1. What a ghastly afternoon that was. City were convincingly second best in every conceivable aspect against Stoke. It may not have quite plumbed the unpardonably subterranean depths of the Bournemouth debacle, but sadly that’s only because Stoke aren’t as impressive an outfit as the Cherries.
2. There was an air of foreboding from 2pm, when the team was announced. Mike Phelan cocked this up badly, excluding the accomplished Hernández for the willing but limited and lightweight Keane. Meanwhile, Meyler was horribly ill-deployed on both wings – it all meant the side had a gravely unbalanced feel to it.
3. To be sure, the options available to the “Head Coach” have been cruelly limited by injuries and boardroom incompetence. But this was still a shocker from Phelan.
4. He’s not alone though. Practically no-one acquitted themselves at anything approaching the necessary level. Save for Hernández, introduced only when the game was already lost, they all stank. Performance and, sadly, attitude.
5. Where on earth has the fearless tenacity of the opening weeks gone? Why have players suddenly started hiding? And why on earth are we absolutely incapable of stopping long shots? This is the Premier League, and if you’re going to constantly fanny around and give quality players time and space to shoot, they’ll score. It’s pathetic.
6. City’s Twitter feed on Saturday claimed a crowd over 18,500, which is patently untrue. Official attendance, possibly, given the means of its compilation. But there absolutely were not eighteen thousand actual people inside that stadium on Saturday. And the fact that we’re not even close to selling out games such as this shames the Allam family and their nasty, vindictive pricing policy.
7. Speaking of those utter wretches: is the time coming for them to be more proactively guided towards the exit?
8. Bristol City next. Given that dark mood that’s gathering, defeat to a Championship side will not do. We expect City to take this fixture seriously and reach the League Cup quarter finals. After all. we’ve only been there once before.
9. After that, Watford away. That feels a mighty tall order at the moment, yet sterner tests exist. Another defeat and the severity of the situation will ratchet higher. Something has to be brought back – and we don’t just mean the new third kit.
10. We welcome Tom Rowell to City, as the new marketing and communications manager, and wish him well.