1. The bad days make the good days feel so much better. As far as bad days go, this, as an isolated event, is almost as bad as it gets. It obviously would be a lot worse if it was the final and City had actually won something but it feels pretty fucking awful. It’s not just losing, it’s losing so stupidly, without putting up enough of a fight. The game just seemed to pass our lads by and after I had thought so highly of our winning mentality this season, that was desperately disappointing to witness.
2. Thankfully, this day isn’t in isolation and we do still have a record 19th league title and European Cup semi-final to win. That’s not a great comfort right in this moment but it will be in the morning. Let’s get some perspective. Today was City’s biggest game for over three decades. Today wasn’t even our biggest game this week.
3. Michael Carrick has been a panto villain for lots of reds for a few years now. He used to be a very good player but he’s gone off the boil for a while. Over the past few weeks though, he seemed to turn a corner, particularly with his displays against Chelsea. He’s been playing with a new confidence which has seen him putting in great tackles and actually passing the ball forward. Even today, he was looking really good… and then his casual pass put us 1-0 down. People look for scapegoats. People seem to need scapegoats. Carrick hasn’t made it difficult at all to be the scapegoat today. He crumbled from that point on and now we have to fear he will return to that meek, unadventurous and hesitant player that somehow managed to get himself a contract extension. Hopefully not.
4. The next player to claim scapegoat status is Dimitar Berbatov, who had a poor game before he was subbed. He had two great chances early on and was dispossessed far too easily. In the first half, a ball came over the top in the box and his first touch was awful. When his touch lets him down, you know it’s going to be a bad day for him. He looked unhappy. I suppose when the greatest manager that has ever lived has been telling you he doesn’t fancy you for the big games for three years, it’s difficult to believe in yourself. He didn’t even get 10 minutes with a striker alongside him. I do wonder why the manager thought starting one striker was an acceptable way to go in to a game like this. Attack, attack, attack? Hmmm.
5. The third scapegoat, and for me, the player most culpable for today’s result, is Paul Scholes. These kind of games need the experienced players to step up and despite otherwise putting in a good performance, the one thing, more than anything else, which stopped us from winning today was going down to ten men with 20 minutes to play. Yes, Berba missed those chances, yes, Carrick made a costly mistake, yes the team generally lacked the composure and aggression needed to win, but those things can be undone and rectified. There’s nothing you can do once you’re off the pitch and with City’s defensive abilities by far their greatest strength, that was the knock out punch. It’s the kind of stupid thing you’d expect Mario Balotelli to do, not a fucking 36-year-old who has played in more Manchester derbies than the whole City team combined. The manager defended him afterwards, clearly keen for him not to retire at the end of the season, but Scholesy will be pig sick tonight.
6. At the final whistle, instead of celebrating with his team mates, Balotelli came to the United fans. Anyone would think he cared less about City…? The angry reaction of Rio Ferdinand, Anderson and co. was a sight to behold.
7. You win as a team and you lose as a team. You can point out the failings of individual players as much as you like, the fact remains we didn’t do enough to win it today. Let’s hope we do enough in the 8/9 games that remain.