Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 2: Some Thoughts
Oh god, here we go again.
(I wasn’t expecting that)
And so Mr Negative himself (me) sat down and prepared himself for the end of season party, the day the title campaign was officially surrendered. A weakened Chelsea team pointed to only one result at Anfield and I didn’t think City would show much fight thereafter. That’s the spirit eh! The only thing in my favour was being positioned in my lucky spot in my local, from where I had seen City win comfortably away three times this season. It was my last roll of the dice.
Thankfully the players actually involved yesterday thought differently to me. A bedraggled Mourinho did what he does best and we all had a good laugh at the “faces like a slapped arse” on display from the 17,000 ex-Liverpool players in attendance. Kenny Dalglish was my favourite. Suddenly it was BACK IN OUR HANDS and I thought we’d then go and mess everything up at Palace, because that’s how my mind works.
How fitting that it was Stevie Geeeee who messed up to hand Chelsea the initiative in the match. I don’t really have much against the guy, unlike others, and he is isn’t responsible for the love-fest surrounding Merseyside over recent weeks, but his mistake did bring a wry smile.
So onto Part 2 of Super Smashing Sensational Sunday.
No great shocks in the team line – up. Two up front again, Dzeko over Negredo no surprise whatsoever. Milner was in, which was fine as he seems to play better away from home anyway, but the omission of Fernandinho was the nearest thing to a shock.
And then a perfect start. A great header from Dzeko meant the relief of an early goal and from then on, City did the ultimate professional job against a form team managed by a guy with many a point to prove over City. Palace rarely got a sniff at goal, and after Toure’s superb second goal (which I bizarrely was convinced was going wide), the second half was a case of seeing the game out and keeping Palace at arm’s length, something City did with consummate ease. There was no point going all out for more goals when the three points were the most important thing, especially as our goal difference is easily the best now in the league.
Good performances were scattered through the game. Dzeko played his part and worked hard up front. Yaya was Yaya, Aguero seemed more on the ball than previous games whilst Milner, Garcia, Demichelis and more did their jobs perfectly.
Whatever happens now, yesterday gave us one great gift. The Liverpool love-in is suspended for a few days and instead of proclaiming how they are going to win the league and getting their Champions T-shirts printed (as some already have), instead Liverpool fans are waking up with queasy stomachs and a nerve wracking week ahead. Welcome to our world.
And as was predictable, the shuddering halt in the destiny-inspired Liverpool title-charge was not taken too well by many on the red side of their city. Brendan Rogers had a little cry in the post-match press conference at the horror of Chelsea not letting Liverpool play their natural game, whilst one Liverpool fan phoned 6-0-6 to express his disgust at seeing Ian Rush laughing five minutes before the end of the game. It’s what Liverpool fans do best, as we found out after David Silva had the nerve to remove his armband during City’s match at Anfield.
And then there was the curious case of Graeme Souness. I occasionally refer to Michael Douglas in Falling Down in my blogs, and yesterday it was Graeme’s turn to have a breakdown live on air. We are all used to commentators and pundits spitting their blinkered dummies out when things don’t go their team’s way, but Souness spat his out so hard it rebounded off a window and knocked a cameraman out. This is a shame really as he has been the best pundit of all over recent years and has always seemed fair to City and other clubs, but yesterday was an embarrassing shambles of a rant that was incomprehensible and quite simply made him look like an idiot. To say Liverpool were unlucky because none of their shots deflected into the goal was bizarre enough, but to then dismiss City’s professional performance as not good enough was plainly stupid and would never have been applied to any other team in similar circumstances. The best comment though was claiming City wouldn’t have won without Toure in the team. The problem is Graeme, he was in the team, so what point you were trying to make is baffling. I imagine Liverpool wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the table without Suarez, but he is a Liverpool player so that’s irrelevant.
Using Graeme’s logic, here’s some other things we can also deduce:
United wouldn’t have won so many trophies if Alex Ferguson wasn’t at the helm.
Man wouldn’t have landed on the moon if it wasn’t for that rocket thing.
One Direction wouldn’t actually be that successful if fewer people had bought their records.
Red Rum wouldn’t have won as many races if he couldn’t run so fast.
Manchester would have a beach if it was on the coast.
If my auntie had balls….
And so to the biggest game of the season, a season-defining 90 minutes conveniently scheduled to ruin my birthday. Everton away is such a tough game that it is clear this title is not back in our grasp just yet. They have injury worries but will always pose us problems. The theory that they will want us to win does not stack up for me as the players will not think like fans and we all know that Everton and Liverpool fans all love each other so will be cheering on their cross-city rivals (sarcasm? Not sure). I’m trying not to think too much about it for now, but the team knows what it has to do and has done it before.