1: We’re going to spend a minimum of 18 consecutive days at the top of the Championship. These are heady days indeed. City currently are all about consistency, talent and general goodness and every player and supporter should feel very proud of what has been attained thus far.
2: Our trip to the helm of a very competitive league indeed has come via two more terrific, thrilling and utterly conclusive victories against teams of genuine form and threat. We stated at the start of the week that Brentford (four straight wins, conceding none) away, then Middlesbrough (three straight wins plus victory in the League Cup at Manchester United) at home would be as stark a test of our toughness, resolve and attitude as any other – and we passed every one of those tests.
3: Brentford first, and it must be acknowledged that at half-time most concurred Brentford had had the better of the first 45. Sharp and inventive, they’d forced City onto the back foot and created a few chances, befitting a side in strong form. However, when City stepped up a gear in the second half they couldn’t live with Steve Bruce’s men, and the game became increasingly played in the Bees’ half of the pitch, to the extent that it felt over before City scored their second – and it was almost disappointing that a simply exhausted and defeated Brentford didn’t suffer additional punishment in the closing minutes.
4: That may have been harsh on our hosts, however – if only because a trip to Griffin Park remains a splendid and useful reminder of our modest history. It also, extremely rarely in this sanitised age, provides visiting supporters with a proper terrace to stand on. And guess what? Everyone loved it and it was perfectly safe. How sad that they’re the exception rather than the norm, and we’re reduced to fighting for the compromise of safe standing.
5: That took us to City v Middlesbrough, league leaders versus title favourites. Except the new title favourites are the Tigers, courtesy of a thudding 3-0 victory. This was City’s most accomplished display of the season, grinding down and outplaying an obviously handy side who’d come here to play and to win (not something every team has done at the Circle).
6: They started reasonably too, not perhaps because City were slow or over-cautious, but like Brentford they understood the risks of ceding the initiative to a side as strong as ours – Milton Keynes made that mistake and they never recovered from it. But this Hull City squad is relentless. The players remained calm, slowly wrested control from Middlesbrough and never gave it back.
7: Again, City scored late in the first half, something that’s happened too frequently to be mere chance. Is it fitness? City do look pretty strong in games, though as our midfield is extremely adept at controlling possession, that leaves a lot of wearying chasing for opposition sides to contend with. We finished strongly too, in both games. Everything this side does bodes incredibly well for the rest of the season.
8: David Meyler, our current star midfielder, has now racked up 100 league appearances for us. By the time City play again, he could be looking forward to playing in the European Championships for the Republic of Ireland next summer. His country have a two-legged play-off against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the next week, and given how well he is playing for his club, it’d be a fitting and deserved extra celebration for him to know he has some big dates on the continent ahead. And qualification would, hopefully, put even more of a spring in his step as he continues to play his heart out for City, hopefully for 100 further games and more.
9: The return to Championship action is at Bristol City, on telly, a week on Saturday, and it’s an opportunity for City to do a professional job against a dogged but limited side while also, we hear, parading in the new third kit for the the first time. It’s just a pity that the 12.30pm kick off for the cameras will stop a sizeable number of City fans from trekking down to lend their support.
10: As we write, Steve Bruce is the 6/4 favourite to be the next Fulham manager. That’s Fulham, 12th in the table, gubbed 5-2 at home two days ago. Hmm.