1. The FA Cup trip to Bury was a handy reminder of how much of a fun day out football can be when you strip away the sanitised stadia and immaculate pitches, and go for the throat for 90 minutes. That a second-string City won so convincingly in tough conditions on a pitch with both hard outskirts and a quagmire-like centre is a great tribute to the professionalism of the players.
2. Chuba Akpom’s hat-trick included an open goal and a penalty, but we aren’t quibbling. He did his job ruthlessly and, aside from a new ball to put on display home, also earned himself a huge respect from the City fans for the way he took to Bury, when previous interpretations of his demeanour had suggested he believed such teams were beneath him. We hope this allows him to become a serious contributor to the remainder of City’s title-chasing season.
3. And this bring us to Josh Tymon, a player who was just nine years and two days old when Dean Windass scored at Wembley and yet took to Gigg Lane like a koala to eucalyptus, playing a blinder at left back and making us genuinely proud. A decent larker from the ranks who is going to be a *proper* contributor long-term (more than Wiseman, Cairney or Cooper ended up being, to quote three more recent examples) is way overdue, and gives us someone to cheer and identify with. He was greeted and encouraged impeccably throughout the game by the City fans, who should be proud of themselves…
4. … for that bit of the day, at least. Honestly, the menace created by the two sets of opposing children in the south east corner just before kick off, and after Akpom’s penalty, was pathetic, both in intention and result. Loads of these pillocks on both sides buggered off before the end of the game, so the “see you outside afterwards” tone they were trying to convey became somewhat less important compared to missing the traffic and getting home to mum.
5. The reward for all this toil in sleetbound Lancashire? Arsenal. Away. Again. Okay, so they might take their foot off the gas this time, or they might give us a mega seeing-to, but please Mr Bruce, don’t pick a team that suggests you’ve given up on the game before it starts, like you did at Manchester City. Pick the strongest team, the form players, the ones on a roll. Let’s look like we mean it.
6. Bruce made 11 changes to the side for Bury but the identity of the opposition meant it was both acceptable and predictable for him to do so, and it’s not as if the likes of Akpom, Alex Bruce and Tom Huddlestone are bad players. Sone Aluko had a good second half, Michael Dawson’s return from injury was an enormous boost and David Meyler is still a fine box-to-box midfielder. Not everyone looked the part – Ryan Taylor was lost for most of the match and played too many careless passes, while Adama Diomande started the move for Akpom’s opener and then wasn’t seen again until his number went up. Of all of these, you can imagine only Dawson being absolutely certain for the next trip to Lancashire this weekend.
7. Yep, same motorway, maybe the same weather, but different class of opponent. Burnley are always a tough turn, with a fine record against us at Turf Moor and they’ll want to avenge for the spanking City handed over at Christmas. Still, a team that’s top of the league in February should be able to deal with anything placed in front of them.
8. The transfer window “slams shut” (eugh) tonight. Good. We hate it. And why we need to join in the mad dash for a new player on the last day when there has been a whole month to do business is anyone’s guess. Nick Powell hasn’t joined yet, after 72 hours of speculation, so if he’s worth it we’ll get his moniker on the form first thing and stay well out of the yellow-tie-and-sex-toy-on-camera procession of brain-deadedness that will invade the main sports channel later.
9. Should that happen, this will have been another successful transfer window for City – again, retaining players has been key. It’ll be a shame to lose Mo Diamé if he departs, though not necessarily disastrous. It’ll be nice to keep Ahmed Elmohamady, even if he’s not reached his usual high standards this season. Otherwise, the less that Sky Sports News and tedious bullshit merchants on Twitter mention the name Hull City today, the better.
10. Greg Dyke is to stand down as the FA Chairman this summer. Good riddance Greg, take your squalid support for League 3 and Hull Tigers, and leave football to people who understand it.