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Five Thoughts: Manchester City 0-1 Stoke City

No Need to Panic... Yet.

Clive Mason

Part the First: Panic? Me? Perish the Thought.

Over the last four seasons, we City fans have seen this before: the opposition parks the bus, we can't penetrate to save our natural lives, the opposition plays for a counter-attack, gets an opportunity to execute said counter-attack and a combination of opposition hustle along with our defensive lapse du jour adds up to an afternoon filled with the familiar cries of "typical City" along with a few select expletives.

In short, this match sucked to high heaven but there's no reason to panic.

I'm not panicking because we still have the depth of an ocean at virtually every position, including goalkeeper (as Joe Hart is, I predict here, about to find out). I'm not panicking because the Barclays Premier League is, by far, the deepest in European football and to put it simply, these things happen-middle of the table sides which don't have prayer of reaching CL matches can and will compete like Berserkers and drive better the better teams nuts. And I'm not panicking because there is only one team that has two titles in the last three seasons and four trophies in the last four-our team, Manchester City. I still think we're one of the two best teams in the league and I still think we're going to be top of the league after the last match is played in May. In short, we still got this.

Part the Second: All that being said...

Lord on high, what an awful match that was. Did anyone look good? I'll leave it to smarter fans than I-Danny, shudder, Harkiano, Kmoney, Zac (to name just a few)-to pick out who played well for our side but I'm damned if I can find even one standout performance. A week ago I highlighted Stevan Jovetic as our new best player and I'm frankly embarrassed a mere seven days later. I like to think Samir Nasri and especially Merlyn Silva are the two best offensive mids in the league but today they were strictly offensive. Fernandinho's performance left me hoping for all the world that Fernando isn't hurt too seriously and even though Yaya moved better than he has since last season, it wasn't nearly good enough. Kolarov's effort on the difference-making goal leaves open to question his future consideration for the starting eleven (Glichy might very well have stopped that goal) and if I never see Bacary Sagna attempt a cross again, I won't be disappointed.

That last paragraph? That's the bad news (and there was plenty to report, to be frank). The good news is that the defending champs have two weeks off before the next league match-on the road against Arsenal-and I'm confident Pellegrini & Company will figure it out. That is literally the best that can be said after today's desultory performance.

Part the Third: Moving on to... Falcao for Negredo?

Hearken back to Christmas one year ago. A group of Manchester City fans get together and choose the best City players of all time by position. Comes time to decide strikers and Aguero, of course, is given one spot. The second striker spot comes down to Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Negredo.

Negredo got the nod. Those who remember his performance in the first half of last season know all too well the reasons why: great finishing, amazing passing and the strength of ten men.  More seasoned City fans remembering Tevez' consistent play over more than a few seasons and constant hustle were outnumbered by those of us (yes, I voted for Negredo) who were taken by the moment-the ‘Beast' looked like a 15-20 goal scorer at a minimum.

We all know what happened since-Negredo got hurt somewhat innocuously except the adverb didn't fit; the injury was more serious than originally thought. He got healthy, wasn't close to the same player when he returned and come this fall he got hurt again. All of which leads us to the strengthening rumor that we're about to get Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco.

In the humble opinion of yours truly, we should absolutely do this. Negredo is a helluva good guy and a fine player but on the best day of his life he's not as good as Falcao. They're both injury risks and they're both 28 but the better risk--and better reward--is with the Colombian.

Part the Fourth: Want some good news?

We have yet to lose to the MK Dons and have yet to be tied by Burnley.

Part the Fifth: Poll!

You know what to do.