Last night was always going to be a tall order. Away to reigning champions, knowing that anything but a win would all but hand them the title on a silver platter. A few years ago I said to a friend that there was a gap between us and City but it was closing. I still believe that to be true but last night we weren’t at our best and City are playing football at a level unto themselves. It’s amazing what unlimited resources and the arrogance to breach FFP rules 108 times can do for you eh?!
Our results going to the Etihad are poor and it’s something that we need to arrest quickly if we want to compete with the best, last night we simply added to our run of dismal results there. Our defending was poor and City were absolutely clinical in front of goal. When you’re faced with a team that score for fun you need to be solid at the back and hope to frustrate them but it was all too easy going last night for City. We looked very tired.
It’s strange to think that the reason for so much of our early season success, the settled XI, is now probably undoing the end of our season. The minutes in legs are adding up for the likes of Saka and Xhaka. I was surprised that Trossard didn’t start last night and I think that now must change for the visit of the West London Chavs on Tuesday. The loss of Saliba at the back was also huge and whilst his contract situation is up in the air we need to make sure that in summer we’re planning for all outcomes. But that’s a discussion for another day. One comfort is that this young team have made this title race. If we hadn’t Man City would’ve won it weeks ago. No other team has been close to challenging. We’ll learn from this and go forward.
Make no mistake last night the best team won, we were well beaten, in fact we were properly put to the sword. But the season isn’t over and we are going to need to finish well (despite securing Champions League football next year). The pundits can pick over the scraps of last night, I don’t need to say much more. I’m hurting this morning but I’m not surprised.
We go on.