Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City – Matchday Observations and Late Drama

Football - Manchester City v Manchester United Barclays Premier League

The highly anticipated Manchester Derby took place Saturday with frustrating and mixed results. Both teams seemed satisfied to sit back and not risk over-committing attacking players while each team was still able to enjoy decent spells of possession, but minimal quality attempts on goal. Not that a reason was needed, it being a local derby and all, but the three points on offer were highly desired by both sides as they hoped to continue their respective pursuits. The match itself largely had that big game, boxing match feel one would expect to see with so much on the line.

Of course we all know the late drama that closed out the match when Paul Scholes headed home a Patrice Evra cross in stoppage time. Emphatic celebrations from United fans and heartbreak for City supporters. Such is football.

It was a match where neither team really deserved to win, but either team could have.

United went with their classic big match formation as Wayne Rooney found himself up front alone with wingers Valencia and Giggs (and Nani later in the second half) in support. City went unchanged with the formation that’s seen them score truck loads of goals recently – the attacking monster that is Tevez, Adebayor, Bellamy and Johnson, were mostly quiet.

In all the pre match hype, largely emanating from last September’s 4-3 classic, it was obvious both teams set up to not concede multiple goals – keep it tight, keep it close and close down opposition players quickly. 1-0 was always going to win the match. United’s creative players were overall a bit poor on the day, Rooney was frustrating and frustrated. In my opinion, he’s not 100% match fit. A fit Rooney would never be pulled off with 15+ minutes left in a derby. Giggs was mostly poor, miss hitting passes all day and Valencia was good, but is still unable to carry United when others around him aren’t at their best.

The football purists may question City boss Roberto Mancini’s decision to pull off the attacking winger Adam Johnson for the defensive minded Patrick Viera midway through the second half. However, as the 80th minute approached, both sides had used all three available substitutes, the pieces were set in the chess match that was to be the last portion of the match in hopes someone could snatch that all important goal that would likely win the game.

On the day, it just wasn’t to be, at least until stoppage time. The final ball for both sides is what was absent. Too many decent spells of possession and counter attacks fizzled out when the last ball was played, usually into the waiting arms of the keeper, or out for a goal kick.

There were some good individual performances from both sides that are worth a mention:

  • Darren Fletcher for United has been one of their best players all year. Strong in midfield, willing to work his pants off and full of energy. All three attributes were on display Saturday.
  • Gary Neville for United was solid in defense all afternoon. He did his job containing Craig Bellamy in a professional manner. Love him or hate him, he’s an asset when on form.
  • Carlos Tevez for City is always a leader on the pitch. Maybe not at his sharpest in this big match, yet still valuable even when not scoring goals.
  • Vincent Kompany for City did a top job dealing with Wayne Rooney before Rooney was pulled off. The Belgian defender won all the mini battles against Rooney yet lost the war.

The title race is without a doubt still on. United will rue their 0-0 draw with Blackburn last weekend and wonder what could have been. I think it’s safe to say, there are still some massive fixtures remaining in the Premier League that are sure to provide football fans with drama, passion and desire.

As for Manchester City, I still believe they’ll finish fourth. It’s going to be a tough scrap though. What I’m looking forward to over the next few weeks is how well mentally and physically Tottenham and City hold up as the rigors of the Premier League season take hold of both sets of players and attempt to suffocate them.

I for one won’t be missing a match.

12 thoughts on “Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City – Matchday Observations and Late Drama”

      1. Anyone notice they said the same about the Bayern Munich game (he must think u can’t go near Ronney cos he was injured weeks before), and just so u know Mancs are people from Manchester! so the other team were the Cockneys/Paddys/Brumies any one but the Mancs, well spotted lol.

