I have always been a great supporter of the concept of light and shade. Whether in literature, music, art or even television and film, I’m all for it believe me.
So therefore it’s quite natural for me to compare our penultimate match of last season [Blackburn] with this year’s offering – Burnley of course.
Last May I was full of pre-match trepidation as so much was at stake and we all knew it. I met a few mates in the Ribs of Beef and wandered down to the Carra full of joyous but guarded optimism.
Even when Blackburn pulled it back to 2-1 we knew we would do it and oh boy did we. Celebrate? Just a little bit. It would have been rude not to. And of course there was probably an even greater joy to follow for those who went [I didn’t] when we clinched the title at Villa.
And then the City Hall shenanigans with Kenny McLean nicking the Town Crier’s hat and handbell with a bottle of WD 20/20 hanging out of his pocket. If he did speak I can’t remember it and I bet he can’t either.
Fast forward 14 months. Already relegated we took on Burnley behind closed doors or BCD as it’s known in footy circles.
And how did I prepare for this irrelevant contest on Pick TV? I took one of the dogs out, read my favourite Red Top with the highlight of the day intended to be following the Second Test on Guardian Live. Fire it up… and the covers are on at Old Trafford. All day.
And I still have that horrible feeling in my gut concerning the confirmed promotion of Dirty Leeds. Not because they don’t deserve it – they do. I’m merely personally disappointed, that’s all.
Oh and how about the Burnley game itself you might quite justifiably ponder. Well I’d been trying not to mention it for obvious reasons. There’s only so much to be said about a team that has lost nine in a row since the resumption with the chance to make that double figures at the Etihad next weekend.
Some wit pointed out somewhere online yesterday that during these nine defeats we have received more red cards than we have scored goals, making it 2-1 to the cards.
And being the last home game of the season it seemed appropriate there should be an own goal, two sendings-off, an injured Timm Klose and the return of the dreaded VAR.
Josip Drmic? Nailed on. Whatever he might plead about trying to win the ball back after he’d lost it cuts no ice with me.
Emi Buendia? Slightly harsh but Ashley Westwood knew exactly what he had to do to wind Emi up and it worked. You can’t really expect to get away with that with VAR in situ mon amigo. Maybe there was not that much in terms of force of contact but the intent was there for all to see.
Timm Krul was his usual excellent self and what became the eight men in front of him formed into strikerless lines of four and if I’m honest made a pretty good fist of what could only ever be damage limitation.
Alex Tettey completed his 102nd Premier League appearance for us and at the other end of the age scale it was good to see young centre back Akin Famewo on the bench once more.
Having lost to Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup Semi on Saturday I reckon Pep’s Citeh will be just as demotivated as our lot at the weekend. I’m not sure I’ll bother with that one myself.
I was going to save this until after Citeh but it was that kind of weekend so here we go.