Five Thoughts: Balo, QPR, YaYa, Poll!

Gues who outlasted Balotelli and is likely here for awhile? Clue: He's in the Man City uniform above. - Mike Hewitt

Balotelli Bye-Bye, Redknapp is Leo Durocher, YaYa is offically missed and poll!

Five Thoughts is going to explore five random things off the head of yours truly and one or two might be devoted to the game. The reason for this is kmoney and Harkiano have the post-game covered quite nicely, thank you and frankly, their better with the analysis than I am. So Five Thoughts is going to be a little different. Here be ground rules.

  • a. Research and reason will be at a bare minimum. You want that, go read shuddertothink (in fact, why the hell aren't you reading shuddertothink?) or Danny. Most of my analysis is pulled from my rapidly growing gut, if not entirely pulled from the cavity where the sun never shines.
  • b. Comments are open to one and all but if your comment is really good, I'm printing it in a future column and crediting you without your permission. Something like, "Marc L came up with another hilarious and astute observation the other day..." or "Sonics097 once again is right and I stand corrected"; something like that.
  • c. I'm going to try to lock down a day or days during the week for the column, meaning five thoughts won't always be appearing right after the game. Again, they're my thoughts (see what I did there with the rhyming?) relating to our beloved Citizens. We'll see how it goes. I am honored and appreciative to receive any and all feedback.
  • d. There is no ‘d'. It's Five Thoughts time.

Part the First: Bye-bye, Balo. The best game I've ever seen from a Citizen was Mario Balotelli vs. the red menace; the 1-6 game. I have yet to see a Citizen dominate in such a fashion. I would argue that no player has had a better game in the last 18 months. When Mario Balotelli walked off the pitch that day, cursing one of the insufferable United supporters who dared to mouth off at him as he was subbed, I thought I was looking at the future of Manchester City football. We mourn Michael Johnson's flashes of brilliance but Balotelli reached the level of brilliance Johnson failed to get to. We know what happened since then, right? Scattered brilliance mixed in with performances that weren't just ugly but fugly (look it up). I honestly don't know if Balotelli will be a superstar or not and neither do you. I can I'm excited to see who City brings in to replace him, which will be the subject of today's poll.

Part the Second: No YaYa, Big Problem. FIFA is a helluva lot of fun. And it can be a joy to field a team made up of Aguero, Tevez, Silva and Nasri along with James Milner. I mean, crosses, speed, ball handling... that lineup puts the joy in joystick (and yes, I know that sounds weird but I couldn't help it). The trouble is, such a lineup doesn't work all that well in reality. Because even in football, height matters. And on a short pitch, against a fired up and physical team with a referee who will call a foul if and only if blood is spilt, big guys have a distinct advantage over little guys. We drew against the worst team in the league because our little guys couldn't match the muscle of the big guys unless they had room to run and since QPR plays on a pitch the size of a stamp, we had our issues, to say the least. One player I can think of who would have solved a lot of problems we had on Tuesday rode the bench for the entire game against Algeria. I'll repeat that-YaYa Toure rode the pine against Algeria. If Ivory Coast has four midfielders better than YaYa, we need to send our scouts down their post haste. (EDIT: Thanks to realfootballer for pointing out what should have been obvious to yours truly--Ivory Coast already qualified for the next round so YaYa was getting a well-deserved breather. As in the EPL, YaYa has played every single minute of the ANC until the Algeria match).

Part the Third: Redknapp/Durocher. I was a baseball fan for years before the players took the kind chemical enhancements that would make Bruce Banner wince and the games could be timed by sundial. Baseball was the most fun sport for me to do some historical exploration and one of the guys who caught my attention in my perusal of books while sitting on the beach (ahem) "research" was Leo Durocher. For those who don't know, Durocher was a terrific manager and exceedingly controversial. Morally he was little more than a scoundrel; professionally, he could motivate players to great heights (Wille Mays to name just one) while utilizing the same moral code. He'd do things managers couldn't ever do now, like yelling at players from the top of the dugout during a game, demonstratively chewing guys out in the dugout, using the press to pass along misleading information so long as it helped his team win (okay, he wasn't alone in doing that). He was very much a means justify the ends kind of guy who could rationalize almost anything as long as it helped his team win. His greatest gift was getting finding a way to put extra importance on a game that just had to be won in that moment and the team would respond accordingly. Again, he couldn't be trusted beyond what he would do in his own self-interest but, man, did he ever get his players ready to play. More of than not, they'd go through a wall for him.

Now, tell me that paragraph doesn't describe Harry Redknapp to an absolute ‘T'.

I knew we were in trouble when Redknapp exploded on his team in the press after the latest egg laid by the Rangers. He called out the entire team, railing that nobody's job was safe and look at Tuesday's results:the Rangers defended desperately, if not spectacularly, and every run was an all-out sprint. It is impossible to imagine Mark Hughes getting the same kind of effort from a team hitting rock bottom; with Hughes, a team going good kept getting good but once it started to go bad, it was like going down a tunnel that just increasingly dark. Not with Harry. I doubt QPR comes up with a better effort in the near future because the team is a mess but at exactly the right moment, Redknapp got the worst team in England to fight like hell for a draw against the best team in England. I don't like him and wouldn't hire him but he earned his money Tuesday.

Part the Fourth: Liverpool Next. Why hasn't Liverpool won more games? I watched them today take a 2-0 lead over Arsenal, looking for all the world like a CL qualifier at least. They looked the same way against United for a half. And that's the trouble; they look great for 45 minutes and then something just kind of happens. I think Luis Suarez is the best striker in English football; I'd take him over Van Persie because he does more than Van Persie on the pitch. Additionally, they are deep in the midfield-Lucas, Cole (EDIT: I mean Joe Allen), Gerrard... those are guys who can play for me. Is there back line that bad? Damned if I know but if Rogers doesn't get that squad in the top four next season, he and the life-sized portrait are going to be taking up new residence.

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

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