7 Talking Points From The Manchester Derby

By on October 25, 2011

Manchester City Are Title Favourites

Too early to say? Probably, as champions aren’t decided in October, but in the final run-in of March, April and May. City though seem build to be champions. Once they score, they hand out a demolition job. Their defensive structure is unbreakable and they’ve shown togetherness on and off the field (illustrated by the Tevez saga – that could of caused dressing room problems). More importantly, they are playing with propose and professionalism. 1-0 up against United, even with 10 men, many could see City taking the pedal off the gas. They didn’t and took their game to the rivals. Five points clear, they won’t give up this lead without fighting till the last round.

Kompany’s Captaincy

When Kompany was given the captain’s armband, many wondered how he would take over from the leadership duties of last season’s talisman Tevez. Well, he has proved Mancini’s decision to give him the armband was an excellent one. He’s being the consistent rock at the rearguard, tough, but professional. Leading at back with Lescott beside him, his defensive efforts, has given City licence to roam forward at will. In the opening 25minutes of the derby, United bombarded City’s goal. Kompany held it all together, getting on the end of every cross and through ball. He made some excellent tackles as he lead the line perfectly. A complete performance from the captain.

Balotelli Can Continue Causing Fireworks

You had to laugh when you saw Balotelli lift off his shirt to read the slogan “Why always me?” The answer is clearly because Super Mario can’t help but put himself in the spotlight. He might have caused more commotion by setting off firecrackers in this house, but as long as he lights the fires for City on the field, Mancini and Co won’t care. Scoring the delightful opener, Balotelli was a menace for the United defence, drifting out on the wing, creating space for Silva to work his magic, then coming in to support Aguero. He seems to learning though, as he didn’t throw a fuss when he was substituted.

Mancini’s Tactics

Mancini knows when he’s got his tactics right and wrong. He got them spot-on in the derby. While it seems in the early stages of the first that City were playing for the draw, his decision to play five in the midfield, completely swamped United. Anderson and Fletcher couldn’t handle control the centre of the pitch, completely dominated by Toure, Barry and Silva. It was City’s defensive work that stood out. When United were in City’s half, the sat deep and played on the counter. As City pushed forward they pressured United, Barcelona-style, hounding the United rearguard. At times United struggled to get the ball out of their half. It was tactical perfection from Mancini.

United’s Lack Of Urgency

There is always that sudden shift in play from United when the go down 1-0. Last week against Liverpool, they amped up their game, before shutting up shop. Where was the fluency, urgency and desire in the derby? As City took the lead, United limped through the first half, barely forcing Joe Hart to work. Everyone expected Ferguson to rev them up in the second half. Maybe they would have, had it not been for Evans’ red card, but United are known for playing for the win, regardless of the circumstances. They barely broke through City’s wall, scoring only when the game was done and dusted. United have lacked in the spark in recent weeks, most noticeably in games against Stoke, Basil, Norwich and Liverpool. Ferguson has got to find that spark for Everton next week.

Evans’ Dismissal

The one thing that lingers over Johnny Evans is that he always a mistake or two in him. 60 seconds into the second half and Johnny Evans’ straight red for hauling down Balotelli spelt the end for Manchester United. With Manchester City dominating proceedings, it was always an uphill battle for United, who lacked fluency throughout the game. United are known for upping their game with 10 men against the opposition, but with this solid Manchester City outfit, it was always going to be difficult. He’s on his last legs with United after another costly mistake.

Major Games Are Done For Now

The next few games for United are crucial, as it will show their reaction to such a heavy and humiliating defeat by their rivals. On a positive note, United have already played against the ‘Big Six’ and face a run over very winnable games. They are up against: Everton, Sunderland, Swansea and Newcastle in the next four games. There is the potential for Ferguson to get his team back in shape and notch up a couple of victories on the trot, bringing confidence back to the squad. They, like City are not going to give up this title race without a fight.

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