5 Key Observations from the Manchester City vs Manchester United Derby

The most recent Manchester Derby gave fans an intense, action packed match. The derby provided even more importance and both clubs are competing for the Premier League title. In the end, Manchester City showed its championship mettle as the noisy neighbors pulled even with Manchester United in points and ahead of them in the table based on goal difference. Going forward, it looks as if it is City’s title to lose.  After taking some time to digest all of the action from Monday’s match, there are a few interesting topics that became quite evident.

  1. Even the great ones make mistakes. Sir Alex Ferguson decided to employ a defensive 4-5-1 formation that left out in form players like Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck. Instead Ferguson subbed in veterans Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung, both of whom looked out of rhythm the entire match.
  2. The spine of Manchester City. For all the money that Manchester City spent on players during the transfer window, their most important players remain to be Vincent Kompany, Gareth Barry, and Yaya Toure.  Those three players used their strength and speed to dominate United.
  3. Manchester United’s youngsters may not be ready for prime time. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were inserted into the starting eleven after being out injured for weeks. Smalling was beaten on the decisive goal while Jones added little to United’s attack down the right side. Both players have shown promise at times this season, but this match might have been too big for them.
  4. All those people who think that Manchester City winning the Premier League title would be a bad thing for football need to rethink their stance.  It would have been easy for City to fold their tents three weeks ago when United went past them in the table. But City regrouped and came charging back. They dominated in their wins at Norwich and against United. City deserves to be where they are at.
  5. Ferguson stayed with his defensive tactics too long. Manchester United’s attack stalled all match long, but Sir Alex hesitated until the sixtieth minute and by that time it was almost too late. It sounds sacrilegious, but Ferguson got out managed in the derby.

The Premier League title race isn’t over yet. With two matches left in the season, there is still a lot undecided. From the title race, Champions League spots, to the relegation battle there are many exciting moments left to come.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @thehackreport

14 thoughts on “5 Key Observations from the Manchester City vs Manchester United Derby”

  1. The reason people think it’ll be bad for football is because it shows that money can buy success. You get rich overnight and suddenly go from being a mediocre mid-table team to winning the title (didn’t happen in one season, but you get the point).

    But I guess Chelsea already proved it a few times that money can buy success.

    Now some of you will say: wait – aren’t ManUtd also a really rich club who have spent a lot of money? True – but let’s be honest…they didn’t suddenly come into money. Ferguson had to start from modest means to get to where he is right now.

    I think Man City winning the league removes some of the “purity” of the game (if there is any left). Chelsea, ManCity, Malaga, PSG, etc. are now suddenly challenging for main honors in their respective leagues mainly because they suddenly got rich owners. That’s what these teams represent to me – just oil money. No culture or tradition in terms of these teams. And even though it might not matter much, I think it’s still a negative.

    1. I HATE when people say that a team has no culture or tradition because they weren’t always winning titles. Titles don’t make a team’s history. It’s the like the old boys’ club in the south not wanting to allow minorities or women in. Liverpool, ManU, and Arsenal fans need to get over themselves. Guess what when I eventually have kids I can tell them how I saw Chelsea win the league, FA Cups, and hopefully the UCL and that will be history.

      1. CT, Utd weren’t even in the top 5 clubs in terms of trophies won before the premier money league started, they spent massively (more than any one else) at just the right time, just before the premier league their owners were desperately trying to sell the club which they had over spent a fortune on to any body. Luckily for them the huge team investment paid off just in the nick of time and the rest is history.

    2. Yet again I wish people would get there facts right! In 1989 man Utd had the by far most expensive squad in the league at over £19m that’s a fact (what is this that confuses people here??) The average first year prem squad of the time costing around £4m. Don’t give me this Utd earned this money crxp either as they hadn’t won anything of note for well over 30 years! Fergie had spent more on this squad than any football club manager in history and the fact people like you think like you do says it all about the Utd propaganda machine! They also didn’t build there 92/93 title wining team with ‘kids’ it was all bought in, yes even the poached Ryan Giggs parents ended up with a new house and cars to sign for them! what about Blackburn another club who won it by spending more than any other? Or Arsenal 97/98 how much do you think Bergkamp, Overmars and Platt cost? Nothing? Where were all there youth players then? Come to think of it where are they now? They’ve mostly bought them all for big money! So wow biggest spenders actually win the league, what a shocker eh? This has never changed in the lopsided money go round that’s known as the premier league.

