Part the First: Men of Match
Merlyn Silva is getting the plaudits and rightfully so but, man, how about that defense for a large portion of the match? Vincent Kompany is the best CB in the BPL and that's been true for an age even if supporters of other teams simply refuse to believe it; he is quite literally the last person I'd want to see near me if I'm a striker. Just as aggressive as the captain of the team, and just as deserving of praise, is the new guy, Fernando. He was strong against Dundee in the preseason but inconsistent at best during the rest of the preseason so one could not be blamed for questioning how well he would do. He did plenty well, thanks for asking; aggressive, physical, stopping the ball more often than not, Fernando looks to be the quintessential holding mid. Not that Yaya and Fernandinho can't play the role but both of those guys are balanced mids leaning toward offense. We've needed a rugged DeJong-type for a little while and it sure seems like we got him in Fernando; I won't be surprised if he turns out to be not just our best signing but the best signing in the league as a whole. I literally can't wait for Mangala to be up to speed; a center defense of Fernando, Kompany and Mangala (prediction: he'll be the best CB in the league before the year is out not named Vincent) will be nigh on impenetrable. Credit as well to Dzeko, Kolarov and, in my opinion, Glichy.
Part the Second: Concerns
We have the depth of the North Sea to brag about but it won't be worth sand if our guys can't finish a match. Nothing Pellegrini said after the match concerned me more than when he said "7 out of 10" field players couldn't finish the 90 minutes. Conditioning and health are going to have to be priority one this season (which is why it was so good to see Aguero get that goal; his World Cup malaise is apparently in his rear view mirror). The league teams are stronger (notably Chelsea), we're competing in four different competitions *and* the bi-annual interruption known as the African Nations Cup is upon us. My point is, we made the right moves for depth but depth don't count if the team can't finish the match strong and we did not finish strong in the opener; Newcastle came within millimeters of tying the match before Aguero's goal. Half of me thinks we play Liverpool Monday and show them why we're a better team than last season. The other half of me thinks the team that played us so tough for the last two seasons continues to frustrate us; Monday we find out which half is right.
Part the Third: Nastasic and Richards
Neither man dressed which strongly suggests both will be moving on. In Richard's case, we all know the story--great guy, great teammate, hard worker but injured so often his skills seem to have fallen off. The Sagna signing was the last writing on the wall Richards needed. Personally, I'll always wonder what might've been with the guy who was so strong in the 1-6 game and in a few games afterward but by that championship season's end he had permanently lost his position to Zabaleta and the team just never looked back after that. The case of Nastasic is a little more difficult to understand. He was far and away the best young defender (and perhaps best young player) in the league two seasons ago. Like Richards, injuries have waylaid his promising career but he is only 21 years of age and, apparently, healthy and ready to play. If he goes, who is our fourth CB? With all due respect, the thought of Boyata, who I'm sure is a nice, hard working guy, is not a thought I care to entertain.
Part the Fourth: A Message to ManU
Moyes was not the problem. The roster was the problem. And you want to know something else? Change the second sentence of this little paragraph to the present tense; you can thank me later.
Part the Fifth: Poll!
You know what to do.