City ease to derby victory
By Alex Mason
Manuel Pellegrini must be wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Manchester derbies. His vibrant City side demolished United for 60 minutes, which was enough to make them 4-1 winners. The game was the first for United manager David Moyes too, who had a look of concern when Howard Webb blew the full-time whistle.
|Aguero opens the scoring for City|
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
United started the game well when Danny Welbeck capitalised on Vincent Kompany’s sliced clearance. It was then City’s tempo and enthusiasm that saw Nemanja Vidić's pass go straight into the path of Jesús Navas, his tame effort went easily over the bar and he should have done better. The first yellow card of the derby was awarded to Matija Nastasić for his robust aerial challenge which saw him flatten United defender Chris Smalling.
City’s possession and will power saw them take the lead on the 15th minute when Samir Nasri cleverly played in Aleksander Kolarov to find Sergio Agüero from 15-yards. Agüero's cheeky flick saw him score his 50th Manchester City goal, and a goal worthy of winning any game.
It could and should have been 2-0 minutes later when Nasri latched a volley that went inches over. City had United against the ropes in the first-half, and the visitor’s frustration grew when Wayne Rooney was booked for tackling behind on a very impressive Kompany on the half-hour mark.
City were pilling on the pressure for a second, and were rewarded for the perseverance on the stroke of half-time. A corner swung in form Nasri met the head of Álvaro Negredo, his header went straight into the path of Yaya Touré, for him to score his fourth goal of the season.
The second-half couldn’t have started any better for the home side. A determined Kolarov found Negredo on the byline, his clipped cross was met by Agüero who side-footed his volley past David de Gea.
City didn’t take the foot off the gas pedal and two minutes later, Jesús Navas' burst down the right saw him escape a few United defenders, his cross was waiting to be met by a marauding Kompany and Negredo, but it was Nasri who side-footed the ball past a very poor de Gea.
It could have been 5-0, minutes later, Navas crossed the ball in the box but Vidić made a crucial challenge to deny Negredo of his first derby goal. The game up to then had echoes of the 6-1 victory by City just less than two years ago. It was no surprise that United finally took the game to City and had the majority of possession for the remaining 30 minutes of the game.
|Photo: Official MCFC Facebook|
After the fourth goal, United immediately took off a very disappointing Ashley Young and replaced him with Tom Cleverley. City eased off the pressure and let United have some sight of Joe Hart’s goal. Hart saved well from Marouane Fellaini and Patrice Evra, with the Frenchman seeing his header strike the woodwork from a corner.
Pellegrini gave run-outs to James Milner, Edin Džeko and Javi Garcia before a sublime Rooney free-kick gave no chance to Hart with three minutes to go.
The game was led by a fantastic Kompany. His bursting runs forward gave the other City players confidence to attack the game.
United will not be able to use the absence of Robin van Persie as an excuse for today’s defeat with City arguably without their best playmaker in David Silva.
As the season goes on, there will be plenty of twists and turns in the Premier League title race. But for now Manchester is blue, and the bragging rights go to the blue half of the City.