Like us to subscribe
What do you do after a tough, heartbreaking derby loss? Criticize your own players, of course.
Tactical analysis of yesterday's mistake-ridden game is impossible. And that's the problem with Manchester City.
While it's the most visible aspect of the Manchester Derby, given the timing, late crowd trouble at Eastlands was nowhere near the biggest story in a spectacular match.
Well then. That's game over at the Etihad, and it's Robin van Persie who's won it for Manchester United. Carlos Tevez gives away a needless free kick, and United's big summer signing stepped up to take it, lashing a brilliant effort into the bottom corner and catching Joe Hart leaning the wrong way via a deflection.
And now things are getting a bit unsavoury. Rio Ferdinand had his celebration interrupted when he was hit in the face by an object thrown from the crowd, and there's a lot of blood on his face. The police have had to intervene, a fan has invaded the pitch, and yeah this is really not fun to watch. But when the dust clears, Manchester United will almost certainly have extended their lead to the top of the table to six points in a game that they very nearly blow. What an incredible end to the Manchester Derby.
Forget Edin Dzeko time -- it's Pablo Zabaleta time! The fullback's just produced an absolutely vital goal for Manchester City, who've now clawed their way back from a 2-0 halftime deficit to put themselves in prime position to notch at least a point.
Dzeko had some say in the buildup, putting a huge amount of pressure on the Manchester United back line, and the hosts were eventually able to win a corner. From said set piece, the ball popped out to Zabeleta on the edge of the box, and the Argentine slammed a half-volley through a thicket of legs and straight into David de Gea's bottom corner. It's now 2-2, and City look like they could win this pretty easily.
There's another great chance for Manchester City to equalise! David Silva finds himself in miles of space on the right, and he bears down on David de Gea's goal, cuts inside a defender, then fires straight at the goalkeeper's head. The ball deflects onto the post and then behind -- that really could have gone anywhere.
We're now into Edin Dzeko time, and the big Bosnian's being readied as City lay siege to Manchester United's goal. With only ten minutes or so left in this match, the visitors are still 2-1 up and threatening intermittently, but it's the hosts who look more likely. Although not by doing that -- Samir Nasri runs straight into Patrice Evra and falls over rather than crossing. Presumably he was looking for a penalty, but... yeah.
This is absolutely horrific refereeing from Martin Atkinson. When Manchester City broke up an attack, it didn't look like much was going to happy. David Silva spun away from Wayne Rooney, sure, which was nice, but he left the ball with Yaya Toure and the big Ivorian was surrounded by red shirts.
Then he escaped, spinning into space, evading a late sliding tackle from Rooney, then leaping over Rafael to go in behind the defence -- and at full speed, no less. Except suddenly Martin Atkinson pulled the play back for Rooney's tackle, completely denying the hosts their advantage. Roberto Mancini goes mental on the touchline, which is both amusing and entirely justified.
A little while later, Yaya Toure gives Tom Cleverley a good kicking and picks up both a yellow card and an injury for his troubles. It's still 2-1 to Manchester United, with about 15 minutes left. Can City come back?
More controversy after Ashley Young had that goal incorrectly ruled out. With Manchester United's lead down to one, they've been denied what was actually a very good penalty shout. Patrice Evra was fouled in the box by Kolo Toure -- the reverse angle showed that quite clearly, but from Martin Atkinson's perspective it looked as though the Ivorian managed to nick the ball away. He didn't. Sir Alex Ferguson's going to be apoplectic if United don't get the points here.
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini is furious at Carlos Tevez for not going down under a challenge from Evra as Manchester City went on the attack -- the striker was dragged back, but not by enough to lose control of possession, and showed some basic decency by not flopping to the ground and trying for a penalty. He might have had a case, but it's still pretty sad to see the manager chastising a player for not diving.
Oooh, so close to 3-0. A dangerous cross from Antonio Valencia eventually finds its way to Tom Cleverley, who feeds Robin van Persie on the left side of the penalty area. His effort absolutely ruins Joe Hart, who comes nowhere near the curler, and only the left-hand post kept the deficit at two. The ball ricocheted to Ashley Young, who stabbed home, but his strike was ruled out for offside. Possibly incorrectly.
And now Manchester City have scored! Carlos Tevez does superbly to work his way into space, and his initial effort prevents David de Gea from making a clean save. David Silva's followup is clawed away by the goalkeeper, but some more superb work by the substitute eventually sees Yaya Toure sweeping in from near the penalty spot to make it 2-1.
