Published on March 26th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman1
Power, Pace, Panache; Perfection
This 3-0 victory at United had everything. Only one of City’s big, big players was missing; Sergio Aguero. Can you imagine how many goals the Blues might have bagged if he’d started the game and been fully fit?
As it was City, as the song goes, should have perhaps scored ten, such was their dominance. They started like an express train, every one of the players was it at, right from the first whistle, all of them wanted to take responsibility and they all wanted to score.
David Silva’s “take” as he ran into the United box, seconds ahead of the goal, was wonderful, as was Nasri’s turn and shot, and Dzeko’s anticipation for the finish. Yaya Toure was in there too, so someone, somehow, would have put the ball in the net.
I looked at Fred Eyre’s face, during that first ten minutes, and indeed some friendly faces like Tony Book, Bernard Halford and Vicky Kloss, in the neighbouring Directors Box, and it was the same expression; disbelief. This could be any score, City were irresistible, and after so many derby-day disappointments over they years (I’ve attended almost 70 in a row as fan and journalist) the tables had certainly turned.
My only frustration, and it was only a selfish frustration, was that I wasn’t on the microphone, because for derbies I only do half of each half, while my United counterpart (Bill Rice in this case) does the rest.
I’m sure you know how passionate I am about City commentaries, if it was up to me I’d do every minute of every game, home and away, including preseason, EDS, Youth Team and City Women. I do commentate on lots of games, every first team competitive City game, so I can hardly complain, plus one or two other local games, when City are not playing. I’d be at a game seven days a week if it was up to me.
It was a little strange to be listening to my colleagues describe the first two City goals plus the two horror challenges by Wellbeck and Fellaini on Pablo Zabaleta. Both could have been red card offences, and certainly Fellaini should have been off. Pablo could have suffered a broken leg and a cracked eye socket, though knowing him, even those types of injuries wouldn’t have stopped him carrying on (arm in sling and bandage around the head). He’s immense isn’t he, a true Blue hero.
My turn on the microphone, at least gave me the chance to describe the third goal by Yaya Toure, which I knew was going to go in, from the moment he received it, on the edge of the United box. All my stored up emotion spilled out into my words, as that goal hit the back of the net.
While being a silent observer, I’d sensed the second Dzeko goal was coming. I noticed several City players gathering for the corner, and they all looked like they were desperate to get on the end of anything that came near them. I love to see that collective will to win.
This was a performance that had everything. Manuel Pellegrini had selected Jesus Navas for pace, and he certainly tore United’s defence apart at times. Silva and Nasri were once again mesmeric, supplying the panache, with the power of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho completely dominating midfield. Dzeko gave the sort of performance that will make make him as loved by the fans as Aguero. He chased, he harried, he looked like he really wanted every ball and to win every tackle.
I know Joe Hart made an excellent stop from Wellbeck, probably United’s only proper chance, so, as much as I’d like to praise the defenders too, the truth is they didn’t have a lot to do, United were tepid, not a shadow of the team they once were.
I watched the highlights of the game during my day off on Wednesday, and Paul Scholes damned the reds with faint praise, “they huffed and puffed for a period in the first half”, yeah, that was about it.
Bigger tests will come over the next few weeks, starting at Arsenal on Saturday, but as an Hors d’oeuvre this wasn’t bad.
If you’ve ever fancied being a commentator yourself, or want to ask a question about the job I do, or just want a stadium tour of the Etihad from a media perspective, you might be interested to know I’ll be hosting a “commentators tour” this Sunday (30th March at 11am)
Here’s a video of one of my previous tours:
If you fancy it, just ring 0161 444 1894 and book yourself on.
Before that, I’ll be with Fred Eyre on Saturday evening, for full match commentary from Arsenal – 530 KO, live on BBC Radio Manchester 95.1FM or Digital Radio.
– Ian Cheeseman