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

Comments (9)

  1. GLORY GLORY CITEH!

  2. “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.”

    Quote sums up Utd’s entire season. We have lacked quality all year with examples from our inability to qualify out of the CL group stage, our inability to compete with teams such as Bilbao in europa, and not being able to finish off the league with lost points against Everton and Wigan.

    This team simply is not good enough. SAF refused to invest in central midfield help, instead relying on statues in one of the most important positions on the pitch. In all my years i can not remember a Utd squad that has played as boring and as poor as the current squad. Players like Evra, Young, Nani and countless others should not be the focal points of attack and in some cases are no where good enough.

    Forbes rated Utd as the most valued football club in the world. It’s time for the team to represent some of that value on the field. Now it is on SAF and ownership to turn this team around and losing to city may finally be what pushes the stubborn mule of the hill.

  3. It will be interesting to see how the kids react now. We know what the Giggs and Scholes contingent can do – it’s the next generation (namely Jones & Smalling who have fallen off this season, among others) who need to fight through this disappointment and force City to win it, instead of us giving it up completely.

    ANTHONY: Did Fergie refuse to invest, or was he not given the funds? Yes, United spend some money this season, but with the exception of deGea, and Young, most of the last few years’ deals were from the “who’s he?” file, not the who’s who.

    KJ – for a while now, I’ve kept thinking about the old English footy adage about a cold Tuesday night in Stoke. What does the black book say about the thermometer and City? They were blistering hot at the start of the year, totally wobbled in January, and really heated up as the weather improved. Or at least that’s my perception. Any stats to prove / disprove this?

    SB

    • I know where you are going and there is a little element I think to that – certainly in their performances away from home, even if the results dont back it up. For example, they won six of seven matches in total in Jan and Feb, but games at Wigan, Everton and Villa were far from great performances. The same can be said last season – at Villa, Arsenal and Bham they got 2 pts from 9 and were really poor in those games. Unfortunately, it is a small sample size because the other games they played in those months were against very poor opposition and they did well. Will be interesting to see who they get in those months next season and how they perform away from home during that run.

  4. Without going on a lot about team selection, I don’t know how you can only give Valencia 15 minutes in a game like this. I know SAF likes Park in big games, but having he and Nani in the starting 11 while leaving Valencia on the bench was a huge misjudgment to me.

    The only hope for United now is that Newcastle can get a result.

  5. No doubt that the Glazers are sucking the cashflow out of the club to pay their debts but still –

    A combined ~ 35m was spent on Jones and Young this summer when that money could have been spent in central midfield. Even if you argue that you had to act on Jones for the long term, fine. Getting Ashley Young is overkill when you already have Nani and Valencia when your central midfield is filled with geriatrics.

    I just sat there bemused watching United line up in a very deep 4-5-1 and still get overrun down City’s right side all night long.

    There are lifecycles to every team and to me it feels like United is reaching a tipping point this summer – now they won’t fall on their face like Chelsea of 2012 since Ferguson won’t allow it to happen, but I don’t think its farfetched to say there’s a small probability – say 25% that they really take a step backwards next year if they don’t invest heavily this summer.

    You don’t invest and the midfield gets another year older and there’s another year where the stars might align and your competitors make all the right buys in the market and you get left behind.

    • No question the centre of the park needs attention, but even if you have all of the 35M to spend (no Jones, no Young, whose goals and play BTW kept this race alive.) that might not be enough for the world class MF United would be looking for. Remember, Spurs were refusing to sell Modric for as much or more than that.

      In today’s market, it’s definitely not enough for two. Maybe Anderson’s injuries aren’t too surprising, and Cleverly would have had a dip in form, but he would have had more than 9 appearances (most of them in the first month of the season) and who would have predicted Darren Fletcher’s bowl would explode?

      That’s three more useful bodies in the MF that were basically MIA all season. Like I said, SAF needs to address this area, but this season was a perfect storm of misery for central midfield at Old Trafford.

      SB

  6. Losing 1 nill away to City isn’t bad at all and hardly worth more than 1 sentence divulging into any of the teams idiosyncrasies.

    In short , it was a great game but lacked a pitch invasion in the end

  7. fergie got the squad all wrong, seems like he put a squad out to try and play to a draw, should’ve went out there to win it imo, +1 not starting valencia was a big mistake, same with welbeck, shoulda just played the classic 4-4-2 with valencia/young/scholes/carrick and rooney/welbeck up front, that’s the system that’s been working best for them this year and he abandons it?

    and why smalling over evans? i thought this was evans “breakout” season…

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