Five Things We Learned – Manchester City vs United (FA Cup)
4) Lindegaard displayed a case of the nerves
For all the bashing of David De Gea that seems to have gone on in recent games for some high profile errors, many called for Lindegaard to take the number 1 jersey, evidenced by his clean sheets and generally looking more assured than the young Spaniard. I believe De Gea to hold much potential for the future and still believe he will come good as his development continues but did state that for the time being, the Danish alternative should be given time in goals due to greater experience and a cooler head in tense situations. However, even he struggled under the weight of the occasion, his day not beginning in the best fashion early on and being at fault for the second goal. On crosses he struggled to assert himself and looked vulnerable, proving a case in point of the nerves throughout the side as the game drew to a close. Although not terribly encouraging we must keep in mind he also is young and has not been exposed to such situations regularly either, adding weight to those backing De Gea.
5) United take the spoils, but Mancini is the happier manager
3 goals to the good at half time with the opposition down to 10 men, United are cruising and Sir Alex Ferguson will have expected his side to see the game out or pile yet more misery on rivals City. However, what he got instead was a response from Mancini’s men, with careless play leading to his side conceding 2 goals and setting up and extremely tight finish as City were able to get forward and pressurise the back line. Given that Mancini brought off Silva and Johnson for two defensively minded players in Zabaleta and Savic, such a response will have certainly given him something to be pleased about in his men and will have left the ground happier with his side and probably angry with certain refereeing decisions. Ferguson in the meantime, will likely feel more disappointed at the inability to close the game out in the second half, than the astonishing and clinical play that gave his side a 3 goal lead in the first half. Complacency and the ways in which the goals were conceded as well as the pressure City put his side under in the closing moments will have left him unhappy overall with the performance, despite the underlying happiness that a third straight defeat was avoided and his side had gone through to the next round. Positives for the day? Wayne Rooney was fired up for the game after recent speculation regarding his fitness and his desire to stay at the club. Valencia displayed his importance to the side, in particular with a superb cross for Rooney’s first goal. Smalling was a welcome return to the side and put in a decent performance at centre back. Welbeck also deserves a mention for his quality volley to give his side a 2 goal lead, as well as looking impressive and providing a danger throughout.
So United go through, although unable to exact revenge quite as they would have hoped for THAT defeat at Old Trafford, they will still be glad to have made it through to the next round of the FA Cup at the expense of their fierce rivals, albeit not in the smoothest way possible. Places to improve but a lift on recent performances against Blackburn and Newcastle with room for improvement.