Part the First: Where ya been? I been on vacation. As some of you know, I'm a teacher and as some of you know, teaching is an awfully demanding profession if you want to do the job well. So when we teachers get a break, we take advantage of it and try, for just a few days, to disappear from the world. Which is what I did this past week and I enjoyed it immensely until I got home. That's when I saw we lost to Sunderland. Now, rather than get into the blown foul call that led to the goal and rather than address Joe Hart's increasingly scattered play in goal, I thought I'd focus on this quote from Hart after the debacle in the Stadium of Light:
“We weren’t lacking in effort at Sunderland,” he said. “We gave it everything but couldn’t break through a defensive wall.
“No-one else needs to know what gets said in the dressing room, it’s down to us to put things right.
“We have dominated a lot of games but people play differently against us now as opposed to last season – we have to adjust to that and hopefully the second half of the season will be better for us.” (MancunianMatters)
Italics are mine. Near as I can tell, that quote was unsolicited but I would pay money to find out what said in the dressing room. I've always maintained that City, in spite of the headlines generated by Tevez and Balotelli, have excellent chemistry. I think they showed that against Norwich today.
Part the Second: Gorgeous Goals City needed a strong start and, man, did they ever get it. Within 90 seconds, Dzeko had a helluva finish off a one-touch pass from David Silva. I still think Silva is less than 100%--his speed is lacking--but he's got an amazing touch. Dzeko, for his part, too Mancini's advice about strikers taking "one touch too many" and he kept that in mind for goal number two. Aguero, who played magnificently and was the no-argument-necessary MOM, found Dzeko at just the right moment for goal number two. At that point, I honestly thought City was going to enjoy the same result they got the last time they traveld to Norwich City. That was before the Norwich goal which changed the match--a goal that should never have happened.
Part the Third: The Need for Replay, Chapter MCXXVII If you saw the game--and it was an enormously enjoyable match--you'll know what I'm about to address. For those of you who did not: in the 14th minute, Vincent Kompany (speaking of guys who are starting to play their best football) made a tackle just outside of the City box. It was, in many respects, the prototypcial Kompany play--aggressive, physical and completely clean because he made contact with the ball first. Except, referee Mike Jones called a foul. Now, honestly, upon first viewing, I thougth Kompany committed a foul but the replay clearly showed otherwise. According to SB's replay rule, Mancini could challenge the call after the whistle, the call would be reversed and City would have a goal kick. Instead, Norwich gets a free kick, scores and the game is changed. Honestly, I don't see why this is an arguable issue. Calls of enormous import are getting missed. These calls can be corrected by replay. Therefore, we need replay.
Part the Fourth: Noxious Nasri Once could argue that Samir Nasri should not have gotten the red card. One could argue that in a match as intense as this one, with so much at stake, players should be forgiven the intensity of their emotions, that they should be given leeway. But one should not be able to argue that Samir Nasri, in that moment, needed to have the sense that God give a rabbit. My own opinion is that Nasri, based on a senseless act, got exactly what he deserved.
Bonus Thought: Welcome back, boys. Aguero's best game so far; first time I've seen him look like the guy we saw last season. Ditto Kompany and Dzeko had his best start by far.
Bonus Thought 2: Dive, damn you, dive! I've written about this before and in light of what happened in the 68th minute, I say again: Aguero needs to start diving. I don't think he does because he never has but he could take some lessons from other teams like, oh, say, United. If Aguero goes down--and frankly, he had every right to; he was fouled--City has a PK and puts the game away. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with diving after contact is made but I just don't think it's in Aguero's nature. It's admirable but doesn't help us.
Part the Fifth: Poll You know what to do