Monday, 25 October 2010
The decisive moment wasn't when Boyata was sent off. It wasn't when the Gooners went 1-0 up. It wasn't when Fabregas' penalty was so superbly saved by Hart. It was the removal of Tevez, who had been fiddling with his groin for a while, and who had begun to run a bit like Gareth Barry. He was replaced by Adebayor. That was the Smiths moment. Compounded by the arrival of Wayne Bridge, we never looked likely to muster enough to get back at them, and the second goal sealed it. My usual morning after ritual on us losing (and especially without scoring) was observed, with a stubborn refusal to read the match report, but this was at least a little shorter lived than would normally be the case, and I felt ready to take it all in by around 2 o'clock.
I think we can be proud of our performance, and remain convinced that if Tevez had stayed on the pitch we would have created something. Even if we had managed to coax a few more fouls out of the Arse just after the sending off and got back to 11 a side... Then who knows. But it was not to be. Their fancy dan running around and dancing behaviour was all too much for a depleted squad carrying more than a couple of dead weights, and the inevitable gaps opened up to let in that dreadful Bendtner and his Scandinavian hair. Balotelli at least (at last!) came on, though it was hard to judge his performance in the circumstances. I feel cautiously optimistic about the Rags game, and quite proud of a stirring City effort.