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Five Thoughts: Collapse at Cardiff City

Why Worry? Let Me Count the Reasons Why

Michael Steele

Part the First: Offended by the Offense

Perusing the internets after the grade-B horror movie of a match against Cardiff City, I was struck by how often I read comments like, "It's just one match" and "No need to panic" and "We'll get ‘em next week" and "It's a long season," etc, ad nauseam. Well, excuse me for stepping closer to the cliff but I thought the following was going to be true this season:

A. Pellegrini would play a more open game, with players run-run-da-do-run-running all over the pitch, opening up space so that...

B. We wouldn't have to worry so much when 10-men got behind the ball; no more pitter-patter passes just beyond the attacking zone, endlessly looking for penetration and we wouldn't see any more of that because...

C. Navas is on the team and hulking strikers like Negredo and Jovetic were on the team and another Yaya-type, one Fernando Luiz Roza a.k.a. Fernandinho would be donning the blue which meant...

D. More offense from players like David Silva.

Well, how's that working out for us? Y'all thought I was going to talk about the defense? That's what everybody else was talking about and for good reason but the offense is still a bit stagnant, two goals to the good notwithstanding. As of this writing, we do not have an answer to a strategy we are going to see many times in the not-too-distant future. Negredo (whose size would've been perfect for the game against Cardiff, just sayin') didn't play until much too late, Silva and Fernandinho looked far from the wonders we saw just a week previous and frankly, that all is far more disconcerting than defensive lapses. Yes, Cardiff City played like they were being chased by bears and yes, the crowd was fired up because a newly promoted side was playing a top team. My question is this: you really think we're not going to see any of that again? We need answers. It's early but a loss to a newly promoted side was far from a regular occurrence when the Italian was at the helm. It happened to the Chilean in game 2.

Part the Second: Now the Defense

Shudder is right-two goals in three tries from the corner is about as common as your average comet. But he's also correct to point out the concentration lapses of the majestic Pablo Zabaleta (beaten twice or thrice, hard to say but beaten enough he was) and the increasingly scattered Joe Hart. What to do? Regarding Zabaleta, not a thing-I don't see him having a game like this ever again and I type that without a trace of exaggeration. He was not our player of the year last year because of accident or fluke; he'll be fine, thanks for asking. As for Joe Hart... I've written before that the finest performance I've ever seen in goal was Hart vs. BvB in last year's CL clash at the Etihad. And make no mistake, it was Hart vs. BvB because no one else on City could do a thing that night but watch the blonde one get bombarded by shot after shot. After that game, Hart was being described as the best GK in the land, England's number one. Since then, his career has been traipsing down a tunnel that seems to get increasingly dark; blunders, misfires and baffling errors galore. That needs to change or a change must be made but I'll be damned if I have a time frame for either. I'm hoping for the best because he's an eminently likable guy but we just can't have the kind of whiff that resulted in Cardiff goal number three.

Part the Third: Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got that Swing

I almost forgot about our super swingman on the wing, Jesus! I don't feel so bad because who would remember him based on that performance! (Bada Bing!) Seriously, what happened? It's difficult, if not impossible, to spread the field when the signing most responsible for spreading said field is instead putting in a performance aptly described as the substance used to subsidize said field (Bada Bada Bing!). Bad jokes aside, he was next to useless and that was more disappointing and worrisome than just about anything I saw this past weekend. Another poor performance and the natives will be clamoring for Milner, not that I'd blame them a bit.

Part the Fourth: But Why Can't I Have It?

There is a child-like voice inside of me, not a pleasant child, who keeps whining the same thing over and over: "Why can't we just get Bale and Hummels? It's not like we don't have the money!" Chomping and stomping is this child and I want to know-what do I tell this child? And let's not pretend for a moment that this child represents my secret wish. J

Bonus Thought: And lest we forget... our CB situation is still at Defcon 5.

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