A dominant Manchester City performance at Old Trafford saw Manuel Pellegrini’s men crush David Moyes’ side in what was a one sided affair right from the start.
Goals from Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian who grabbed a brace and a fine Yaya Toure finish late on, exposed United’s fragilities in all departments once again, in front of the packed Old Trafford on a glittering Tuesday night. The Citizens leapfrogged Liverpool into second place, three points behind Chelsea, but Pellegrini’s men have two games in hand and next travel to Emirates to face Arsenal. For Manchester United it was back to the drawing board as David Moyes seemed to have no answer for City’s brilliance.
It was surprising to see Moyes giving Fellaini and Cleverley the start in a match of huge proportions, but the explanation was that the duo would try to close down Yaya Toure and David Silva making the field narrow. Jesus Navas started for City to provide the attacking width while Samir Nasri and David Silva were asked to foray in the pockets of space in between the channels. United started with Welbeck on the left; Moyes keen to make use of his relentless runs and thus drafted Mata on the right. Wayne Rooney led the line for the home side.
Here are the tactical talking points that shaped the Manchester Derby.
City’s bright start thanks o David Silva
Pellegrini’s men showed the intent going into the encounter right from the start and were ahead within 45 seconds.
David Silva orchestrated the attacking verve for City, running into pockets of space behind the lone striker Edin Dzeko up front. This was exactly how City got their lead, Silva’s brilliant darting run was quelled by a last ditch tackle from Rafael but with Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand static at the back post (as shown in the snap), Nasri’s effort shook the bar before Dzeko slammed home from close range.
For the first fifteen minutes, the home side hardly had any possession of their own, sitting back, with their imagination looking at best pedestrian. Thanks to Fernandino, who had a sublime match, the away side were first to every second ball closing and harassing United in every attack.
Manchester United sat too deep inviting pressure without pressing. Ergo, City enjoyed possession in the middle of the park. The high defensive line from City clearly depicts United’s lack luster start. Kompany in particular with his “front foot defending” kept Rooney at bay and choked the United front line right from the start, putting City in cruise control.
United try to come back
With the home side hardly enjoying any possession, Wayne Rooney dropped deep to help out his team mates. United tried to build from the back but with Cleverley and Fellaini anonymous, they found no joy as the Citizens looked very well organized, hardly leaving any space for United to exploit.
Welbeck kept on running well in the channels as City inexplicably dropped deep, allowing United to dominate possession for the rest of the first half and it was the home side who finished strongly going into the break.
Dzeko kills the show as Ferdinand has a shocker
The Bosnian was a constant menace for the United back four with Ferdinand having a forgettable night. Dzeko doubled the lead early in the second half with a well controlled finish making his intent clear. Even though, he is third choice to Aguero and Negredo, as the season has progressed, Dzeko might just have forced Pellegrini into a rethink
For the second goal, Dzeko timed his dash to the front post to perfection and finished the game off. Sadly a defender of Ferdinand’s stature shouldn’t have be caught ball watching.
The curious case of Juan Mata
For some unfathomable reason, in a match where Moyes should have shown some intent to win, it took Mata till the last quarter of an hour to drift in, centrally. While Kagawa could have partnered Mata in the midfield, it was inexplicable to see Cleverley being asked to drift wide instead of Valencia, who would have provided balance to the Spanish- Japanese pair.
Mata has failed in every sense since his big money move to Old Trafford and the blame should rightly be put on Moyes, the Scot who has hardly played his side to the diminutive Spaniard’s immense potential.
As the match panned out, it wouldn’t be long before the cacophony of boos start reverberating around Old Trafford, a bear hug which could engulf David Moyes, something which the Scot would desperately want to avoid. Afterall, filling in the boots of Sir Alex seems too herculean at this point of time for United’s Chosen One.