Manchester City 2 (Yaya Toure, Zabaleta) Manchester United 3 (Rooney, Rooney, van Persie)
1. What a game, what a season. The victory today puts us six points clear of Manchester City and we haven’t even made it to January yet. Manchester United have taken 12/15 points from away trips to City, Liverpool, Newcastle, Chelsea and Everton. If that was offered to us before the start of the season, we would of grabbed it with both hands.
Derby days at the Etihad have typically been tepid, tense affairs in recent years. In the past six years prior to today’s game, there had only been five goals – that has all changed now.
The victory was sweet. Ending City’s two year unbeaten home record in dramatic fashion was typically United. We dominated the first half but were shaken when Yaya Toure scored and Zabaleta’s equaliser was inevitable in the run of play. However, we never give up and were rewarded today for our efforts.
City are completely out of Europe and six points behind us in the league by December. Mancini’s cracking up.
2. Ferguson, you wily fox. Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Ferguson said that Valencia was 3-4 weeks away from fitness and Cleverley was a doubt due to his calf injury from midweek. Both started today. Mancini might be trying the mind games but there is no doubt who is the connoisseur.
Add to that, Ferguson got his tactics spot on today. Last season, we went with a defensive mentality and got schooled on the pitch in a dismal 1-0 loss. Today, we nailed it. We set up solid defensively and had the players to attack on the counter. Before Wayne Rooney put the ball in the back of the net, Manchester City had had 72% possession and 103 passes to United’s 36 – but it didn’t matter.
Some managers might have dropped Rafael after his performance at Reading last week but Ferguson didn’t and he was vindicated for it. The Brazilian bounced straight back and was super on the right hand side with a resurgent Valencia.
Add to that, Danny Welbeck (who came on as a late substitution) earned the free-kick that led to the winner after chasing Gael Clichy down and dispossessing him. Overall, it was a fantastic game for all the players and Ferguson alike.
£24 million for Robin van Persie? What a bargain. He is as world class a player as we could of hoped for, and more. His phenomenal return, 14 goals in 20 appearances, is fantastic and he only looks to be getting better the more he plays. Just when you think City have stolen a point, he steps up and bends a deflected free-kick in to take all three points. What a player.
As for Wayne Rooney, he is relishing his deeper role with every appearance. Two goals in today’s derby makes him Manchester United’s highest goalscorer in derby fixtures with ten goals. He led by example and was simply outstanding today.
4. United get all the decisions. Ashley Young scores a perfectly onside goal to make it 3-0. Disallowed. City score to make it 2-1 only 45 seconds later.
Patrice Evra goes down under a clumsy challenge from Kolo Toure. No penalty given.
Carlos Tevez, already on a yellow, kicks out at Phil Jones right in front of the fourth official. No card shown.
5. Big Dave, big performance.
Ferguson had his goalkeeper tombola yesterday and David de Gea was the name pulled out of the hat, but surely there can be no tombola anymore?
Today, he was simply outstanding in more ways than one. His shot stopping was keeping City at bay until he could do no more to keep them out. He was commanding whenever the ball was floated into the box and punched many a cross out of the danger area with an ease he hasn’t had so far. On top of that, his distribution was sublime.
There’s no doubt in my mind that big Dave is our number one ahead of Anders Lindegaard and the sooner he is our goalkeeper week in week out the better.