The Manchester City fans were drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern last night after their dreams of winning a historic quadruple were firmly put to rest by their FA Cup nemesis at the DW Stadium.
If Wigan Athletic were not already regarded as Manchester City’s bogey team, then they certainly will be now after they dumped The Citizens out of the FA Cup for the 3rd time in just over 5 years with a 1-0 home victory courtesy of Will Grigg’s 79th minute strike. The Latics had already caused one of the great FA Cup upsets of recent memory when they scored a late winner in the final against City in 2013, but their heroics last night have arguably eclipsed the shock of 5 years ago.
It’s easy to analyse and dissect Man City’s performance yesterday in a bid to explain their unexpected defeat, but sometimes you just have to accept it was one of those days. In reality, City played relatively well and they did everything that Guardiola could have asked of them, but one mistake combined with a host of missed opportunities ensured that Wigan would claim another Premier League scalp on their FA Cup run.
However, plenty of the City supporters pointed towards Anthony Taylor’s decision to send off Fabian Delph as a key reason to explain their side’s failure to progress into the 6th round of the competition. Although it is true that Taylor’s decision negatively impacted on the quality of City’s performance, they were certainly not aided by Guardiola’s manic reaction to the decision.
A series of cringe-worthy scenes emerged after Taylor dismissed Delph on the stroke of half-time, as Guardiola lost his head with both the officials and Wigan’s manager Paul Cook. Considering the manner in which the Wigan players managed to persuade Taylor to change the colour of his card from yellow to red, it was easy to sympathise with Guardiola’s frustration, but the enormity of his reaction showed a lack of composure at the situation which eventually relayed to his player’s on the field.
Guardiola’s reaction was uncharacteristic of the composure and class his side have shown whilst going about their business so far this season, and his petulance served to illuminate the pressure he is feeling beneath the surface, despite cutting a supremely confident figure for the majority of the season so far. By letting his guard down, Guardiola showed that he was rumbled by Taylor’s decision and that he did not trust his side to progress to the 6th round with 10 men on the field. Ultimately, his reaction might just have cost him the quadruple this season.