Monday, 26 March 2012
I'm afraid I will not be telling you who has been to dinner with me. That is a private matter. In no way, however, did any of the people who came to sample my soya chunk surprise influence any of the important decisions I have taken. If they did, that would be unacceptable. So now that's out of the way, let's move on to the wonderful Britannia Stadium. If we must.
Stoke have (as anyone who know me or this blog will testify) a special place in my heart. I will not employ any of the clichés so evident in any of my 5 previous posts tagged with Stoke (one of them doesn't appear to have anything to do with the Potters, so for the life of me, I can't figure out why I tagged it. Never mind) and will simply offer a deep sigh. No matter what anyone says, and at the risk of coming across a bit like Mancini at handshake time, the Crouch goal was a fluke. He was, I think, trying to get the ball somewhere towards goal, and somehow managed to put his foot through it in just the right way. So, it was sort of intended, but not to the degree where he thought: 'Right, this is going to glide across and over the keeper and then curl into the goal, just by the post.' To demonstrate that I am nothing if not scupulously fair, I will admit that Yaya's thunderbolt also had more than a touch of jam on it as it nearly tore the net off its stanchions from that deflection. Otherwise, it seems as if this was a fairly even match, not too troubled by any lengthy periods of quality. Stoke could perhaps have won it, so we should be grateful for a point. City are looking jaded, as I've said before, and in particular the dips in form shown by Silva and Agűero (I know Kun wasn't playing Saturday. Hopefully, his foot will repair soon, because we offer significantly less of a threat without him) are a major concern.
As is Bobby's attitude at the moment. Newspapers have said, and I have to concur, that he must have been the only person who wasn't aware of the physical nature of Stoke's game before bringing the team up to face them. In any case, by the rugged standards set by the warriors of Staffordshire (sorry, but clichés are so hard to avoid) it doesn't seem as if this was a particularly bruising display. And then for him to refuse to shake old Pulis's paw before sending Platty out to the cameras seems to betoken a psychological defeat on his part. I said in a previous post, coming out with crap like 'we didn't prepare properly' or 'we under-estimated them' is really not good enough, and the attitude of the man risks sending us over the edge in terms of the will to win. After praising him for his performance against Chelsea, I do wish Nasri would shut up as well.
Now we need Fulham to put on something of a show against the Rags, but I am most definitely not holding my breath for that to happen.