That's a huge turnaround within the span of a minute. Had United gone 3-0 up, this match would have been over. Now the hosts are in with a chance.
Manchester City's reply to Manchester United losing one of their centre backs has been to pull off Mario Balotelli for Carlos Tevez. Balotelli's taken some offence at this, wandering off down the tunnel with no acknowledgement for Roberto Mancini whatsoever. It probably won't matter, considering that if this result holds the manager likely won't have a job tomorrow morning.
The hosts are still no closer to offering a serious threat at David de Gea's goal, incidentally. This is pretty poor stuff from the defending champions, and it's not like Balotelli was the cause of their ills. Their play today can be more or less summed up by Pablo Zabaleta getting the ball in acres of space, giving it to Ashley Young, and conceding a free kick. It's been very, very bad, and their long unbeaten streak looks like it's coming to an end. Nearly an hour gone, and it's still 2-0 to United.
If you missed the first half of this match... well, Manchester United are 2-0 up against Manchester City at the Etihad and the hosts have done basically nothing all match, which is pretty sad. Wayne Rooney has both goals, and Vincent Kompany went off injured shortly after the England international's first strike.
Anyway, we're back up and running in the second half now, with City kicking us off and hoping that they'll be less abject this time out. The win a corner inside twenty seconds -- will anything come from it? No. David Silva's effort flies straight into Robin van Persie at the near post, who volleys clear and forces Gael Clichy to foul Ashley Young. There's some decent news for the hosts, however: Johnny Evans isn't moving right, and it looks as though he'll be replaced by Chris Smalling momentarily. Presumably City would have noticed earlier if they'd attempted to test the United centre backs at all in the first half.
And now Rio Ferdinand's picked up a knock. Hrm.
Joe Hart let in a scuffed trickler, Rooney scored a second, and Mancini reacted with amazement in a great first half in Manchester.
In yet another massive game, Manchester United have chosen to start by sitting back, and it's paid off with a couple of impressive counter-attacking goals. While their first had a bit more to do with an error by Joe Hart than the Red Devils' brilliance, the second was an excellent one, and they've very much earned a 2-0 halftime lead over Manchester City.
The home side dominated possession in the early going and looked like the much more likely side to score in the first 15 minutes. Mario Balotelli had the half's first chance after five minutes with a direct free kick that was saved by David De Gea, and the Italian had another excellent chance in the 11th minute that he skied well over the crossbar.
United went ahead in the 16th minute on a counter started by David De Gea, who replaced Anders Lindegaard in net for this match. His throw out to Antonio Valencia caught City a bit off guard, and United eventually worked the ball to Ashley Young. He found Wayne Rooney, who mishit an effort from 12 yards. Fortunately for him, his mishit took the ball right to the far post, and Hart was left stunned. He stood still and watched as the ball slowly dribbled into the net, putting the Red Devils up.
Things quickly got worse for City. Vincent Kompany had to come off injured in the 21st minute, and was replaced by Kolo Toure. Though City's new central defender was not at fault for Rooney's second, it's not hard to let one's mind drift to whether or not Kompany would have closed down Rooney on a 28th minute cross by Rafael, which Toure was slow to do. Rooney's finish was a confident one, and Roberto Mancini has a lot of work to do in the locker room to get his side back in the game.
Are Manchester City going to come up with some sort of response to going 2-0 down against their greatest rivals at home? Well no, not really. There's been a lot of possession in the final third without much to show from it -- that that Mario Balotelli free kick early on, the Sergio Aguero save and a pair of shots blasted well over were the only opportunities of note, and time isn't exactly on their side at the moment.
If the defending champions are going to come back, they're going to have to do so quickly, but there seems little chance of that at the moment. Indeed, it's Manchester United who look more likely, and Robin van Persie nearly jinks and weaves his way through the City back line as the visitors look to score again. Avenging that 6-1 embarrassment from last season doesn't seem too far-fetched at this point.
Having said that, Gareth Bary's just had a decent pop at goal. But Barry being Barry, the shot goes wide.
'Comical' is how best to describe the stunt Yaya Toure just pulled. Having done well to power through the Manchester United midfield, the Ivory Coast international overhits the ball and then goes down in a heap under the challenge of Rafael. The problem? Toure wasn't touched, nor was it even close. The idea of Rafael successfully fouling Toure is laughable anyway.
Manchester City were made to pay for attempting to perpetrate that sort of cheating shortly thereafter. Antonio Valencia and Rafael combine on the United right, and neither Kolo Toure nor Matija Nastasic can cut out the latter's cross. That allows Wayne Rooney to race onto the ball and lash past Joe Hart (an actual finish this time) to make it 2-0. Should this score hold, and there's little reason to think that it won't, United will be six points clear at the top of the table, having already played at both Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium. Yikes.
