Elmo? Dropped? But…….how? Seems our Egyptian wonder of the wing is human after all. It’ll be a meagre blip, of course, and he’ll be pinging them back into the box on a regular basis before long. But while you try to soothe the scratch marks on your head, the moment is opportune to look at the achievements, eccentricities and occasional nadirs of this finest of City flankers…
His number of consecutive appearances isn’t a club record – Tony Norman’s superhuman status as custodian in the 80s sees to that, and Elmo has missed a couple of cup games – but the fact that he played in all 76 of our Premier League appearances under Steve Bruce is a pretty good start (and, for the top tier at least, an obvious record). Chuck in 18 straight appearances he made in the build-up to promotion from the Championship in 2013, plus the six this season prior to Tuesday, and you have a cool 100 consecutive league matches for City. It’s like something from the 60s, and it makes the idea of squad rotation look foolish, frankly.
He’s not perfect, and we won’t claim him to be. The time when he raised a left arm against Newcastle to divert a ball into the net, then wheeled away to celebrate a goal and, finally, looked aghast when he was given a booking for unsporting behaviour, was not his finest hour. It was downright unsavoury, in fact, and even the City fans who adored him gave him short shrift through their keyboards. It’s indefensible, and it’s a part of him that we don’t wish to see again – yet at the very best, it makes him human and, therefore, susceptible to temptation.
If the Premier League appearances thing isn’t enough, then remember the early August evening at the Circle when Robbie Brady made room on the left to clip a cross to the far post for Elmo to power a header into the bottom corner?
Hull City’s first ever goal in European competition was his.
And it will always be so. How nonplussed would we be now if Tom Huddlestone had put that penalty away in the first leg, eh?
4: That rubbish penalty
Not that aforementioned rubbish penalty in Slovakia, but another rubbish penalty. You know, for a confident man so fleet of foot, Elmo’s reluctance to take a penalty – actually, make that blind terror of doing so – was just so baffling and so frightening for the hoarse, emotionally drained City supporters who had travelled down to Tottenham for the second time in four days for a blistering League Cup tie in 2013.
It was 2-2 after extra time, and Elmo stepped up at 8-7 down, deep into sudden death, to face Brad Friedel. His body language suggested he was babbing his pants; the weak, directionless penalty suggested the escaped bab was so weighty, it had caused severe distortion to his leg muscles. The save was easy, the tie lost.
Only injured skipper Curtis Davies had not taken a kick among the outfield by this stage (both sides had missed one during the regular five apiece bit) but it’ll remain a great mystery why someone as gifted and confident with a football as Elmo should be so unsuited to a fairly basic act of shooting, convincingly and unchallenged, at a big net.
“We’ve been promoted? Great! Is that camera on?”