1. Mohamed Diamé was mesmerising at Ipswich. When he is in that kind of mood, there is no footballer better in the Championship. His mood, his form and his opponents’ ways of dealing with him could be the key to City’s destiny.
2. Diamé scored a blinding goal but during the extended period afterwards at Portman Road, City could’ve been four or five up. It was marvellous entertainment, totally authoritative, and against a decent side who last lost at home under floodlights when John Wark first grew his ‘tache, or something.
3. Ipswich aren’t easy to hate normally but after fleecing City fans for £32.50 a ticket, they’ve risen substantially in our “gluttonous twats in football” hit parade. Which we’ve just made up.
4. Those with the most jerky of knees were quick to label City ‘shit’ after the 0-0 against Sheffield Wednesday. Not true, they were in fact good, though admittedly not good enough. There was no faulting City’s application, it was just the execution they faltered on, having made many chances to score.
5. Wednesday were an enigma, in the first half their positivity in having so many attackers away from home, their fast movement and fluid passing were something to be envied. That positive approach was abandoned at half time after failing to yield a goal, and the Owls adopted Brighton’s policy of containment for the second 45.
6. Fernando Forestieri didn’t dive when he received a second yellow for simulation late in the game, but the protestations of both player and visiting fans about a grave injustice ring hollow. The Argentine spent so much of the game throwing himself to the floor, the boy who cried foul should already have been dismissed by the time Dawson felled him. It is disingenuous to accuse referees of threatening the integrity of the game with incorrect cards for simulation if you willfully ignore a player simulating fouls the rest of the game. An amusing piece in the Sheffield Star said “He’s being singled out by referees. Being judged on reputation rather than the evidence before their eyes.” Well the evidence was there to see in the previous 90 minutes, Forestieri bought a few free kicks with dives, and so cheaply was he getting them, Robert Snodgrass took the ‘can’t beat them, join them’ approach with some tumbles of his own.
7. That result, and the preceding home fixture against Brighton, both look like missed opportunities given the events elsewhere that have knocked City from the top of the table. It’s true that City could have done better in those matches, but it’s hard to argue they weren’t part of a tricky trio. Brighton were bang in form; they still didn’t dare take us on. Ipswich on a Tuesday night – awkward, victorious. Wednesday are a clear threat, they too were held at bay. Five points from three hard games is alright, and just because others have done better over the same period of time isn’t cause to panic.
8. If anything, perhaps our promotion rivals deserve a bit of credit. The pace at the top continues to be brisk, with four teams already boasting points tallies in the sixties. Burnley and Brighton’s resurgence merits admiration, as we’d written both off at variying times. If City are to do it, we’ll have to do it the hard way. Which is perhaps how it ought to be.
9. Things are likelier to get tougher, too. City’s next away game bears similarities to the last, a midweek trip to a side on the edge of the play-off places. Birmingham on a Thursday night is as ridiculous a piece of fixture scheduling as you could hope to see, and with our league game the following Tuesday falling victim to the preposterously timed Arsenal replay, anything but a win is likely to see us out of the top three by the time Milton Keynes arrive the weekend after. Unless we beat Arsenal, in which case we could go fourth by the time we’re in post-Birmingham league action. Either way, steady nerves, Tiger Nation…
10. There was a Fans’ Working Group meeting last week at the Circle. Meeting minutes soon, we promise…