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Part the First: Heart Hart: He didn't just save the game, he saved us from abject humiliation. I have always said that if the goalie is the MOM, that’s hint numero uno your side got outplayed. Mighty Joe Hart was far and away the best Man City had to offer. His performance probably cemented his being called up by queen and country for many a moon but a few more of these and he's going to need treatment for PTSD.
Part the Second: Missing Middle: Lest we all be too harsh on Mr. Rodwell, keep in mind we got beat from pillar to post all game long; Rodwell’s error was echoed more than once in this match. Were it not for Hart, it’s frightening to think how bad this could have been but we addressed that. What we haven’t spoken of--in a long, long time-- is how a team could be so much better than Man City in the midfield. I mean, the difference was so great it was disorienting. I can’t remember the last time when I’ve seen my man YaYa neutralized to the point where he was a liability. Silva was the only mid to get anything going but only just and the effort it took made me wince. BvB played like they knew where to go and where we were going; they were responding to the play while we were reacting. Big difference, that.
Part the Third: Seriously, wha happen?: I’d love to hear from the comments if this was a case of BvB being better, Man City having an off-night or Mancini making a few missteps in the game plan. I think it was a mix of all three; BvB pressed all game, beat us to virtually every ball and their passes left us scrambling. Additionally, it did appear we were slow not only in movement but in our decision making; we’d get the ball and have to think once, twice and sometimes thrice before acting. Finally, I have enormous respect for Mancini but BvB is by far the best counterattacking team we’ve faced and our only success seemed to be with crosses and the long pass. To continually fire the fullbacks upfield was just asking for trouble and don’t get me started on the 3-5-2 (minutes 60-68 should forever put a stake in the heart of that formation).
Part the Fourth: A True Statement: Mario Balotelli is the best penalty taker I have ever seen and…
Part the Fifth: Pass the Ibuprofen: Hey, BvB fans? Next time lose the drum and don’t be afraid of a little lyrical variety.