Saturday, 12 February 2011

United 2 - 1 City

  • If we have to lose a derby then we might as well do so to a goal that brilliant. After the horror horror horror of last year's derbies, I feel inoculated against almost anything that could happen on the pitch. I wouldn't have necessarily chosen today's outcome but the pain inflicted is of a different category from that of last year. In fact, I feel rather pleased with elements of today, particularly the start which was surprisingly engaging and lively.
  • The system was maintained from the West Brom game, but the news was that we started the game with some ambition, passing the ball, finding more space than expected behind United's midfield. David Silva, who was excellent throughout, skewed a perfect chance within minutes. In retrospect, it would have been better had he scored. That said, the prospect of being 1-0 up at Old Trafford with 85 minutes left is terrifying in its own way.
  • But with Carlos Tévez strangely quiet, there were not too many more chances and if you don't exploit your spells of superiority with a goal then you get what you deserve. United improved and went ahead just before the break: good play from Ryan Giggs and excellent from Nani, but ultimately preventable given Pablo Zabaleta's defensive negligence. The second half started slowly but two substitutions improved our shape: Edin Džeko and Shaun Wright-Phillips replaced James Milner and Aleksandar Kolarov and City switched to 4-4-2. I'm not SWP's loudest fan but he was useful on Saturday, stretching the play and crossing to Džeko, who expertly turned and shot into David Silva's back. Silva's positioning and body angle was perfect and the ball sailed in.
  • At 1-1 there was a spell when I thought we might just nick it. But then, out of nowhere, came the goal. You've all seen it and there's not much to say about it. It was one of the best goals I've ever seen against City. No complaints, really, losing to a goal that good. In the final 13 minutes we looked stunned and unlikely to find a second equaliser. Which might say something about the difference of mentalities between the teams.
  • So, another Manchester derby defeat. But no feeling of having been shot in the stomach from close range. It was a decent performance, and very good patches. We lost to an unpreventable moment of magic. Fourth place is now the target, and we will have just as tough a battle with Spurs as we did last season. And the cups, of course; I have a particularly good feeling about the Europa League - United aren't in it.


ChrisR said...

Can we stop going on about Rooney's goal as one of the greatest ever? It was excellent, yes. The goal of the season? No, that's Bale or Elmander so far for me. Best at Old Trafford? No. Even Rooneys best? Only this season. All the pace was taken off the cross by Zab, so it wasn't even as difficult as Crouch's against Galatasseray or Bolton, never mind Sinclair's screamer back in the day. Plus he shinned it. I agree few have been scored better against City, but that's because in the good ol days we never made them need to try!

Do not get me wrong, it's a great goal, but the press have gone completely over the top. Reminds me of Ronaldo's free kick against Pompey. 'Best free kick ever' says Fergie. It wasn't even as good as Elano's vs Newcastle earlier that season.

By the way, speaking of good finishes- anybody see Ade's miss for Real vs Espanyol? Brilliant. He seems to be doing well though

nick said...

I agree. Kompany got himself in position to clear the cross, which then deflected leaving Rooney - who had been off the pace all game - ideally postioned (where the ball wouldn't have been if it hadn't have deflected)to finish. It was an excellent finish of course, but people need to calm down. It's a good goal, but shouldn't distract attention from how bad he was for the rest of the game.