Chasing Shadows – Manchester 13th April 2015

Despite Manchester City being erratic lately, I expected them to turn up at Old Trafford yesterday and for the first ten minutes, they did. They had Manchester United chasing shadows. In the 6th minute, Jesus Navas brilliantly beat United’s offside trap and only a poor finish stopped City going a goal up. Two minutes later, James Miner fed David Silva on the left flank who, in turn, set Sergio Aguero up to make it 1-0 in front of the Stretford End. Seeing this goal had me wondering if United’s defence will ever learn. Silva is the best player I have ever seen in a City shirt and over the years, I’ve repeatedly seen him tear down the left flank against United and set up a goal.

With United caught on the back foot, City inexplicably took their foot off the pedal, either that or sheer bloody minded determination dragged United back into the game. A fight and desire that was conspicuous by its absence last season reared its head and when Ashley Young equalised in the 14th minute, things changed dramatically. Young’s tenacity, not something he is generally known for, shone through on this dull day and the goal was rapturously received.

To any Scouser looking at this, read it and weep. Mario Balotelli is your replacement for Luis Suarez and this is probably the highlight of his season

Marouane Fellaini put United deservedly in front in the 27th minute after great work between Young and Juan Mata. Of all people, United’s Number 25 deserved this moment and it was a classic Fellaini goal, headed hard and low past the keeper. Halfway through the second half, Wayne Rooney fed Mata to put the ball through Joe Hart’s legs to make the score 3-1. Having looked back on the replay, it was slightly offside but to be fair to the linesman, he’s had a split second to make that decision and not the forensic technology used by SKY Sports at his disposal. Eight minutes after that, an Ashley Young free kick from the left flank found Chris Smalling, who was being played onside by Eliaquim Mangala. Smalling had a free header in the six yard box to head home United’s fourth.

The 89th minute saw Sergio Aguero score a goal which was annoyingly similar to his first one (but at least he didn’t have an open net this time). City’s body language at this time was evident of why they have had seven ‘moral victories’ since the bells of Auld Lang Syne chimed. There was no urgency, they just trudged back into position when they could’ve tried applying some pressure on United in injury time. The fact that they didn’t even attempt to, tells me that the very likeable Manuel Pellegrini is looking a strong bet to pick up his P45 in the next three months.

While Manchester is never a quiet place, the cacophony created by our sometimes noisy neighbours has abated dramatically over the last few months. The once ubiquitous blue and white scarves are now passé. Blues who were gleefully and incorrectly telling us a year ago that we were “the worst fuckin’ champions we’ve ever seen” are not as visible on social media or the street. There’s no doubt that City have made a better job of defending the title this season than United did last time round. However, on this form, you won’t be seeing any of the Burnage Beatles at the Stade de Beswique anytime soon. Even allowing for that though, since Sheik Mansour’s takeover of City in 2008, United have still won the title more times than City. After all that money has been spent and looking at the City side yesterday, there’s already a root and branch restructure needed.

Noel Gallagher, a leading cool cat face and 1980s one man crimewave coming out with his most interesting words since 1995

The blue moon is hiding behind a dark cloud for City. Knowing how moody the weather can be in our proud city (particularly yesterday…bastard), it could be a while before that moon surfaces again. Ten coaches were part of the police escort of City fans that left Old Trafford yesterday! That’s ten coaches to go where precisely? Most Reds I know, walk or get a bus when United play away at City. How could the club, whose fans claim to be the true Mancunians, be using ten coaches for a game at Old Trafford? 

That must be it Shaun

United are in transition, we all know that. For a side in transition and bearing in mind how poor some of the football served up this season has been, Louis van Gaal may have arrested the decline that so many people, as recently as six weeks ago, thought was beyond him (you know who you are!!) Van Gaal deserves credit, if for nothing else, giving Ashley Young and Fellaini a purpose at Old Trafford. Both of these players (amongst a good few others) looked certainties to leave Old Trafford last summer. They are now actually integral to how Van Gaal has the team playing, something that nobody would have believed last August. Around this time last season, City came to Old Trafford and gave as big a thrashing as I’ve ever seen City give United. Numerically, the 6-1 was more comprehensive but anybody who knows football knows that the real leathering came from City last season. They looked fitter, stronger and more skilful than United. It was a painful sight and they looked light years ahead of United that night. A combination of United players buying into a new manager’s ideals and City players seemingly treating Pellegrini like United players treated David Moyes last season, this fixture was a lot more balanced. If you had said to me on New Year’s Day that come mid-April, United would be four points clear of City on level games, I would’ve thought you’d overdone it the previous night. Ultimately, for better or worse, United’s main aim this season was to get back into the European Cup for next season. A few weeks ago, with fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and City coming up (Aston Villa don’t count), no Red of my acquaintance thought that we’d have maximum points from games that we’ve struggled in in recent times. European qualification isn’t sealed yet, but for it not to happen now would take a collapse to match that of Liverpool’s last season.

As a neighbourly gesture, I’d like to remind Blues that Yaya Toure’s birthday is the 13th of May. Cakes can be ordered by clicking here.

14 thoughts on “Chasing Shadows – Manchester 13th April 2015”

  1. Murphy.

    In France we say that City is une equipe massif…or like in English u can say a massive club.

