We’re having a party on derby day, sang the fans before the game, but what followed inspired no party, just nerves, tension and doubt. City ran out 2-1 victors, a result I can not doubt was deserved.
The opening exchanges of the game were cagey and end to end. Welbeck had an early chance to play in Wayne Rooney but decided to go it alone and got it all wrong. Rooney also played a delicate touch towards Giggs, who wasn’t quite on the same wavelength. 2 big chances wasted. The rest was City.
The boys in blue played the more creative and imaginative football throughout. Finding and creating spaces, as well as closing down spaces when United were in possession. As a result, United surrendered possession far too easily and clumsily. Ultimately, it was such clumsiness that led to the first goal. Ryan Giggs’ attempted back heel whilst under pressure, failed and handed Gareth Barry the ball who surged down the wing and eventually set up Milner who put the ball away.
It was what the game needed and United who were much improved in the second half were back on level terms shortly after, through what turned out to be a Kompany own goal after all the stadium thought it was Phil Jones, who was excellent throughout in central defence.
United hearts were finally broken in the 78th minute, Yaya Toure, who was commanding in central midfield, played the ball to substitute Sergio Aguero who went on an excellent, yet unchallenged run into the United box and unleashed a vicious shot into the roof of David de Gea’s net. 2-1 City a result which probably just about mirrored the pattern of play. It hurts to say, but City were just better on the day.
United remain 12 points clear at the top of the league and require just 10 points to seal the title, which could be done at the Emirates, of course the former home of RVP!
David de Gea: Played well, nothing he could do about either goal. Collected crosses with ease and distributed well 7/10
Rafael: Always a threat going forward as usual, didn’t seem on the same wavelength as Welbeck in front of him at times, as well as giving the ball away far too often in the first half. 6/10
Rio Ferdinand: Not a great performance, but not a bad one either. 6/10
Phil Jones: United’sbest player by far. Put his body on the line on numerous occasions, as well as getting his head to RVPs cross which led to the goal 9/10
Patrice Evra: Again, not his best performance in a United shirt up against Milner and Zabaleta on the United left. Pushed forward but produced little. 6/10
Danny Welbeck: Pushed out on the right hand side, really not his best position. Should have really played Rooney through early on but was greedy. 6/10
Michael Carrick: A decent performance, not his best. Up against a stronger City midfield and couldn’t exert his authority on the game 7/10
Ryan Giggs: Superb season, just not today. Out of his depth in central midfield against the likes of Yaya Toure and David Silva. At fault for 1st goal. Would have been better on the left wing. 6/10
Ashley Young: Poor game I felt. Was longing for him to be replaced at half time for Kagawa or Cleverley. Remained on until stoppage time then got injured 5/10
Wayne Rooney: Reasonable performance, but we needed more from our #10. 7/10
Robin van Persie: A good performance, excellent delivery for the equaliser, desperate need of a goal for United though. 7/10
Antonio Valencia: Did little apart from 1 surging run down the right. 6/10
Javier Hernandez: Hardly saw the ball after coming on late on.
Shinji Kagawa: Should have started or been brought on earlier.
It may feel doom and gloom this morning, United defeats always do, but especially after a big game defeat. We have felt too many of them in the last month. United need to regroup and find that killer instinct and pick up 10 points as quickly as possible, starting on Sunday at Stoke! Remember, we are still 12 points clear.