Nearly another goal for Manchester United! Robin van Persie had been quiet for the opening spell, but he's come alive now as Manchester City press hard -- too hard, probably, for the equaliser. The formal Arsenal man lifts a delightful ball over the top for Ashley Young, who for an instant looks like he's going to be able to go one-on-one with Joe Hart. However, he waits too long before attempting to control, and a bounce sees the ball run into the goalkeeper's arms.
At the other end of the pitch, some nice work from Sergio Aguero sees him wriggle his way into space at the top of the visitors' box, the same sort of position from which Wayne Rooney struck earlier, but his effort is weak, allowing David de Gea an easy save. United very much the happier at the moment -- they've got the lead and although they don't have too much in the way of possession, the visitors have a real cutting edge going forward.
The Belgian international appeared to be struggling during the game, and was forced to limp off, with Kolo Toure replacing him. With City 1-0 down thanks to Wayne Rooney's opener, it's another setback they could do without, particularly if the injury keeps him out of action for future fixtures - although it didn't appear to be too serious.
Kompany hasn't enjoyed the best of form this season, but he's still an integral part of City's defence, although they were culpable for the opening goal. So far it's been as expected... City dominant over United's nonexistant midfield, but United looking far more dangerous when they do get forward against a dodgy City defence.... one which just got a whole lot dodgier.
Manchester United are ahead! That's a very cheeky finish from Wayne Rooney, coming after a slick counterattack. Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero had come within inches of linking up to put the latter one on one with David de Gea, but a deflection took the ball to the goalkeeper and the visitors went storming up the other end of the pitch, with Robin van Persie flicking to Ashley Young, who had the freedom of the left-hand side to race forward.
With just Wayne Rooney in attendance and two defenders in front of him, the attack didn't look too dangerous, and eventually it ended with a scuffed shot towards Joe Hart's right-hand corner from Rooney. The problem for City? Hart didn't move -- it didn't look like the goalkeeper had any idea that the ball was heading in until it crossed the line. Whoops.
Anyway, 1-0 to Manchester United, whose strategy of sitting back and soaking up pressure looks pretty wise right now.
General theme of the match so far: Manchester City pressing while Manchester United defend and look to hit their rivals on the counterattack. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, just a lot of faffinf about near the edges of David de Gea's area and Ashley Young complaining about the linesman's throw-in decisions.
Oh, and there's a chance! David Silva spots Gael Clichy making a superb run down the left and picks him out with a long diagonal. The fullback manages to get on the ball just before it goes out of play and pulls it back to Mario Balotelli, who has time and space to shoot first time... but volleys it more or less straight up in the air. It's a difficult finish, but for a player possessing Balotelli's talent... well, he should have done better there.
Eventually City get a corner, which David de Gea has a free catch from. He drops it, and then picks it up again.
We're off and running at the Etihand Stadium, where Manhcester City are taking on Manchester United. Expect plenty of goals in this one as City attempt to climb back to the top of the table with a win. United, dressed in picnic table red, have kicked us off, immediately giving the ball back to their hosts with a woeful long ball forward by Patrice Evra, which flew straight out of play.
Gareth Barry returns the favour within twenty seconds. A wonderful advert for the Premier League. The long punt-fest is ended by a mistake in midfield allowing the visitors to break forward, but Rafael's cross is easily cut out by Gael Clichy -- a pair of United fouls prevent City from getting too far forward there.
Eventually Rio Ferdinand brings down Sergio Aguero within striking range, giving us our first meaningful action of the match. Mario Balotelli takes the free kick from range, and the ball takes a slight deflection, forcing David de Gea to bat the effort behind for a corner, which comes to nothing. Still 0-0 here.
The Italian striker starts with Sergio Aguero just behind as Roberto Mancini rotates his strikers after experimenting with starting with Edin Dzeko in recent weeks. Samir Nasri also starts, as does David Silva, who was an injury doubt for the game.
David de Gea is in goal for Manchester United, with Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley in midfield. Antonio Valencia returns to the side, but there is no Nemanja Vidic for United. Instead of reverting to a diamond, United stick with a 4-4-1-1 shape, with Rooney just behind Robin van Persie up front.
What happens when Manchester United and Manchester City meet on Sunday is anyone's guess.
At long last, the time to replace Alex Ferguson as manager has come. United need to make their move at the end of the season.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.