Reds retreat as blue moon rises
So Manchester City have done what everybody thought impossible three weeks ago and gone back to the top of the Premier League, with two games to go, with a workmanlike performance against a very lacklustre Manchester United. As I sat down to watch the game, it seemed that United seemed so comfortable to start with while City were very nervous.
It felt like the occasion had got to City and that United were warming to the task with their experienced players showing no nerves. Slowly but surely, after about 20 minutes, City started to take control and, from there, they never looked back and made United look very ordinary.
United did not even have a shot on target throughout the game and the last time that happened was three years ago. For that, you have to give great credit to City’s back-five, superbly marshalled by the outstanding Vincent Kompany. Kompany is the ultimate captain and, without doubt, one of the top three centre backs in the world.
How United could have done with him since the awful injury to Nemanja Vidic. Anyway, back to the game. It was two contrasting styles of play, with United wanting to use the width and City happy to play down the middle with the likes of Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure content to play neat one-touch football to create openings.
United love to use width and the way you can tell if they are dominating the game is to look at the two full backs, in this instance Patrice Evra and Phil Jones. When United are in full swing, these players play like wingers but, last night, apart from the last ten minutes, I don’t remember either Evra or Jones managing to venture into City’s last third.
City were truly dominant from the 20th minute onwards and United had no answer. United’s big players were rarely seen. Wayne Rooney was very quiet to the point you forgot that he was playing. Nani was also kept silent and, from previous tussles, you have to give credit to Gael Clichy, who Nani had often given the run around to.
It’s City’s title to throw away now and I’m sure that many neutrals out there will be happy to see a change in the title winners but, from a different perspective, now more than ever, it shows that trophies can be bought and that’s a shame. But it shows the times we are now in.
City’s dominanace, if they do go on to win the league, will carry on as long as they have a blank chequebook. This could be the first season in the Premier League that it has been won on goal difference and how United will rue the games when they have only won by the odd goal.
Newcastle United will prove a tough test for City to come but, now, the momentum is well and truly with them. From where I am sat, you can take it as read … er, sorry, blue!