll take on Arsenal while it’s a north-east derby in the other.
Jarni Jnr is out for a few weeks, otherwise we are unchanged for the trip to mid-table Huddersfield.
Gifton Noel-Williams. I can say no more.
The board were as unimpressed as I was.
Time for some redemption against lowly Swindon. Debbah and Rubini shut down any thought of a Swindon comeback.
We’re quickly back to FA Cup action against Leeds who are chasing us hard at the top of the table. Amazingly they only have Thomas Myhre as a goalie and he’s injured so it’ll be a random fake goalie, who no doubt will be the reincarnation of Lev Yashin.
Maybe he’s actually the regen of Paul Rachubka. It should have been more than 4 really.
It’ll be Division 1 Portsmouth next time out.
Back to the league and our form has gone to pot.
With that, Leeds and Spurs jump above us in the table and we’re down to 3rd.
Back to the cups, my lovely cups. They’ll shield me from the inconsistencies of the league.
Lovely cups. Although conceding 3 away goals isn’t the greatest thing ever.
At least in the cup we entertain…
Four nil up and cruising and then we let in two silly goals.
Potential banana skin in the next round though…
Arsenal really should have made us pay for this.
But they didn’t and it’s another League Cup Final to look forward to
Back to the league and back to winning ways again, Nice to see Ascensio on the score sheet, he was a Stuart Pearce signing
All these cup games give us a bit of a fixture pile up in the league and so it’s a midweek date with our title rivals Spurs.
Rubini is rolling in the goals so much, Fred Durst could sing about him.
This game was duller than a tin of Dulux extra dull matt emulsion
After a long wait, we’re back into Europe and face Espanyol in the Champions League quarter finals.
The Lizard is suspended so Courtin takes over goalkeeping duties. We weather the storm of baby Keane getting sent off and everyone’s favourite Icelander gives us the lead and a valuable away goal, but the lead is ours for only 3 minutes and we come away with a draw.
While we await the return leg, we take on Lincoln City in the FA Cup Quarter Final.
Rubini is currently on fire and only a late lapse lets Lincoln in. We’re into the semi’s and another match up with first division Middlesbrough who we’ll meet soon in the League Cup Final, manager Joe Royle channelling his inner ‘Bryan Robson 1997’.
We travel to one of Bryan’s former clubs next and come away with 3pts courtesy of 3 goals with no reply. Utd looking a shadow of their former self these days, just like in real life really!
This win takes us into a table topping clash with Leeds. The scoreline suggest a close match, but in truth, our 3 goals in a 5 minute flurry flatters us and Leeds were cruising to the 3pts. Will this prove vital at the end of the season?
This run of form is good preparation for the return leg against Espanyol, where hold a slender advantage having drawn 1-1 away n the first leg.
Thompson puts us ahead and when Gislason doubles our lead I start to relax. Edilson gets one back to set up a nervy last 15 minutes but a Thompson second settles my nerves. Espanyol have a player called Nayim in their first 11, but there are no last minute lobs here and we’ve booked our place in the semi-finals. It was no mean feat defeating a talented Espanyol side, but it gives me confidence that this side can go even further.
The draw is made and we avoid Milan and another trip to Spain. Monaco was probably the best draw we could have had and we’ll pick up the semi-final in the last part next week.
There’s just time for one more league match to finish off this post and we’re away to Villa in 10th spot while we sit second to Leeds by 2 pts but with a game in hand.
Of course, our form couldn’t last could it? Dukes with the early goal was a definite Hazard.
So, at the end of this part, we’re down to 3rd, our game in hand could put us back 2pts from Leeds at the top, but it’s a big if at the moment.
At the bottom, newly promoted Chelsea are struggling, as are Joe Kinnear’s Watford, whose job is in danger.
We definitely need to win our game in hand. I’ll be back next week for the final part of this season and this save, can I go out in a blaze of European glory and make Cloughie proud? See you next time.
Before I go, my customary update on the teams you turned down:
Liverpool – Up to an impressive 8th for Shearer’s team. We beat them in the League Cup and they got knocked out of FA Cup by Bury, but they are through to the Semi-Finals of the Cup Winners Cup after dramatically overcoming Real Madrid 5-4 in the quarter finals to set up a semi-final meeting with Inter Milan. Some chap called Neville the hero in Spain.
Espanyol – Well, we’ve knocked them out of Europe and they are down to 5th in La Liga but have a Copa Del Rey semi-final with Sevilla to look forward to, so there’s that.
Lazio – Well, they are 7th in Serie A with nothing left to play for, not a sausage.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Matt_C_Wills