24 Oct 2011
City's Old Trafford Masterclass Silences The Champions.
It's a result that has sent shock waves through world football as City sent out real statement of intent at the home of the premier league champions. This was billed as Citys first real test of the season and they passed it with flying colours.
Prior to this game Utd had gone 18 months without defeat at the theatre of dreams which just goes to show how much of a huge and impressive result this was for City. Its a result that has seen City installed as the bookies favourite to win the premier league title in May next year.
City were devastatingly ruthless in front of goal and controlled large parts of the game with clever intelligent possession. But it will be the manner of the defeat that will have upset and angered the majority of the red half of Manchester. Utd were lacklustre, sloppy in possession and outplayed in the centre of the park where Fletcher and the constant disappointment that is Anderson were played off the park and left chasing shadows at times.
Prior to kick off I was informed of the team selections and was instantly surprised to see Welbeck in ahead of Hernandez. I also then tried to compare the two midfield line up's and could identify that this was where the game was going to be won and that City looked stronger in that department. It's worrying to think how strong a squad that City have constructed because the two midfielders on City's bench, De Jong & Nasri would have walked straight into Man Utd's first team in that fixture. Utd are crying out for creativity in the centre of the field, something that City have an embarrassment of.
Utd controlled the first 20 minutes of the game without really testing Joe Hart, but like any good team City went ahead totally against the run of play through the impressive Italian Mario Balotelli. The blues went in at half time a goal to the good and had ended the half showing signs of a improved performance and tempo to their game.
It's the second half where the game was spectacularly turned on its head as Evans was shown a straight red card for pulling back Balotelli who was through on goal. Some Utd fans suggested the Italian had dived but TV replays clearly show Evans was correctly given his marching orders. This was always going to be a tough game for Utd and the fact they found themselves a goal down and a man down made it a difficult game to try and get something out of as City made the extra man advantage work to devastating effect.
With 60 minutes on the clock Balotelli made it 2-0 with a simple tap in as Utd started to lose the midfield battle and it was 9 minutes later that City found themselves 3-0 up. With 9 minutes left Fletcher claimed a consolation goal but with 90 minutes up City inflicted more pain on their rivals by scoring three goals in quick succession to claim a 6-1 victory in a game that will forever be remembered by the blue half, and will want to be forgotten quickly by the red half.
It's the manner in which Utd concealed them late goals which will have annoyed and angered Utd fans and the manager. Sir Alex did not deserve for his players to let him down on such an occasion like a Manchester derby.With the result at 3-1 Utd were still trying to push forward for a goal that would have give them hope, I suppose it's the Utd way but when you are in that position a man down and the 90 minutes are up you simply have to accept that you will not get anything out of the game. The reality of it is that City had this contest won when Balotelli scored to make it 2-0, if this was a boxing fight the ref would have stopped it when Aguero made it 3-0. This fixture could have ended with City hitting double figures as they were a constant threat in the second half, Manchini's game plan worked perfectly.
A backlash against Fergie's team selection has been evident on social networking sites and on today talksport radio phone in. Who do these people think they are ringing into a talk show to vent their anger at a manager who has built and installed success for the last 25 years of his life at Old Trafford? Nobody should question Sir Alex, he choose that team and the players who played let him down.
This victory for City claimed them three points and the bragging rights of the city until the next chapter in this titanic fixture. With that in mind City I am sure will not get carried away with this result as no trophy has been won on the strength of this result and you would be mad to rule out Manchester United coming back from this stronger. This could be the wake up call the reds need, Utd will be like a wounded animal at the moment, an animal attacked in its own back yard. They need to quickly pick themselves up as they look ahead to a tricky looking fixture against Everton at Goodison park on Saturday.
For every action there is a reaction and I fully expect Utd will respond positively to this humiliating defeat. City for the time being sit at the summit of English footballs premier league division five points clear of Man Utd and currently have the momentum and confidence to achieve great things this season.