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Five Thoughts: Mancheseter City 2-2 Liverpool

Missing YaYa, Missing Midfield, Missing 3 points and Playing for 2nd place.

Laurence Griffiths

Part the First: Goodbye EPL League Title Yes, anything can happen and last season, damn near everything that could happen did but I'm with MarcL from the comment thread:

(I)n all honesty I had not written off the League last spring even after the Arse debacle. I had this completely weird, logically-unjustified sense of confidence then. Now, not so much. I cannot imagine the side that played today taking the 95% of available points that would be needed to overhaul the rags. Not in a million years. Scousers should easily have taken this one.

That's it in a nutshell, people. My own opinion is that Man United has been the luckiest side by far this season with regard to coming from behind, getting the benefit of the refs calls and I could go on but I should also note before fans of the red menace descend like Vikings on a bender that ManU has also been the best side--just not ten points better. It ain't completely over but, again as MarcL said above, it's just a different feel this season. Liverpool, with a little of bald, insanely inexplicable luck that ManU has had this season, would easily be in the top 3.

Part the Second Don't Even Complain about Dzeko being hurt and Liverpool playing on toward a goal. It was correctly noted by all involved that it's up to the ref to decide to play on and not for nothing but that was the right call. Daniel Sturridge, who for the record should still be playing for us except he was let go by Mark Hughes who is soccer's answer to having Sauron run your team, noted afterward that the ref said play on. Liverpool had attacking chances, we didn't clear the ball... damn near everything went wrong on that play but one thing we can't do is complain about it. If we get the ball back, the ref blows the whistle. Again, Liverpool should not have to give up attacking chances becasuse a player well away from the play is lying down and quite obviously not seriously hurt.

Part the Third: Missing YaYa Massively I've never been happier to see the Ivory Coast drop out of the ANC. YaYa--my favorite player in the universe--is coming back to the Etihad and I think today's game puts to rest any notion of whether or not we're better without him. Additionally, we've found out that the Media Darlings are just not cut for carrying the midfield like YaYa. Both Gareth Barry and James Milner, along with Javi Garcia, put in their usual yeoman efforts and all got their backsides handed to them by Lucas, Henderson and Downing. Of the three Citizens, Milner was fine but, lord, Lucas especially was just outstanding. If we had him, I honestly don't think we'd lose as long as he could stay healthy. I imagine Lucas and YaYa together in the midfield and I have the soccer equivalent of an erotic experience and yes, I'll stop there.

Part the Fourth: Who's Next? Balotelli is gone to a better place for both us and them (and please, people, don't miss Danny's terrific analysis here). What interests me is who will be next to go. Granting that any number of factors can come into play before the next transfer window in the summer, I honestly think the next name to move one down the line is Samir Nasri. Like Balotelli, he is capable of brilliance. Like Balotelli, Nasri is capable of disappearing to the point of being counter-productive. Like Balotelli, Nasri has (ahem) personality issues that can rub some the wrong way. He was almost wholly absent against QPR, he didn't come on until the last few minutes today and just looks lost out there. I'm sure he'd be more productive if he was given more space to operate as he as at Arsenal but, like Balotelli, we've got guys who do what he does better--Silva and YaYa to name two. As I said before, having Aguero, Tevez, Silva and Nasri is a lot of fun in a computer game but not so much fun on the pitch. Nasri was City's best player the first few matches of the season but it's been a long, long time since he's been at that level. Just a hunch, but I can see him moving on or being moved.

Bonus Thought: Vincent Kompany Get. Well. Soon.

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