Thought the First: 43 shots? Okay, 43 shots.
Thanks in no small part to Albion getting a man sent off (presumably, referee Mike Deen is still trying to figure who committed that foul on Bony—more on that later), City played 88 minutes with a man advantage and were dominant for damn near every one of them. Someone should send a doctor to check Albion tender Boaz Myhill for PTSD. Any number of Citizens could get Man of the Match but I'll make special note of David Silva who played perhaps his most aggressive match of the season—ten shots, four on target a goal. City never endured a true threat to winning the match. We can hope such an effort will be repeated in every remaining match but even if City win out, all Chelsea has to do is whine... I mean, win 22 points from their last 30 and they'll lift the trophy while the rest of us can hold our noses.
You know what hurts? This hurts: West Ham, Newcastle, a tie at home against Hull and 1 point from 6 against Burnley, fer chrissakes. If just two of those results go the way they should have—City on top instead of scratching their collective heads—we're so much closer to a third title in four seasons instead of hoping the babies in blue drop points.
Thought the Second: Pulis Throws the Replay Gauntlet
I don't even like the guy as a manager but I wanted to stand up and applaud. Tony Pulis after the match:
- "We have to find a way to help out referees. I would definitely call for managers to have two calls each and every game when there is 30 seconds and they can have a video link-up with people upstairs who can watch it.
- "The clubs can make money -- there are people who will pay money to have their names up on scoreboards. It will eradicate the major decisions referees are getting wrong that actually affect games of football and we have to work hard to do that in what is the greatest league in the world. The sooner that comes in, the better.
- "Should referees get closer to the professional game? Of course they should and there should be ways of doing that. This is one way of doing that. You are taking the major decisions that even on the sidelines you can tell might be wrong and giving the referee a chance to redeem a mistake he might have made. We all make mistakes. Look at players on both teams today."
Welcome to the bunker, Tony. This topic ain't going away any time soon, people. The motto of Five Thoughts has always been thus: calls are getting missed, calls that can and should be corrected by replay. Hell, I'll even throw my hat in the ring on the idea of more officials on the goal lines to help with calls in the box.
I made a semi-humorous prediction that the Premier League would adopt the MLS idea of chalking lines on free kicks and sure enough, it happened. Here's another prediction for you: we'll have replay within five years, if not sooner. We'll have referees on the goal line within five years, if not sooner. The problem of missed calls is getting more attention and it's a problem that can be easily and quickly corrected. Tony Pulis knows it and he's not alone.
Thought the Third: A Five Thoughts Championship League Note
We are not as good as Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. We would be underdogs to PSG and Atletico Madrid. If come back next season with the same group of players being our best players, the previous two sentences will still be true. We need some more talent, people. I'm not at all sure how the horrifically designed FFP will hold us back (anybody know?) but if there are no restrictions, then the sheikh's need to shake the money bag once more and get some folk who will help us win.
Though the Fourth: Barcelona Assisted... Again
My first thought—I swear this is true—after Ibrahimovic got his red card against the blue babies was this: "Somehow, this will help Barcelona." Damn if I wasn't wrong. If Barca doesn't win the CL, it won't be for lack of trying by UEFA. A wonderful side that doesn't need the help their getting from calls on the field.
Thought the Fifth: Poll!
You know what to do.