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Links & Poll

The Great Bale Debate Redux, Links and why Moyes leaving doesn't end the Rag problems.

This Guy in Blue? Works for Me!
This Guy in Blue? Works for Me!
Paul Gilham

UPDATE: The comments below are fantastic and yet another reminder of how much I love this blog.

In the midst of the strange feeling that comes with the prayer of a Chelsea victory, let us all take a moment and distract ourselves with an issue that perhaps is fascinating only to yours truly, along with some cool links and analysis of the 2nd best team in Manchester.

Regarding the fascinating (to me!) issue, I admit my position has wavered but I have always leaned strongly toward the opinion that when given the opportunity, you get the superstar. Now that Negredo has clearly run out of gas, now that Navas is no better than second choice to start, that Jovetic might be the most injury-prone player in a City uniform (and believe me when I tell you that is saying something) and granted there is literally nothing bad we can say about Fernandinho... do you still think we were better off getting the four we got instead of this?

I've been playing with lineups in a 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 and if I had the technical know-how of virtually any other writer on this here blog, I'd post them. Since I cannot, I'll let y'all work it out but I'll add this--we look pretty damn good with Gareth Bale on the squad.

Maybe next season, Negredo puts in a full season of the kind of play he gave us earlier when he looked like an at minimum 20-goal scorer. Maybe Navas is the guy consistently feeding him those goals. Maybe my favorite signing of the summer, Jovetic, is healthy enough to show why he might be the most well-rounded player we have. And maybe Fernandinho continues his fine play. But three of those four are going to be north of age 27 (Jovetic is the exception). And frankly, while all four could be considered stars, there is very little chance that any of the four are ever going to be considered in the same zip code as Bale. Tottenham lost Bale and spent oodles of dough on four guys, too. And if it was their choice, they'd have kept Bale. I'll go to my grave wondering if we had a legitimate shot at Bale instead of the four we got (and I like all four!) but I maintain my position that given the chance to get stars or a superstar, you get the latter. If I'm wrong, tell me in the comments and in the poll below.

Some links for the weekend:

Deadspin has been posting some terrific stuff on our favorite sport. If I could staple this to every American fan who thinks all there is to soccer is kicking the ball hard, I would. I'd need a lot of staples.

Did I bring this up last time? I guarantee you, if Liverpool wins, "heart over money" will be written in some way, shape or form in, oh, about a thousand different articles. I might throw up a lung.

This should surprise no one on terra firma. Cue the weekly, if not daily, if not hourly stories about Messi coming to City or City coming to get Messi. Soccer God in Heaven, I am sick to death of them.

Yannick Bolasie thinks Crystal Palace can upset Manchester City. This brings to mind a burning question: who the hell is Yannick Bolasie?

And finally, a word on the firing of David Moyes. Much has been written about his failures but comparatively little has been written about what I always felt was the core problem with the rags: they aren't special. They aren't unique. They never really were. What they had was the most unique and special manager in the history of the game and perhaps in all of sport. I wrote before about the bitter irony they would have to face upon Ferguson's resigning: the man who always said no one was "bigger than the club" was the one guy who was very much bigger than the club. Now that he's gone, United is very much like the other wealthy teams in the Prem: competing for transfer targets but doing so without a CL berth and with a mismatched roster featuring their best players vying for time in the same position (one of which is so injury prone, even City players grimace in sympathy), a pair of very expensive signings whose respective values are going south (Mata) and way down south (Fellaini) and not a lot of youth (Januzaj being the only one worth a starting spot). The difference between United and City used to be so great it was disorienting. Equally disorienting now is how quickly the two have switched roles. Whether the switch is permanent remains to be seen but suffice to say, United has issues that go way beyond David Moyes.