1. Defeat at Chelsea, and indeed football itself, seems inconsequential when a player suffers a potentially life threatening injury. We wish Ryan Mason a speedy recovery.
2. Discussing the consequence of games, though, is what we’re about, so… City played very well at Stamford Bridge, and can feel they deserved more than the 2-0 defeat they left with. A penalty kick, for the clear foul in the box on Abel Hernández in the second half, might have changed the complexion of the game considerably, but criminally, one was not awarded.
3. There’s no guarantee City would have scored the penalty, or gone on to claim anything from the game if they had. We cannot state definitively that Mr Swarbrick’s error – or perhaps that of his dithering linesman – cost us a point. However, it’s gravely unfair that City weren’t given the opportunity to establish parity from the penalty spot, and the suspicion that referees subconsciously find it easier to give certain teams certain decisions lingers on.
4. But hey, City! Not many sides will leave Stamford Bridge having dominated second half possession (60-40%!), and even if the pattern of playing-terrifically-in-defeat has the potential to grow as tiresome as it is costly, it’s all a far cry from the grim surrender at Middlesbrough, which is probably our last truly poor ninety minutes. City, weirdly given the league table, are not off form. New arrivals Niasse, Elabdellaoui, and Evandro look both assured and hungry, which is a good sign. There’s faint hope yet.
5. So now we can put the Premier League to one side again and turn our attention to the cups. That there are Valentines cards in the shops and we are still in both major domestic knockout competitions is quite an achievement, and of course for the League Cup, unique. That said, it feels likely that our exit at the semi-final stage will be rubberstamped later this week.
6. It isn’t pessimism, and we’d obviously love to be proved wrong (we’d go out on an all-week bender if we were) but to be 2-0 down to Manchester United with 90 minutes to come of a two-legged semi-final feels like just too wide a canyon to cross. We’d need to score three times, not concede a goal, play a seriously good, expensively-assembled and well-drilled side off the park while relying on them to be depleted, distracted, complacent, affected by ill-discipline or injury, or all of the above. If they score once, we have to get four. It isn’t going to happen………. is it?
7. Then we head to Fulham, one of football’s more enjoyable awaydays, for a badly scheduled lunchtime FA Cup tie on Sunday. The day of the week can’t be helped, due to our unusual Thursday appointment in the other competition, but we suspect that the number of City supporters who will make the journey will be wildly reduced by the decision to hold the game before the credits to Weekend World (that’s still on TV on Sundays, isn’t it?) have rolled. The fixture itself allows an opportunity for further progress in a cup and a chance to reacquaint with Sone Aluko and Tom Cairney, both of whom have shared their warm memories of being City players.
8. We wish Jake Livermore well at West Bromwich Albion. He has gone to a likeable club, although we only half-jokingly warn him that he may spend a year playing at left back before Tony Pulis decides he isn’t what he wanted and sells him to Derby County. From a City point of view, £10m is good dough, so long as it is re-invested as Marco Silva identifies a permanent replacement, a need made more urgent by Mason’s awful injury.
8a. The departure of Robert Snodgrass now seems an inevitability. A wholly avoidable inevitability had we treated the player with respect and offered him a new deal before he could field offers from other clubs. Will the gap left by his departure be plugged with loan signing putty as the loss of Livermore has? Replacing good players with short term loan signings seems very near sighted.
9. It’s clear from reading Ehab Allam’s inanity in the Yorkshire Post last week that he still hasn’t learnt a thing. The fans are now apparently to blame for the lack of takeover, with a claim that potential new owners have asked if City supporters dislike foreign owners when observing the protests and noting the general mood around the place. We don’t believe any of the individuals who entered talks with the Allams said anything of the kind, and that Ehab is yet again presenting ‘alternative facts’ in order to avoid acknowledging where the problems truly lie: with himself, his family and their wretched, spiteful ways.
10. Pity the poor sap who gets the Customer Relationship Executive job currently being advertised by Hull City Tigers Limited. The job ad states: “The role will also help deliver the membership scheme to retain and develop the supporter base.” Talk about an impossible task.