Maybe it was because I’d had a pint, I’m not afraid to admit it, but it seemed to me that the better team lost. A different decision here or there (Tripps and Sissoko), more accurate shooting (Harry and Lamela) and a more authoritative referee (Kevin Friend) and we’d have won this game. Easily.
Before last night I had no doubt that we would finish outside the top four, we’re too sluggish in midfield and mistake prone at the back, and maybe a good deal further down if Harry doesn’t find his shooting boots, but my view now has altered. We took the game to City, created the most chances and were unlucky to come away with nothing. We looked good.
City scored early after Trippier erred and then was mugged by Sterling but Hugo could have sat with a crème de menthe and thought left bankish thoughts whilst doing something else stereotypically French for the remainder of the game and not been bothered.
As expected, Lamela, Sissoko and Lucas ran their socks off from the start whilst Dier and Dembele attempted to keep a lid on the spinning and whirling Silvas. Every buckle of the knee offered to Friend by Sterling was bought whilst both Laporte and Walker had to resort to crude challenges to halt the inflight Lucas & Lamela. Friend is unfortunately from the no cards before half-time school so all offenders went basically unpunished.
Aguero was poor, Mahrez quiet (took his goal well mind) and Walker comical in his efforts to fight for control of the ball when in possession. Sort of.
Kane, Trippier and Sissoko all had chances in the first half to capitalise on the huge amount of space behind Benjamin Mendy but all disappointingly cocked it up.
The second half was a quieter affair until Dele and Eriksen were brought on. With ten minutes to go Dele created the chance of the night for Lamela who leant back at the vital moment and sent his straightforward opportunity to equalise over the bar from 12 yards.
I’ve not seen it back, it may have bobbled, it wouldn’t be a surprise given the state of the pitch. The scuffed, sandy and brown surface, the NFL sign and the ten-yard gridlines together with City’s garish kit that complemented the referee’s fluorescent outfit gave the evening a sort of Sunday morning on Wanstead Flats type atmosphere. The empty seats in the top tier are an indication of how much the fans are starting to loathe the trip to Wembley.
Talking of sh*t stadia, our next game is at West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
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