have earned a famous win in the Manchester
derby which will send their fans into rapture and Manchester United’s
wondering if it’s time to call their situation a crisis.
What do you say when last year’s champions have only earned 2 points in their opening 3 games? What do you say when a relegation candidate from last season is in great form and have earned full points from their first 3 games?
It didn’t start that way. It was almost embarrassingly one sided in the first 30 minutes. Nani
should have opened the scoring when Paul Scholes
neatly laid the ball off to him at the edge of the 6 yard box, Nani
was tentative though and Kasper Schmeichel
parried the shot. In the early going Carrick
and Owen Hargreaves
(making his first start) were bamboozling the City
midfield. Beautiful, fluid movement saw Nani
get his second chance but again Schmeichel
was up to the task.
On 25 minutes, Nani
produced the pass of the match with a perfect back heel thru ball which beat everyone and sent Evra
thru unfortunately he couldn’t capitalize. And twice in the early going Micah Richards
was thru on goal.
Soon after though, City
began to settle to the pace and pressure of United’s
quality and the game’s complexion began to even out. They started playing a high line, very risky, but it worked as the space was compressed for United
to work and enabled City
to press up field more quickly, keeping the United
midfield on their toes.
Then, suddenly, and totally against the run of play City
took the lead. It was a pass across the midfield which Geovanni
struck well enough, and with a slight deflection off Vidic
saw van der Sar
beaten. For all the quality build up play, United
were on the back foot from that point forward. It was only City’s
second shot of the game and quite a while before they would get another.
You must credit Micah Richards
for his brilliant display. What a defender, just top class in every category. He muzzled Carlos Tevez
when it mattered. His finest moment was on 55 minutes when he cleared a low cross across the box when there were 2 United
players ready to score. For all their effort from that point forward you could just see the belief drifting away. It showed in little ways like uncharacteristic concessions of possession and signals of frustration.
You must also credit Dieter Hamann
for his intelligent drifts backwards allowing the defenders to avoid long balls and pass to him instead to steady the game. In general City
did very well getting men back to protect their lead. United
didn’t pressure Hamann
, with Tevez
the perfect player to do it and force City
into the sort of long ball that would allow United
to develop some pressure going forward.United
continued to have the majority of possession but United
just couldn’t score despite some very close calls. How they missed Ronaldo
and a striker which crashes the box.
For all of United’s
21 trophies since the Premier League
was created, it was City’s
day. Is there a crisis for United
? Not yet, it’s more bad luck, Vidic
hitting the post right after the half is proof of that. Was I wrong about City? It’s looking like I was
, but for both teams, a few more games will tell the story better.
Regardless of crises, United
have dug themselves quite a 5 point hole. It’s so hard to play comeback, especially in a Premier League
which seems to have so much parody.
Labels: Manchester City, Manchester United