There's one thing you don't want to do when you go to Old Trafford, and that's concede inside the first five minutes. Unfortunately for Blues, we did just that, and that's when you know the next 90 minutes will be even more of an uphill struggle than you expected.
It may have been a different story had we not conceded so early. Yes, we still would have lost. I don't think many teams go to United expecting it to be easy or to get all three points, you can hope, but the reality is it probably isn't going to happen. But conceding so early on gave United the rest of the game to score even more, which of course they did. Two nil, then three nil before half time. And couple more after to take the grand total up to five before they decided they didn't want any more.
But enough about the cockneys, lets talk about Blues. The team with passion, fight drive, desire... that has gone missing this season. We knew it would be hard, we knew we'd be in a relegation battle, but were it not for the fact we were in a Carlin Cup semi final and on the verge of Wembley, I think many a Bluenose would be searching for the rope. No, I'm joking. We've been through all this shite before and we knew we'd have to go through it again. It's part and parcel of being a Bluenose and we wouldn't have it any other way... although once in a while it'd be nice to have a little change.
Now, onto what I actually wanted to talk about in this rather lengthy blog post. Just a few observations from the match. So, number one: we miss Scott Dann. I think everyone knew we'd miss him, but not how much we would. Although Johnson has a gob on him, Dann comands the back line throuhout the game and that's what we miss. In the past two games the defence sometimes look worried, confused and un-organised. Also, Scott Dann's replacement. We have a perfectly good experienced centre back on the bench in Jiranek who we brought in as cover should one of our centre backs get injured. Yet we're using Ridgewell instead, who is much better at left back than he is a centre back, even though by trade he's a centre back. And we're playing Murphy on the left who is a good left back but not as good as Ridgewell. This might confuse you, but I know what I'm getting at: play Jiranek in the centre. We bought him for this.
Next observation; Hleb. He is a fantastic player and some of the football he plays makes me want to shed tears of joy. However; what we need right now is players who will fight for absolutely everything; track back whenever needed; and run like someone has just shoved a rocket up their arse to help out a team mate. Hleb doesn't do that. Hleb will give everything going forward, but tracking back, his body language seems to say 'my job is to attack, someone else can do the defending job.' He is without doubt a brilliant player, but in a relegation battle he might not be someone we need. Just a thought.
Staying on the subject of classy midfielders, lets talk about David Bentley. He's great, isn't he? It's such a shame he's cup tied because we could do with him on Wednesday. His speed, skill and trickery; along with his excellent crossing and distance-shooting is just what we need. A bit of creativity to get us our of trouble. Something different. He offers you all of this and I just want to thank Spurs for letting us have him on loan! Brilliant.
Observation number three: I thought Jordon Mutch had a good début today. It must have been tough for him being thrown in at the deep end and being handed the task of keeping world class players at bay, but credit to him he did well, and he is a player we need to keep hold of because he will be big.
This Larsson fiasco is getting a bit silly now, isn't it? Revelations in the paper coming out that he was told he could go, told he had to stay, told this, that and the other, and it's all quite confusing and makes my head hurt. What is clear though, is that he doesn't want to be here any more. You saw that when he came on. He was okay, he will still work for us when we play him, but he won't put that heart in that he did before. He doesn't love us any more and a lot of the fans don't like him either. I'm not sure what's gone on, but I think we should let it die down now, because he's probably going to be here until the end of the season.
Although we lost 5-0, it doesn't really feel like it. I think if I had been lsitening or watching at home it would have been more painful, but when you're actually at the game it doesn't feel quite as bad. The Blues fans were excellent today. Humorous as ever and in full voice, it made me proud to be a bluenose. And 5-0 down, I looked around Old Trafford and it made me think how happy I am to support Blues instead of a team like United. Sure, we don't win everything, well, anything. We're in a relgatation battle. We'll never win the Premier League. But shit me, I have so much fun supporting this team. At 5-0 up, United fans were leaving. Leaving!! Christ, we're winning 2-0 and the whole ground stays to applaud the players off the pitch. 5-0, fuck me, we'd be partying all night long. I guess that's why I like supporting a smaller club.
And we certainly know how to have a laugh. The Norwich chants were brilliant, as was the look on the United fans' faces when we were cheering corners and singing "we're gonna win the league" - I wouldn't swap that for anything. This is what it's like to be City, and I for one absolutely love this club.
So, forget this game. It was coming, we all knew it, but the 1,800 blues there yesterday: we all had fun, didn't we? And this is to all blues fans now: we're all looking forward to Wednesday, aren't we? Forget losing 5-0 to a great team (who I haven't really praised throughout this - United were brilliant yesterday. Period.) Lets look forward to Wednesday. We're 90 minutes from Wembley, lets do this.