Watching yesterday's 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City was like being caught in the driving rain that persisted throughout: not unexpected but completely unwelcome. But there were positives: numerous ones, in fact. More than I could actually fit into this article, even!
I'm not grasping at straws, I swear.
Our overall performance
Yeah, we got utterly sat on. But this was one of the greatest attacking teams this league has ever seen, and considering that, what we put out wasn't bad. We did our best to keep them at bay and just kept coming at them (with predictable results). The one thing I've always said Tim Sherwood has had over Andre Villas-Boas is the ability to man manage, and yesterday showed that in spades: two months ago, we would've rolled over and presented ourselves. Two months ago, we did roll over and present ourselves. This time, everyone tried their utmost trying to scale a team that proved insurmountable, even scoring a disallowed equaliser (the parallels to the Newcastle game end here), and that's all you can ask for, isn't it? The personnel aren't different, so you've got to attribute that to the one major change there's been and that's down to Sherwood.
Not showing the team the previous loss, though? That was dumb.
This season, Danny Rose has either struck me as half-fit, out of his depth, or an unfortunate combination of the two (Arsenal in the FA Cup, anyone)? But yesterday, he was legitimately our best player and showed the heights we've all hoped he could hit since he returned from Sunderland. Navas couldn't quite get the edge over him alone; he coped when City tried to overload him and he was our most potent threat from wide positions (probably more of a slight against Lennon and Sigurdsson, but I'm trying to be upbeat here). He even managed a last-ditch, goal-saving tackle that changed the complexion of the game!
I know he scored and won the penalty, but the ball ricocheted off him into an empty net after a reaction save. Darren Bent would be hard-pressed to miss that.
The rest of his game was reduced to blasting shots wide and high, and commiting niggly fouls against Kyle Walker, for some reason (he'd have been better served going directly against Michael “can't outpace a paralytic amputee” Dawson anyway). With Aguero out injured, City are going to be relying on him for crunch ties against the likes of Chelsea and Barcelona. Should go well if he plays like that.
When it was 1-0, and I still had hope.
One of our coaches comes out and says Claude Makelele is the worst thing that's happened to the Premier League (SACRILEGE) and that the rest of the staff don't really believe in them. He also drops Etienne Capoue, the one pure player in the squad of this ilk, for the 19 year-old Nabil Bentaleb (who was OK yesterday but really needs to work on his decision-making) and tells him that he's free to go, but not before he comes on at half-time to shore things up a bit.
Tim Sherwood's either a genius, a hypocrite, a complete and utter bellend or some combination of the three. Roll on Hull, the return of a fro-less Huddlestone and our attempt at picking up the pieces.