4 Reasons Why United Won The Manchester Derby

By on December 10, 2012

Wayne-Rooney-Manchester-United

No Vidic (best defender), no Anderson (in-form midfielder), incorrect offside decision, not being awarded a penalty – a lot of things didn’t go in Manchester United’s favour on Sunday, but here’s a look at what did help them in their derby victory over Manchester City.

Ferguson’s team selection was spot on

When Scholes and Fletcher didn’t feature amongst the starting XI in the midweek game against Cluj, many fans feared that they’d start today, thus mirroring the cautious approach adopted for this fixture last season. Ferguson instead went for a more attacking line up, with Tom Cleverly starting in the middle alongside Michael Carrick, and two recognised wingers.

Cleverly’s mobility meant that United looked more purposeful in possession and he was always available in advanced positions to provide an option for passes to and from both the wingers. His energy also saw him tracking back to provide extra defensive cover. This enabled Carrick to marshal the back four effectively and to occasionally move further up field.

Despite taking him off in the first half against Reading, Ferguson also stuck with Rafael, who has perhaps been one of the most impressive and consistent performers of the season. Besides providing the assist for the second goal, he had another stellar game defensively.

However, Mancini’s team selection wasn’t

Though Roberto Mancini put out a very strong team, Mario Balotelli’s start at Carlos Tevez’s expense raised a few eyebrows. Despite all the problems, Mancini continue to show faith in Balotelli. Perhaps, he thought that Balotelli could once again prove doubters wrong when the scrutiny was high (as with derby at Old Trafford last season, and the Euro 2012 quarter finals against Germany).

Or maybe, given Tevez’s run-ins with Manchester United since his transfer, Mancini didn’t want to start with a player who would probably combust on the pitch. We can only speculate as to what the reason behind this selection was, but it didn’t work. Balotelli did not have a stinker by any means but Tevez offered much more of a threat with his constant running at the defenders when he was introduced.

Mancini also pulled out another surprise by bringing on Kolo Toure for the injured Kompany rather than Lescott. The former did seem nervy and his uncertainty did infect the rest of the defence, especially in the first half.

Roaming Rooney was key

Contrary to expectations, Rooney did not line up in midfield but played higher up in an attacking 4-4-2 formation. When City had possession, he stuck close to Gareth Barry or Yaya Toure and prevented the duo from having ample time on the ball. His forward positioning was also key in both goals as he was an outlet for the counter attacking football which United deployed. Ferguson was right in starting Rooney in the midweek dead rubber against Cluj as he does seem to play better on the back of a streak of games. Jamie Redknapp summed it up perfectly when he said on Sky Sports after the game; “Rooney floated around like a butterfly but stung like a bee”.

Good wing play

All three goals for United stemmed from the wings. Samir Nasri and David Silva, who were the wide players in City’s midfield, often drifted inwards when City had possession. This gave United a lot of time and space on the wings. Ashley Young, on the back of a good performance against Reading, had another good game. His flick and pacy run down the left to provide the assist for the first goal was reminiscent of the speedy counter attacking play that United used in the days of Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney.

Valencia hasn’t had a good season so far and he was again guilty of spending too much time on the ball after having beaten the left back, instead of providing an effective cross. However, he has a good understanding with Rafael which, yesterday, culminated in the latter offering a cutback for Rooney to score the second goal.

What are your thoughts on United’s win on Sunday? Get involved in the comments section below.

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13 Comments

  1. LOL

    December 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    RVP was the reason united won.

  2. bright

    December 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    RVP is the reason they won that game and same reason why they will win the league

  3. Uche Chiwuzo, Lagos - Nigeria

    December 10, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    RVP is good and contributed his quota to the win. But every member of that team, except perhaps Valencia, was above average on the day. I think credit should go to the team and the manager rather than to any specific player.

  4. United2DWorld

    December 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Excellent analysis Uche! This United team is weaker and less technically inclined in comparison to Teams of the past, however, they have one wicked combination of skill set: They have heart/will to play till 90+ mins and they know to do as they’re told…

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  7. Ishaq moorey

    December 10, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    D game ws an intrestin derby game bt d bst side (UNITED) won d game courtsey of Rvp.a leason learnt in d match ws dat guud playaz do win macthes fr its team.athough,evri individual playaz contributed fr d victori bt Rvp ws indeed a messiah in dt game.

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  10. nes

    December 11, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Lmfao are you joking? United once again was handed the win via the ref. Yaya toure was through on goal after shredding untd defense and the play was stopped? Tevez was also man handeled in the box no call? Also lol at all these tools going on about rvp the same tools that booed and called him a rapist, had nasri aid his free kick. Plastic fans.

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  13. varsh

    December 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

    @nes, what match were u watching lad? via the ref? wat about the young disallowed goal for offside when in fact he was on? what about the foul IN THE BOX on evra which wasnt given? toures bursting run was not a a clear cut chance so u should get your facts straight, talk about plastic fans, hal the world didnt know man shitty existed until the club was taken over by that t*****t sugar daddy thats funding your’lls uncooth traditonless pathetic club, btw if u a fan of shitty then you nothing far from that punk that hit rio with a penny

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