If you know me, you know I’m not one for knee-jerk reactions. I run my mouth on Twitter, but anything that seems knee-jerk is more than likely just me being facetious. It’s a blessing and a curse that I think all Twitterers have. We use social media as an outlet, opting to type it out rather than scream it out. I should say that I do both. So, when I say that this result isn’t as shocking as Ian Darke, Steve McManaman, or any other pundit are making it out to be, you know that it’s really how I feel.
Throughout the season people will point at this game and point at that game and say it’s where we won or lost the title. We did it all of last season and somehow won by a 9 pt margin. Granted, the last few games that got us to 9 points were after we had already really clinched the title. Some people say that you can’t point to one match because that result changes the chemical balance of the rest of the season, win or lose. Some people are firm believers that if we don’t win the title this year, the Blackburn loss today will be the reason. I’m stuck somewhere in between. Whatever you feel about today’s loss, the permeating factor for me is that this loss isn’t as shocking as people are truly making it out to be. And this isn’t me dumbing this loss down like it didn’t mean anything and we shouldn’t have expected to win. Bottom line: We should have taken 3 pts.
When looking at this fixture after the thumpings we gave Fulham, Wigan, and Wolves, Blackburn was a forgone conclusion of 3 pts. We were suddenly back in form and no one ever thought that this game would be a hiccup. Blackburn is in disrepair at the bottom of the table, their fans calling for Kean to be sacked before, at half, and after each game. We were so busy worried about City and keeping pace that we simply overlooked this game, leading to the reason why we lost: Playing a hodge podge of players, hoping for a win, won’t get you a win. Even against Blackburn. Here are the two reasons why this loss isn’t as surprising as it may seem.
1) Look at our team, seriously. Some have a “No excuses!” attitude, but that’s just not realistic. Sure, our team – even the first half lottery picks – should have been good enough to win today. The issue I have with that is when you throw players together who haven’t played together (and in those positions together), you can’t expect an immediate result. That talent on the field was good enough to get three points, but look at the squad and where we were playing and tell me it wasn’t a contributing factor in dropping points. This is what has plagued City over the seasons. Good players who hadn’t played together not getting points. Now that they’re playing together (and in position), they play well. In another example, if you take a makeshift basketball team and put the center in at point guard and the point guard at center, you’re not going to win. Carrick at CB is a stop-gap that caught up with us. Jones at CB isn’t my first or second choice. No Evans or Rio or Rooney or Giggs. We had Park and Rafa in MF. We had Welbeck on the wing, a place he consistently doesn’t perform. Then you have Chicha (who hasn’t played much) up top with Berba (who people think shouldn’t play much). Add in some howlers by De Gea and that’s three points gone like the beer on New Year’s Eve.
2) Blackburn are absolutely fighting for their lives. If they were a WBA or a Stoke, sitting mid-table on the New Year, it’s not a big deal to go to OT and hope to get a point. But Steve Kean is in the cellar, locked there, looking for a way out. They are going to do whatever it takes to get even one point. Today at OT they did just that. They didn’t have much offense, but they took advantage of the chances (and blunders – De Gea and our makeshift defense) when they were presented. An early PK and early 2nd half goal were all they really needed to secure at least one point. We fought back, but it just wasn’t going to happen. Blackburn showed up to our home, knocked down the door, smash/grabbed 3 points and turned around before we could figure out what happened. Kudos to them.
In 2012, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the 2nd half of the season, but we all know anything can happen. For that reason, and that reason alone, I’m not going to write us off yet. If we don’t win the title, I’m not sure I’ll even point at this game and say it was the reason. Chances are it won’t be a three point difference. Chances are there will be other games people will point at. What I’m really hoping for is a strong second half and being able to cheekily point at this game and say, “That’s the game where we turned it all around and won the title.” Of course I’d be being facetious. Or, would I?
Follow my rantings on Twitter at @JasTheDevil