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Five Thoughts: We Belong At This Level

The ultimate takeaway from a largely disappointing night: we can play with anybody.

Laurence Griffiths

Part the First: The Referee

Wow, but Pellegrini went after the ref after the game. Even in the light of a few hours reflection, I still can't believe how aggressive some of these comments were. To wit:

  • "He decided for Barcelona from the beginning to the end. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in such an important match and a referee who made a mistake against Barcelona in the group stages."

Granting emotions run high in any competitive match and doubly so for a CL match, when you accuse a ref of bias because of something that happened in a game weeks ago *and* throw in the weird comment about how you can't just have a damn Swede in there? Yeah, I think it's safe to say Pellegrini will be watching the match at Camp Nou from a healthy distance away from the sideline. Frankly, I wish our fearless Chilean leader had spent the postgame talking about the incredible effort we put in both before and after the biggest play of the game. Speaking of which...

Part the Second: The Biggest Play of the Game

In real time, it sure looked for all the world like a foul. It's a shame because as has been noted on this blog by writers and commenters alike, Demichelis played damn well up until he decided to risk a red and a penalty shot. Note to defenders of all stripes: I know it's Messi and he's the closest thing in the sport we have to a living deity but a spot kick along with a man down is just too big of a risk; let him go through. Our man Martin is getting killed on other comment boards on the intertubes which is unfortunate. I didn't like his starting over Lescott, especially considering Lescott's majestic performance vs. Chelsea but as stated, Demichelis played his best match in a while until he made that fateful slide.

Part the Third: We Can Play with Anybody

If there is just one thought that should be taken from the match, it's this one. After an 0-2 loss at home, it's hard to beat your chest but City played so hard and so well against one of the best sides in the world. Kompany is the best defender in England and can we please, please, pretty please put that issue to rest now and forever? Silva took to his role like a shark takes to blood, Hart was quite good... I mean, you have a team banged up at striker, playing with two left backs (and looking a bit clumsy on the left, as Zac and others have pointed out) and they still just flat out took it to Barcelona. It's incredibly disappointing typing this right now at 4am PST because we so much deserved a draw if not a win but the disappointment is tempered considerably by how hard we played. Personally, I would have started Nasri in midfield and brought the attack to the Catalans and I'll go to my grave wondering what we could've done against them with 100% health. Speaking of which, I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do when we visit Camp Nou.

Part the Fourth: Simply the Best

I know Zac already posted this but I cannot stop looking at it. Of all the tackles, clearances and just flat out great plays made by the captain, that one belongs on a cereal box.

Part the Fifth: Poll!

You know what to do.