United Ease Past City At Eastlands
The City Of Manchester Stadium
The time has come. The two Manchester`s lock horns again as both teams look to secure the bragging rights for their own supporters. Mark Hughes made one change to the side that eased past Schalke on Thursday. Robinho replaces young Danny Sturridge and Javier Garrido overcomes his injury problem to keep Ball on the bench. Sir Alex Ferguson releases Berbatov upfront as he hopes to show City why he chose The Red half of Manchester over the Blue.
Teams in Full:
Hart, Richards, Dunne (c), Kompany, Garrido, Ireland, Hamann, Wright-Phillips, Vassell, Robinho, Benjani.
Subs: Schmeichel, Ball, Ben-Haim, Zabaleta, Jo, Sturridge, Elano.
Van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand (c), Ronaldo, Berbatov, Rooney, Park, Vidic, Carrick, da Silva, Fletcher.
Subs: Anderson, Giggs, Foster, Nani, O'Shea, Evans, Tevez.
The game started with Manchester United kicking off from right-left and It was the red half that created the first half chance of the game. Rooney found the ball inside the box and shot straight at Hart, who seemed to have it grasped, until the ball slid from under him and credit to him however because he managed to poke the ball off the foot of Fletcher and City cleared.
There was only one team playing football around the 15 minute mark. It was like Manchester City had fielded a whole new eleven, and no-one knew where each other were. A cheap corner found its way to the head of Ronaldo who couldn`t keep it down and the chance went begging. Surely it was Man City turn to get up the other end?
No. da Silva managed to skin Garrido as if he was not there, and placed a beautiful cross onto Berbatov, but the big Bulgarian could not beat Hart, as he sorted his feet out well and produced a one-handed acrobatic save.
Finally Manchester City had an attack, and they where within inches of taken the lead. A Garrido free-kick near the technical area was swung in and cleared only to Ireland whose shot found its way to Richards who seemed to miss the ball completely as he watched the ball graze the post.
However it was coming and it did come on the 41st minute. Shocking defending by City led the ball straight to Michael Carrick who`s shot from the angle could only find Hart`s gloves, but his save only found the ball at the feet of Rooney, and he stroked the ball into an empty net.
2 minutes of extra time where played before the whistle blew for halftime, and as a City fan it pains me to say, we should have been slaughtered in that half. We were terrible.
Mark Hughes then made two changes at halftime. Hamann and Vassell where sacrificed for Elano and Zabaleta.
Manchester City started the brighter in the second half. Kompany`s long range shot flew wide of Van Der Sar`s right-hand post and then Manchester City had their best spell of the game and created arguably their best move. Robinho and Elano combined to realise Shaun Wright-Phillips, who then fed Benjani but his shot could only ripple the outside of the goal.
Manchester City where playing with much more fluency and determination by the hour mark, but without any real conviction. Maybe a touch of magic is needed?
They got something from a magician alright. A Manchester United corner met the hands of Ronaldo, who received his second booking and made his way to the tunnel looking like somebody stole his lollypop. He defence was that he heard a "beep". I`m sorry but last time I checked ref`s had whistles?
Manchester City`s fans were then screaming and shouting their men forward, but for some reason City were following the approach of Arsenal and where trying to pass their way to goal, whereas a tad more urgency could helped the cause.
With 14 minutes to go, Richards was forced off with an injury and was replaced by Sturridge as City pushed for the equaliser in the last quarter. However all they could produce was a miss-placed pass here, and when they did get things right, the players where either brought down or needlessly losing the ball. Elano who came on, was a prime example of how careless Man City where with the ball.
Entering stoppage time and Manchester City finally came close to scoring. The corner forced Hart into the opposition`s box but it was Dunne who managed to get the shot of after the rebounded header, but his effort was saved off the line by Evra. Robinho then lost the ball, which led to Manchester United breaking with Hart behind the ball. Giggs found Rooney and from just inside the City half, Rooney shot for goal. Shaun Wright-Phillips and Hart were scrambling back as fast as they could, and outstandingly Hart was able to palm the ball away from goal.
The final whistle blew and City are two points off relegation.
Seriously if an occasion like this wont lift the players and excite them, then they shouldn`t be at this club. The first half was appalling. We never looked like even getting more than 3 passes together and even though we clipped the post, we really wouldn`t have deserved it. Then due to slack defending, United scored. It was simply not good enough. The second half looked brighter and after Ronaldo got sent off, you would think City would step it up, But No! They played the ball around without a care in the world.
Where`s the passion and the commitment for which we saw last year? We could be just above relegation come the end of the day and from this performance its where we should be.