Things We Think We Think #247

TWTWT

1. Some weekends in a season feel pivotal. The one we’ve just suffered certainly feels that way. A rotten defeat for City combined with unhelpful results elsewhere have cut us adrift once more, and a plausible route towards safety feels difficult to discern.

2. Leicester first, where City were dismayingly poor. We even led (with a fine counter-attacking goal), but offered alarmingly little afterwards and ended up being easily beaten by a side who could’ve been dragged into the mire with a better result. Fulham aside, it was comfortably the worst performance of Marco Silva’s time in charge.

3. Gone was the cohesion, spirit and purpose that have lit up Silva’s time in charge. Instead, City looked disorganised and dispirited and were cut open with embarrassing ease far too often. It’s hard to believe we’d beaten Liverpool and Manchester United just a few weeks ago.

4. Brickbats invariably fly about after a defeat like this, and while one tries not to overreact, plenty of them are meritted. Ahmed Elmohamady may not be a natural right-back (and his selection over Elabdellaoui looks a real rick by Silva), but that doesn’t disqualify him from doing his best. Increasingly, Elmohamady is a player trading on a reputation carved out a few years ago.

5. At least he wasn’t the wretchedly milquetoast Marković. Frustratingly, we’ve actually seen what he can do; but we’ve certainly seen what he sometimes can’t be arsed doing, which is pretty much anything. It’s mystifying to see a professional footballer not want to give his all in a game of football, and not doing so isn’t good enough.

6. Eldin Jakupović can’t escape scrutiny either. David Marshall would have been questioned for conceding either of Leicester first two (though Robertson hardly helped for the second), Jakupović merits at least a quizzical eyebrow for his contribution.

7. Silva has a week to do a lot of thinking about how to react. Damningly, we’ve led in games against both Burnley and Leicester in the past nine days, and collected just one point. Add five points onto our total, and we’d be odds-on to stay up. Hell, add even three and our prospects would be so much rosier. As it is, cheap concessions and the sort of crummy away defeat we’d be raging at Mike Phelan for have left us with a mountain to climb.

8. Well, the ascent begins on Saturday, with Swansea at home. If there really is to be a Great Escape for the Premier League era, it must surely include victory in this fixture. Such a win certainly won’t be engineered with the sort of limp display we endured at Leicester. If Silva was frustrated by losing at champions-elect Chelsea, he must be boiling at what we saw at the weekend. Channelling that frustration into a positive response will be an interesting test of the new City manager.

9. It’s March, and still nothing from City about their plans for season tickets/memberships/whatever next season, while clubs with proper owners are increasingly unveiling their plans for 2017/18. Vindictively removing concessions for various groups this season has probably set City back a few years; repeating this same malicious trick could extend the damage for a generation.

10. Let’s try to end on one positive: noted elsewhere, Sam Clucas has now scored in the Conference, League 2, League 1, Championship and Premier League in successive seasons, something that can’t have been done very often in English football. He was blameless at Leicester and has impressed all season. Well done that man.

14 replies
  1. Keysersoze_69
    Keysersoze_69 says:

    Most teams who are prone to cheap concessions on the field at least offer young/old supporters cheap concessions off the field as well. Sadly for the future of Hull City we only deal in cheap concessions on the pitch. Responsibility for both of these points again falls firmly on the shoulders of one man…Ehab Allam.

  2. Ambertigerfan
    Ambertigerfan says:

    Where has the pre Portugal form gone (bar Fulham)?

    The fluidity of the team as an attacking and defending unit has gone up in Phelanesque smoke. Although, losing to Leicester was on the cards due to their resurgence after sacking their manager and beating Liverpool.

    Let’s hope Silva can rectify the situation for Swansea. Elmo should be dropped, Markovic needs to be asked which player is going to show up and if it’s the “Arsenal Marcovic” let him play. Jakupovic had a poor game, though not bad enough to be replaced by Marshall yet.

    Three of our next four games are at home: Swansea, West Ham and Middelsbrough. If we get 9 points there, we have a fighting chance.

    Also, Maguire needs a new contract, and fast!

  3. Dave bowman
    Dave bowman says:

    That was a depressing game to watch. It feels like Mike Phelan is back in charge.
    It had the feeling of a gamble playing Marcovic and Elmo together on the right when neither player looks as good doing the hard work of defending.
    After what was said last weekend regarding the pressure of playing at home and needing to get a result being too much for some of the players, I am worried about all this talk of ‘home games against rivals’.
    But being a lifelong City fan I will keep believing until it is mathematically impossible and then spend two months in despair until the new fixture list comes out.

  4. Paul B
    Paul B says:

    @Ambertigerfan – 9 points from those 3 games is a huge ask on current form. I’d be very happy with 7 points but expect we might have to settle for 4 or 5 points.

    Perhaps it’s just coincidence but that little break and the trip to Portugal seem to have done us more harm than good.

