If you’re a Manchester United fan like myself then having to sit through 90 minutes (well roughly 65 to be precise) of seeing “noisy neighbours” Manchester City sweep your team aside was painful viewing.
For the previous 8 games of the season, all the talk has been a two-horse race for the title between the Manchester sides and that this was probably the most anticipated Manchester-Derby since the Premiership began. Both teams had enjoyed unbeaten starts to the season, scoring goals for fun and having Wayne Rooney, Sergio Augero, Edin Dzeko at the top of the goalscoring charts.
Looking to build on last season’s 19th title win, over the summer Man Utd splashed out £16.5 million for Phil Jones, £16 million for Ashley Young and £18.5 million for David De Gea. Whilst Phil Jones and David De Gea will no doubt prove to be future world-class players, I struggle to think at how exactly those signings improve the current starting line-up (Young for Valencia possibly.) One thing that was evident in the defeat against Barcelona in the Champions League Final was simply that Man Utd’s centre-midfield is the weak-link in the side. Over the summer Man Utd were strongly linked to Wesley Sneijder and Samir Nasri however neither move materialised.
During the Community Shield, Tom Cleverley’s impressive performance thrusted him into the starting line-up until he was injured in Man Utd’s 5-0 win over Bolton. This leaves Man Utd with; Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson and Giggs. Whilst this midfield maybe good enough against teams outside the top three in the league, compared to other top teams, none of that midfield shout-out world class. However it’s been Man Utd’s good start to the season that have papered over the cracks until today.
Over the summer Man City went on another spending spree to add to their already impressive attacking talent. Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero joined the likes of; Balotelli, David Silva, James Milner, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko. Finishing 3rd last season, Manchester City have shown this season they will be serious titles challengers and practically swept aside all the teams they’ve faced and goals for fun, going into this game 2 points clear at the top.
Going into the game it was first time against Man City that I wasn’t that confident of a Man Utd win, thinking it would probably be a high-scoring draw. For the first 25 minutes of the game Man Utd controlled the game, didn’t give Man City much of the ball but couldn’t find the killer ball in the final third to make them pay. From the moment Balotelli cool-as-you-like slotted the ball into the corner and showing off his t-shirt “WHY ALWAYS ME” it was pretty much an up-hill task, especially when Jonny Evans (who I don’t rate, and still don’t understand why he was picked over Phil Jones) got himself sent off. The match pretty much turned into the David Silva show who constantly tormented Man Utd before getting a deserved goal aswell as producing pass of the season for Dzeko’s 2nd goal.
One big difference between the sides is that Man City’s midfield is much better then Man Utd’s. David Silva, Milner were both my man of the matches whereas Anderson was awful, and I’m beginning to think that his had too many chances in this Man Utd side and hasn’t lived up to his price tag. I highly doubt Fergie is going to sign anybody in the January transfer window but especially for the later rounds of the Champions League and against the big sides in the Premier League the midfield is weak, and top-class midfielder should be a priority. Its something that’s been evident since the beginning of the season but the way Man City over-ran Man Utd in todays game was painful viewing.