- Well we are probably more likely to reach the fifth round than we were on Sunday morning. And that's not meaningless. But this was not one of the great Manchester City FA Cup performances. A City team hollowed of its core, on a Passchendaele pitch, up against spirited but limited football league side, to whom we conceded a soft goal. That said, the fact that we equalised betrays a strength of spirit not always associated with City sides. And that the equaliser was Edin Džeko's first as a blue doubled the relief.
- I appreciate that the need for rotation, of course I do. But I sometimes think that Roberto Mancini does it with insufficient discrimination. Our team has an obvious core: the spine is Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong, the brain is David Silva and Carlos Tévez. To remove all four is not only to remove our best four players, but also to leave us invertebrate and thought-free. We had this when we went out of the League Cup at the Hawthorns in September, and here it was again. In the first half, we lacked Silva and Tévez: the midfield of Patrick Vieira, Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré had enough of the ball but they could do little with it. One could forgive James Milner and Jô for creating nothing from the wings at the Emirates. But this was Meadow Lane and they were just as poor.
Both playersMilner has his uses but I'm not sure he is a top class winger.
- As the game went on, Notts County improved. Patrick Vieira no longer has the legs to run a midfield as he used to; with Nigel de Jong in the team there would not have been the same concession of momentum. The hosts then took the lead, as a pathetically marked corner was headed in at the near post. That's our fifth consecutive game without a clean sheet, which must infuriate Mancini.
- Just when I thought this was going to be latest embarrassing cup exit, we equalised. Micah Richards, probably our best attacking player, thundered down the right flank again. (He plays as if the by-line is the finishing line in a race, which while obviously rather lacking in subtlety, means he plays with more drive than the strolling Jérôme Boateng). Džeko ran between two defenders and shot high into the net.