On the one hand the obvious reaction is “City don’t need freebie penalties to beat Fulham”, on the other, there’s a good chance we’d have got to half-time at 0-0 without that ridiculous decision.
There’s been some criticism of the team for letting its head go down but I suspect this is mainly about City finding a groove and crushing us. They’re about as expensive and good a side as there is in the league, they’re untouchable at home, and as we know, Fulham have been awful all year. I can’t think of too many ways that the result could have been different.
For what its worth I thought Magath got things just right. Full-back has been an achilles heel for us all year so doubling up on both flanks meant City and their dangerous wide players ought to have been funneled infield, where we had more chance of containing them.
This more or less worked out, and in fact Fulham had a moment or two on the counter where perhaps a bit more confidence or bravery might have seen us take a shock lead. That would have been asking a lot but there were positive moments, and in games like this that’s what you’re looking for.
When they scored it was all over. The first penalty was very disappointing and the sort of thing that clearly wouldn’t have been given at the other end. The second was about City’s quality and our inability to keep up: Amorebieta’s lunge was pretty ordinary. You know someone’s made a bad mistake when they do something you don’t see very often, and you don’t see people make tackles that late in the penalty area at all these days.
Toure’s third was about as good as it gets. The fourth and fifth happened when the game was gone.
Positive notes were that Woodrow got another 90 minutes, Patrick Roberts showed some nice touches, and that Richardson again suggested that he’s pretty much ‘up there’ among our most useful players now (who could have seen that coming?). On the downside losing 5-0 is losing 5-0, but really we didn’t learn anything we didn’t know before hand, so it’s more a question of “okay, dust yourselves off and win the next points on offer”.