Five Thoughts: Stoke 0-1 Manchester City

Christopher Lee

Zaba-daba-do! Silva is Golden! Funny Game Threads! And Poll!

Before getting to the Cinco Pensamientos, if you'll take my advice, you'll close this window and spend your time checking out kmoney. God bless him, he's got a first-class recap and an excellent rundown here. Damn, I missed that guy. And as long as I'm involved in shameless cross promotion, allow me to guide your reading pleasure in a few other directions. To wit:

  1. Man, but this is good stuff. I swear, if shudder was doing research on restaurant menus, I'd read it.
  2. The Sheikh's strategy of aggressive investment, mocked literally world wide, appears to be working and thanks to the boss for pointing that out.
  3. The only thing that can keep me away from game threads is a 4:00am PST wake-up call. I might have to stop using that excuse if I keep seeing gut-busting one-liners like these. This one about Edin Dzeko got the wife ticked because I laughed so loud, I woke both her and the five-pound watchdog. From Marc L, summing up Dzeko beautifully: "he probably missed the clutch pedal with his foot in the car this morning." And after Pablo Zabaleta's goal, this one (again from Marc L): If Zabba weren't kind of scary-looking, balding and, uh, a dude, I would be totally in love with him. And finally, Sonics097 (speaking of guys I enjoy reading) found this on Twitter: "Always be yourself, unless you can be Pablo Zabaleta."

Time to start telling friends and family about the site, folks.

Part the First: How do I hate thee, Stoke? Let me count the ways.First, only United's fans and players whine more about the officiating than Stoke. Second, Tony Pulis' side got waxed at the Etihad and afterward, Pulis said the difference was "about 200 million pounds" bringing up the money canard which, apparently, just never gets old for some people. Third, Stoke is what we in the states call 'chippy' and what the rest of the world might call 'dirty'. All of our strikers were on the business end of grabs, hip checks and assorted bumps that turnred out be more obnoxious than anything else since we dominated the damn game in every respect except on the scoreboard. Dzeko was continuously annoyed to the point where he struck back a few times (just what Tony Pulis was hoping for), Aguero was exasperated but Tevez seemed to revel in it. I'm still of the belief that Aguero and Tevez need to go to the ground more often to sell some calls but it's just not in their nature. My own opinion is that if Man United were on the field today against Stoke, there would have been a dozen free kicks for the red menace and after the game, Fergie would still be complaining. End of rant.

Part the Second: It's Pablo's World, We Just Live In It Last season at this time, Micah Richards was thought of as the finest RB in the league. Earlier this season, Maicon was our starter and looked for all the world like he'd be there for a while. And it might be awhile before either sees a starting nod again. I mean, Lord knows how long it will last but Pablo Zabaleta is on a helluva run. The game-winner was pure Pablo and worthy of close inspection. It started with a defensive stop that saved a breakaway in the 80th+ minute, followed by a nice pass to start a break and seventy yards later, running on fumes and guts, Zabaleta is on the business end of the break he started for the games only goal. The replays will only show the pass through the crease and Zabaleta footing it home but the replays won't do justice to the extraordinary effort put in by City's player of the year so far.

Part the Third: No YaYa, No problem? Part II A week ago, I put forth the frankly outrageous opinion that maybe we're better when YaYa--my favorite player on the planet--takes a break now and again. I closed by writing that if City plays with largely the same eleven and put in a third consecutive effort where every player on the pitch seemed in sync, we might want to start asking questions. Well, there were only three largely superficial changes to today's eleven, damn near everybody played well and I think it's time to start asking questions. At the least, YaYa might have to make some adjustments when he gets back (again, provided we keep playing the way we're playing now). Let me repeat: I've never seen a more complete player than YaYa Toure; there is quite literally nothing he can't do well on the pitch. But he is also the team's most dominant personality--make it a point to notice--when it comes to directing the flow of play, holding on to the ball, directing free kicks if not outright taking them himself, taking up space in the midfield. Can it be a coincidence that David Silva (my choice for MOM, by the by) is playing so well in YaYa's absence? I think not. Since YaYa was beckoned by his home country, Silva has the ball more, with more room to operate and has, in my opinion, turned in three straight matches where he was arguably the best player on the pitch in each. And it's not just Silva. Milner, Barry and Javi Garcia are all playing their best ball of the season with YaYa a continent away. I'm damned if I know yet what to do but it might make for a good poll.

Part the Fourth: And if it was Mario? If Mario Balotelli kicked a ballboy, there is but no question he would have been suspended for the entire season and it wouldn't have taken this long to make the decision. I'll be very, very interested to see what kind of punishment is laid down on Eden Hazard. I pushed hard for his signing but I'm not sorry City didn't get him. His defense for his actions essentially comes down to "well, he was time wasting and I was frustrated." I'd suspend him for a month without pay at a minimum.

Part the Fifth: Poll! You know what to do.

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