Another away game, another away game without a win.
Unfortunately, all too depressingly familiar both in terms of the return and
the performance. From looking around the blogs and forums in the wake of the game, the knives for Mark Hughes also appear to be being sharpened once again.
What I find slightly worrying was the general feeling of acceptance about the defeat, the mentality that we stood no chance of victory at The Emirates so a defeat was no great surprise. Talk of Champions League qualification this season was always fanciful, but as the season has progressed has the distance between where we are at present and where we hope to be become any shorter?
The race for seventh is now surely gone. To meet my 53 point calculation
, we would need 5 wins from our remaining 7 games - an unlikely feat given the polar opposites of our home and away form. Given that West Ham - the current side in possession - appear to have hit form at the right time as well.
Now the UEFA Cup takes on an added importance, and the Hamburg game this Thursday is set to be a real defining game for us. With that in mind, you do wonder why Kompany (particularly with de Jong ineligible in the UEFA Cup) and Bridge were risked when they were clearly carrying injuries heading into the game. The concern now is whether they (not to mention Stephen Ireland) will be fit for Thursday.
Talk of certain games being 'cup finals' is of course a well worn cliche, but for the sake of our season it is imperative that are able to come from Germany away with a positive result later this week.