Tiger On Tour: May The New Year Bring Us Luck
I'd missed the City teamsheet and it took me a few minutes to work out who was playing and in what position. I expect even those of you in Hull who heard the team at 7pm didn't know until the match kicked off, with Richard Garcia in central midfield being the surprise finding.
Not that I'm criticising the team selection. I think Garcia, Barmby, Cousin and Ricketts have played well enough when picked before to warrant recalls, while Halmosi has had to wait until results have dropped to get his chance. Dean Marney must be the unluckiest man at the club though. I don't think he's had a bad performance all season yet finds himself dropped again, even with George Boateng out of the squad.
Luck's something Hull City as a team are without right now (balancing out good fortune we've enjoyed earlier this year, perhaps). In the first half against Manchester City, Mark Hughes beat Phil Brown, with a couple of individual errors thrown in, but even in the second half when we were much improved it never fell for us.
Against Villa we didn't leave it to chance, containing their threat completely even in the second half when we took the game to them. It required another moment of Zayette misfortune for Villa to score, then in the last second of injury time it looked like we finally got a break. Wherever you were I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat awaiting the outcome (on the edge of a hotel bed, in my case). The TV station here only broadcast one replay, which appeared to show the ref and his assistants got it right.
So, another one that's swung against us, just as the Sunderland game did, and even Manchester City to some extent. Let's hope that with the pressure off in the Cup we can make things go our way. After that we've got games against Everton and Arsenal - tough opposition but we've proven we can get results against them.
As for me, I've managed to still not miss a game on TV, watching the Manchester City match on my last night in Vietnam before travelling overland to Phnom Penh and down to Sihanoukville, a lively beach resort in South West Cambodia which promises to hold a great New Year's party.
Here's to 2009 being anywhere near as good as 2008 for Hull City.