    In typical City fashion, we can get ourselves up for the big games against better teams but struggle when we need to fight out a result against a relegation rival.

  5. Tiger Pete
    Tiger Pete says:

    The dramatic slump in form and attitude can’t just be the fault of the manager. Are the players and coaching staff being subjected to idiotic decisions and rules from the Allams? If Ehab has announced another boneheaded policy or idea to the players and staff then you can’t blame them for going off the boil. I wouldn’t put it past him.

  6. Jimmy Weekly
    Jimmy Weekly says:

    I’d drop Jakupovic. I’d send Markovic back to Liverpool. I’d pick Hernandez over any of our other forwards, though to be honest none of them look like scoring what we’ll need to stay up.

    We never gave the ball away as much under Phelan as we did on Saturday. I suspect though that this has more to do with the loss of key personnel than with Marco Silva. Livermore is a big miss, as are the injured Davies and Dawson.

    I try to be optimistic even in the face of Saturday’s evidence. Clinging now to the fact that the other relegation-threatened teams have tougher run-ins than us. Swansea is a massive game now.

  7. DMG9785
    DMG9785 says:

    Regarding No. 10, He as been average at best in my eyes. Has looked well out of his depth at times, losing possession and been far too negative. Yes, it is great what he has achieved and that he scored on Saturday. But he is massively overrated in my eyes, he is a good player but not good enough. He might not be at fault for any goals against Leicester, but he has been at fault for several before. He doesn’t close down quick enough and doesn’t beat his man enough either. A player that works hard all the time doesn’t make a decent player if he hasn’t got the talent or ability to back it up.

  8. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    What happened in Portugal? Did the players find they hated one another? It seems to have clouded Silva’s judgement certainly. The right side was AWOL for the first goal…so to blame Jak is a bit severe. He got something/heavy hand on both the first two goal shots, but couldn’t stop them. The two defenders in front of Mahrez should have done better…and he messed about so long someone else had time to come at him. Let’s be honest…we don’t have a class player of that quality, and this was going to be a tough game after they pulled their socks up/changed manager. Our bad luck in timing… Third goal…well, said before… Thudd in the box is disaster territory. More bad luck….?
    Some have posted disappointment with Maguire on sat. The guy had a knee injury this week, and was up against a very quick England centre forward. To expect him to surge forward leaving a space for Leicester’s favoured ball over the top is just silly…from several aspects!
    The tipping point looks like this Sat. Really need a couple or three wins in a row starting with Swansea. Once again up against a team in much better form …but we’re at home. Our away form’s been poor this season. I’d play Meyler and Bowen …at least they’ll chase all day!…instead of some of the sluggards. We really look to be missing Evandro with no Mason and Livermore.
    The 3 points lost at West Ham are indeed proving to be vital. As once again are injuries. Sadly I expect Swansea to win, and the season to drift away…unless Silva really is a miracle worker…. COYH…for heaven’s sake!!

  9. Dave bowman
    Dave bowman says:

    @gijhdurham

    I think you might have stumbled upon something re the trip to Portugal. Maybe after all the games coming thick and fast this was their first time to draw breath and look around at the new squad

  10. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Have to agree with GJHDurham.
    I too would bring in Meyler and why are we not starting with Hernandez?
    Swansea, Boro and West Ham, we would love 9 points but realistically? I’d take 6 points now.
    Boro look doomed, as do Sunderland and after Saturday we’ll be joining them!

  11. Richard Farrow
    Richard Farrow says:

    Lets look on the positives… How good was the atmosphere before the game and during the first half on Saturday!!? Absolutely electric, especially when you compare it to recent away days. Surely that should make it in?

  12. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    As I look through my slightly rose tinted spectacles I still fee that we will get out of this mire. Sunderland and Boro are down in my book. The former has too much to do and too little (ex Defoe) to do it with, and quite frankly not unlike Villa last season you can’t keep getting away with it season after season and then not have a relegation at some point. Boro have been known for not scoring for some time, but have got away with it based on their miserly defence, which has now become of a more generous spirit, and that is how it will remain. My pick for the other relegation place is…..wait for it…..Bournemouth. Yes I think they are going down, even after a very credible draw at OT on Saturday. I just think they have lost their way and there is going to be serious improvements from the teams around them.
    The Leicester game was a very big wake up call for Marco, Burnley might have been but we played pretty well that day, and we need a day like last Saturday to galvanise and focus the mind, and I think that is exactly what Marco will do. So I expect a win against Swansea to put us within touching distance of safety and this will be used as a platform for kicking on. There are 33 points to play for and given our fixtures, 15 points (and safety) are will within our grasp, but it does have to start on Saturday!!

  13. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    I stand by my comment after Burnley game, training in warm conditions for matches in cold conditions is not the way forward imo. Several teams first games after holidays in the sun have been defeats, Stoke, Liverpool spring to mind.

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