The idea of this topic is not to try and tell people they should not be displeased with recent results of performances, nor is it to suggest that you are not a worthy fan if you show your displeasure. Its simply to step back and assess why we might be in the bad run we are in.
Firstly, let’s get covid out of the way. We have no idea what effect its having on the players and management team. Yes, all teams are in the same boat. But maybe the current climate is influencing the lad’s drive. Its easier to motivate yourself from the challenger position in normal circumstances never mind the current climate. We don’t know if these players and management are seeing less of their families due to the circumstances we don’t know if these players have been affected by being told family or friends are sick. We know some have had it themselves, we don’t know if that has affected performance. For example, have the south American lads seen family other then video calls for months now?
On the pitch as is well highlighted, the injuries. Yes, every team has injuries. But how many teams have 15 central defensive partnerships due to injury in 23 games? Not only has it led to midfielders playing in defence, thus taking world class midfielders out of the midfield sector, but the inconsistency of team selection is not a good thing. A team cannot have a flow with constant change in the players operating the system. You get a player back you lose another. You keep your central defenders together for a 2nd game then you lose your keeper, its been crazy.
Add in then that Trent, VVD, Gomez, Robbo, Matip, Fab,Gini, Hendo, Millie, Mo, Sadio, Bobby put serious mileage on the clock in those seasons, with Shaq, Ox, Origi playing a fair share, and they are all still here. Yes, we added some in the intervening summers, but we have so rarely seen Keita and then this year we lose Thiago Tsimikas and Jota for long spells, so your back asking the same guys to go again, no rest.
I noticed some mentioning that Jürgen doesn’t look himself lately! Going back to what I said earlier, we don’t know his circumstance. Is covid hitting him? Is he not seeing his family? He has given himself for 5 years to get us over the line that we waited to cross for 30 years, is it possible that he’s drained? Of course, it is. What does he feed off at matches? The crowd, the crowd that he cant have right when he needs them the most. He’s human, don’t think for a second that he doesn’t go home and curse these injuries or these results or other things that we don’t even know about.
So perspective, yes its been a disaster of a league season so far. Yes, we have given up the title. Yes, were disappointed. But let’s not forget what these guys have given us over the last 3 or 4 years. Every team has blips. We are in ours now. This blip could still see us finish 2nd or 3rd and still be crowned champions of Europe again! Things seem bad but step back and look from a different angle. Yesterday losing 4 1 sounds terrible, but 4 goalkeeping errors are made, first one he palms straight out, 2nd and 3rd don’t need more highlighting and the 4the he drops to his knees and the ball goes in over his head, he stands up its not a goal. Take out hi 4 mistakes it’s a different outcome against the team lauded as world class and heirs to our crown. These lads will come good again and they have earned and deserve our total support to the end.
The South Americans, and most of the Europeans live with their families, so it's not a case that they don't see them. Of course they can't travel atm, but neither can anyone else. They just have to get on with it. Someone is eventually going to have to make the best of the current circumstances and win the trophies they're playing for, not sulk that they can't do it because they don't have this that or the other. That's not good enough really, everyone is in the same boat. Ditto crowds.
The league was going swimmingly for us until Allardyce showed up in town and sprinkled his sawdust over the place. Yes it's been disastrous since, but not before then. I have said for years that the December-February part of the season is make or break for title challenges. The amount of games, the long trips, Christmas, weather, injuries, loss of form all can influence the result, or run of results. It's why I look at the fixture list in June within minutes of its release, to see what challenges lay in store for the year ahead, because it matters. For example, it was much better to go to Chelsea in September after a week long break, with a fully fit squad high in confidence against no home fans, than playing City with about 10 key players injured, on a bad run of results, and a goalkeeper suffering from illness and out of form, in the freezing cold.
There are too many games to go to just write off the season at this point. Finishing top 4 might keep FSG sweet, but it's a minimum acceptable target, not a goal. When you set out looking to retain the league title, finishing below Rodgers and a poor manc side would have to be considered a very poor season.