      I for one am sick to death of people getting on there high horse and sprouting this absolute bolloxks because it’s not one of the chosen darlings of football’s bent monopoly spending big! ‘Boo hoo it’s not fair’ well like it or lump it pal cos City are here to stay! LOL. Your drivel just like others before you is just not true. In the premier league years money is god and those with the most win, it always has been that way. Stop taking in this bias rose tinted view of the premier league it a fallacy!

      1. How about all those teams that spent big but failed to “buy” success. The biggest issue with benefactors is one of sustainability. In the past, wealthy benefactors came from the community or grew up as fans of the club. What we have with this new model are teams that get bought by financiers who may or may not have grown up with football in their veins. Flush with cash, the teams pay over the odds for transfer fees and wages. This hurts the game because it artificially inflates the cost of business for everyone else. In addition, the club with their new found riches often put short term glory ahead of long term success.

        You can complain all you want about Man Utd, but you have to accept that they managed to fund their signings by being a successful brand. Winning off the field is a big part of their success on the field. They have done well despite of their owners and the interest payments, a situation that is atypical of foreign ownership of football clubs.

        1. First of all those teams you mention, and I take it you mean Leeds and Newcastle etc were out spent by Utd so what ever they spent on the whole utd spent more. So it still stands, the biggest spenders win the next down finish second!

          Your ‘new model’ is every top club in the league as that why the hangin premier league was set up to attract investment as the premier league that most seem to think is wonderfull is just a huge cess pit of vileness. The clubs that are the furthest way from the top are the less infected, but they all want to get up there and wallow in the filth. Football has become about who can make the most money, who has the best business plan, Arsenal astound me as an example of this always happy to fail as long as they make money, is that how it’s meant to be? This is not the idea it should be about entertainment surely why do the fan care if owner are creaming it in? Football was the people’s sport not the people’s business! it’s all about business and money and we all know the club who starts this trend don’t we pal?

          Are u blind? You talk of clubs inflating the market yet totally ignore that it was always Utd doing this throughout tha last 6 decades from Dennis Law to De Gea. Are you trying to tell people it’s ok cos it’s good old Utd? They don’t ‘hurt the game’!! Are they allowed cos they won things in the last 20 years so they can pay £30m for players 10 years ago while everyone else was paying £3m to £16m (record) max? And the fact they spent more than anybody in the 80’s is also fine to even though they hadn’t won anything of note for decades? And pf course not the reason of their success!They can pay Rooney more than any other player in the country this is mot ‘inflating the market’ at all eh? Hmmmm. Wow what astounding hypocrisy!! Get real pal, wake up a smell that coffee! Utd are and always were the massive spenders more guilty than anyone else. If they haven’t artificially inflated the market over history then who has? Oh lord, do me a favor mate and take off your red tinted spectacles you may see further!

          Man Utd didn’t manage any funds what are you on about? I’m not criticising them just stating FACTS people like you seem to think the successes they gained were not gained by spending a fortune, well Ive got news for you, it was and they did and even though saddled by yet more greedy, grubby owners now they still do. They massively over spent in the late 80’s a club that had no brand name what so ever at the time football was not even near popular at all so where you get that from god knows! Utd were not even a top 5 team either never mind one of the best in the country pre 90’s. So go live your media fuelled fantasys else where! The truth is Utd were in shxt Street in 1989 the owners tried to get rid of the sinking ship that they had put into to massive debt but there were no takers except pennyless nutters, luckily for them their massive investment actually started to pay, in the old system pre premier league they would have sunk even after that league win but the football ruining premier league came about and poured millions upon millions into the top teams saving Utd from the brink while cutting the throats of those outside of it. Now a similar story has happened at City years of mismanagement put right in one go! As they were also near the end when along came every fans dream, but now Footballs self appointed royalty and their mostly plastic new fans don’t like this one bit. How they screamed foul.
          FIFA, UEFA, the premier league and other govining bodies are all vile, discusting and greedy they are the real culprits of the demise of football into the cess pit has become and if there is a team in England that can be held up as a shining example of a part of this whole mess then it’s Manchester United!

