It is safe to say that April 30th wasn’t a day to remember by any means for United. The sourly drained performance against our noisy neighbours came at a big cost with City now firmly in the driving seat to take the title after United surrendered an 8 point lead. In this blog I will be looking at the positive and negative points to come out of that torrid derby.
Defence- The defence was always going to have a difficult night against a strong City attack which included Aguero, Tevez and Nasri. We coped relatively well with what City threw at us until the 46th minute when Smalling got caught ball watching and Kompany nodded in from 6 yards. It was a massive blow as I think had we kept them out until half-time, we would have been able to contain them for the rest of the game and possibly sneaked it. Although the things I felt let down by was how we defended the wings. We gave the wingers far too much time and space to pick out a cross or a pass. This is the last thing we wanted to be doing and we all know that City know how to deliver a ball and deliver it well. We were also missing Evans. It was clear to see how much of a partnership Ferdinand and Evans have built up as at times, Rio looked lost. Rating- 6/10
Midfield- Fergie packed the midfield with Scholes, Carrick, Giggs, Park and Nani and at times, Rooney dropped back in to leave us without any attackers. On paper, this was a good idea and for the first half it worked as we had the better of City and they were struggling to find a way to get past us. But as the game went on, our frailties appeared worse than we first thought. The main thing we needed for the second half was pace and endurance and we didn’t have any of that until Valencia came on which didn’t even really make an impact as it was too late. Rating- 4/10
Attack- This is a tough one to analyse as there isn’t really much too analyse. No shots on target are a stat which we don’t usually relate ourselves to but it is after all the painful truth of how bad we were yesterday. Lescott had got the better of Rooney early on in the game and that’s how it stayed. Rooney’s lack of creativity and annoyance once the City fans had got on his case was clear. Rating 1/10
Fergie- I never doubt Fergie and I never doubt his tactics but when I saw the team 45 minutes before kickoff I knew it was going to be a very long night. We have been used to playing 4-4-1-1 but Fergie uncharacteristically changed it to a 4-5-1 formation and at times it very much looked like he was playing six in midfield with Rooney dropping back. As much as I dislike the man, it’s safe to say that Mancini won the battle of the managers as City always looked threatening when they attacked where as we looked like we were never really going to pose a threat to Joe Hart’s goal. Although the way he set the midfield and defence out to contain them was a positive as it worked for most of the first half. Rating- 5/10
So the league is now in City’s hands, and we’ve just got to hope that Newcastle and QPR do us a massive favour. But if we don’t get 4 points out of the Swansea and Sunderland games, then unfortunately, I can’t see anyway back for us.
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