The Blues took a major step towards the retention of the Premier League title when they destroyed Stretford’s finest at Sold Trafford last night.
With United getting whacked at Everton over the weekend, there was going to be a backlash and unfortunately for City, it was going to be against them. I don’t know what United team the Gary Neville’s of this world have been watching, but Planet Etihad is in a different universe to Stretford right now.
The spitting super-sub sounded like a parrot on the shoulder of the red-nosed knight as in his pre-match preamble he spoke of City deliberate kicking opponents, using tactical fouls and snapping at their ankles. Has he not looked at the league table? Has he not seen City’s “goals for” column?
Mr Solksjaer, you were never good enough to get a starting berth in United’s first team on a regular basis. You were an also-ran, a second best. You got lucky in a European final and have lived on it ever since. As a second best what makes you think you can emulate the achievements of Ferguson? With that team, you can’t. United are probably not the second- best performing team in Greater Manchester at this juncture.
True, there looked to some sort of positivity for United, but once again they mustered only their second shot on target in three matches, making it a simple process, in essence, for City to achieve the victory they needed.
Although the first half was pretty much a testing-out time, as the half grew on it was clear that United would not be living with City all night. Sterling, still not a scorer against United, sounded the reveille horn ahead of half time forcing De Gea’s only true save of the match. It was a prelude to what was to follow.
If you can’t score early in the first half, score early in the second, especially if it’s 0-0. With Fernandinho off due to injury, City unleashed the power and pace of Sane. Bernardo was invested into his best position at number 8, Gundogan dropped back into the hold and the SAS let loose up top.
Almost immediately this forced set of changes changed the dynamic of the match. Gundogan, carrying the ball out from the back spotted Bernardo in space and played it up to him. The Portuguese genius cut inside opened the door and slid the ball in beating De Gea at the near post. The delight was immediate both on the field and on the bench, where Pep celebrated with true meaning.
United’s one decent chance came shortly thereafter, but Lingard’s air shot shows why he plays for United and no one nearer the top of the league.
Following this Aguero was unlucky to hit the post with De Gea grabbing handfuls of fresh air again but it wasn’t very long before the match was signed off with a trade-mark City counter-attack. United were looking, unsuccessfully for an equaliser when Sterling intercepted a piece of laziness from Fred. He was off to the races and nobody was going to catch him.
Aguero made a superb diagonal run taking the defence with him leaving things wide open for Sane on the left. Sterling slipped him the ball and the German Whippet slammed the ball past De Gea’s feeble effort to keep it out with his foot. No longer is the Spaniard the best in the world. Ederson has moved the goalposts, he has almost single-handedly taken goalkeeping to a new place in this country and his best years are well in front of him. De Gea’s have gone and it’s time for him to go out to grass back in Spain or Paris, play in an easier division.
That concluded the scoring as city eased up, retained the ball and kept United at bay. A night that started with a thunderstorm in Manchester, ended with a blue moon and not the blood-red sunset that the Nevilles of this world did their best to anticipate.
Burnley are next up. Not an easy bus station to negotiate and City will have to be on their toes. They will be playing catch up to Liverpool who play on Friday, but if they retain their focus, they could do the needful.