  2. I would rather Man City, and all their money, win the title than Man Utd win it. Again.

    It’s time for some fresh blood at the top.

  3. Agreed, the EPL needs new blood winning the league. Thats part of the reason the NFL is so exciting. No matter what, every team feels they have a chance to make the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year, or at least in a year or two. There’s simply nothing exciting about seeing the same 1 or 2 teams winning the league for 20+ years. It’s time for a change.

  4. Neither City or United are among the top five clubs in the world. City only shows you can buy the Premiere League instead of actually working to earn it. The arab owners will get bored winning it after a couple years and then when they are gone the team will drop down with Blackburn and company.
    United will not win another title until Fergie retires or they decide to spend some of their riches to compete with Man City.

  5. As to #5….this is the one that confuses me the most….after the half, when it was apparent that a goal was needed, the defensive tactics remained. I was begging for someone to come on in support of Rooney.

  6. It looked to me that Man utd didn’t really have a “choice”, sure they lost 1-0 thats not what man u wanted, but when they brought on more attackers and changed their shape, man city had even more chances, but for some poor decisions by yaya, nasri and aguero man city could have been 4-0 up.

    Man city beat them 6-1 at Old Trafford, when they are in form and up for it (which they clearly were) the pressure and attacking ability of Man City forces you into defensive postures. Manu just lost a 2 goal lead against everton at home to draw 4-4, you think man u was full of confidence? lol

    So much for the “Choice”. When they played earlier in the year and didn’t use the 5 man midfield they were blown away. I can’t stand Man U or their obnoxious fans but if you look at the game from a tactical and player personal POV then what choice did he really have? get walloped 6-0?

    Out of the starting 11 positions on the field, man city have a more talented players at 9 of the positions, no matter who is on the bench. Alex knows that, if not he would have played a more attacking formation, he was Forced into it.

  7. The problem wasn’t our 4-5-1 formation, what cost us was the players we played within that formation. You can’t play giggs, scholes, carrick and park in that formation as none of them can dominate the midfield. In a perfect world Fletcher or Anderson would have been the perfect person to play in the middle with carrick and scholes as both are can get win the ball and carry it up the pitch when the space is available, just like Toure did for city all game long. If you put those three players with nani wide left and Valencia wide right you have players with pace who can break quickly with the ball but can also hold up the ball allowing your central midfielders to to get forword and join the attack.

    With Fletcher and Anderson not available it should have been cleverly or jones playing in midfield to compete with Toure and break up the play. The central midfield area for every team is such a crucial area but it always gets overlooked by people because it’s very rare they are scoring lots of goals winning games but without players like Toure to do the dirty work people like Rooney, aguero or wingers wouldnt be able to do what they do. Right now we don’t have that dominant central player like we have in the past in Robson, Ince, Keane or butt and until we fix that postion we will struggle against teams that do.

    1. Fletcher & Anderson played in the 6-1 smashing at old Trafford and Anderson was taken off for Jones in the 66 minute, so i don’t think they would have made any difference what so ever.

      The 4-5-1 used against City with any combination of the utd players healthy or not, is to disrupt and overpower the midfield, with the intent of limiting the oppositions ability to create any movement through the middle of the park as city do very well, only allowing man utd to counter attack. City’s quality and attacking, fast breaking play forced SAF into playing a 4-5-1 instead of his preferred 4-4-1-1 or straight 4-4-2.

      You should send SAF the link to your post, I’m sure he will appreciate your observations of how he got it wrong. LOL

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