by Marc Serber
Vincent Kompany’s headed goal was more than enough for Manchester City to overcome their most hated rival and re-take pole position in the Barclays Premier League title race.
Despite the fact the final score was only 1-0 and the goal came from a corner, City fully deserved their victory and the talk of a changing of the guard in Manchester let alone the BPL no longer seems all that ridiculous.
From a Manchester United perspective, tonight’s effort just wasn’t good enough. At times, they looked pedestrian. Sir Alex’s starting XI and tactics will be questioned. The movement a bit stagnant, the quality of the passing never crisp, and the services into the box at the most crucial of moments was appalling.
It’s hard to think of a stretch in the match where United put together five or more passes. With players erring on the side of caution, there were not enough options around the ball going forward. Every time it seemed as if United was on the verge of something, a pass was played a bit too short, to heavy, or off the mark completely.
It appears that Sir Alex went for the cautious approach with Park Ji-Sung preferred to Valencia or Young in the midfield because he puts in the defense work and has the capabilities to disrupt the fluidity of City’s midfield. The move backfired, however, as Park not only looked a step behind the pace, but also didn’t offer his usual industry going forward.
Against Barcelona in last season’s Champions League, Manchester United were comprehensively beaten, but at least in that game they tried to go toe-to-toe with the Catalan’s attack. At least they went down swinging.
City did a good job of isolating Rooney and keeping Nani at bay, but the Valencia and Young substitutions which could have opened the game earlier came a bit too late.
Despite the questions that are being asked about United on column pages all across the world, it must be kept in mind that City won this game more than United lost it.
The Blues physically manhandled United, winning every 50/50 ball. They played with purpose, clarity and always seemed to have purposeful ideas going forward while their counterparts looked lost at the other end. Their technique and confidence in their ability puts to bed the argument that Manchester United would finish out the season on top simply because they have the experience.
Still two rounds to play, but if City do go on to win the title, it is because they fully deserve it, just as they deserved to win this game by more than the solitary goal.
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