Part the First: Before we gab about the game, allow me to scream. Was it just one week ago that Liverpool was robbed of a derby win and we all witnessed Man United once again being graced by the whistle and cards? The outrage lasted all of, what, a day or two? Allow me to hereby present the Five Thoughts motto, one that is inarguable: Calls of enormous import are getting missed. These calls can be corrected by replay. Therefore, we need replay. I’m convinced that if "soccer" as we yanks like to call it were as big as the NFL is in these here 50 states, the uproar from the masses would be heard across the galaxy and we’d have replay. My wife, a worldly citizen, is convinced that Americans "can’t let things go" and that I should just "let the game take care of itself." What’s bizarre to me—the American—is that her opinion is what gets expressed on soccer boards: "What about the flow of the game?" "It would take too long!" "Why spoil an already great game?" and my all-time favorite, "These things even itself out."
(pause for blood curdling scream, deep sigh and gradual lowering of blood pressure)
Calls of enormous import are getting missed. These calls can be corrected by replay. Therefore, we need replay. And don’t think for a minute I’m not aware that Nolan’s goal should have counted. And what if Gareth Barry put that shot home in the 68th minute after his obvious handball?
Part the Second: Oh, yeah. The Game. Calling on Shuddertothink: Within the first 17 minutes, West Ham had three enormously good chances at goal: Nolan (should have counted), Diame and Benayoun. In the 21st minute, Carroll beat Hart but was off with the shot. Can you do some of that voodoo that you do so well and drum up some research on our defense? Last season, it was the best in the league. This season? Not so much. Inquiring minds want to know why that is. I’m at a loss, to be frank.
Part the Third: Just another good team: And that’s what we are, right? Despite a record most EPL teams would love to have, we are not playing well. I’d like to know why that is and I’d like the help of the most knowledgeable fans in the blogging biz. Pick one or come up with your own, people.
- Health: Last season, it was almost bizarre how much different we were whenever YaYa, Kompany, Silva, Hart or to a lesser extent Aguero missed a game. We haven’t played especially well without Silva and my man YaYa is clearly hurting. We also have enough injuries to fill a ward.
- Coaching: He’s come under significant heat for our performance in the CL but what about how we’re doing in league play? We’re undefeated but they’re all ugly as sin struggles. How much of this is the fault of Mancini?
- Nothing is really wrong: Some of us (okay, me) are just impatient. It’s a long season, we haven’t lost a league game yet and we’re bound to get better.
- Something I'm missing. I’m putting one or more of your comments here.
Part the Fourth: Guess who is getting ticked t I get the distinct impression that Sergio Aguero is getting to his own personal boiling point. Like Silva last season, teams are starting to pound him physically, he’s getting fouled and it’s not getting called and to top it all off, he’s not getting the ball as much as I (and perhaps he) thinks he should. Make it a point to notice if you haven’t already: the look to the heavens, the disbelief at not getting a call, the unrewarded runs to the attacking third… it’s a ticking time bomb, people.
Part the Fifth: A Modest Proposal Hey, EPL? The MLS does this thing on free kicks where they mark where the ball is supposed to be kicked and—get this—they chalk a line that the defenders are not allowed to cross. This saves the trouble frustration of fans and players alike watching defenders try to *always* cheat and cross that imaginary ten-yard line because--again, get this- there is an actual line that cannot be crossed. Just a suggestion.