The worst possible outcome for the season is that our cross-town neighbours lift the league trophy immediately after the derby that is still to come. The good work from last year, that dramatic ending and all, will be forgotten in a flash if the colours on the Premier League trophy change from blue to red on that day in April.
That is why it is vital to keep concentration levels at a maximum and to keep winning games, even if our own Championship ambitions seem to have faded. Chelsea visiting the Etihad today was one of the trickier encounters before the end of the season. They too have been a mixed bag this season but, on their day, are the same force to be reckoned with (if they decide to show up).
Pre-game I was nervous after seeing the team sheet; Jack Rodwell, really!? He had a very solid game though, Rodwell shored us up and was extremely mature on the ball, unlike his previous kamikaze performances in central midfield for us. Maturity is what we need him to find if he is going to be a success in that central midfield berth. Kolo Toure was rocky in the heart of defence and at times it was as though young Matija Nastasic was the experienced head steadying the ship. I for one am glad for everything our former captain Kolo had done for us, but I am looking forward to seeing the back of him, and his ridiculously high wages, in the summer.
The team was set up to work hard, chase and dominate the opposition. The only frills in the team were Kun Aguero and David Silva, the Rolls Royce's to the other nine Land Rovers. Chelsea couldn't get near our third until Joe Hart made a rash dive at Demba Ba's feet and gave Frank Lampard the chance to score from the spot. Sometimes I think saves like the one Joe pulled off really spur the front line on, maybe as a selfish way of not letting the Goalie take all the plaudits.
The win was pretty much wrapped up when Yaya made it one nil, Chelsea were never a real threat in any area of the pitch. This was especially typified by how Carlos Tevez had 13 days to line up and score out second from 20 yards out.
A very good hardworking display that made me think we might be on our way to being able to grind out victories in unspectacular games with our less spectacular players. That means Samir Nasri was reduced to a very bit part substitute appearance. So work hard and stay in, schoolkids, and Roberto Mancini will love you as a player.