A True Game Of Two Halves

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From my memory, it seems like we’ve had a few of these this season, Southampton and Swansea particularly stick in the memory – though my memory is failing quicker than my liver.

The first half today was littered by mistakes, especially in possession – passes going astray that really shouldn’t have done so.  Not only by ourselves, but our opponents too.

Robertson particularly was poor on the ball, and I also hold him most culpable for his poor positioning for Andy Carroll’s well-taken first half goal.

In fact, this blog post was going to be all about Robertson’s weaker recent form, as I started penning it at half time.  Or keyboarding it.

I do think Robertson’s form has been poor recently, at least for his standards and compared to others in defence.  He never was our greatest defender, and came close to cult status more for his foraging runs and incisive on-floor crossing.  He has defensive frailties and occasional wayward passing, but these can be accommodated with a goal/assist threat that he used to have.

Lately, we haven’t seen the exciting, marauding Scotsman that we were introduced to a few seasons back, and there have been a few key mistakes.

I was lamenting his form, and starting wondering if Tymon should have another opportunity.

Then that run and that goal.  The incisivity of it.  It was quite beautiful.

Our Robbo was back.  And my draft post was invalidated.

It wasn’t the only good move he was involved in either during the second-half, with a much improved City performance.

Much of the credit will go to Silva, and rightly so.  Grosicki was unlucky to be on the bench, and I do feel that he has got a great future at the club.  He seems desperate to make a good impression, perhaps to the detriment of over-effort at times, with some crosses going rather wayward (not today).  But with two assists to his name, it won’t only be our new-found Polish fans signing his praises.  And that first goal will come.

Another player that can be guilty of crimes relating to effort is Markovic.  Today, he was at the positive end of the effort scale, with two notable dead-ball chases, one which led to their keeper making a mistake that could have been very costly, in the first half, the other which led to a well-deserved round of applause.  If there is anything that us City fans appreciate, it is hard graft.

I do think that he spends a bit too long on the ball at times when in possession, there was a run into the box around the hour mark where it should have been released, and he ended up squirming away possession – again, perhaps too much of a desire to be the hero.

With a proper hard-working second-half, packed with quality at both ends, it is hard to pick a man-of-the-match.  Jakupovic was excellent in goal, with some excellent cross-claiming.  Harry was his usual near-peerless self, hopefully impressing the watching Southgate.

Elmohamedy deserves praise for his defensive work today and for putting in a proper shift – something missing from his game for, ooooh, 3 years.  And N’Diaye was much improved – some mistakes but a great first-time shot that hit the post.

The fight is still on.  I am expecting us to lose against Middlesbrough – I almost want us to, to make it interesting.  And you know as well as I do that victory away against Man City is more in the bag than Arsene Wenger’s next contract.

As much as it would give me some satisfaction to see Ehab’s renewed arseholery rewarded with relegation, I didn’t half cheer when that second goal went in.

Fuck Ehab, I want to stay up.

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