1: An excellent week, again. A safe, historic and exciting path was followed to the quarter finals of the League Cup, then a stout and dominant win in the Championship against one of the less troublesome sides in the division. Steve Bruce and his players have every reason to feel proud.
2: It’s all well and good saying “only Leicester”, as though defeating them was somehow inevitable, but it really wasn’t. They obviously won’t remain in their present position in the Premier League table, but they are there right now, so it’s no mean feat to overcome them, and even better to thoroughly deserve it, despite rather than because of the interventions of the officials. City absolutely deserved this victory and played terrifically well for it.
2a: Five penalties out of five, too. And a corking save from the much-maligned Eldin Jakupović too. City were once notoriously awful at these, but have we ever enjoyed a more faultless penalty shoot-out?
3: City have enjoyed fairly kind draws in this competition thus far: a tick ground and terrific night at Accrington, home to a plodding League One side, a tough-but-winnable match home to a middling Premier League side, then a repeat of the latter. Away to Manchester City is none of the above, and the trip to the likely English champions is as difficult as we could have had – already, City are being quoted at 12/1 to win the game. So, our thoroughly enjoyable League Cup adventure is likely to end in Manchester on December 1st – but it’s a shot to nothing, and whatever happens, history has been made and the our cup run has been great fun.
3a: As an aside, this game had better not be touted by our own club as “City v Tigers”, as that’d be the sort of deliberate provocation we ought to be leaving behind.
4: The game at Milton Keynes was a merciful exercise in domination and professionalism, much required because of the otherwise unseemly feeling that goes with an enforced visit to football’s ever-hateful franchise outfit. Their stadium is colossal, grey, isolated. The team unambitious, frightened, star-struck. And that doesn’t even come close to the adjectives that one can use when describing the very existence of this club. That City were able to win, and win well, and win comfortably (in the end – we still didn’t look hell bent on killing them off when we had chance), was at least a saving grace for the day itself.
5: Mind you, if you believe the local newspaper down there, Milton Keynes Dons were in total control, massively unlucky and comparable to 1970s Ajax in the way they made the football chirrup like a budgerigar and their opponents fall to their knees, blessing their great good luck. We understand that website reporters reliant on club coinage have to be unduly partisan, but local newspaper reporters who have been to journalism college really should know better. Funny, but embarrassing.
6: A mention for the spine of City’s team in Buckinghamshire is worthwhile. Michael Dawson and Alex Bruce were imperious at the back, Abel Hernández a fantastic line-leader at the top, and especially we should hail the central pairing of David Meyler and Jake Livermore, who bossed the game entirely. Livermore looks sharp, fit, focussed and creative. Meyler just ran after everything, and until his late booking prompted a slight withdrawal from proceedings, got everything he chased.
7: Incidentally, that song about Meyler is horrendous. Meyler has been key to our team since pretty much the day he signed on loan. He has been a rock in midfield while scoring crucial goals in our promotion season and FA Cup run and deserves much better than the charmless guff sung in his name at recent games.
8: Brentford next, who are also on a run of wins and not prone to conceding goals. Tuesday night could just be a bit of a cracker. If you’re going, lucky you. Then we’re at home to Middlesbrough, another side not exactly acting the shrinking violet right now. Another big, relentless, testing, exciting week of football is ahead of us. Catch your breath when you can.
9: The Yorkshire Post carried some interesting comments by Ehab Allam last week. We enjoyed the mental image of the Allams huddling around a television screen to watch live feeds of City games when they have a perfectly serviceable executive box at the stadium they could watch them from, but never mind. Most striking was the suggestion that a new chief executive could be appointed during this season. We can only hope they’re not planning to bring Paul Duffen back to the club.
10: The third kit seems a bit superfluous, doesn’t it? The racing stripes are interesting though.