Thursday, February 3, 2011


So, dear City, this is where you have transported us now: to a land of bent leafless trees and parched grass, where birds croak and frogs limp, where a point at St Andrews feels like a slap in the face with a wet flannel. Thanks ever so much for that.

We've been here before of course
It has taken an unedifyingly short amount of time to transform our Blues from pantomime dromedary into equine beauty. This thoroughbred with its nostrils flaring and its tail up, chomping at the bit but still dropping the odd steaming dollop here and there. Well, last night that tail was planted firmly between the legs as City's players trudged off the pitch in Birmingham and the recriminations began. Divers, cheaters, bottlers, sleepers. Mancini's stubborn English, still refusing to come out of Grade 4 repeat year, bubbled and frothed with indignation and misplaced irregular verbs. City had fallen asleep, not for the first time in this new, young year and cast away the three points again. This is becoming a Second City of woe for the Blues this season, full of missed chances and Bent dreams.

So, we stand in 3rd place, now only two clear of a suddenly resurfacing Chelsea with the forever unpredictable Tottenham just behind them. One can truly hear the gnashing of teeth and thumping of hooves behind us and - if you sneak a look - that dustcloud of stamping feet is inching closer week by terrifying week.

A murkier place
A closer look at the balance thus far, however, tells us that we are still in the Europa League, favourably paired with the average Aris with the less appetizing Dynamo Kiev or, God forbid, Besiktas, to come if we prevail. We have a fifth round home FA Cup tie with Villa dangling in front of our noses if we can dispatch Notts County whence they came. In the new order of things, this should translate into a 6th round appearance, even taking City's idiosyncracies into full and painful account.  Thus, panic can be put back in the cupboard for another few days. West Brom limp into town next. Never were three points more necessary, one might say, but then one would be doing City's topsy turvy past a gross injustice. We have been in far murkier places after all.

So, that glass is still half full or did somebody just take another giant slurp out of it?

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