I almost called it. If you saw my post on Thursday, I stated that Manchester City would play beyond the Carlos Tevez drama and that Mario Balotelli would be a factor. I also stated that the leaky defense would be MUFC’s downfall. Sometimes I hate being right.
Not only did Manchester City live up to their expectations, they dished out the worst loss Manchester United has taken on their home ground in EPL history. It’s the first time MUFC has allowed 5 or more points scored against them at Old Trafford in 81 years. Somewhere out there, Arsenal fans are laughing especially with their win against Stoke City this weekend.
I also stated as the first thing to watch for was payback for the loss of the Community Shield and Manchester City brought it in buckets. Although Manchester United went into the half with a longer time of possession, Manchester City had already struck and no one could have foreseen what was to come in the second half.
1. A Costly Red Card Started the Fall
It was clear that the home side came out frustrated that they couldn’t create and finish a lot of chances in the box. The biggest costly error was Jonny Evans’s red card foul by pulling down Mario Balotelli. It was just plain lazy defending. Even the commentators called it, Evans has one mistake in him constantly and this one pretty much set the match tone for the rest of the game causing the collapse. Mario was already in front of him and it probably would have been better to let Mario finish his run than let the team be short one man for the rest of the match. It makes me wonder if Phil Jones should have started instead. Watch the rest of the season and let’s see if Evans will ever get out of the doghouse for this.
2. Too Many Yellow Cards
After playing a card free match first half , MUFC had four in the second half which clearly is a sign that Man United let Manchester City get inside their heads and take them completely out of their game.
3. Is City a Clear Favorite?
It’s still too early to say right now but this win certainly gave them a much-needed boost. Milner was great on two assists today, Dzeko came off the bench to add to the fire that Balotelli had set (ha!) and even Micah Richards showed some quality today despite his yellow card. It was what I said that Sir Alex did not want to see: they beat their rivals on their own home turf and took home ALL of the marbles; Three points and the top of the board! But the question is whether or not we will still have this conversation in February.
4. Is There Any Regret About Not Acquiring Sneijder?
The biggest transfer rumor this summer was MUFC going after Wesley Sneijder and this went down all the way to the last day of the transfer window. One can only speculate if going forward that by not acquiring him and his talent was a costly mistake by management. It’s always impossible to do ‘what ifs’ but if any questions were to come like this, this would be the one. As far as the season had gone it looked like Man United was doing fine even without the big name splash but will this change come January? Will Sir Alex look to fill in holes come January? Does he still even trust Anderson in the midfield and an aging defense to carry on through to the end of the season?
Manchester United going forward will have a lot of soul searching to do. It’s their first loss and their worst loss. Some may say that the midfield needs shoring up but clearly an aging defense was missing their anchor and a young frustrated Jonny Evans that toppled the home team today. On an offensive side, Manchester United will have to get better at finishing inside the box and not let themselves get frustrated so easily.
Congrats Manchester City, you clearly earned it.