Much as I love the company of all our children, and much as I love Christmas, we really enjoyed a grown-up night out last night at the City of Manchester stadium. Lee Grooby's excellent report is here. We went in the posh seat with our friends Juliet and Mark Cort and sat on our hands as Rovers achieved what no other side has managed and took points off City at their ground.
It's strange watching your own team amidst the mutterings and analysis of home fans, especially when we equalised in such controversial circumstances. I think City made Rovers look like mugs in the first half. Our conclusion was that we were stuffed unless Brett Emerton was restored to right back, and that Morten Gamst Pedersen was replaced by Jason Roberts.
So, half right. Zurab was skinned by Petrov four times and paid the price. I think the tactical switch was good insight from Mark Hughes. There have been a fair few Rovers fans slating Benni McCarthy on here, but I think he changed our options in the second half and we always looked threatening. He is a class player and he looked totally committed to the cause. At the end, we could have stolen it completely. Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley were superb again.
It's amusing to sit here now, watching Sky Sports News, with Mark Hughes smiling and praising the ref and linesman. My view of our manager was that he spends far too much time berating the officials and not enough time communicating with the team. It makes him appear graceless and surly. I wish he wouldn't do it.
And in due respect to the many, many Marple-ites who follow the home team, I think they're the best City side I've ever seen. Yes, even better than the one featured in the programme who battered us 6-0 in 1983. A strongman in midfield - a fit Hamann - could prove all the difference and they could finish in the top 4.