A dreadful turn out from Fulham didn’t help matters, to my eyes there could only have been 150, to maybe 200 maximum away supporters tucked away in the upper tier of the South stand. This clearly did nothing to assist the atmosphere, there was no banter, no reply, no noticeable passion from the away support for the City fans to bounce off. The first 20 minutes was spent with different sections of the Eastlands faithful amusing each other with various topics that go back to the days of Maine Road. To blame the Fulham supporters though is wrong, we should have generated our own atmosphere
The other problem was that I think many of us expected a pretty straight forward win, we were waiting to be entertained, and sadly it never happened. You have to question the mentality of the Fulham support, this is a game City haven’t won since 2006 (despite generally winning the reverse fixture), and in those games there have often been dramatic and fantastic comebacks that would have thrilled the travelling Fulham supporters, maybe they too expected an easy City win and decided it wasn’t worth the trip.
The mood of me and many other blues on the way out was pretty low, our current run of form is patchy and if it weren’t for our superior goal difference wins for Chelsea and Spurs in their games in hand would knock us out of the top four. Fear is setting in amongst a lot of City fans that we are about to repeat our antics of last season, but now the morning after I think its time to look at why we shouldn’t panic yet, and why the situation is OK.
So, allow me to wish all fellow blues a Happy 35th Anniversary since our last trophy win, yes, we’re still here! Lets be positive with my three reasons why City fans shouldn’t be hitting the panic button just yet:
Bad Day At The Office – City looked leggy and aside from the again fantastic Pablo Zabaleta no-one really was on top of their game, if ever there was a day where the description a bad day at the office was appropriate, this was it. The players never really got going, and it was was admittedly a really poor display.
The chances are we won’t play that poorly again this season, and better to get it out of the way against someone like Fulham as opposed to Spurs or Chelsea. City can bounce back from this and hopefully a resounding win next weekend against Wigan will turn all this around and get the confidence flowing again.
We Still Have To Play Our Competition – Last years race for 4th came down to games against Spurs and ultimately the home game. Now last year I hold my hands up and say that we totally bottled it at home and never really looked like winning the game. In the away game we got hammered and it was one of the worst displays of that season. This year the side was resolute under a barrage of Spurs pressure at White Hart Lane and I truly believe that this year we can beat them at Eastlands. If we beat Spurs we have a great chance of being in the top 4, on top of that we still have to play Chelsea as well, City hammered them last year at Stamford Bridge in fact we did the double over them. This year Tevez has already inspired us to beat them once and he and the rest of the team have a great chance of getting us at least a point there.
Although the fixture list is kind to Spurs in the next few weeks in terms of opposition, they still have to play both Arsenal and Chelsea as well as us, again games that could be difficult for them. If we pick up 4 points from those 2 games, I am sure the Eastlands club will make it.
Players Returning From Injury – City have played a lot of games lately, and there is no-one to blame for that but ourselves, not beating the likes of Notts County and Leicester in cup games has made life more difficult and we have also sustained a lot of injuries. The bench yesterday consisting of 2 academy players seemingly to make up the numbers left because of injuries. Of our 4 top performers this season, yesterday 3 were out injured, Kompany, De Jong and Silva, with Tevez that is the spine of the team. The 3 injured stars are extremely close to returning to fitness, as is James Milner and Micah Richards.
When those players are fit again there will be a lot more scope for Mancini to rotate the pack meaning some of the slower displays of late can be banished. The spine of the team will be back and the side should be able to fire again. A fully fit City squad (with the exception of Adam Johnson who is out for a while yet) will be a tremendous boost and I am sure it will see the team returning to winning ways.
So there we have it, hopefully it has helped allay some of your fears. For whats its worth I think the top 4 as is will be how it finishes. I think both Manchester City and Tottenham will be in the top 4 next year with Chelsea missing out and I think the English game will be better for it too! Eyes of both sets of fans will be on the United – Chelsea game on Tuesday and I think fans of both teams will be supporting United, I know I will be……now where’s that soap to wash my mouth out.
If you want to hear more of my thoughts and want to join the debate, @soccercityjoe on twitter is the place!
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