City takes all three points in a nervous derby
Manchester City took all three points today as they won an important derby against Manchester United, which not only puts City in third position, but also makes it their fourth derby win against their fierce rivals.
It has been a very disappointing week for Manchester City, with a poor draw to CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, a surprising 2-1 defeat to West Ham in the Weekend and a 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle in the Capital One Cup last Wednesday.
They badly needed a win today, and a win against their main rivals to get the team back on a track. City fans however, must have felt confident before today’s’ game, as they have won their last three derbies in a row, and a fourth win would be the second time it has happened since December 1970.
Manchester United have been playing some decent football lately, getting eight points in their last four games. Last week they drew 1-1 with leaders Chelsea, and drew against West Brom the week before. However overall, it has been just 13 points in nine games, and this has been the Red Devils worst start ever in their Premier League history. Last year under Davis Moyes, United had 14 points at this stage.
City were without their key playmaker David Silva, who will be out for three weeks with a knee injury that he sustained against Newcastle. However, Yaya Toure was back from injury, a player City was going to need today, as he has scored in three of his last four Premier League appearances against Manchester United.
United were without star striker Radamel Falcao and defenders Jonny Evans and Phil Jones. Captain Wayne Rooney was back after a month absence, due to three games through suspension and some minor injuries, a player United fans were happy to see back, as he has scored 11 goals against his rivals, the most of any player in the derby history.
The game started fast with many chances in the first minutes. City’s top scorer, Sergio Aguero, had the first effort on goal in the eight minute, when the Argentine’s low shot was punched away by United’s goalkeeper David De Gea.
United did have most of the possession in the beginning of the first half, with captain Wayne Rooney having 18 touches and 16 passes, more than any other player. However, sometimes possession is not enough, as Sergio Aguero in the 20th minute got the ball in the centre of the box from a great Fernando pass, and with a wonderful touch, hit the ball towards goal, however a great David De Gea save kept the scoreline level.
One minute later City were at it again, and so was De Ge, when he threw himself at a free and unmarked Aguero, and managed to save a great shot with the inside of his thigh.
One United player, who did not have a good game, was defender Chris Smalling, who received a silly booking for blocking a Joe Hart drop-kick. This silly card turned out to be the breaking point of the game, as Smalling received his second yellow in the 38th minute, when he made a poor tackle on an onrushing James Milner.
United managed with 10 men to keep a clean sheet for the first half, however, in the second half City went all out attack to get the first goal. They had several penalty appeals, especially in the 58th minute, when Fellaini kicked the heel of Aguero inside the box, but the referee’s view was blocked and could he not make a clear call.
The Red Devil’s night turned for the worse, when Rojo dislocated his shoulder shortly after making a tackle on Zabaleta, which meant that 19-year-old McNair had to come in defence. A defence now consisting of Valencia, Carrick, McNair and Shaw.
City finally got their goal in the 55th minute, when their breakthrough came when Yaya Toure’s trough ball found Gael Clichy on the left side who with a low cross got the ball to Aguero, whose first time touch flew pass a helpless De Gea in goal.
However, United fought back straight after, and in the 70th minute Robin Van Persie out of nowhere beat two players, ran towards goal and forced Joe Hart into a decent save at his near post.
In the last 20 minutes of the match, the ball went from attack to attack from both teams. Right after Van Persie’s effort, Jesus Navas hit the woodwork after a great run from the right flank beating both Shaw and Rooney.
Then two minutes later, United had their biggest chance on goal, when captain and engine Rooney ran through the middle and dribbled pass two players, including a nutmeg on Vincent Kompany, and found Di Maria on the right, whose right footed shot was saved by a great one-handed stop by Joe Hart.
United tried to get back, and Fellaini had two great efforts on goal, and despite Fergie time of five minutes injury time, United didn’t manage to find the goal, giving City their fourth derby victory in a row.
The loss will undoubtedly disappoint the United players as they put in a great effort despite being one player less for most the game. The loss puts the Red Devils in ninth position with 13 points, but they will have the chance to redeem their loss when they face Crystal Palace at home next weekend.
The win puts City third with 20 points, six points below Chelsea on top, and they travel to QPR next weekend after facing CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, hoping to get another important three points, which could put them second in the league.