Things We Think We Think #236


1. Another peculiarly imbalanced game at the Circle on Saturday, with City terrible for a half, and then actually quite good. The first 45 minutes against West Brom was really quite awful, City were lethargic and directionless, gifting the visitors a shockingly cheap goal and not registering a solitary effort on goal.

2. Then came a startling  turnaround. After the break, City looked full of purpose and not a little skill – had Jake Livermore finished off that flowing passing move it’d have been a goal Barcelona themselves would have purred with pleasure over. In the end, as dismal as we were at the start, we were good enough by the end to have deserved the point.

3. This can’t be a game plan, can it? It sounds ridiculous to contemplate that City might wilfully be going for it in only one half of a match, but it’s becoming a regular occurrence. A haul of four points from six in two home games against two sides in the top half of the table is pretty good, and both followed the same pattern: We are content for the opponent to have the ball for the entirety of the first half and even take the lead, then after the break we stop playing dead and become a threat ourselves. It’s risky stuff, only playing well for one half had a disastrous outcome at Sunderland as City changed the order, performing impressively in the first half but supine in the second. Presumably this isn’t something Mike Phelan actually wants, and his post match discussion about maintaining concentration suggests that, although he could just have been referring to Rondon’s late header.

4. It’s too easy to suggest that the reversal of our fortunes lies solely in one half-time substitution, that of Adama Diomandé for the worryingly ineffective Ryan Mason – however, it certainly seemed to be the catalyst for that dramatic improvement. He was everything we hadn’t been in the first half: powerful, direct and combative, and his lively approach galvanised his team-mates. He was already our man of the match by the 50th minute, and the clear winner by full-time. With the greatest of respect, who could imagine that Diomandé could influence the direction of a Premier League fixture in that way? But he did, and he deserves huge credit…and a prominent position in Mike Phelan’s thinking for his next starting XI.

5. Ryan Mason, though. It’s early days, but…

6. There were about 15,000 souls in the Circle on Saturday, with the swathes of empty seats so noticeable that they’re coming to national attention – even if the precise reason for them remains occasionally misunderstood. It’s mismanagement on a epic scale to have ten thousand empty seats for Premier League football in a city that yearned for over a century for these days to arrive. Well done, Ehab. Well done indeed.

7. There’ll be even more for the visit of Newcastle tomorrow evening, unless their supporters’ attempts to infiltrate the home ends are significantly successful. And this for a game that could see us into the League Cup semi-finals for the first time ever. If some aspects of the Allams ghastly misrule make you mad, this just makes us sad.

8. What a shame that this is the game selected by Invisible Flock to record the sounds of the crowd for their Hull 2017 installation. Their plan to have multiple microphones recording crowd noise so that it can be transplanted elsewhere, offering an aurally immersive experience of the sonic architecture of the crowd at a match, is truly fantastic. The timing though, is not, as games this season have often played out in near silence, such is the sense of disenchantment.

9. But there’s still a football match to be played, and it’s one that – uniquely in our recollection – sees a Championship side away to a Premier League one start as healthy favourites. However, if Mike Phelan picks his strongest team, and it plays to its abilities, there’s no reason that by tomorrow evening, we could be salivating over the prospect of a genuinely historical occasion.

10. This 24 hours is beginning to drag a bit. Thankfully we aren’t cynics here at Amber Nectar, otherwise we’d be tempted to think the Allam family is thoroughly, disreputably dishonest. And we’d hate for their friends in business and other non-City areas of life to ever get such an impression.

6 replies
  1. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    Should be just “Allam out” protests songs throughout the Newcastle match & nothing else.
    Wouldn’t that sound great on the “Sounds of the Crowd” installation?

    I won’t be there but make it happen chaps!

  2. Mike Coates
    Mike Coates says:

    Another good summing up. My worry is, if most fans can see we need two strikers up front why can’t the manager & his assistants also see this.
    Especially at home when it’s upto home side to make the running.
    As for Tuesdays match on paper the stadium should be close to or a sellout.
    But of course our two numbnuts owners have pxxxxd that many supporters off, including youngsters, concession’s etc. It won’t happen.
    Realistically why would any consortium buy a club that……..
    a …..doesn’t own it’s own stadium
    b….could be easily relegated
    c….falling crowd attendance
    d… Deal with two ignorant Egyptians, who can’t even be bothered to attend matches at their club

  3. Jonty
    Jonty says:

    Ryan Mason appears to be the latest in the line of overpriced shite that Spurs have palmed off onto us. They’ve done well out of us in the last 15 years.

  4. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    The first half was horrible, I was just waiting and wondering when West Brom would score. The second half just whizzed along , didn’t even feel cold and went home happy for two home games running.
    I was watching the Pulis behaving like a chimp jumping up and down and at one stage his water bottle got launched into the hoardings, did he get sent off for it no but yet across the Pennines Jose sent to the stands for a water bottle offence, double standards me thinks. UTT.

  5. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Pig sick of bloody Sunderland stuff up here! Don’t need the Mags on my neck too, so hope Phelan picks the right team this time! As Mike C says above, the last two picks have been hopeless…until half time last game! ( Away form is not good though! ) Conceded a weak goal on Sat v WBA. Really got out muscled. That’s why still think 3 at the back centrally.
    Mason doesn’t seem to be fitting well in the side…certainly not with Henricksen too… but think Livermore was a decent signing from Spurs…upto his ban… and since coming back. Mason overpriced by about £4 mil, but may prove useful eventually. Meyler would probably get us more goals and put his foot in better! Well done Tymon and look forward to a Jako return tomorrow! COYH! Please!

  6. Paleface
    Paleface says:

    Are we really to believe that the choice of recording a match just happens to be possibly the first in our history where the visitors outnumber the home fans? Surely there’s a machiavellian hand at work here and it’s not simply down to being ‘typical City’.

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