Published on October 25th, 2015 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City | Dan Cheeseman
“Not-so Super Sunday?”
In terms of a spectacle, I think it’s safe to say that Sunday’s Manchester Derby wasn’t one we’ll all be remembering for years to come, but that doesn’t mean to say that there’s still not plenty of talking points!
There might not have been anywhere near as many shots or drama as you’d expect from the average Premier League game these days, but I think the quality of defending on display from both teams more than made up for that.
It’s easy to forget when you’ve been watching high-quality attacking football (as we’ve been doing the last few years) that the sport is so much more than just scoring goals and flair. Of course, you can’t always focus on defending for the sake of our sanity, but sometimes I can’t deny that it can be just as entertaining to watch two teams battle it out at the back as it is watching them put on the style further up the field.
On the topic of defending, I thought both Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi were outstanding yesterday. It’s hardly a surprise that the Brazilian stood out again, as he’s been fantastic all season, but I must admit that it was a pleasant surprise to see our £32m summer signing finally flourish.
I think it helped that Manuel decided to bring Kompany back into the team, as they seem to understand each other well. Had Mangala been playing, I get the feeling that he would have made at least a couple of crucial mistakes – and this was the sort of game that required everyone’s full concentration from start to finish.
Although Sunday’s Derby definitely wasn’t a game for attackers, I can’t deny that one player in particular stood out like a sore thumb, performing at a much lower standard than everybody else – Wilfried Bony.
I hate to single out players, but at times it genuinely felt like we were without a striker against United. Whenever we pressed forward I always found myself looking around for the Ivorian, only to find him jog onto the screen after the attack had already fizzled out. You could argue that he was told to play a little deeper by the manager, but there’s no excuse for his sloppiness in possession – one of which nearly led to a goal when his stray pass on the break went straight to a red shirt.
Although they weren’t anywhere near as bad as the latter, I also thought that Raheem Sterling, Yaya Toure and de Bruyne had poor games too, however I don’t think the fact that 2 of those 3 were playing out of position helped.
There seems to be a myth that Yaya’s best position is just behind the striker – but I just don’t see it at all. For me he’s at his peak when he plays deeper alongside a holding midfielder like Fernandinho, as he’s always been the creator, not the scorer. The only reason he’s bagged so many goals in the past few seasons is because he’s one of the most talented footballers in the world, a lot of the crucial things he does in games often goes unnoticed.
Kevin de Bruyne was kept very quiet by Marcos Rojo, but in his defence he was also not playing in his preferred position.
Could Manuel have brought on Jesus Navas sooner to move Kevin back into a more central role? Probably. Could he have also given Kelechi Iheanacho more time to make an impact? Maybe. But in the end it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway as both teams were set up not to lose – so there’s no point in dwelling on those decisions!
I said before the game that I’d be more than happy with a draw – and that’s what we got, so I’ve got no reason to complain with what turned out to be a hard-earned point by the Blues!
Bring on Palace!