Pep and his deflated squad return to Wembley on Saturday with the memory of their last visit to the stadium which delivered his first trophy as City’s coach now consigned to memory as they strive to recover from what has been a crushing week.
The heroes in sky blue really do have feet of clay.
After setting new records & scaling heights of footballing standards which had confounded the sceptics, Blues fans might have been forgiven for believing that ‘Typical City’ had finally been consigned to history. Their weak second half performance in the derby saw the ghost of ‘Typical City’ break out from the basement dungeon to which we thought it had been safely confined and thoroughly trample over the hopes and dreams of Blues fans as they witnessed an historic opportunity slip from their grasp.
That result was compounded by the club’s exit from the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
When Pep Guardiola was introduced to the City faithful in July 2016 and told them to “fasten your seatbelts” I’m pretty sure none of us were expecting them to be required to deal with such a rapid deceleration as we have experienced in the past 10 days. In fact the reduction in speed has been so severe and unexpected that there will be many City fans shaking their heads and wondering whether they could make a compensation claim for whiplash injuries.
From zooming along in the outside lane with the engine often in ‘comfort mode’ and two cylinders switched off the conserve fuel, the City Express has found itself in fairly short order shunted over to the nearside lane and with the passengers starting to feel a bit queasy as the fuel in the tank starts to run dry and the engine begins to falter.
Mauricio Pochettino and his players must be straining at the leash, eager to feed on the fresh meat of City’s bruised confidence and an apparent ‘glass jaw’ represented by the recently developed tendency to concede goals in batches.
Doubtless ‘Arry “I scored that” Kane will claim any goal that Spurs might score solely by virtue of being on the pitch. Rightly so he has taken some massive stick off everyone including being awarded the goals by Mario Mandzucic against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening. You make your bed ‘Arry, you’ll have to lie in it. All a bit unedifying if you ask me and he deserves all the ridicule he has been getting – I have no sympathy for him after his sneaky studs up challenge on Sterling in the reverse tie at the Etihad. Let’s keep him off the score sheet Saturday please.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Simon Bennett, Andy Halliday
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
Spurs will be without Danny Rose, Harry Winks and another lad who is so anonymous I shan’t even bother to name him.
City will be without the ‘oil in the machine’ that is Fernandinho due to him picking up his 10th booking of the season in the derby and earning a two match suspension. Another consequence of Martin Atkinson’s pathetic interpretation of ‘being a referee’. John Stones will also be absent with an abductor strain.
So, instead of a calm and measured conclusion to the season, City face a potentially undignified scramble to the Premier League finish line plagued by self-doubt and dogged by fatigue which is both mental and physical.
Such times test everyone’s character, resolve and spirit but we must not be too downhearted! All is not lost! Despite last weekend’s result we remain 13 points clear of the Stretford Galacticos and have not become a bad team overnight no matter what the nay-sayers and sceptics may think.
What is needed now more than ever from all concerned is an almighty effort of collective will, of personal courage, resilience and a resolve to get the job done. It will not be easy and the players will need every ounce of support that we can give them after a bruising, dispiriting series of results.
Time to step up everyone especially to the travelling Blues attending Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.
Let the players know we are still in their corner, let’s get the job done and leave the capital with all three points!
Come on City!!!
Preview, courtesy of Skoorb.