Sorry for being late; had some inclement weather in Los Angeles. A whole half-inch of rain and temps in the 50’s (shut up, that’s cold here). There was a power outage which caused the computer to blink and you know what happens when computers blink. However, in lieu of typing the column, I did get a chance to watch Norwich beat Man United. I've had worse times.
Part the First: Carlos Tevez is his own headline. Last year, l’affaire Tevez got so crazy, I wrote that whatever he did would not be a surprise. I think I wrote something to the effect of, “If Tevez showed up ready to play an MLS game dressed as the Joker, I would not be surprised.” Literally, anything was possible. So Carlos Tevez had his Porsche impounded because he doesn’t have a valid UK license? And he’s been playing in the EPL for how long now? And he celebrates his goal by pretending to drive said impounded Porsche? And is it time to revisit one of the single funniest videos I have ever seen, one that was made during the Tevez holdout? I think it is.
Part the Second: Defense, please! This might seem weird after a clean sheet but something that got overlooked in the orgy of goals is that our backline continues to allow the kind of attacks that could raise the blood pressure of a Buddhist.
12th minute: City has 7 men at or near the penalty area and both fullbacks pushed so far that if they were any further up the pitch, they’d be in the stands. Silva, who played an otherwise wonderful game, lost the ball, YaYa came up to get it (mind you, still just outside the penalty area where there are now 8 Citizens), missed it and Villa from the midfield on had a two-on-two. A better team—like damn near any UCL team—scores there but thankfully, Villa is not one of those teams.
15th minute: Very nearly an own goal by Kompay but that’s not the issue. The issue was an uncontested ball sent in to a nearly wide open opponent (why Kompany had to get a foot on the ball). Villa’s passer and receiver (sorry, missed the names) were so open, I swear I saw Mancini reaching for the Alleve.
19th minute: Another long ball sent from one end of the field to the other. City’s defenders scramble back—three are in position. The cross to Benteke very nearly results in a goal except for Joe Hart’s Miracle Save Du Jour (trademark).
That’s three solid chances at goal. What would Chelsea do with such chances? We see them in a week. Oh, they lost to Albion? Okay, bad example, but still.
Look, I love scoring goals but the most memorable game for me last season (other than the last one) was when we held The Red Menace to zero shots on goal. Remember that one? "For all the marbles, the game to end all games, etc" and Man United was just never in it. It was literally the best defensive performance I’ve ever seen. Was it that long ago? Call me crazy but I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Part the Third: Poll! See below. My vote is Maicon.
Part the Fourth: SB’s talking about replay again? Damn right, I am. Example number CXVII that replay (shameless link to my plan) can and will do the game some good. To wit:
51:37 City with a corner. Silva sends it in, my man YaYa is ready to put it home but Ron Vlaar makes his second consecutive extraordinary defensive play. How Vlaar was able to knock the ball away and avoid an own-goal is simply beyond me. YaYa, who is not easily impressed, can’t stop patting Vlaar on the back. No one is waving their arms and running in circles screaming for a call a la Wayne Rooney. Great play, move on.
Except linesman Adrian Holmes saw a handball. And you know what? I don’t blame Holmes a bit. He saw Silva’s cross being redirected by something attached to Andreas Weimann and Holmes knew it wasn't Weimann's foot. The replay showed… well, it’s hard to see. And in the case of a dead ball call, according to SB’s Replay Rule, unless the evidence conclusively shows a penalty, we play on. The steps would have been:
Call is made—handball.
Aston Villa challenges.
Check the tape.
Evidence is inconclusive; goal kick.
Time added on.
That’s what should have happened. I don’t know why it doesn’t happen.
Part the Fifth: Question for the Readers I know I teased two polls but I don't know how to make a second one in the same post so I'll just ask: does Balotelli get sold in January?