In sympathy with City, my stomach roiled and boiled last night, just after the final whistle. For the first time in ages, I was nastily sick all over the toilet and surrounding floorspace. I actually think my stomach was unsettled for most of the day, but it was only after being sick that I realised it. Funny, really.
On a day when Chelsea madness took a further step forward, and when Israeli madness seemed to take a tentative step backwards, City inevitably bowed out of the Champions League for another year. Not a great show from us, it has to be said, though there was at least a little bit of fight in the second half. The penalty was something of a gift, and it never really felt as if we were going to get another goal. Clearly, the damage was done at the Bernabeu when we surrendered an unlikely lead and gave the game away in those crazy last few minutes. In all honesty, we have been pretty conclusively outplayed in all of our CL fixtures this year, with both Dortmund and Ajax making us look slightly amateurish, and appearing very naive in allowing the Spaniards back in at that first match. More than the Galacticos however, I was hugely impressed with both the other two, but especially the Germans, who look to be an extremely accomplished and combative side, able to give any Premier League team a torrid time.
And there's the essence of the thing really. This year's season at the top table of English club football has been of even lower quality than last. No disrespect to West Brom, and apologies to the once cultured Hammers, but the presence of these two teams so near the top of the league really speaks to that drop in standards. It's all to the good, I suppose, to have a more open competition, and it would be great if the Prem were more like the Championship, with any team capable of beating any other at any time. Yet it doesn't help the standing of English football in the European elite.
It's not all bad though. For the moment, we are top of the league, a point ahead of the Rags, and starting to play a little better. As well as that, Rafa Benitez is installed at Chelsea, and one can only hope that his arrival will not be one of those which galvanizes a moribund team into action. Finally, my own predilection for getting scores and outcomes correct is starting to become a little bit scary. I rightly said 2-1 against Spurs, tipped a heavy win with Tevez goals against Villa and predicted a draw against Mourinho's men last night. As far as Chelsea go on Sunday (in case you fancy a punt) I reckon 2-1 City. You can have that one on me.