    After this match I don’t think city is massive any more.

    Also, I have see in your pics that they do wear fleece and kangol – in France this is not trendy. C’est pas la mode.

    I will see you in Everton. can you get one spare tickets?

    Grate victory.

    Salut,

    J

      1. Only needing one tickets for me Murphy brother.

        This is the face of value?

        Where do we meat?

        Maybe I would travel with you to the Stade? What is your number? Send to me via e mail.

        J

  2. Without gloating [which you were entitled to do], I thought when the first goal went in it was going to be a much different result that occurred. Fellaini and oddly Hart, were the best players for my money. Good game, fair result.

    1. JTheRed, what are your plans for the Everton game? How long will you be here for?

      I think our last meet was Chelsea away a while back so I think we are due a drink.

  3. City didn’t take their foot off the pedal. United took it off for them. Tactical error by señor Pell maybe. Tactical master stroke by v Gall more likely. Maybe they thought they had what it takes to boss the Reds in midfield. They were wrong, very wrong. To a man the shirts turned up yesterday. Not to mention the support. Fabulous. By the way de Gea celebrated like a Red yesterday. Hope it means something. It’s easy to think we are back and challenging and that city are a top side. My opinion is, yes we have grown in confidence since the New Year dingdong but City are in as much shit as we were this time last year. A good show next week, regardless of the result, will give us a better idea of far we’ve come. Does any one else think that Scholsey and Lee Dixon look like the finalists of a TinTin competition? Good read Murph

  4. This was exactly the result I expected. I had told anyone that would listen there’s never been a better time to play City. I think you’re right about Pell and his P45, the team are soulless atm and there’s no apparent reason. They looked disinterested even against ten men. Every time City got the ball they looked like they would lose it, and every time United got the ball they looked like they would score. You’re wrong to be talking about money though, that is irrelevant. For all of United’s Premier League titles, they were the biggest spenders the season before. That is just the way this league is now, and United have spent plenty themselves. I’m more surprised that you never mentioned Demichelis’s embarrassing moment. If I could change one thing about football it would be this kind of simulation, with the utter disrespect shown by players (like Rooney and Kompany yesterday) to the ref a close second. And people argue about footballers being role models.

    1. “After all that money has been spent and looking at the City side yesterday, there’s already a root and branch restructure needed…”

      I don’t believe that is a gratuitous reference to the money City have spent, although I do concede with hindsight that the grammar could’ve been a hell of a lot better…mea culpa.

      There has been a lot of money spent in a relatively short measure of time at City and having spent that money and judging by the performance yesterday, the vast majority of what it’s been invested in will have to replaced pretty soon at a massive loss. I’ve not spoken out of turn by saying that, it’s fair comment.

      As for footballers being regarded as role models (and I appreciate that you haven’t said this yourself), the belief that footballers are is anathema to me. I actually find it pretty useful when people refer to footballers as role models, it saves me from wasting another second on listening to any other drivel that comes out their mouths.

      As for the Demichelis’s antics, you’re right. I simply forgot about it when I was writing about the match. Maybe subconsciously, I wanted to. It was pretty depressing.

    2. I heard you, bradscorner. And, I’m very pleased to say you were right – though, I have to say, after the first ten minutes, I had a horrible feeling that you might have to take your words back; but thankfully not.

  5. Epic game, and a good read Murph. Great to see players like Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini shine and showing/full-filling their real potential. Onwards and upwards.
    Love the Noel G clip.

  6. I hadn’t noticed Wings restaurant on Lincoln Sq was exactly struggling, but a nice plug from Louis The Quiff all the same.

    Excellent for 80 minutes, and given the tidal wave that followed our slow start, I think we can forgive them that.

    Cracking support, and delighted to see Marouane Fellaini getting to grips and bullying them out of the game in the middle of the park.

    The derision he was facing this time 12 months ago seems a distant and almost ridiculous memory now, good on him for riding the storm.

    As for the standing ovation afforded to Juan Mata, the little man might as well have had a baton in his hand.

    Great stuff, city well and truly back in their box, United top dogs and on the charge for 2015/16.

    Good stuff as always Murph.

  7. V G is beginning to look like a clock maker. Got all the part some new some not. Put it all together, and has now wound it up. It’s ticking quite well at the moment. Just remember to use the key, when required. I was impressed with what I saw yesterday. But, as above, city are not the force we thought they were. Cheers murph

  8. Another great read Murph and summed up the game well.

    I have to take my hat off to LVG I was one of the ‘ you know who you are’ brigade but maybe that’s why I throw ( or attempt to ) bags around for a living and am not running one of the biggest clubs in the world!!!

    But football is all about opinions and I even in the dark days of last season I felt sorry for Fellaini who I thought was a easy target for a team that had obviously run its course ! So good luck to him , LVG is no fool and he has given the big fella his confidence back and that is a top bit of man management on his part.
    City ? They still have top quality players ( Silva Aguero etc ) but they have a rebuilding job to do themselves so should be interesting !!
    Summer is going to be mad in Manchester with new players all over the place so lets look forward to that. Fantastic month though !!!! Still buzzing from beating the Mickys so not sure if my heart can take much more !!! lol

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