THOUGHT THE FIRST: Bad Kompany
I want to think a healthy Vincent Kompany would not have been made to look like a drunken matador by Raheem Sterling during goal #1. I want to believe it was the injury which led to him getting beat badly in the air for goal #2. I want to believe that in the pink of health, Vincent Kompany-as admirable a man as has ever worn the shirt-would absolutely been able to clear a moderately deflected ball so far out of danger, you could time the balls flight with a sundial, instead of painfully shanking it toward goal #3. It is painful to type these words but Vincent Kompany was directly part of all three goals allowed. Whether the blame belongs to an overzealous Micah Richards, a too-injured player who was better off on the bench or just good ol' fate, our beloved captain played his worst match in an age at exactly the wrong time.
THOUGHT THE SECOND: Revenge of the Scorned
Three more criticized players than Edin Dzeko, Martin Demichelis and Javi Garcia would be hard to find in our recent history. And yet there they were, amidst a storm of chaos in half one, putting in the three best efforts amongst City players not nicknamed Merlin. Dzeko's flaws have been written about and discussed so often, I don't know that he'll ever escape them-he's got a first touch only a stone giant would envy, his vision is that of a train in a tunnel and his missed shots always seem to be more memorable than his made ones. Those flaws real and imagined have disguised the fact (and fact it is) that he's been our best striker for well over a month, that Negredo has disappeared entirely, that the best of Sergio Aguero in year 2014 has come and gone and that Jovetic in year 2014 never came to begin to with. Versus Liverpool, I would argue Dzeko was the best striker on the pitch and certainly the most moral one (more on that later). And praise should also be heaped upon the mane of the ancient Argentine, Martin D. While Kompany endured by far his worst afternoon while donning the City crest, Demichelis was a destroyer in the back line, proving once again that if you attack Luis Suarez, the de facto player of the year may not offer much in response other than his usual amoral tactics (really, more on that later). Finally, the criticism of Javi Garcia has literally dwarfed that of the previous two players; it was a given that Garcia was gone after last season; more than once, City fans and football fans in general wondered very much aloud why Gareth Barry was let go and Garcia allowed to stay. Perhaps we know now-Garcia was willing and able to perform the third central midfielder role and would do so without complaint and would do so quite well, thank you. Garcia has met the challenge of a big match before and he'll need to do so again-reports are that Yaya Toure is out for the year. It's a mark of how far Garcia has come that the news of Yaya's injury isn't entirely tragic.
THOUGHT THE THIRD: The Heart of a Champion
There is any number of reasons to give in to begrudgingly good feelings about Liverpool winning the title (which is hardly a fait accompli but let's assume for a moment it comes to pass): Steven Gerrard winning his first, the team winning their first title in over two decades, the anniversary of the horrors of Hillsborough... one could go on and one should. Liverpool is a neutral's feel good story. But let's be clear that there were two potential champions battling to their last breath yesterday-the Citizens may not have the universal goodwill granted to Liverpool but there are reasons to feel good about City winning the title beyond the obvious pleasure it would give to their fans. City has endured perhaps their worst year injury wise since the Sheikh took charge. They have played an extraordinary amount of games and they have done so with nary a complaint. Take note that outside of Pellegrini's frankly bizarre missives during the CL, City players and management haven't complained about officiating all that much and there were no complaints to be found after yesterday. By my count, City could have asked for three PK's and absolutely could've asked for Suarez to be sent off for any number of dives (the most egregious of which was his phantom physical encounter with Demichelis) but City knew Mark Clattenburg wasn't going to let the whistle decide the game if he could help it. Imagine for a moment if Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, the Special One or any number of other managers were on the business end of the calls that didn't go City's way. The whining would break down walls all over the continent. That City did not do so is to their credit. Too often, we're known as the money team and we hear the critique money can't buy class or heart; we've shown more than once that we have more than enough of both.
THOUGHT THE FOURTH: Too early to think about next season?
Not for me. The Barclays Premier League is going to be one mother of a league come season next. City is a few defenders and a healthy striker corps away from being a world power. Liverpool will head into the transfer market boasting the league's best (and most rightly despised) player along with a CL spot and perhaps a league trophy. And not for nothing, but it's a little frightening to think of Chelsea with a star striker rather than a collection of strikers who happen to be paid like stars. That's not mention Arsenal and the collection of rags at the other end of town. Last season was a desultory affair, known only for SAF's farewell and SAF's mortgaging the future of his precious franchise for one more title. This season has been so much better in every way. As for next season, here's a prediction for you-it will be understood by one and all that the Premier League will be the best league in the world not just because it's the most popular and the most competitive but because the very best teams are there. Should be fun, no?
THOUGHT THE FIFTH: Poll!
You know what to do.