All Manchester derbies are huge affairs, some get hyped up more than others but with City’s new found millions the game has taken on a greater importance. The term noisy neighbour is thrown around with reckless abandon and I feel in ridiculing City with it sometimes we don’t take their threat as serious as we should.
Yesterday’s game was meant to be a huge one, people said it was Mancini’s first proper derby with his own team rather than the team he inherited and City were finally going to make us and the rest of the world recognise them as a serious threat. We apparently had injuries and although a number of the players that were meant to miss the game actually played you have to question their full fitness for example Rio Ferdinand had diarrhoea and that will definitely take it out of your body.
I found the game interesting regardless of what neutrals and Alan Hansen thought. It just goes to show our recent games have served up such great moments thus the barrier is set extremely high.
One thing that did strike me at the end of the game was a peculiar comment from Roberto Mancini who declared that the game showed that City were catching up with United:
“I think we’re getting closer to Manchester United. I think we need more time. I think we are improving from last year.I prefer one point tonight to no points last year.”
Whilst I can see the logic in what he was saying about getting a point, his tactics and demeanour said otherwise in regards to closing the gap. Let’s be clear, last night against a less than stellar United team City played for a draw. Despite massive performances I feel a number of our players weren’t 100% and City didn’t even look to take advantage. Last season I had to put up with being told we are a 1 man team and without Rooney we would suffer. I didn’t see Rooney last night but we were still the better team.
Last night was City’s biggest chance to really make some noise and move from being the neighbour to being the house mate and for me they blew it. City as usual packed the midfield and very rarely threatened our goal despite looking threatening (!?). At home the threat of losing caused Mancini to freeze and his late substitution bringing on Adebayor with endemic of this. He was happy to run down the clock, get out of the game with a point but fortunately his approach to the game is being seen for what it was, negative.
When watching the show on the derby hosted by Cantona, Sir Bobby Charlton said something very poignant. Speaking of how United played football he said Sir Matt Busby insisted they entertained those who spent their hard earned money to come and see them play, something City didn’t do yesterday against a less than 100% United team on their own patch.
That’s the difference between us and them, it is something that goes beyond on field achievements. Our mentality is totally different so Mancini can stop with all of his talk of getting closer to us, it’s an impossible dream. So let the blue moon rise, after night comes day and the moon disappears and though it will return, for me it will always be rising in a red sky.
Both teams were happy with a draw. Both teams packed the midfield with 5 players and played a lone striker. Both got 9 and often 10 men behind the ball when not in possession.
So my question is this; if City are a team so clearly below United’s level, why could United not break us down? And if we were as negative as is being made out (we were negative, just not to the extent many people suggest), why did United not feel comfortable enough to throw an extra man up front? If we posed no attacking threat, why not up your own attacking game?
I saw this comment on the BBC website:
“British media just denied their sensationalist headlines of “City being put back in their place” if Utd won and “There’s a shift in Manchester” if City had”
Nail on the head. A (justified) draw is the worst possible result for the media; how can you create a picture of extremes from that? Damn. Foiled. Better talk about the “extreme” negativity of Mancini then, hadn’t we? After all, he’s a much easier target than Ferguson.
I don’t know a *single* City fan who has ever expected us to win the League this season. Not one. I do, however, know a lot who expect United to finish second to Chelsea in the League. So what does that tell you? I’d suggest this “balance of power” bollocks exists only in the headlines of a bunch of lazy hacks (and the impressionable people they are capable of influencing).
What we want is progress; finishing 4th represents that. Our season will not be defined by whether or not we can manage 3 points against United, just as yours will not be defined by your results against us. Beating you last night may have allowed the press to write their lazy shit about “a shift in power”, but that would mean less than nothing if we then went on to finish outside the top 4. If *that* happens, Mancini goes, because that is the important stuff.
We used the same tactics against Chelsea. The media, rather than calling us “negative”, remarked on our “solidity”, how we were canny and tactically astute. Nobody suggested then that we should have gone all out to attack Chelsea. So why should we be expected to do that to United? Because the press want us to?
I’d have liked to have seen AJ come on 10 minutes earlier. But tactically, that system was appropriate against a team with a 5 man midfield who are looking to contain and then try and nick a goal.
Good evening Mr. Fitz I was expecting you and as usual you’re coming with both barrels!
I have stated initially I was happy to get a draw but United playing 4-5-1 isn’t for me the sign of a team looking for a point rather of the measure of respect we have for your team. I and anyone would be lying to say City aren’t a good side and we can often be seen playing the same formation against good sides so again I don’t think it was us looking for a draw.
United have struggled to break down lesser teams and I feel bringing on Hernandez and the urgency we showed late on was us upping our attacking game.
I agree with your comments about the press missing out on a headline and as I have also said the high drama of previous games has now set a barrier but realistically what game will top the games we played out last season? There will be an unrealistic expectation for a long time.
I don’t so much think the balance of power is in regards to the league rather just Manchester it is quite clear that is the first battle City want to win with all the promo posters and the like, I have heard some say they are expecting the title having visited ‘Blue Moon’ but they probably aren’t in the majority.
Whilst you may have used the same tactics the way you went about the game against Chelsea was different, I wouldn’t expect TO see a time wasting sub in the 91st minute whilst the score is 0-0 athome and I think Adebayor didn’t expect it either thus he took so long to get on. Mancini was clearly about not losing yesterday rather than winning and I feel that is the vibe many people got.
We were the away side yesterday, it is often remarked that away teams come to Old Trafford and shut up shop inviting us to break them down, I’m sure that isn’t the same thing expected of us away too esp against City.
I’d agree partially regarding United resorting to the 4-5-1, which even before the game I stated I wasn’t thrilled about.
That being said not all 4-5-1’s are created equal, and anyone would agree the spine of Scholes-Carrick-Fletcher is quite a bit more creative and attack minded than Toure-Barry-DeJong. However, your team defended very well, which I suspected they would and why United shoud’ve gone 4-4-2 to start with. Maybe a 4-5-1 which included last season’s Valencia and Rooney could’ve done it…but I digress.
Shutting United down may be a great ambition in the example of Rangers playing at OT, but for all of City’s stated ambitions and being the home side, it speaks of fear and pettyness to me.
To your credit, you stated finishing 4th and playing it safe against top sides is a successful season in your eyes…but the booing from the fans at Eastlands at game’s end suggests many City fans feel otherwise.
Hm, I’m happy with this but still not thoroughly sure, therefore i’m about to research a bit more.