Things We Think We Think #251


1. There was nothing unsurprising about City’s non-attentive performance at the Etihad on Saturday. Manchester City may have been off form prior to us popping across the Pennines, but we have a fetid smell seemingly following us around the country right now, and we should be grateful that many of the hardest away games of the campaign came at times when seasons weren’t going to be defined.

2. There were dabs of light in the City display, but ultimately better players beat us. That we managed a late consolation, thereby ever so slightly reducing the impact on our execrable goal difference, pays a small tribute to our team’s perseverance (though more likely Marco Silva’s insistence we play a proper 90 minutes, whatever is going on) while also making Pep Guardiola entertainingly tetchy in his post-match interviews.

3. Michael Dawson is a fine player, a consummate defender and a great example to young players everywhere. But he isn’t among our best two centre backs any more (as isn’t Curtis Davies), and the absence in Manchester of the injured Harry Maguire, and the buckles he tends to conclusively swash in games, was truly notable.

4. Maguire was colossal, again, as City beat Middlesbrough on Wednesday night and to finally see him notch up his first Premier League goal in what was a thoroughly engaging game, and display, was marvellous. The result itself was significant, as the spirit of Middlesbrough seemed to go that night at the Circle, and now it feels like City only have one relegation place to avoid.

5. Maguire’s header against Middlesbrough understandably made the highlights reel, but we could watch THAT pass for the third goal without ever growing tired of it. If Andrés Iniesta or Paul Scholes had picked that out, the world would coo. Well, it damn well should over that, because it wasn’t a diminutive midfield schemer managing it, but a colossus of a centre-back.

6. A fascinating aspect to that victory was that even Middlesbrough’s opening goal didn’t visibly dent the confidence in the team, or the stadium. City’s remarkable home form is not merely a happenstance of statistics, it’s increasingly a matter of belief.

7. Meanwhile, the peculiar hell that is Sunderland’s 2016/17 season shows no signs of improving, and they’re now a distant ten points behind City and from safety. What impact – if any – could them being relegated before they even play us next month have? Perhaps it could go either way. They’ll either be so deflated by their pitiful relegation they’ll accommodatingly capitulate, or may finally show up and play as soon as it no longer matters. The former would be preferable, obviously.

8. As for the earlier part of what is now officially (according to Sky Sports, anyway) the run-in, we have Stoke away, Watford at home and Southampton away, prior to that game against the doomed Mackems. The home game is eminently winnable; the away games, yet again, are where we should have enough about us to compete for at least a point, even if our away record in recent months is something on the imperfect side. Imagine what seven points from nine would do prior to Sunderland making their reluctant trip down the A19.

9. It’s hard to know what to make of the lack of progress towards a new contract for Marco Silva. The Allam family are not renowned for valuing valuable employees, however his impact has guaranteed Silva options aplenty should there be a parting of the ways in summer. It’s understandable that all parties may wish to wait for the determination of our “divisional status”, as the club’s semi-literate membership brochure would call it – but it’s abundantly clear that there’s something special about this manager. Given that, we should be making the first move.

10. Yesterday marked three years to the day that the FA rejected Assem Allam’s imbecilic name change idea. Think it’s irrelevant? The club still refuse to use their own name on anything unless obliged to by the FA/PL, the fans’ Twitter hashtag remains unused and the YouTube channel still alludes to a fiction of his feverish imagination. It’s as relevant as ever. Now, and forever, No To Hull Tigers.

8 replies
  1. Ben
    Ben says:

    Silva seems happy to wait until the end of the season and that probably suits all round. EA should be praised for realising that Phelan was not the man for the job and appointing Silva whoever recommended him. He will be on a massive bonus if he keeps us up and if we go down presumably he may not want to stay – whatever he will not be short of options here and abroad and he doesn’t have a track record of staying anywhere too long.
    Agree with the summary of Saturday and particularly re Dawson. Unfortunately Elmo’s best days in a City shirt are well behind him!
    Said from the first time I say Harry away in Lokeren that he would be a top player – you could see he had class and read the game superbly. Unfortunately he will not be at City next season whatever division we are in.

  2. Paul B
    Paul B says:

    Somebody was drunk when they wrote point 8! It’s only one home game, not two! Think we are looking at 4-5 points from those 3 games realistically.

    On point 9, I suspect Silva himself won’t want to sign until he knows which division he’ll be managing in. Still, that shouldn’t stop us at least trying to extend his contract regardless of what division we are in next season.

  3. Michael Coates
    Michael Coates says:

    First of all hats off for Ehab for bringing in Silva & sacking Phelan.
    But that’s where my praise ends I’m afraid.
    I can’t comment on how they run there other business but the way they run city is second rate.
    No ticket office.
    Crap turnstiles
    Letting players run out their contracts
    Not making players feel wanted by entering talks before contracts run out
    I just hope they have a option on Silva’s contract.
    If fans can see Elmo is struggling now I presume it’s needs must till we get a player back in this position.
    I hope we can carry on with our home form because I can’t see us getting anything from our away fixtures.

  4. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Stoke seem to play Arnautovic …good player… wide right and now have the dangerous Shaqiri back on the left. As neither of our fullbacks can defend, then that’s a recipe for disaster IMO. I’d play Meyler on the right and Tymon with Robertson left. Dawson was poor on Sat, and generally we left players free in space, so not enough cover from midfield…so I’d play Meyler anyway, as Stoke tend to be physical. Don’t quite know why he’s gone out of favour after decent performances… Set up as Sat and we lose again IMO. We really could do to pick up away points!! COYH!

  5. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Good call GJHDurham. Meyler is always committed and does a job. Versatile enough to defend at RB or get forward and score a goal.
    Agree with the consensus on Marco Silva, he is probably happy to stick with his current deal and review in May / June.
    I’d sell Elmo, Curtis, Marshall, Diomande and Luer.
    Break the bank to try and retain the services of Harry and Robbo and sign up Josh Tymon too.
    The membership scheme is yet another own goal and missed opportunity to at least start rebuilding relations with the fans.
    EA will argue tickets are cheaper and more widely available. However it is immoral to charge children and OAP’s the same as everyone else.
    Adults with children will be thinking long and hard if they can afford next season. City’s support will soon mirror the adult male dominated crowds of the 80’s.
    More supporters of the future will disappear, list forever.
    Very sad!
    KCom should be embarrassed that having named our stadium, it is almost impossible to get a decent signal in the stadium !
    Minimum of a point required at Stoke .

  6. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    Meyler must be totally pissed off seeing N’Diaye on the pitch instead of him every week.

  7. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    You missed out Andrea, Bill. Classimo….spot the typo there! Clue… space missing…
    Since posting Palace have been handed 3 points by Arsenal, which makes the need to get it right at Stoke much more important. Swansea might find some brown envelopes about, and as to refs…appalling in the Champs League tonight too! Offside rule? Penalty against the Leicester fans perhaps?
    Strange how Palace have picked up so many points v London clubs…I count Watford in that. Perhaps I should have used the word suspicious, not strange… And our ref at Stoke comes from Warwickshire and went to Uni at Staffordshire….mmmm….?

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