1. Another poor week on the field for City, for whom little is going right. Defeat at Fulham wasn’t shameful, unlike the catastrophe that preceded it, but it extended City’s winless run of away league games to 21. There’s a real psychological issue with the side – it doesn’t look remotely as though it’s confident of winning any fixture outside of East Yorkshire, and this mental timidity is sensed and capitalised upon by streetwise Championship opposition with disheartening ease and regularity.
2. We weren’t bad at Craven Cottage. Just ordinary, and prone to fatal lapses of concentration at the back. And though City roused themselves well from the first concession, there was rarely a sense that the second could be repaired. Again, it’s mental frailty. We don’t do adversity well on the pitch, which is particularly unfortunate given that we’re a club beset by it right now.
3. Sunderland followed an approximately similar pattern, though with a moderately happier outcome. When we conceded (miserably cheaply), heads plunged and took a long time to recover. And look, it’s hard when things are going bad and you concede. Footballers are human and they experience human emotions. But there also needs to be a greater resilience at times. Some of the stuff City played in the first half after Sunderland scored was frankly shocking.
4. Much of that came from a midfield that was really quite pathetically weak. Henriksen and Larsson must surely have attributes that have propelled them a long way in the professional game, but it was difficult to discern what these were at times. Neither seemed awfully interested in tracking runners, making a tackle, receiving or using possession, and as a result we were overrun by a deeply mediocre Sunderland side. You cannot hope to prosper with such a flimsy central midfield, and it’s hard not to wonder what on earth Leonid Slutsky was thinking by deploying it.
5. Whenever City played the ball out of defence in the first half it was invariably to one of the wide men, where momentum stalled. The formation took Bowen and Grosicki out of the game as Sunderland were able to contain the wide player with the ball and still have both Bowen and Grosicki tightly marked.
6. Why do City look so bereft of purpose and understanding at times? Well, Slutsky’s post match interview revealed that the Russian feels he’s still in pre-season mode, still explaining his philosophy to the players eight games into the season. With that we can sympathise. Remember Ehab saying how transfer business would be concluded early?
7. Slutsky said David Meyler didn’t start the game as he is managing the Irishman’s fitness, an understandable mindset when you consider the players we’ve lost to injury playing them when below peak fitness. Meyler’s introduction changed the game though, and saved City from defeat.
8. Which brings us to that risible chant. Stop that shit.
9. Without garnering much attention, Allan McGregor is making a lot of good saves at the moment. The first goal he conceded at Derby is a reminder that he has his flaws, but he’s also been stopping a lot lately. In these generally unhappy days, it’s a rare bright point.
10. Let’s not go overboard on penaltyspotgate. It’s clear that someone somewhere forget to properly daub a splash of paint twelve yards from each goal, and equally plain that the referee didn’t notice that penalty spots were not visible to the fans. It happens. It was poor timing with the SMC choosing over the weekend to publicly defend their decision to sack the previous groundstaff, but never mind. It’ll make a great Hull City trivia question in years to come.