United 1 - 2 City
Rafael Rio Jones Evra
Welbeck(Valencia) Carrick Giggs Young(Kagawa)
That was a poor performance. We started brightly but by the 20th minute City got hold of the midfield area and we looked as if we were playing away from home. Mind you, City weren't excellent, but some of our players were so weak that their performance made City look really good. The tactical battle was definitely won by Mancini. Fergie made his substitutions too late in the game to be effective and kept Giggs on the pitch even when he had a fit Cleverley on the bench. We're where we are thanks to Sir Alex himself but I don't mind criticizing some of his decisions. Then again, I wouldn't trade the great man himself for any other manager out there.
We conceded two goals which could have been easily avoided although the second was a sublime individual goal. I don't know what Giggsy was thinking backheeling the ball in the middle of the park with Yaya Toure lurking around. That's a schoolboy error. That silly back-heel led to their first goal. With respect to their second, all of our defenders looked scared of going in for the ball. It was a very good goal but if one of our defenders didn't just back down, Aguero would have been stopped. But obviously it's useless saying what could have been. We've let City win at Old Trafford and that will hopefully be the really needed kick up our backside. Since that game vs Real Madrid some of our players haven't been performing.
RVP was kept out of the game, Roo moved in and out of the game, Giggs couldn't keep up with their midfield, Welbeck wasn't at his best and Young didn't do much wrong nor did he do much right either. Our defenders had a good game, in my opinion, and so did Carrick.
We could have been 18 points clear and win the league on Sunday but instead we're 12 points clear and will now need to win 3 of our upcoming 7 games. We're still in a very good position but regardless of our league position, it hurts to see City win at Old Trafford. Mancini said that today's game was the battle for Manchester. I've already seen some tweets claiming that the blues are the kings of the City. Do these people remember that we won at the Etihad some 4 months ago? Kings of Manchester my arse.
Worryingly, coming up, we've got a couple of away fixtures which, historically, have proven to be tough away games. We'll be facing Stoke away on Sunday and then West Ham away the following Wednesday. We have to perform if we want to get the needed points, otherwise we'll be making life very very difficult. We don't want to drop points against such teams given that we still have to face in-form Arsenal and a bullish Chelsea team in quick succession.
So our celebrations will have to be delayed. Let's hope it is just a delay and not another fall similar to what happened last year. It is highly unlikely but until there's no mathematical probability of City winning the title, I won't be singing. Bring on Stoke.