New boy Ashley Young looked bright on the left wing and it was his free kick Chris Smalling latched on to for United’s first goal. Chris Smalling himself was one of the players to stick out in the United team. The centre back played out of position at right back, versatility which may be important to United this year after the departures of Wes Brown and John O’Shea, but never once looked out of his comfort zone. He stayed strong at the back whilst also providing support for Nani in attack on the right and he looked a threat from set-pieces, leading to him pulling United back into the game with his 52nd minute goal.
Anderson was also a contender for man of the match. He was a bundle of energy in the midfield and his insistent attacking passes put the City defence at a constant threat. Wayne Rooney also found himself in amongst the majority of the United action yesterday playing a key role in attacks with his sharp movement bringing others into the attacks.
However despite a refreshing number of star players for United, Man of the Match had to be Nani. Last season’s Player of the Year looked as good as ever zipping around the pitch at Wembley. He was noticeable during all of United’s attacking moves, if he was not already on the ball driving forward then he was looking to receive it. Whilst starting on the right wing, seeing him get deep into the corners to get crosses in, he also drifted into the middle to play off the forwards and break through the defence. The free-role movement of Nani at times was reminiscent of Portuguese compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at United.
Nani’s pace and trickery in all areas of the pitch was enough to put City at unease whilst he continually chipped away at their defence looking for a breakthrough. His efforts paid off when he capped a spectacular passing move from United by coolly chipping the ball past Joe Hart to equalise.
Nani’s perseverance in attack paid off again in the last minute of the match. Wayne Rooney cleared a City corner from his own box into City’s half, Nani busted a gut to chase the ball down nipping it away from Vincent Kompany to break through clear on goal. After bearing down on Joe Hart, Nani was excellent one last time as he kept his composure well, dragging the ball round the helpless City keeper to pass into an empty net.
Man of the Match was well deserved by Nani after he picked up from where he left off last season with an astounding performance, proving to be a major part in the United team. His determination was arguably the main driving force behind United as they pushed back from 2-0 down to come back and win 3-2, grabbing two of those goals himself.
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