Things We Sort Of Learned: Sheffield Wednesday (H)

A Christmas miracle! Blow us all down, Norwich did a win, and the fans rejoiced. It felt good, didn’t it? Settle down with a mince pie, a sherry, Rich Jeffery and Zoë Whitford, and relive the absolute magic of City’s 3-1 victory over the Owls.

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Magic feet

It is a joy to have Alex Pritchard back in the starting XI. At the back end of last season there can’t have been many better players in the Championship than him, and boy we could do with him discovering that level again, as soon as humanly possible. He’s not yet back up to full speed - and why should he be after all that time out - and there were a few misplaced passes, especially in the first half.

And yet. Maddison and Pritchard in the same team offers up the kind of spark, that little bit of something extra that we’ve been missing in recent weeks. It’s no longer up to Maddison to provide all the flair, take all the kickings. Now we have two. And young Madderz has a more experienced magician to learn from. I really hope the next couple of months are thrilling for both of them. ZW

Fat Gary

Fat Gary’s still fat, and ineffective away from home. Yes, he could have scored, especially when we looked vulnerable in the first half, as he always seems to find himself in a fortunate position, but he barely contributed elsewhere on the pitch. ZW

Give Murph a break

He looks short on confidence does our Josh at the moment and it was the introduction of Jacob Marley Watkins (well it is nearly Christmas) in J:Murph’s stead at HT that saw us click in the 2nd half.

Josh will have an important part to play for us, and can go on to be as important for us this season as his brother was last, but I think he needs a break to get himself right mentally. Come back refreshed and firing.

Talking of giving him a break. His every misstep, large or small, was greeted with such groans and moans by the crowd on Saturday so as to stretch the definition of ‘supporter’ to breaking point. This culminated in a hearty cheer when it was announced he’d been pulled off at half-time (insert your own gag here).

If a big part of our new model is that we’re going to nurture our own talent and bring players through into the first team from the academy, then the crowd at FCR needs to be a little more understanding with our players and certainly not get on their backs.

I’ve heard of tough love, but this is now at a stage where I cringe to hear it and wonder how much it has contributed to his dip in form. RJ

Super Mario

It was lovely to see Mario Vrančić having one of his best games in a City shirt. Much-maligned for being too flaky, a luxury player with none of the luxury, slow, an eyebrow-horror-show, Mario has had a difficult few months. But he has always had vision, and a killer pass.

Against the Owls, Vrančić showed he is not a liability in the middle of the pitch. He was just combative enough, involved and arguably City’s best player in the dismal first half. He picked out some beautiful passes throughout the game and thoroughly deserves the plaudits. Long may that continue. ZW

It takes two to Tango

No I’m not talking about Strictly Come Dancing, but the regular appearance of the Sheffield Wednesday fan who is known as the ‘Tango Man’. If you’re unaware of him, he’s a terrace celebrity. Why is he a celeb? Because he’s got a huge gut and always goes topless to games, even when it’s as cold as it was on Saturday. I guess he’s kept warm by his ample covering of blubber, a bit like a tattooed seal. Good luck to the guy.

I settled down to watch the highlights when I got home, and what should I see when Timm was celebrating his goal in front of the River End? Our very own trainee Tango Man. Right in the front row with his belly out. He’s got some way to go to catch up in guttage with the Yorkshire version, but he’s no Mysterious Girl era Peter Andre that’s for sure.

I know it’s amazing that we scored more than one goal and it’s understandable that you’d lose the run of yourself a bit, but get a grip pal. If you read this yourself, or you are someone who knows him, have a quiet word please.

I can belch the national anthem, it doesn’t mean I should. RJ

Bringing on the big gun.

As Wednesday desperately tried to get an equalizer their Portuguese coach, Carlos Carvalhal, turned to a good old fashioned British tactic. Namely that of bring on the big lad and get it in the mixer.

I’d seen this thing situated where the players warm up on the touchline which looked more like a bus wearing a bib than a top level athlete. But no it turned out it was Atdhe Nuhiu a six foot five inch Kosovan Albanian Austrian footballer, and sure enough on he came.

Luckily for us, he also had the footballing ability of a bus and couldn’t even do what he was meant to, i.e. win aerial balls. At one point even Harrison ‘Lofty’ Read beat him in the air.

It was nice to see we’d frustrated them enough that they had to resort to plan B, especially when plan B was dreadfully bad. RJ