Depending on what colour you wear in Manchester, yesterday’s derby could go down in the history of these encounters as one that will be hard to forget.
For City fans, it may be right up there with the 6-1 victory at Old Trafford two years ago. Nothing quite beats the feeling of getting one over your hated neighbours. Somewhere in the blue half of Manchester celebrations will have gone on to the wee hours of the morning.
The game did not disappoint and for once in a long time, the discussion after a game had nothing to do with the referee. The much maligned Howard Webb had what one could consider an easy game as these derbies go and there was never any real danger of the game spinning out of control.
City were like bullies on a playground. They were quick of the block and didn’t let United settle. Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure were imperious. They made Fellani and Carrick look like school boys who forgot their lunch at home. It was a day when everything City touched turned to gold and United sputtered, coughed and failed to start. Rooney cut a frustrated figure and after the third goal United fans must have felt a sense of déjà vu.
Rooney reduced the deficit by a wonderfully struck free-kick that left Joe Hart clutching at air but no one could deny City what they deserved. Vincent Kompany’s presence in the team was massive. With him in the side City look a completely different team.
Pelligrini had his tactics right on the day and his 300 million pound assembled machine purred deliciously. David Moyes would have played a taped copy of the game over and over to get to the bottom of where he went wrong.
His backroom staff may probably have picked up that Carrick and Fellani, while not identical, are best suited to play as defensive midfielders in front of the two central defenders. Antonio Valencia’s one dimensional forays have been decoded after his first successful season as a Manchester United player.
Ashley Young offers little by way of imagination to the team. He’ll probably take some consolation in the fact that the opening tough fixtures are now behind him. United could go on a run and get their confidence back, but Moyes needs to do something fast.
City on the other hand can only get stronger. They’ll be buoyed by their win against the champions and would hope that Kompany is fit throughout the season. They’ve got to be fancied as real contenders along with Chelsea and a resurgent Arsenal and Spurs.
Despite the loss to City however, it would be foolhardy to write United off as well. It makes for an interesting season and the neutrals will surely get their money’s worth.