Manchester Derby: Why So Easy?
Over 75,000 fans packed themselves into Old Trafford in anticipation of a fiercely fought, evenly matched and thoroughly entertaining Manchester derby. Millions joined them around the world, watching on their television screens, glued to …
Over 75,000 fans packed themselves into Old Trafford in anticipation of a fiercely fought, evenly matched and thoroughly entertaining Manchester derby. Millions joined them around the world, watching on their television screens, glued to their armchairs, with the hope for a game to remember.
However, when Mark Clattenburg blew the whistle for full time, many supporters had either left the grand stadium in a shamed hurry, or switched off the television with a painful grimace. For Manchester United fans, it was a nightmare. Their very own Theatre of Dreams had held host to the humiliation of United players and the red half of Manchester, with the electronic scoreboard making grim reading for anyone brave enough to lift their heads and see: Manchester United 1, Manchester City 6.
For Manchester City fans, it was a moment of utter elation. For years they have been in Manchester United’s powerful shadow, and for years they have had to watch Sir Alex Ferguson lead his side to trophy after trophy, achievement after achievement and record after record. On Sunday however, City made their very own records. It was the first time the blues have scored six in a Manchester Derby since 1926, while it also marked their rivals’ worst ever Premier League defeat.
The win is a welcome mark of their progress, while for Manchester United, the heavy loss is an embarrassing wake-up call. When the team sheets were announced, and probably well before, United fans were worried. However ardent a supporter you are, you simply cannot deny that City’s expensively assembled but hugely efficient and wonderfully talented midfield including the likes of Yaya Toure and the magnificent David Silva are in any way a fair match up to Darren Fletcher and Anderson.
The quality in the City midfield and the lack of it in United’s really did show throughout the game. The promising start for United in which possession was 70% in their favour was not capitalized on, with the lack of any penetrating prowess in the midfield showing badly. This is in stark contrast to City, who, in that section of early United dominance let the dangerous David Silva loose from his lead, for him to silkily and apparently easily weave his way through five or six United defenders inside the penalty area and still retain possession.
It was an ominous sign of things to come. When Mario Balotelli placed the ball in such a calm, composed way into the United net, you questioned whether it was the same immature, irrational man who only recently set off fireworks in his own home. However, this was a very mature performance all round for City, and the complete antithesis from United. The second half exposed this immaturity for all to see, and it made the 19 time Champions look very, very weak.
When Jonny Evans saw red, it was game over. City continued to attack as they had been, but United also did their best to do so. Two more goals were conceded, but still United surged forward. In the best red move of the game, Fletcher planted a beauty into the top corner to make it 1 – 3, but this only gave United the encouragement to go for the equalizer.
Silly move. It is what Manchester United know – never be beaten. The last few minutes were a defensive catastrophe. Three goals inside a few minutes was a disaster – car crash football. United players had not “given up”, nor were they “lacking in passion,” as some said. The players were caught between two minds, and went with what they knew: attack. They just weren’t any good at it, leaving the defence bare, and City clean through.
United will learn from this loss. The midfield is an issue of serious concern, and Tom Cleverley will be welcomed back from injury like a hero, however they will take solace in the fact that with 11 players, they would have never conceded 6 goals. City are top and deserve to be, but they must continue to show maturity, and continue in their rich form if they want to win the Premier League, because Manchester United will be back, just as they have been before.
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