Date: 9th December 2012 at 9:40pm
Written by:

Michael Carrick

After the embarrassing home defeat to Cluj in the Champions League earlier this week, Sir Alex Ferguson was looking for some big performances from his senior players who had been rested in preparation for this away trip to Man City.

Going into this fixture three points ahead of their local rivals, United knew a defeat would not be the end of the world – however a marker needed to be laid; especially as last term City took all six points and ultimately won the league from the goal difference gained from those two fixtures.

Leading 2-0 at half-time from a Rooney double, United were in complete control.

Defensively sound and strangely untroubled by an incoherent City strike force. Winning the battle the middle of the park and looking dangerous every time the ball was in the final third…. yet one incident can change a game; and that it did when Ashley Young had a goal ruled out for offside when it should have been given.

Within minutes of this decision preventing United going 3-0 ahead and completely out of sight, Yaya Toure had the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-1. Then followed a siege upon the United goal.

When Zabaleta made it 2-2 with minutes left on the clock, a horrible feeling of deja vu passed over most of us. Were City going to win it late on? It seemed unfair as every player in a red shirt had performed. Not one player disappeared from the game for a moment; everybody desperately wanted the win and every United player won their own individual battles across the park.

De Gea was commanding in the air and made some fine saves.

The partnership of Ferdinand and Evans (then Smalling) kept the City threat at a minimum.

The combinations of Evra/Young and Rafael/Valencia down each flank were proving extremely effective defensively as well as offensively.

Valencia continued to get the better of Clichy and Young worked tirelessly, with a noticeable improvement in backing up Patrice Evra.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – and in the 92nd minute Robin Van Persie struck a freekick which took a deflection to beat Joe Hart; win the game for United and end City’s 37 game unbeaten league run at home.

I could pick any United player for my Man of the Match, and he would be a deserving winner – but my choice goes to the calmest man on the field, Michael Carrick.

This boy has his critics.

For years he has played understudy to Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard at International level. For years he has gone about his job and never made the headlines. For years he has played the simple pass where everybody around him tries the ‘Hollywood’ ball – but today at 2-0 up; at 2-2, and at 3-2, Carrick never changed his game and it was all to the benefit of the side.

He protected the defence; he read and broke up the play in the middle of the park and he fed the wingers and front men.

A big day in the title race, and a big game from an underrated yet great footballer.

Well done Mr Carrick.

To respond to me directly I am on Twitter: @NathonW

For all United news, comment and opinion follow: @RFFH


6 responses to “Man of the Match – Man City (A)”

  1. loso says:

    he was good today,
    he was involved in the build up to the second goal for rooney,he gets better and better with every passing game

  2. Tom says:

    Yeah well done to Carrick but also to all the players. They fought well today and De Gea was terrific in goal. He was really unlucky to conceded the first goal, especially after making two excellent saves beforehand. Carrick does his job well and he has always been important for Man Utd, ever since he signed for the club in 2006.

    It was an excellent win, but its too early to talk about the title and its significance. If we learnt anything from last season, nothing is won until it is won. Last season still hurts and Aguero goal is shown every week, but today definitely helped and it was even sweeter because we did it with a late late goal.

    Van Perise was bought to make a difference in important matches and he has done that. A terrific last minuet winner is exactly the type of magic you want from an expensive signing. Its something Berbatov never achieved in his Man utd career. I liked Berbatov, but Van Persie has had more of an impact in just 6 months than he did in 4 years.

    We actually defended well today and if we keep that level up we ought to more keep clean sheets. Football is funny though because clearly we should have been 3-0 up, and then we find ourselves being pegged back. It is two games in a row that we have had good goals wrongly ruled out, one for a bad offside call today, and last week Van Perise shot clearly was miles over the line, but it was somehow missed.

    We did defend better today, and we were unlucky not to be 3-0 up, but we cannot keep letting 2-0 leads slip. It was fantastic to win the match, but against Chelsea and Man City we have held 2-0 leads and both times let them slip. Yes we have managed to win both matches, but it would have been disappointing if we hadn’t won either matches, and it nearly happened both times.

    I think 2-3 years ago we had a terrific ability to defend and keep control of the matches. If we went 2-0 up then the game was nearly finished already, but its not the case any more. We need to work on that part of our game quickly. Tevez came on for Man City and we couldn’t handle him. We need to be stronger and more imposing to start dominating matches again.

    Anyway it was a good day, although we have a lot of work to do, both to get the balance of the team right, and to win the title. We have now been away to Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City before Christmas and we won all three. It is a major bonus. We have also been, and lost already, to Everton, but that is a bogey ground already out of the way. Lets keep our concentration and go on a winning run now.

  3. Andrew says:

    @Andrew your post is almost as long as the article lol…..but some good points made. A fantastic victory today and good performances from all the players. I’m glad De Gea contribution is being recognised. The guy is by far our best goalkeeper and now is the time to stick with him and let him play every game. He will get better and build experience the more games he plays.

    I agree that we have a problem controlling the game for 90 min. We defended well and Ferdinand and Evans/Smalling did excellently, but we need more power in midfield to compete with certain teams. Carrick was terrific today and Cleverley worked tirelessly, but I feel if we had someone like Marouane Fellaini we would be even stronger and harder to play against.

  4. Nathon Woodhead says:

    Fellaini would be a great addition to the squad – but don’t forget Kagawa and Anderson, if fit, would have probably started.

  5. lamar says:

    As everybody knows, i’m a big carrick hater but today all i can say is “thank you, michael”

  6. Drew says:

    Fellani would be a good addition, although someone like Strootman might be more realistic. He might cost £14-15 million, which is probably half what we would have to pay for Fellani. They are different players, but Strootman would provide a more defensive option that we need. He could play with Carrick or Cleverley, or even Anderson.

    Kagawa will have to fit in like David Silva or Samir Nasri does for Man City. They are both playmakers that take up a wide position and move inside to create. Kagawa can do the same for us and play wide right or left in a midfield 4 or 5.