Manchester City 1-0 Manchester United

Game in a sentence

An eleventh change at the top of the table this season could be the final one as a dramatic match in Manchester sees a City side come together when it counts to defeat their rivals by one goal to nil.

Observations

  • Manchester City fans have taken a lot of pain down the years. Many of their fans have put up with an incredible amount of abuse but on Monday April 30th, 2012 they have their day. This was a day made by City’s great players but the fans who have been in love with this club, before some of these players were born, finally get their moment.
  • Their hero, and goalscorer, could not have been more fitting. Vincent Kompany, Manchester City’s captain and true leader, scored arguably the most important goal in this club’s history to put his side in the driving seat for their first title in 44 years.
  • Two more games remain for City but two wins – at Newcastle and home to QPR – and they will be champions.
  • City were, as expected, unchanged from their last match but the biggest storyline came from Man Utd’s eleven with Sir Alex Ferguson picking a midfield three behind Wayne Rooney who played up top by himself. Many of the post-mortems from this game will likely signal this as a mistake from Ferguson but, in truth, they frustrated City until they scored.
  • United were compact, settled into the game very well with Rooney doing his job and pressing City’s deepest midfielder, Gareth Barry. Behind Rooney, Michael Carrick, Ji-Sung Park and Paul Scholes hunted in packs and the plan to stay narrow worked for the first thirty minutes, keeping Yaya Toure deep and preventing David Silva and Samir Nasri from cutting in. 
  • Like all top teams do, City kept at it and Nasri and Silva took over the second part of the first half as their passing became more precise and they got more comfortable taking the space conceded to them by the visitors.
  • Suddenly United couldn’t get the ball as half-time neared but a minute before the break City won a corner and from a dead ball scored the crucial goal.
  • It was a bad way to concede a goal. Setting up in a man-marking system, rather than zonal, United put Chris Smalling on Vincent Kompany but just as David Silva whipped in the corner, the Englishman went for a stroll in front of the Belgian, was then forced to run around Rio Ferdinand, concentrating on his own man, started to lean back, knowing the ball was beating him, as Kompany came from behind and headed home from the space Smalling left.
  • The goal forced United to change their style, if not their system. Shortly after half-time, Danny Welbeck came on to play the Rooney role while Rooney took over from the departed Ji-Sung Park. Further additions included Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young but United never had a period in the game in which they dominated. In truth, United lacked quality in the final third and didn’t do enough to get anything from this match, not managing to even get a shot on target.
  • This United team does not have the talent that City have and it showed in this game. City’s front four of Aguero, Tevez, Silva and Nasri would all walk into Man Utd’s team. The same cannot be said for United’s. That should take nothing away from this United team, however, who might still go on to win this league. Over 38 games City have certainly showed they are far from perfect, but their home record has been the difference.
  • City have made their stadium an absolute fortress and that played a huge part in this result and how United set up. They have now scored in 30 straight matches at home in the league and have not lost since December 2010. Each of the last nine Premier League Champions finished the season with the best home record, something City have already accomplished this season.
  • City’s final game of the season is number 19 at home against QPR, a team they should easily handle if the league is on the line. That leaves them with their trip to Newcastle on Sunday where they will have to be equally as brilliant as they were in this game, something City have not always been this season.
  • The title race is far from over yet but on this night City took the lead with two laps to go and very few would bet against them winning it all now.

Three Stars

  1. Vincent Kompany
  2. Pablo Zabaleta
  3. Samir Nasri

Six Super Stats

  • Manchester City climbed to the top of the PL table by doing the double over crosstown rivals for only the second time in the PL era.
  • Vincent Kompany scored the game’s only goal and became the first Belgian to score a goal in a PL Manchester Derby.
  • The two Manchester sides are now level in points. The last time the first and second place finishers were level on points was before the PL started. In 1988/1989 Arsenal prevailed over Liverpool.
  • United suffered their 200th defeat in official matches in April. This is the month in which they have suffered most defeats.
  • The single goal in tonight’s match raised the Premier League season total to 998.
  • The team scoring the opening goal in PL Manchester Derbies improved its track record to 23 wins, 4 draws and 1 defeat. That breaks down as follows: United (16-3-0) and City (7-1-1).

 Match Stats

Kristian Jack