Date: 23rd October 2011 at 5:50pm
Written by:
Mario Balotelli

I share Mario's sentiments for once

Disgrace. The one word I would use to sum that up. Disgrace. Where was the fight? Where was the passion? Where was the bottle?

Where was the invention? Where was the stirring comeback from the men in the famous red shirts? Most importantly of all, where was the DEFENDING?! Time and again City’s little maestro David Silva bobbed and weaved, passed and probed. Time and again he was given the space to work his magic. Time and again he tore us apart.

“No sense of injustice. No sense of what might have been. We were poor. We lost. I’m angry, and have a sinking feeling. That’s where I’m at” I tweeted at approximately 15:55 on Sunday 23rd October 2011, a day which, amongst United fans, will “live in infamy”. It wasn’t just the humiliating 6-1 scoreline. It was the manner of the defeat. Outplayed, outfought, destroyed.

A Darren Fletcher goal appeared, briefly, to lend an air of slim respectability to proceedings. It was a time to hold the fort. To engage damage limitation mode. To defend like Champions do. Twelve minutes later it was 5-1. Almost every man had been committed forward, and as David Silva threaded the ball through for Edin Dzeko to thump home a sixth I was frozen, staring at the scoreboard. How could it possibly be 6-1 to Manchester City? At OLD TRAFFORD? Surely not? Surely the scoreboard was the wrong way around? Surely? No. We were picked, no, ripped apart.

United were abject. Poor from defence to midfield to attack, poor all over the park. The only players able to walk off knowing they could have done nothing to stop the slaughter were United’s young Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, given no chance with any of the goals by the depressing defending in front of him, and English talisman Wayne Rooney, the only man who seemed to care. European Cup winners Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra were atrocious, seemingly uninterested. Only Rooney showed any hint of passion, at one point screaming at his England colleague in disgust.

Ferdinand is seemingly in a slow decline, distracted by his Android application, his fashion range, his “twitfam”. No longer the defensive behemoth he once was, he has lost a yard of pace, seems slow to react, looks unable to control a defence as he once could. Evra, meanwhile, has been locked in some sort of struggle for form since the French World Cup disaster of 2010, largely unnoticed as, with defenders, it is harder to gauge and recognise poor form. Is it time for both of these stalwarts to be eased to one side, along with the alarmingly poor Anderson?

Investment is clearly needed in central midfield but, since that is a line trotted out repeatedly all over cyberspace, I won’t bore you by delving too deeply. I can only point you to my June article on how United needed to find some fight, a Roy Keane-esque leader to battle for supremacy in central midfield. Investment is needed in January, an experienced leader like Daniele De Rossi or a young protégé like Cheik Tiote or Yann M’Vila? Only Sir Alex can decide how to respond to this, and he has to get it right or we may well see a few more nightmarish matches like today’s demolition derby.

Follow JOSH ON TWITTER @UnitedJosh AND REDFLAGFLYINGHIGH @RFFH

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