City condemned Manchester United to their worst home defeat since 1955 after thrashing them 6-1 at Old Trafford yesterday. The emphatic and somewhat unbelievable score line has demonstrated a dramatic change in fortune for City who so often fail to dent United’s armour. On a day where most City fans would have taken a draw against their bitter rivals, it was overwhelming to see how City tore apart United with guile and class.
Though I always felt City could beat United at Old Trafford, I certainly didn’t expect the victory to be by such a great margin. United dominated the possession in the first twenty minutes but they were largely ineffective and barley troubled Joe Hart. City went onto crush their opponents with a brace from Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko, respectively. Sergio Aguero and David Silva also etched their names into history with a goal each.
This season, I had thought that as soon as United face an attack with real quality in the final third they would be punished. Recent encounters against Norwich, Chelsea and Basel, in the Champions League, exposed some weaknesses in their defence. Roberto Mancini was obviously aware of their frailties and exposed them to devastating effect. City were set up to press United and show no fear. As well as showing attacking prowess, City’s defensive tactics were spot on. United always have a goal in them but they were nullified by the excellent organisation and work ethic of the City defence and midfield. Whilst James Milner and Silva were constantly threatening going forward they were also dogged in defence, supporting the full-backs to great effect.
The victory is sweet for every City fan. Any victory over a fierce rival always is a delight. The fact that City doubled their goal tally, on the day, with three goals in the dying embers of the game only makes it sweeter. The number of times City have fallen at the last hurdle against United is disgraceful, quite frankly. What better way to exact revenge than by scoring three goals in 5 minutes at the very end of the game. In all honesty, United can count themselves lucky that they did not concede more. Dzeko and Silva both wasted good chances whilst Micah Richards also had a worthy shout for a penalty turned down.
Of all the great performances from City players, Micah Richards was outstanding. Quite how the young right back is not first choice for England is beyond me. Chris Smalling, the United centre-half, seems to be the first choice right back for England. Smalling is a talented player, yet, yesterday’s game alone was evidence enough that Richards is a far superior player. Of all the tackles Richards attempted yesterday he was successful in every one. He also attacked with purpose and breezed through the United rear guard with consummate ease and regularity.
It seems that yesterday’s performance captures the feeling and essence of the season so far. City have been nothing short of remarkable and are beating teams that they traditionally struggle against. Take the 5-1 against Tottenham, the 2-0 against Everton and now the 6-1 against United. It seems the times are changing. Whether City can maintain their exceptional current form remains to be seen. However, the most notable consequence of yesterday’s game is the air of silence that has descended upon Old Trafford. They are setting the perfect example on how not to be “noisy neighbours”.
Words by Rob Toole