The games over now. Manchester City have just won the match 1-0 thanks to a Vincent Kompany goal just before half time. The easy option for Manchester United would be to blame Chris Smalling for losing Kompany in the lead up to the goal. But over all the performance from United was pretty poor. Watching the whole match I can not recall them making a clear cut chance. A quick look at the stats reveals that United had 5 shots at goal and not one on target.
The choice to start Park Ji-Sung was a strange one by Ferguson. The South Korean has hardly been a regular starter for United and look off the pace the entire match. He tried hard, plenty of running and industry but did not contribute at all to the build up of play. He was often the cause for a a break in United’s play losing possession. Phil Jones also had a poor match with his passing in the final third leaving a lot to be desired.
Manchester City appeared more determined and work hard to restrict the space for United. They were slow to start and had to absorb some early united pressure but after that it was all City. Vincent Kompany typified his sides performance with commentator Gary Neville saying at half time that he “looked like a man possessed.”
City focused a lot of their attacks in the first half down their right side. Maybe targeting Evra who has not been at his best in recent matches. The corner that lead to City’s goal came from a Zabelleta cross (who was exceptional) came off Evra.
United withdrew Park and put on Welbeck and they already looked better with Rooney dropping deeper to get on the ball. But by then all the momentum was with City. There was a moment for the City/ United fans and the watching audience to savor when Manchini and Ferguson clashed over a De Jong tackle on Welbeck.
Near the end of the second half Manchini threw on De Jong and Richards to shut up shop. They stopped United making any clear cut chances despite the introductions of Young and Valencia. Some how five mins of extra time were added but the traditional late United comeback never arrived. Over all United did not do enough to win the match. It has been three years since the club has played a match and not registered a shot on goal.
Very late in the game Nasri should have put the game beyond doubt when the tried to walk the ball into the net but tried to beat one player to many. Manchini was furious on the side line, perhaps remembering the late winner Sunderland scored back in January.
In the end City’s midfield superiority defeated United. United were never able to get into a passing rhythm. Their midfield of Carrick, Scholes and Giggs look slow and immobile compared to their City counterparts. Tevez, Silva, Yaya Toure all providing movement and options for their team mates to pass to.
City now sit a top the table on goal difference and will be favourites to win the title. United must have thought the league was theirs when City lost to Arsenal. But to City’s credit they have hung in their and clawed their way back top the top. They will be aware that they haven’t won the league yet. And in a season where the lead at the top has changed so many times, who’s to say there won’t be one more twist before this season is over.