After losses to Burnley, of all teams, and Barcelona in the past week, Manchester City got back into the win column with a tidy 3-0 performance against West Bromwich Albion. And while City earning three points was never in question, there were plenty of questions raised from a match that got pretty weird after just a couple of minutes. So what did we learn from City's win over West Brom?
1. This sport is a lot easier against ten men!
With any chance at a trophy looking pretty well out of reach at this point, it could be argued that it'd be beneficial to see this squad take on a full eleven man team. Alas, after a second minute red card to Gareth McAuley, that wasn't the case as City were able to open fire on a ten man West Brom for the final 88 (!) minutes.
As a result, the boys in blue held nearly 80% of the ball and fired 43 shots in the match, including 16 on goal. Poor Boaz Myhill had to make an unbelievable 13 saves, and was the only reason City didn't put up five goals or more. While this was certainly a nice win for City, it would have been nice to see where they were at against a full team. But, hey, a win's a win and, with multiple sides looking to steal our Champions League place for next year, getting the win is the most important thing.
2. Let the Bony era begin
Some say that the first goal is the hardest for a player joining a new team. Well, if that's the case, then it's only going to get easier from here for Wilfried Bony, who opened his City goal scoring account in the 27th minute of the match.
It was by no means a pretty goal in the buildup, in that the ball was deflected around the box until it found Bony, but the striker did a great job of taking the ball down in traffic and putting it into the top left corner of the net in a hurry. Again, this would have been more challenging against eleven men, but Bony needed to get his first City goal out of the way, and did so nicely here.
3. This sport needs instant replay
The issue of instant replay in soccer, football, or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods, is a contentious one. There are those who don't want to ruin the pace of the game to review controversial plays, while others would rather make sure that the calls on the field are correct regardless of pace. But both sides should be able to agree that what happened in yesterday's match cannot happen in 2015.
Craig Dawson, after breaking up a goal scoring opportunity, should have been assessed the West Brom red card in the second minute. But referee Neil Swarbrick instead sent of McAuley, who did nothing wrong, leading West Brom manager Tony Pulis to call for expanded use of technology in the sport.
While some of the concerns over the pace of the game are legitimate, the reality of the situation is that there should never be a time in which the term "mistaken identity" should be applied to a sporting event without irony. Whether there should be reviews on offside calls or whether or not a ball was out of play can be a separate conversation, but it should be a given that a player being sent off should be the player who deserves to be sent off.
Surely you have your own takeaway from the match, so let me have it and vote in the poll below.