Things We Think We Think #254

TWTWT

1. It was only the second point we’d gained away from home in 2017, and the clean sheet that went with a heroic, if occasionally hard to watch stalemate at Southampton was a pleasant bonus. Praise for City’s performance and general attitude has been bountiful over the weekend; displays of a similar grittiness over three remaining matches will surely be sufficient to get us over the line.

2. And, of course, the clean sheet was preserved by Eldin Jakupović’s superlative penalty save in injury time. It was no fluke save; the ball wasn’t poorly hit or placed but aiming true for the bottom corner. Our ever-watchable custodian of the leather not only guessed right, but got his frame right down to the ball and managed to get enough palm on it to force it conclusively from danger with zero hope of a rebound chance for the kicker, or any other Southampton player.

3. Interestingly, Jakupović told the telly afterwards that he’d researched Southampton’s penalty taker. Dušan Tadić last took one in January and aimed it, successfully, for the same corner as he tried at the weekend against City. We perhaps underestimate the tactical preparation that goalkeepers, good ones, put in prior to a match and if Jakupović had theory on his side in choosing the way he went, then it bestows upon him even bigger hero status than would have been afforded on someone who had ‘merely’ taken a lucky guess.

4. City’s play in the first half sparkled, and we looked as good as at any time under our new manager. It was a half of sustained domination of both ball and territory, forcing a very capable side onto the back foot for long spells. If there’s one criticism, it’s that we didn’t convert it into a goal (or more), and parity at the interval was less than we deserved for the pattern of play but created a real feeling that an opportunity may have been missed.

5. The second half more faithfully resembled our away day agonies this season, with a presumably sternly-bollocked Southampton upping their game and City not always coping perfectly with it. Nonetheless, if the first half was a mixture of pleasure at the play and frustration at the scoreline, the second was a reversal; dismayed at being outplayed but great satisfaction at holding on for a point. And given our nightmarish run on the road, it really was a fine point.

6. With Swansea gaining an unexpected (just as our point at Old Trafford was) draw at Manchester United, the share of the spoils in Hampshire becomes more crucial. With one game fewer to play, the gap remains the same. And we have a relegated, clueless, self-loathing, acrimony-filled club next, at our fortress of a stadium where nobody else has won since Bucks Fizz kicked continental backsides at Eurovision, or thereabouts.

7. And we all know what that means… or could mean. If anyone is going to make sure that the inopportune motto Typical City doesn’t occur on Saturday afternoon, it’s Marco Silva, surely? Last time we were this nervous before Sunderland at home, it was for an FA Cup quarter final, and that turned out okay. Nevertheless, by the time they clock in at the Circle, this Sunderland side might be irritatingly free of pressure (the kind of change in form that mightily offends loyal supporters whose lives are shattered by relegations) and everyone with a role to play for City, on and off the pitch, needs to be on their guard.

8. For the second weekend in succession, the timings may aid City. Again, Swansea will kick-off after City, and if we can overcome Sunderland, they’ll begin their 5.30pm match at home to Everton a daunting five points adrift. Of course, anything but victory over David Moyes’ rabble, and Swansea will know that a win of their own would put City back in the bottom three – but Marco Silva is sure to emphasise the opportunity that exists.

9. It really has come to something when an investigation is being launched into Hull City AFC, and the response of most supporters is to be glad about it. Then again, it comes to something when the owners of said club implement something as morally bankrupt, counterproductive and vindictive as the intentional pricing out of the next generation of City fans, then ask someone to release a poorly-written statement pretending that they aren’t.

10. Well, they are, and congratulations to the Hull City Supporters’ Trust, who’ve successfully persuaded the Premier League to investigate the repugnant, rule-breaking conduct of one of its own members. All we’d ask the Premier League to remember is this: we’d be delighted for City to be found guilty and ordered to stop being so thoroughly obnoxious, but could they ensure that any punishment is levelled solely at the abysmal family that’s running the club, and not the club itself? Having had to suffer the Allams, it’d be wrong to then suffer further consequences of having had to suffer them in the first place.

9 replies
  1. Bond
    Bond says:

    At each away match under Marco Silva the vocal support for our team is building each game as our fans get behind our boys,
    and once the final whistle is blown, the amount of City fans that remain singing the managers praises long after the stadiums are empty and refusing to be moved out by the stewards is something to behold.

  2. John from Brid
    John from Brid says:

    Silva keeps emphasising the supporters getting behind the team, an owner with a bit of oil in his can would fill the half empty West stand with freebies to get behind the team a bit more, but as we have seen the success of the membership scheme is bearing fruit so much so that I have to move next season and stare across from the East stand at an empty upper West.

  3. gjhdurham
    gjhdurham says:

    Having given due consideration to the week’s result and watched the various highlights, I have to say I feel rather pessimistic. The result at Man U may not have changed the rankings, but it’s given Swansea encouragement. I was hoping for a 2/3 goal defeat to put the GD right and stretch the gap a bit. I’m not sure us playing first gives an advantage at all…indeed it could be the reverse.
    I fear Swansea will win all 3 remaining games. Everton are in Europe…confirmed…and have ex Swansea man Williams at CB! They don’t look good either. Same ish for WBA, with a Welsh manager! They look on the beach already. Probable 6 points for Swansea there, I fear.
    That leaves the two of us v relegated Sunderland. Will they now pick up? Personally, I don’t have a good feeling about our game. It is indeed a typical City cock up looming large. Nothing but a win will do if my other musings are correct. Will Sunderland want to go out in style at home v a confident Swansea….? From what I’ve seen Sunderland have been creating chances but not taking them. This could change… They have Defoe…
    Think we need to win at Palace and hope Sunderland hit form v Swansea, but not us…
    One game at a time I guess, but we can afford no slip ups, and need to hit peak form… COYH!!

  4. ann guy
    ann guy says:

    Speaking as one who attended the HCSC agm, I feel that the club deserve a massive thank you for all their sterling work , for showing such passion for HCFC and for its supporters. Also, if they ever happen to glance at said organisation’s objectives, unlikely I know, for advising the owners on the right and proper way to run a football club. My membership is due for renewal and I am more than happy to pay up!!!! Keep the pressure on. Good piece AN, keep the faith, all will be well.

  5. adamhull
    adamhull says:

    gjhdurham – Everton “don’t look good”, do they? They’ve only lost 1 in the last 5, and that was against this season’s league champions Chelsea.

    Bizarre!

  6. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    1. As mentioned already, let us hope the FA punish Ehab and not the club. God forbid that we give the authorities a chance to relegate us,
    2. On my opinion, we need 2 wins. Ideally vs Sunderland and Palace.
    3. Look at Palaces fixtures and they could still be relegated. (20/1 at the bookies if you believe this).
    4. Take solace in the FA Cup 6th Rd game vs Sunderland where we all thought we’d screw up and then thrashed them.

  7. JohnK
    JohnK says:

    Not sure why there is a level of pessimism with some of the comments. I believe we are nailed on to match if not better Swansea’s results over the last 3 games. The reason I say this is that I don’t think we have ever had a manager with the intensity and focus of Marco Silva and I can’t believe he will allow the players not to get the points needed, which they are more than capable of. Many of our players will be playing for their Premiership futures too and there will be no lack of professional motivation within the team. Everybody has one objective and whether professional or personal, everybody has more than enough motivation.

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