All Is Not Lost
VMC's Sedgie reflects upon City's first Premier League derby defeat in 22 months...
I'll stick to events on the pitch - mostly - as there's plenty to look back on, to say the least.
The stats flashed up on the screens at the break made for galling viewing. City - one shot on target. United - two; and they scored from both. For all City's pressure early on, they were hit by a classic sucker punch and made to look vulnerable on the break, not for the first time this season.
I didn't think Nigel de Jong has been missed that much - until now. Sunday would have been his type of game, especially after United went ahead. I'm a Gareth Barry fan, but he's not the type of player to chase a game when it needs chasing. Roberto Mancini clearly does not rate Javi Garcia highly enough to try him instead, and there were times when the Blues were crying out for Nigel's tenacity.
If only every player had the heart of a lion like Pablo Zabaleta, who's Argentinean team-mates were also instrumental in the stirring second-half fightback. As for Mr Balotelli - I thought he looked good early on, but by the time he was rightly hauled off I'd forgotten he was even on the pitch. Sadly, talent alone only goes so far; Mario needs to follow Zaba's example, and fast.
Carlos Tevez's efforts put the enigmatic Italian to shame and showed the folly of not picking him from the off. On this evidence I can see a bleak midwinter of bench-warming for Balotelli & Edin Dzeko, although Tevez will be regretting that he did not stay in the wall for that decisive free kick. I'd like to think he would have put himself in the line of fire, unlike Samir Nasri, who disappointed again.
All is not lost, don't forget that storming run-in last season, and we're not even at Christmas yet. The fringe players like Garcia, James Milner, Jack Rodwell & Scott Sinclair need to come back to fitness in a couple of cases and show Mancini they are worth a place in the team to shake some of the complacency out of the first choices. Whatever you think of Yaya Touré`s current form, he's still going to be missed in January so someone needs to put their hand up.
What did the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy have printed in large, green friendly letters on the cover? 'Don't panic.'
all times East Manchester
Sa 15Dec 12h45 Newcastle, St James' Park, PL
Sa 22Dec 15h00 Reading, The Etihad, PL
We 26Dec 15h00 Sunderland, Stadium of Light, PL
Sa 29Dec 15h00 Norwich, Carrow Road, PL
Tu 01Jan 15h00 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Sa/Su 05/06 Jan TBC Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL