Part the First: The Magic is Back: My mom, one of the folks on the third planet from the sun I’d take a bullet for, said David Silva is her favorite player because, "He’s as big as me and he sees things other people don’t." Now, I’ve been her son long enough to recognize a barely disguised lesson being given but staying on topic, how much fun is it to see Silva work his left-footed mojo? Dzeko got the big finish but Silva made it possible. Welcome back, Merlin.
Part the Second: Speaking of Dzeko, I think it’s safe to say that the latest from super sub means Balotelli is number four on the depth chart. Now, unlike a number of my football friends, I love rumors. ShudderToThink, Harkiano, Sonics and of course, Dan the man (speaking of guys I read on a daily basis), they can dip their toes in the restorative waters of reason as long as they wish but I like getting my feet very, very dirty in the unsubstantiated rumor sewer and what I’m hearing is that Balotelli is marked for selling in January. To which I say… don’t do it. Of the four strikers, Balotelli at his best is better in the box, stronger and the best finisher of PK’s in my lifetime. He can play a valuable role. Of course, the key phrase in the previous sentence is "at his best" which is a state about as reliable as the weather. I still say he’s worth developing; he’s young, talented… and all of this goes out the window if we get the majestic Falcao.
Part the Third: Speaking of Welcome Back. Really, I’m a happily married man but, lord, I love Maicon. I love him so much my wife is getting worried.
Part the Fourth: Speaking of Replay Again. Altogether now, Calls of enormous import are getting missed. These calls can be corrected by replay. Therefore, we need replay. How would the SufferingBruin plan have worked today? Quite nicely, I believe. To take just one example:
23:12: City down 0-1 because we gave up our set-piece goal du jour. Aguero, who should get a medal for the work he put in today, gets a great pass from Silva in the box. He turns and shoots off the arm of Gallas. After great hue and cry for handball, we play on.
23:40: Play-by-play man Peter Drury, perhaps throwing subtle support to my replay rule (again, it’s here) says, "We’ll wait for the replay."
23:50 Goal kick. Ball is dead. Mancini hurls his flag on the field. After a brief discussion, it’s understood the non-call at 23:12 is being challenged.
25:00 Looking at the play from two different angles, it’s clear to the replay official that Aguero’s shot hit Gallas’ outstretched arm. During the review process, commentator David Pleat tells the audience the referee and linesman both were blocked from the play; otherwise a penalty would have been given.
25:20 The replay official radios his decision—handball and City gets a PK. The referee notes that 90 seconds extra time will be added to the first half.
Everything up to "23:50 Goal kick" actually happened. Everything I wrote after that is what should have happened if the powers that be that run this wonderful game—I’m looking at you management, you players, you media and you fans—just had the sense God give a rabbit.
This won’t work because why now?
Part the Fifth: Speaking of Fixing Problems with Replay We can stop diving fairly easily. Let’s take the Adebayor/Zabaleta pissing conest that reached its apex at 28:20 when Ade took a dive after phantom contact. The ref missed it and Zaba got the yellow. My replay rule could help here if Mancini wanted to risk it but let’s say after the game, with the help of replay, officials decide Adebayor pulled off what we in the states call a Louganis? Punish him. He could start next game with a yellow. Heck if he dives in the box, he could be risking suspension. I think that would make players think twice before they dive.
And finally… I’m an American. I’m a proud supporter of the USMNT (that’s United States Men’s National Team to you, bub). But was Clint Dempsey on the field today? I couldn’t tell.