I’m sure I speak for all City fans when I say this: what a draw. It’s the draw I feel I’ve been waiting twenty something years for, and I can’t wait to see Mourinho at the Gate. Johnson has already said that both the players and fans deserve this chance and I can’t agree more, but more of that to come.
This last week has seen two games with polar opposite performances, and outcomes. For those of you that might have read my blog last week, you’ll have noticed I made two woeful predictions as well. Before I lord over the Crystal Palace performance, I’ll deal with the Leeds debacle.
It’s OK for us to lose a game. It’s perfectly OK for us to lose to Leeds: a team that will no doubt be there or thereabouts come May. What a few fans thought was not so great, though, was Johnson’s team selection, but again, it’s OK for Johnson to make mistakes.
Picking Jens Hegeler as centre back raised a few eyebrows to say the least, and the fact that he had a bad game only compounded those who thought Johnson had made a mistake in picking the experienced German.
We have Bailey Wright and Hordur Magnuson who could have filled that role with great aplomb but were played out of position and left on the bench, respectively. The selection of Jonathan Leko also raised some questions.
The youngster, on loan from West Brom, is undoubtedly talented but seems to frustrate and impress fans in equal measures. Both he and Nicolas Eliasson appear to be a little too inconsistent to warrant starting call-ups, especially in such big games and would be better used as impact players in my view.
The selection of Woodrow upfront also raised question marks as fans have seen little to warrant him being selected in such a big match. The team that ended up on the pitch prior to Taylor’s wrongful dismissal would have been a better starting eleven in my view, but as I say: Johnson will no doubt have learnt from this loss.
Fast forward just a few days and the team lining up against Palace had more balance and experience. The game itself will go down as something of an ‘I was there’ moment as City progress to the quarter-final of the League Cup for the first time in nearly thirty years and secured that glamour tie with one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Other things we learnt from our comprehensive victory on Tuesday night include:
Taylor is our most natural goal scorer
I don’t think this a too controversial a statement to be to be honest, and he’s clearly scored a lot more professional goals that anyone else in our squad. We will need that experience in the final third of the pitch as the season goes on and has been lacking in some of our poorer performances so far this season. His finish on Tuesday night was pure class.
Duric offers us something different upfront and deserves a chance to start regularly
Again, we knew this already, but the way in which he bullied those Palace defenders, especially for his goal, was something we’ve been missing and will be key to winning Championship games this season.
Joe Bryan can do a job at left midfield
Joe has paid the price of being moved from pillar to post in his career but has now become an established excellent left back. I’d say it was time to utilise his strengths in a more advanced role from time-to-time, especially given Leko and Eliasson’s erratic form.
Hordur Magnuson should feature more in the fits team
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a fan of our Icelandic star and I have to say my view of him has only gone up since the Palace game. He now also offers flexibility as he can play either in the centre or to the left of a back four.
So, the big news of the week is of course that draw at home to Manchester United following the shambles that was the fifth round draw. Ashton Gate will be packed and the game will be a real special occasion for the club, players and of course fans.
I hope City can get the ticketing and pricing right. Please don’t see this as an opportunity to make a few quid off the fans: that money will come in TV money and the like. Season ticket holders will correctly get first refusal but after that I hope City find a good way of rewarding loyal fans that go regularly.