Things We Think We Think #220

TWTWT

1. A busy, though not entirely successful week for City, on and off the field. Out of the Cup, out of the promotion places and out of touch (morning, Ehab).

2. Arsenal. This may have been the most encouraging part of the whole week. For a time, City’s much changed XI held and even bested their Premier League opponents, and had David Meyler not had that inexplicable brainstorm shortly before half-time, we could have snuck a result. As it was, Arsenal pulled away remorselessly in the second half to deserve a win, if not a very unfair 4-0 scoreline, and we’re left with whatifs and maybes once more.

3. Nonetheless, the Cups have provided some real fun this season. Accrington, Swansea, Leicester, Bury, Arsenal (a) – that sort of enjoyment used to take about a decade to accumulate. Imagine what we could do if Steve Bruce ever took them seriously…

4. Taken seriously was Milton Keynes, and it was an unremittingly grim affair. It’s perhaps fitting that a club whose mere existence is a stain on the sport should play in such a grisly fashion. Time wasting from the very beginning, recognising quickly and capitalising upon a hopelessly weak referee’s indulgence when it came to falling over, delaying, spoiling – it was horrible. We have and always will wish them every misfortune.

5. None of that excuses City, who were dreadful. A sudden rash of injuries cannot be used to explain a baffling line-up that saw Clucas deployed centrally and Diamé out wide. Milton Keynes’ anti-football doesn’t forgive City wretchedly stumbling through the first twenty minutes without threatening to lay a glove on them, allowing a terrible side to gain confidence.

6. It was in midfield that City looked particularly weak. Without Meyler or Livermore, that area was very fragile. Hayden and Clucas rarely linked up, and when at half-time you’re beseeching the manager to put Tom Huddlestone on, it gives you an idea how disjointed the whole affair was.

7. That Steve Bruce let it go on as long as it did without making changes to personnel or formation is hard to understand. It wasn’t working. It hadn’t been working at any point. Why did he persist so long? The manager and his assistant were deep in conversation throughout of this miserable match – what were they discussing?

8. It all means that the title has probably gone. Burnley are nine points clear, and despite City possessing two games in hand, it really doesn’t feel as though they’re catchable any longer. We wanted that trophy, and its likely disappearance elsewhere hurts. Nothing in the two games between the two sides will ever persuade us that Burnley are a better side than City, and we had plenty of chances to establish a lead at the top of the table. However, they’ve gone, and you have to congratulate them on that. Barring a late surge by Derby or perhaps even Sheffield Wednesday, it seems as though three teams are contesting the second promotion place. Neither of the three are shaping up especially well at the moment. Brighton may be unbeaten in four, but they’ve drawn their last two without scoring. Middlesbrough are having a meltdown to make Derby’s turmoil earlier this season seem positively restrained. We’re suddenly struggling. It’s a bizarre promotion race, with the ludicrous Premier League riches obviously affecting everyone.

9. Meanwhile, the regrettable instance of a member of the Allam family opening his mouth irritated everyone at the end of last week, with Ehab striking a peculiarly anti-supporter line. The Premier League’s proposed £30 cap on tickets for away fans is, apparently, “not in the interests of football”. Presumably, pricing thousands of fans out of the game somehow is – but on he continued, foot firmly in mouth, decrying the prospect of tickets being “over-subscribed” and darkly warning that it “will lead to an allocation process having to be set up”. Ehab, old sport, go speak to what’s left of the ticket office. There’s already an allocation process set up.

10. Meanwhile, his comments about the impact on City are just laughable. What do you check when you’re thinking of going to an away game? The cost of tickets, who’s going, train times, whether anyone will drive,  etc – or Tripadvisor reviews? On Planet Ehab, it’s apparently the latter. Meanwhile, in the reality-based community, price is a huge factor. But on he ploughed, saying that clubs who aren’t at 90% capacity should be financially penalised. It’s fairly obvious that this was just something that popped into his head with no real thought, and no-one will take it seriously. It does raise one interesting question though: exactly how much does he think City should be fined this season for all of the empty seats his ridiculous pricing system has created – and how is he going to prevent this from happening in the future, given that £30 is apparently not enough?

6 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    Excellent as always, I wouldn’t give Ehab Allam that much time though, pleasd the the YP did though as it confirms how out of touch with reality his silver spoon mouth is!

  2. Evie
    Evie says:

    Excellent comments but as a “worried” Boro fan who also follows City, I really don’t think the promotion race is over for either of us. Football is such an unpredictable, gut wrenching and exiting game… You just never know what’s going to happen next!

  3. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    Painful to watch, in all the home games I have attended this season ( City have never lost when I have been in attendance ) I have usually had a reasonably good feeling. On Saturday it was a bad and sometimes angry feeling in 100 minute of football? The three up front Hernandez,Akpom and Diame seemed very attached to their markers never making much of a run to shake them off in the first half. I for one was suggesting Huddlestone should come on, he was suited to a slow game. City should have taken this motley crew apart, they did not have enough stamina to play 90 minutes but got away with it because most City players looked uninterested. There seems to be a problem of attitude when we play so called poor teams, this must change, Forest are now manager less and stuck in mid table we should take three points with ease but….
    I for a while thought Ehab was the one with a bit of oil on his can, but after reading YP interview the man came over as absolutely Jacobs. When I go to the supermarket, convenience store or whatever retail unit I would not expect a £2 levy added to my bill at the counter. The Allams are maybe good business men in there chosen field, but they have no idea how to deal with the public. In the retail/ leisure sector you try to get money by any means, refusing the folding stuff at turnstiles is plain stupid. And the attendances don’t make me think I am wrong, RANT over, have a nice day everyone UTT.

  4. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Only seen the highlights Tiger TV clips, but City looked better than I expected from the comments. Shocking goal to concede though, where was Dawson with organising the marking? You just don’t leave a big guy on his own like that! Looks like they might actually practice set pieces!
    More than 20 shots, but few on target, suggests that the players are not doing the right things in training! Akpom’s header miss was poor, but behind him Elmo was being held down with two arms round him…clear penalty! Good distance shot by Aluko…if just a bit higher… In these few sentences the story of 2 points lost! How to fix it? Start faster and put pressure on for an early goal. Why can’t Bruce get this bit extra out of such a good squad…perhaps a bollocking needed? This week is certainly “tickly” and needs the extra effort! Forest won at Bro’ I think, and can be a decent team on their day, and we have no idea how the manager situation will affect. If there was ever a time to step it up, the next two games are screaming out for it!! COYH!!

  5. Al in Japan
    Al in Japan says:

    Great read as always for me looking in from afar. I avoid the usual over emotional immediate post-match outpourings via social media that usually follow & furrow 2 paths only – we are very shit & doomed &/or we are fkn ace & world beaters. Thanks to you & your very measured response I can still be “there” throughout this season albeit with very minimal coverage abroad. That said, I still feel dismayed by our overly cautious approach to very winnable games & seemingly unchangeable passive starts to every first-half regardless of who we play. I for one have no idea where this season will end up for us. That may be based on years of a “typical city” experience but (much as I love Bruce) I do wonder where else we might be with a more confident, bullish & proactive manager?

  6. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Excellent commentary on a miserable week.
    Completely agree with everything written above.
    Surprised you haven’t mentioned thr Karanka comedy?
    As for Ehab’s comments!!!! WTF!
    In my opinion £30 is still to expensive.
    Middlesbrough away £49 for me and my son, plus £20 fuel. = Can’t afford it!!

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