Manchester is blue. There is no doubt about that. After the derby on Sunday, bragging rights went firmly to the Manchester City fans. After the initial euphoria – or in the case of Manchester United fans devestation – wears off, there are a few questions both sides will be asking themselves.
Manchester City fans will wonder if they are really that good, and if they can really go all the way in both England and Europe. In reality, yes, they were good in the derby. Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure were sensational, and at times unplayable. Yet United were also very, very bad. Bereft of ideas almost. For City fans, a real test of how far they have come will be against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Germans are without a doubt the best team in Europe and should Manuel Pellegrini get a point – or even three off them, a real sense of belief will be instilled in the City fans and the players. After two awful campaigns in the greatest club competition of all, making a good show of themselves in Europe is perhaps even more important than domestically.
United meanwhile will have to ask themselves some harsh questions this week. They were simply not good enough. Yes, Moyes can point to the tough start to the season. But to then note that the club have taken one point – and scored one goal against all of City, Chelsea and Liverpool is not title winning form. Far from it.
It cannot all be because Robin Van Persie did not play. Even if the Dutchman had featured, he may have scored, granted, but he could not have stopped the four goals that were conceded. The 6-1 defeat may well look worse on paper, but in reality, this season’s was far worse. United had all their players on the field for a start. They also conceded well before the end – unlike the 6-1 where it was 3-1 until right before the end.
Ashley Young was God awful, Antonio Valencia might as well have taken his ipad out and started to play angry birds when he decided not to bother tracking back for one of the goals. Wayne Rooney may have been the one player who could emerge with some credit, but even that is being generous. The forward is now the all time leading scorer in Manchester derbies with eleven goals – some achievement, but not exactly an occasion to savour for the forward.
Frankly, United were poor all over the field and looked out classed at every turn. Changes need to be rung and Moyes needs to use players like Kagawa and Javier Hernandez – he may not fancy them but they cannot be worse than what he is playing at the minute.
To say Joe Hart had time to film another shampoo commercial during the game is an understatement. City, when they click, are a daunting prospect for any team, but should United carry on playing as they did last weekend, their noisy neighbours will be the least of their worries.
The suggestion that David Moyes needs to make a window in his calendar next season on a Thursday night may well be wide of the mark, but there is no denying that the Premier League is stronger than ever. The likes of Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Spurs will all be pushing for the title, never mind the top four with Liverpool and Everton making a play too. This of course means the pressure is on now more than ever for United to get points on the board and maintain their excellence.
On the flip side, this also means points will be dropped by each club multiple times throughout the course of the season. Taking a step back from losing three points to City, it is not that much of a disaster. Yes, it is not ideal, but rival clubs will all slip up. Topsy turvy will be the name of the game at the top of the table this season – and it will go down to the wire to decide those top six spots. Even going to somewhere like the Liberty Stadium will be a challenge. Clubs are so strong and add to that the odd shock result or two, and losing three points for United is not that big of a deal. The performance however is and must be sorted.
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