1. A good week on the pitch and – rarely – off it as well. Off field first, and City’s accounts were good news, in both tone and content. Tone because the club was pretty open about its figures, explaining that they were perhaps not as good as the headline profit may have suggested and stressing that the summer’s whopping transfer commitments were not included. And in content because they show the club breaking even and living broadly within its means.
2. There are flies in the ointment, of course. The debt is stable, to our considerable relief, but it is still frightening large. It’d be interesting to hear what plans the club have to bring this down in the coming years. The SMC’s performance is a concern too. Nonetheless, neither represent an immediate threat to the club’s future, and for that we congratulate the owners.
3. Needless to say, if Hull City AFC are making a profit, the need to call them something else is zero. Exactly the same as before, in fact.
4. Now, to the game at Arsenal. City were terrific weren’t they? Not that Match Of The Day noticed (their one-eyed view of the game both in commentary and analysis was sick-making and pathetic) but the elongated period when Steve Bruce’s side led the match was thoroughly deserved and had it ended in a repeat scoreline of the win at the Emirates just over six years ago, nobody would have had a right to complain.
5. Arsenal still did complain, of course, indulged by a national media that cannot see beyond the fortunes and pitfalls of “big” clubs. The Gunners had a point when looking at Mohamed Diamé’s rather robust way of getting opponents out of the way on his path to goal, but nevertheless their endless bleating and woe-is-me posturing is most unsavoury and we find ourselves simply ceasing to care.
6. We have managed to concede a lot of late goals this season, mind. This could be coincidence but it should be at least a mild cause for worry. The games at Newcastle and now Arsenal, at home to Stoke and in the League Cup at West Bromwich Albion have all seen City drop points or sacrifice places in hats when victory was just moments away. Whether it’s fitness, focus or concentration we don’t know, but it’d be nice to have it stop.
7. There’s suddenly a minor injury crisis at the Circle. Our first two keepers are out after Arsenal, as could be our most expensive defender and our top scorer. It’s not a jolly thought that Eldin Jakupović could be in the starting line-up at Anfield next week, while opportunity suddenly knocks again for Paul McShane or Alex Bruce, and possibly Sone Aluko. This is why we have a squad, but that squad has to respond when misfortune befalls the first choice player.
8. By the way, Mr Motson, that’s Eldin Jakupović. Just in case you get to slum it in our presence again.
9. It won’t be easy at Liverpool, of course, but they aren’t at all reminiscent of the flowing, progressive and genuinely entertaining team of the post-Christmas half of last season that nearly passed its way to the Premier League title. There is a chance for City there which is clear and obvious. And while we’ve nothing against baby Bruce, it’s be nice to see McShane chosen as the one to wind up Mario Balotelli, assuming Dawson doesn’t make it back.
10. City are now 6/1 to be relegated, longer odds than eight other clubs and rarely feature in any analysis of the contenders for the bottom three. Our current points-per-game would extrapolate to 47½ over the season whole season, which would be approaching ten more than enough to stay up. It’s far far too early to stop worrying about it – after all, 6/1 is the same price City were to win at Arsenal, and that so nearly happened. But are we allowed to start looking up rather than down yet?