        1. As so many City supporters always say “Real Mancs are Blues” I thought most would see the sarcasm. Guess not.

  1. Amen to that! Man City is nothing more than a Chelsea wannabe yet, ( like their idols in blue) their hired guns haven’t formed the cohesion necessary to make a killer team. You can buy all the talent you want but if the players cannot mute their individual egos and desire for money, then they cannot work together as one. This is the secret to United’s continued success. Not to mention the fact that the owners, the Glazers give Fergie and David Gill free reign to do what they want. All this uproar about the Glazers is thinly veiled anti-american sentiment. It is so obvious but it makes no sense! Since the Glazers have owned the team their’s has been a tenure where the club has enjoyed unparaalled sucess! Look at the teams that are owned by a board, like Arsenal, have they added any silver to their collection lately? I rest my case. I imagine that there would not be the same scorn leveled at the owners if they were English. All clubs go into debt but no one bitches as long as the owners are English, Russian or Arabs. So why the hatred for the American owners who are bringing in the money hand over fist with sponsorships, the sale of memorabilia, and several other means. These Red Knights are planning on using some of the very same bankers that helped finance the Glazers bid for the club so what is the difference? They are English, and the ugly spector of anti-Americanism is proudly displayed by every Brit who proudly dons their garrish green and yellow scarves. You guys can’t have your cake and eat it too. What is more important, a team that acts as one, under great management, or an English board who has to address every request, every petty issue among themselves, talk about warring egos! United is not for sale, no matter what the Red Knights do, they cannot take over the club unless the Glazers want to sell it. We Americans see right through all this rabble-rousing and frankly, it comes as no surprise. You all obviously don’t know any better or it’s just those old resentments being passed down like family heirlooms. Whatever the reason, it doensn’t matter. The Glazers own United and if you want to protest by not coming to the games, good, there are plenty of us who will be happy to take your place.

    1. It’s not Anti-American to not want your club saddled with £700 million, much of which has been taken out of the club to fund the Glazers other activities. We win because of SAF. This was a massive victory for United. Let’s just enjoy it.

    2. american cat…Your comments remind me of swiss cheese..full of holes! It would take too long to detail all the specifics involved here but to summarise: Man Utd’s fans are certainly not anti-american as you state. As a consequence of the hostile takeover, a club that was 100% debt free and one of a handful of clubs operating with a net profit, was saddled with a debt (currently in excess of £700million) The new owners were not prepared to invest their own monies onto the balance sheet but chose instead to mortgage United’s assets to secure their borrowings. Owners of any nationality would have been vilified for adopting such a strategy.

      The Glazer family appear to be milking the “cash cow” that is United by drawing substantial salaries (£20million plus according to press reports) whilst fans have faced significantly increased ticket prices over the past few years. Only now are some ticket prices to be frozen for the coming season.

      Whilst United have enjoyed League and Cup triumphs under the current ownership, they have been the most successful English football club in terms of Premier League titles won and you will be aware this dates back to the early 90’s. As man99utd points out, this is due in no small measure to the influence of Alex Ferguson. As for all the extra sponsorship and merchandising revenue derived as a direct result of Glazer ownership, I see very little difference from that pre-Glazer, save the fact that sales of club memorabilia are down and the “gold and green” movement is gaining momentum.

      As for any proposals the Red Knights put together, these will be carefully vetted I’m sure, but it is the general view that a percentage of the club will return to the hands of United supporters.

      As for the best model of ownership, I have neither the time nor the inclination to set you straight on this one. Instead, I’ll leave you with this…BARCELONA. Perhaps you could explain why this club makes a mockery of your assertion.

      Finally, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not anti-American. I have some great American friends, have visited and there is much I admire about American society and attitudes. But You don’t get my vote with this.

      Best wishes

  2. Its was good derby..Man United always played for a win…..Giggs was a misfit in team,,,,i though nani should have been started given his present form..Giggs is a legend but i think time has come for management….i think he can a great motivator but i doubt him as a coach…as for scolsy …difficult to find replacement…i think modric would be a great buy …considering his passing ability and scoring abilities….but spurs woudn;t sell him….for sure…..i think Manunited should buy both velaso and mountino..i personnaly think they are good pair…..they can be our xavi and iniesta… for strinking opton goes i think we should buy dzeko..he can score goals both with his head and present we dont have a good headers.. we miss ronaldo a lot.comsidering a lot of crosses is coming from valencia.. i pray to god for owen(both of them) fitness.if hago is fit we can have a good midfield and free kick taker….i hope fergie buys good players….regd goal keeper we can buy akinfeev from cska for free in jan……rafe da silva is outstanding one thing he need is experience ..he can be a class act…Ribery was in his pocket for the first half

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