Part the First: Our Best Effort
My first viewing of the match tested nerves and blood pressure both. My second viewing confirmed what Pellegrini, Kompany and a host of Citizens said afterward-City played extremely well and only bad luck cost them a cakewalk. City only had two subpar performances-Mangala (more on him in a moment) and Gael Glichy who got burned a few times too many for someone who's supposed to be one of our best man-on-man defenders. Outside of those two, everyone did grreat for the most part. The match would absolutely have been a blowout if not for one of the new guys living a horror film.
Part the Second: Bad Dream for Eliaquim
Man, did I feel for the Mangala. Both plays were aggressive and both turned into pies in the face. Worse, City's two goal lead was wiped clean, making a long, hard match inevitable. I'd rather not consider the possibility of Hull converting a couple of golden chances outside of the two gifts they received. Instead, I'd make note of the following:
- Pellegrini deserves a boatload of credit for keeping Mangala in the match and
- Mangala continued to make mistakes but his team rallied and played their finest football of the young season.
I still think Mangala will be the best signing of the summer not named Diego Costa. I still think the firm of Mangala and Kompany will be the best CB pair in the league. As for the mistakes, Captain Kompany said it himself after the match: "If you're a defensive player, you're going to have games like this and if you don't believe that, you're not a defender." The Favorite Toy (still hoping that nickname sticks) will get better, not worse, and I'm guessing Pellegrini will keep that in mind when making out the lineup cared for Tuesday's match vs. Roma.
Part the Third: Strikers Gotta Strike
Edin Dzeko turned in an MOTM performance-that first goal was sublime and what his second goal lacked in beauty it more than made up for in importance. Sergio is more dangerous; every time #16 has the ball at his feet and he's in the 18-yard box, my supporters group leans a little bit more intently on the barstools. But Dzeko could start for any number of teams in the world and-even more importantly for us-he stays healthy. I vividly remember discussing our two-striker system with fellow City supporters and more than a few opined that such a system is problematic "because then Dzeko has to play." Well, that's funny but it's not true and hasn't been for many a moon. We won last season because Dzeko was one of the better scorers in the league and if we win this season, he'll have to repeat that performance and then some.
Part the Fourth: Yaya Toure
I don't even have to pun on his name; just typing it raises eyebrows. In my aforementioned supporters group, no player causes more consternation and outright gnashing of teeth than the Ivorian. If not for Dzeko, I thought either Komany (still our MVP) or Toure could've been MOTM. Rightfully criticized for a desultory performance against Bayern, Toure settled the team down when the water was highest against Hull; teammates looked to him to make the right passes and his passes found open men. Affter Fernandinho's substitution, Toure acquitted himself quite well as a defensive mid and later maintained the back so that Super Frank Lampard could roam forward and get his goal du jour. I was in the minority in my beloved supporters group but I thought Yaya played very, very well.
Part the Fifth: Poll!
You know what to do.