Two games, two high profile opponents. One marking return of former manager. Other the blood thirst quenching derby. With the form that Manchester has been exhibiting, bookies were checking odds of when Ole will be sacked.
But quite the contrary. Right time, for the right games, the right players returned from injury.
The Scott – Fred midfield axis following the injury of Pogba is turning to threaten a spot for the Frenchman. The grit and physical attributes of Scott, combined with the creative quick feet of Fred is the engine that runs United.
The ferocious line splitting passing that has been effervescent in the last two games is something that has not been seen in the team for the entire season.
Rashford has been hitting the net more often than not, and is seen to take all criticism in his stride and making the left wing a place of his own. Daniel James just simply refuses to drop standards since his first game at United. Lingard for all his criticism is the perfect 10 as he with his impeccable first touch gets the ball rolling in the centre.
So what really changed for this team? Did it require a former manager to be the trigger to restore former glory? Well credits to Ole, cause this week, like the good old days, Manchester United is giving me the goosebumps just like the yester years.
Fortunate to have had time to watch the double blockbuster Manchester City Spurs clash this week both in the Champions League and in the Premier League. I don’t think any team has given City a run for their money like Spurs did this week.
Edge of the seat blast of an entertainer in the Champions league as two teams went hammer and tong in an out and out attacking game. The intensity and quality of play was simply breathtaking, something unimaginable from the current outfit of Manchester United. In fact, the Manchester Derby on wednesday might just decide if City or Liverpool will win the league. That leaves United in quite a conundrum. Liverpool with already one leg close to European glory, and a breath away from Premier League. The stakes are awfully high.
I believe the derby will be a heartache for United fans like me, as we surely don’t have the fitness, or the form to deal with a wounded City. To imagine City were holding to the last thread in the dying minutes today to keep their lead on the pack intact, shows how much Poch has managed to get under Pep’s skin.
Spurs losing means, 3rd place viability is likely for Manchester United and we really need to get our sprint going in the last lap! Bring the Derby on! Can’t wait.
Going 0-1 down in the first few minutes of the game was not the ideal mood setter. And it brought back memories of what could happen in a very short interval of time. But the form that we were in, there was always hope that this was going to be different.
The one touch passing in the centre of the park between Mata, Herrera, Fellaini, Carrick and Young clubbed with Blind and Valencia are doing something special. The centre backs continue to look uncertain but there was purpose, there was impetus today. The desire was infectious. There was a lot riding on this fixture. And after a drab game by the league leaders earlier today, this game was fantastic.
We probably could have had more goals.. but 4-2 against the noisy neighbours is one to cherish until the next derby.
This was a big game for Manchester United. 2 back to back losses in the premier league, last encounter with the blue half of the city – embarrassing. Scores had to be settled and United players made it clear. They wanted only one thing – REVENGE.
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, A. Johnson, de Jong, Milner, Silva, Nasri, Aguero (Subs: Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Savic, Hargreaves, Razak, Suarez)
Manchester United line up read good for a premier league fixture. City charted the best available for the day. But neither was the buzz of the eve.. Paul Scholes returning from retirement! Who ‘d have imagined but yet again, it puts things in perspective – United look desperate recalling a player from retirement to fill the void that he himself created. No funds to get a worthy playmaker? Hmmm.. bothersome indeed.
Quietly on the other side of the bench list was someone else returning – Hargreaves; no comments on that.
United seemed to shape into a 4-4-1-1 / 4-5-1 formation with Welbeck leading the line and Rooney opting to help the midfield pairing of Giggs and Carrick. City went in with the usual formation, though with Barry suspended, Toure away, Milner shared centre midfield with De Jong while Silva and Johnson moved the flanks. Nasri accompanied Aguero up front.
City started brighter playing good possession but were taken aback when United broke at 10′ with Rooney releasing Valencia on the wing. Valencia crossed early to find a dashing in Rooney who found the far corner with the cross bar’s assist. Moments later, Kompany found himself in a pickle when United were trying to break. A two footed scissor move on a 50-50 ball saw Nani take evasive action, however Chris Foy deemed it dangerous and sent him off.
Clearly the Turning point of the game, city down to ten men found it harder and harder to find Aguero or Nasri and every flowing red move seemed to inevitably lead to a goal. One such move involving some Nani’s guile lead to a spectactular swiveling volley goal by Danny who’s been working his socks off. He further went on to draw another foul in the box which ended up in a penalty. Rooney stepped up to convert but had to do it in the second attempt when the keepers save found him again to head it home for his second.
At 3-0 at HT, it seemed it was only a matter of HOW MANY now..
Double substitution at half time saw Mancini bringing in defensive reinforcements. City did not panic. They decided to play the waiting game and play counter attacking football. Richards won a free kick off Evra at the edge of the box in the 2nd min. Kolarov stepped up, sent a curler, the wall remained rooted and for a fraction of a second, so did Lindergaard, and that was good enough for him to find the corner of the united goal and all of a sudden it was game on.
The ginger Pele arrived at 60′; started sorting his radar around, but got caught out from a short pass and Aguero made the most of a Lindergaard fumble and Etihad woke up at 2-3. United rang in a few changes – defensive midfielders ran in to cover.. to protect the lead.
Remainder of the game was all ball possession and two controversial penalty decisions at either end of the ground, neither given.
Ferdinand – I havent seem him play at his best in a long long time. Short of pace, seems to struggle one on one and some of his passing was criminal
Jones – wonder if he is carrying an injury, his passes seem speculative, apart from one decent run and a couple of good crosses, he is far from how he started the season
Lindergaard – Fumble, save, fumble, save. Not exactly a fancy pattern
My Pick of The Game
Danny Welbeck – works his socks off, creates chances, forms a lovely partnership with Rooney and today the best player for his work for the 65 odd min he was on.