Part the First What would have to happen for our beloved sport to institute the kind of technology that would assist a referee, say for example Mr. Mark Halsey, to better inform of the transgressions of divers like, oh I don't know just picking out a name off the top of my head... John Arne Riise? Here in America, we had a nation up in arms because the NFL used replacement referees that were getting a number of calls wrong. You wanna know why Americans were outraged? Because the replacement refs kept getting calls wrong. Any sentient human being not wearing a Fulham jersey knew that Riise went down from the kind of jostling one normally sees between library racks. Video challenges can and will help solve the problem. So I ask again--at what point do Europeans get as outraged as Americans did to enforce change? Until we get video challenges, we'll see more dives and the next person that tells me, "Well, these things even out" will get a tire iron up the melon. End rant.
Part the Second I'll get the MOM poll up in a few but early nominees include David Silva, Edin Dzeko and YaYa Toure (because I said so, that's why). I don't think Dzeko is doing himself any favors with these late game wunderstrikes after getting the 80th+ minute call; Mancini might justifiably think Dzeko is better off coming from the bench.
Part the Third There aren't many more talented folk on the pitch than Mario Balotelli but he needs to add the prefix 'un-' in front of the word that best describes his style of play (rhymes with "shellfish").
Part the Fourth I watched the three main matches today and I'd like to see some feedback in the comments in response to this query: are we slow? I think the following teams, in order, have more speed than we do--Chesea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Man United and then us. What I'm wondering is if this is an optical illusion; City sends their fullbacks hellbent for leather down the sidelines and when we're not hauling our backsides upfield to defend the counter, we've got a lot of people in the lower third passing the ball around. That's in contrast to the other four teams who like longer passes and longer runs. I think I've got a point here but I'm not sure. Anywho, are we slow?
Part the Fifth Lost in all the controversy of last season (Tevez and Balotelli) was how closely knit this team was and perhaps still is. Last season it was evident that City was filled to the brim with really good guys who got along and supported each other. One of those really good guys, Nigel De Jong, is gone. Another really nice guy, Joleon Lescott, might want to check for rentals in other cities. Watching Rio Ferdinand try to keep up with Gareth Bale today brought a laugh from yours truly; Rio can't and never will be able to do it. What's sad for me is that the few times I've seen him on the pitch, Joleon makes damn near everyone look like a Bale. One of the reasons I respect Mancini is that he doesn't air out his reasons for roster changes to the media but if pushed, I suspect he'd tell us that Nasta wasn't just brought in to shore up the defense; he was brought in to start.