It was difficult…but as I trudged away from the Etihad last night with my head largely bowed; I’d not even reached the end of the outer perimeter of the complex and onto the main road when I muttered to my wife, “Well…we started the weekend 6 points off the top and that’s not changed”.
Inside I was SEETHING at the officials for losing us this game - I just don’t know where I managed to grab that brief moment of 'optimistic tone'…
It took me some time to get over the Leicester City game a little over a week ago and why was that? Well a defeat in a crucial game but added to wrong personnel choices and a largely poor display, all adds to a stomach-churning experience for me.
You don’t mind so much losing to a better team if you gave it ‘something of a go’.
Last night was different. I don’t think we played so badly at all, aside from an off-night from our front-man Sergio, and although we appeared to have to ‘go at it’ 100% just to keep up with a decent-looking Tottenham side; we did just that for the most part.
And THAT’S the difference in-being able to shake off a similarly vital fixture defeat far quicker / easier.
Although it could be the case that my frustrated thoughts surrounding the match officials, last night, took me away from the actual disappointing title-blow-result. Despite my pragmatic view ‘on the night’ regarding the overall situation of the remaining 3 months; I was SO incensed at Mr Clattenburg and at least one of his ‘linos’ that I couldn’t even bear to watch Match of the Day 2 last night. I did, however, record it so that I could watch it with a much clearer mind and calmer persona than I had last night…
Justified! Not a handball by Raheem Sterling in the slightest. At worst the ball thumped against his side and then bounced up to hit his elbow as the England man had his back to the ball. A few Spurs’ players appealed but even in slow-mo, you could see that most of the Tottenham fans behind the goal didn’t even jump up to claim “foul play”…and they had a flippin’ good view!
I had a similarly superb vantage point of the incident last night and was convinced, of what was now proven to be from every angle on TV, a should-have-been, non-incident.
What vexed me even more, though, was that MotD 2 didn’t show any of Clattenburg’s, assistant’s errors; the ‘lino’ on the East Stand side. Okay, I wasn’t exactly in direct view of the many off-side decisions he gave in the second half but I was watching play close enough to be fairly certain that the guy MUST have paid a trip to the bar before the game – that’s what I screamed out after his 3rd misjudgement…
But I’m confident too in my fellow Blues who WERE in-line with the attacking play and who were SCREAMING at him, as his continued flag-waving began to irritate the home fans. It was just one of those ‘orrible nights where we were going to get very little from the officials no matter what happened and however long we played.
Don’t even get me started on Danny (cheating) Rose…
So that’s “it” then, is it?
Well you’ve gotta say that with…
- SO many flippin’ injuries at the moment…and injuries, also, to key players for the next 6 to 10 weeks (that’s half-to-most of the rest of the season);
- A Football Association refusing to move our F.A. Cup game to the Saturday next weekend; allowing us more ‘prep’ & travel time before our Champions League encounter the Wednesday after and, so, Pellegrini quite-rightly pledging to ‘play the kids’ at Stamford Bridge next Sunday
- Concerns over our form, then, heading into a big encounter against an ‘up & down’ but re-energised Liverpool side under Jurgen Klopp at Wembley in the League Cup
- Then having to go away to Liverpool in the Premier League just 3 days later - our FORTH away game ‘on the trot’ covering London, the Ukraine, London again before a short trip to Merseyside
…it does sound like a daunting few weeks and months ahead.
If we sustain any more injuries before - or even after - other players have returned; then I think we have to be happy – and even hopeful of achieving – a League Cup win and a ‘top 4’ finish at the very most.
There…I’ve said it - and I think we’ve gotta be that realistic now, my fellow Blues.
With the F.A.’s refusal to budge on the fixture change then we can kiss that one goodbye, I think…and that’s no disrespect to the EDS lads before a ball has even been kicked.
Champions League? Well…rested players next weekend gives us a good chance of a decent result over there and then, at home in the return leg, we’ll probably finish the job. But does anyone else think we’ll go any further than that? I hope so…but I very much doubt it.
The League Cup? Well it’s a final and anything can happen. Both teams’ form is all over the place and so this one is a ‘sit back and enjoy’, 50/50 encounter. Fingers crossed…
The Premier League? Well it’s been so flippin’ unpredictable for ALL teams this season in terms of shock results and inconsistences all-round (even though Arsenal, Leicester & Spurs have looked very good indeed for the most part NO-one has really pulled away, have they?) then I think it’s still possible to win the league this season.
It might help if we ARE, indeed, knocked out of the F.A. Cup and exit the Champions League before too long; and if both Arsenal & Tottenham can stay in the F.A. Cup and both teams stay in the Champions League & Europa League respectively (unlikely in Arsenal’s case with Barcelona ‘up next’) then even BETTER for our chances in the league!
|Long break-rests for Leicester's players...|
I say that because Leicester City, despite their defeat yesterday, worry me – worry me because they literally have-only the league to concentrate on. Whilst all around them are scrapping in 3 & 4 competitions they have both week and even FORTNIGHT gaps in-between games to rest, recover and ‘prep’ their players; whilst "we all" busy ourselves playing plenty of football and travelling all over the flippin’ shop!
Strap yourselves in – if you think it’s been a little rough of late, then I think it’s going to get a whole lot bumpier…