Tonight we play our favourite jinxy, hexy, bad-luck-for-us team, Sunderland at The Stadium of Light. The last four away fixtures have been 1-0 victories for the home side but that isn’t the story. The first two, which I went to, City were by far the better side. Tevez I remember missed an open goal from approximately 3 metres. It’s actually quite hard to get the ball over the bar from that distance but he managed it. In the second game it was one-way traffic and they scored an offside goal which was allowed at the very end. As we came out wondering how on earth we hadn’t won never mind lost I, overheard a Sunderland fan saying:
“That was the Alamo – wasn’t that Davy Crockett playing in our defence?”.
They recognised it was one of those unlikely smash and grab games which you win once in a while. The trouble was they smashed and grabbed the next two as well and even went into the lead in the League Cup Final when I reckon we all thought “Here we go again!”.
But perhaps the eventual victory in that final with two stunning goals should tell us we can beat this side who are not playing well at the moment with loads of draws and only two wins in this Premier League season. So as Zaba has said: “It’s time to end this jinx.”
We are without the injured Vincent Kompany and David Silva who would normally play in this fixture and because Mangala is suspended after two yellows against Southampton, we could find Dedryck Boyata playing right side centre back although I’d be tempted to try Sagna. We could be more vulnerable than usual at the back against a team which doesn’t score many goals but which has defended well at home.
Reflecting on these fixtures, Southampton at St Mary’s was usually a bogy fixture for City until the last game, Sunderland at the Stadium of Light is usually a defeat and until recently our next opponents Everton were very difficult for us to beat too. So these few fixtures will be quite test of our resolve, calmness and improvement. One thing is clear: Sunderland will be paying a lot of attention to a certain Argentinian forward who is on top form either as provider or striker at the moment and who can win a game for us when all seems lost.
At present we are a good way behind Chelsea but after the Southampton game we had played nine of our fixtures against teams currently in the top half and only four against the bottom half so perhaps things will get a bit less difficult until the New Year when we will have completed the first half of the fixture list.
P.S. Managed to get tickets for me and a friend for the Roma game but we couldn’t find a package to get there. To my great surprise City agreed to a refund of the ticket price when I explained the situation.