@IwanLehnert I was fully expecting this to just say 'Oh. Shit.'
Vincent Kompany: “Maybe the game meant a bit more to us than to them.”
Sums it all up, really.
Let’s not beat about the bush; City were fantastic today. They looked played like they cared, they used the ball tremendously well, broke effectively and defended ferociously. But perhaps more importantly, and just like Liverpool did three weeks ago, they turned up to the occasion, only this time, their sheer commitment, drive and skill left United with their trousers around their collective ankles. And United deserved nothing more.
Kompany’s one mistake all afternoon probably came in the first minute, gifting the ball to Danny Welbeck even if the only Mancunian on the teamsheet had far too tight an angle to work with. From then on, Manchester City were in control. They were first to every ball, far more effective in possession and looked capable of damaging United down either flank. As early as the 16th minute, Aleksandr Kolarov left Antonio Valencia for dead, the Ecuadorian trotting back into position whilst the right back steamed forward and fired in a great cross for Sergio Aguero to acrobatically tap in.
The pattern was set. United’s passing was often misplaced and City easily won the ball back, looking a threat on the break with Samir Nasri firing just over, Yaya Toure dominant in midfield and Kompany an imperious brick wall at the back. All United could muster as the half wore on was a singular off-target shot on goal and a glimpse for Wayne Rooney, quickly and correctly flagged for offside.
United had been poor, but had hope going into the break just 1-0 down. When both Marouane Fellaini and Rio Ferdinand let Toure slip their grasp, and the Ivorian tapped home Alvaro Negredo’s header, he gave City the advantage they had really deserved, and hopefully the rollicking that United needed.
But David Moyes’ men started the second half in much the same fashion, probing to no avail, giving the ball away in the face of City’s pressing and were predictably made to pay instantly. Fellaini was again culpable for letting Aguero swoop through the middle to touch in his second of the afternoon, and all Samir Nasri had to do was stand slightly further back from Smalling to volley in Jesus Navas’ dangerous cross three minutes later. Both times, United tried to take the game to their opponents, lost the ball and conceded a goal. It was far too easy for City, and only when Ashley Young’s sacrificial substitution brought Tom Cleverley into the fray did they finally look stable enough to offer any resistance. Of course, by then, it was far too late. Rooney spooned United’s best chance over the bar before scoring with a wonderful curling free kick late on, but the damage had long been done, and City were long since winners.
Derby defeats are never particularly pleasant experiences, but rarely are they so uneven as this, and there were hints of that Old Trafford demolition in the utterly haphazard way United went about their business as the second half began. Some more intelligence was needed, especially after the third goal, to slow things down and give United some confidence in possession. It never came, and United were only gifted with a measure of control when the outcome was assured.
Pundits were adamant that a marker had been laid down in this season’s infancy, and in some ways, they’re right. This is the level that Manuel Pellegrini will want his side to reach when the big occasions come, and this is the level that United will need to reach if they want to have any say in the destination of the league title. Few in red shirts could leave the pitch with their heads held high, and they appeared utterly unable to adapt to the demands and pressure that City placed upon them.
So where does this leave United? Off the pace, certainly, with two league defeats in five hardly inspiring confidence in the new regime. Let’s not be hasty, of course; there’s still plenty of time to turn things around and a wholly winnable run of league fixtures is on its way, but there’s been little sense thus far that Moyes understands how to handle his team in big games. Kompany spoke of how Pellegrini had prepared his players for this game, calling it a must-win. It meant something to them, clearly. Conversely, there was barely any sense, not in the performance or Moyes’ post-match interview, that United were aware of what this result actually meant; dented pride, a beating at the hands of a title challenger and our nearest rivals. Results and performances like this shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Of course, Moyes has had a tricky start to navigate. Robin Van Persie’s absence can’t have helped, even if he might’ve found himself a spectator this afternoon in the face of City’s superiority. But after a limp performance against a defensive Chelsea, a casual surrender at Anfield and now this, the difficult start is over. Extra pressure is now on these next few fixtures because they’re against teams we should be beating. The margin for error has gotten a lot smaller because we haven’t approach these games with any guts. Next up is a chance to salvage some pride at home to Liverpool in the Carling Cup; that our 3rd round Capital One Cup date suddenly feels like a must-win says something about how meek United have looked in the face of the big boys this season.
@IwanLehnert I was fully expecting this to just say 'Oh. Shit.'
@IwanLehnert Funny that a City fan made more sense than the stupid United one.
Very honest assessment of the derby. United have not had many days like this. As a City fan I've got to be thrilled. However, the season is long and will have many twists and turns. I'll enjoy this one until the next time we meet.
sack moyes and shrek or championship here we come Rio CRAP welbeck RUBBISH young RUBBISH felover RUBBISH
@MrOlliB Wasn't far off. Abject display. Derby losses are never great but there was barely any sense that they cared.
@Gagz7 Funny that a City fan was far more complimentary and grounded, too. God bless that KagawaCrew.
@kagawa krew football clubs really need fans like you. Rooney, along with Vidic, was your best player today. Rio is a good club servant who is now a bit over the hill. Wellbeck is a decent young player. Fellaini has only been at OT 5 minutes. United were comprehensively beaten by a better team, playing at the top of its form on the day. As a blue I was proud, but also realistic enough to know the next derby could be the other way round.
@IwanLehnert Nowadays we dont need to slag supporters from other clubs, got plenty of stupid wankers in our fan base. Spoilt fucks!
@bluevalentine 2 players ain't a team open your eyes man we got wacked hard what about motivation sack moyes get Di Canio now don't want championship next september